tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/optimisation-inc-testing-cro Latest Optimisation (inc testing, CRO) content from Econsultancy 2016-04-01T14:11:31+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67698 2016-04-01T14:11:31+01:00 2016-04-01T14:11:31+01:00 10+ of the best digital marketing stats we've seen this week David Moth <h3>A quarter of UK households subscribe to a streaming service</h3> <p>According to new figures <a href="http://www.barb.co.uk/tv-landscape-reports/netflix-taking-over/">from BARB</a> 24% of UK households subscribed to one of the three main video-on-demand services in Q4 2015.</p> <p>These include Netflix, Amazon Video and Now TV.</p> <p>The number of households with Netflix grew by 1.4m between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015, compared to an increase of 0.5m households for Amazon Video and 0.3m households for Now TV.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3507/SVOD-Households.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <h3>Q4 ecommerce stats</h3> <p>Monetate has published its Ecommerce Quarterly Report, based on analysis of 7bn online shopping sessions from Q4 and the holiday season. </p> <p>It found that online shoppers converted on purchases at a year-long high:</p> <ul> <li>Conversion rate peaked at 3.48% (up from 3.42% YoY).</li> <li>Returning visitors converted more often (4.55%) than new visitors (2.49%).</li> </ul> <p>More on those returning visitors:</p> <ul> <li>Returning visitors add items to cart 14.80% of the time (up from 13.68% YoY).</li> <li>New visitors add items to cart 7.61% of the time (up from 7.53% YoY).</li> <li>Overall add-to-cart rate was up YoY (11.06% versus 10.43%).</li> </ul> <h3>Social inspires shopping habits</h3> <p>Research by Aimia has found that more than half (56%) of consumers who follow brands on social media sites <a href="http://www.marketingweek.com/2016/03/23/social-commerce-how-willing-are-consumers-to-buy-through-social-media/">say they do so to view products</a>.</p> <p>Dubbed ‘social shoppers’, these individuals apparently visit social networks as part of their everyday shopping behaviour and use images they see on social media sites to inspire purchases.</p> <p>Just under a third of online shoppers (31%) said they use these channels to browse for new items to buy, with Facebook being the most popular network (26%).</p> <p>The research surveyed 2,017 people aged 18 and over.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3508/aimia.jpg" alt="" width="980" height="600"></p> <h3>Data strategy stats</h3> <p>A new infographic from Experian includes a load of stats looking at how companies are approaching their data strategy.</p> <p>Click the image to see the full version.</p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3512/data_strategy_infographic.png"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3513/Screen_Shot_2016-04-01_at_10.57.22.png" alt="" width="800"></a></p> <h3>Instagram video goes up to 60-seconds</h3> <p>Earlier this week Instagram announced it is increasing the maximum length of videos on its service to 60 seconds. </p> <p>Until now, videos have been capped at 15 seconds.</p> <p>Read Patricio Robles’s post for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67684-instagram-s-new-60-second-video-limit-five-things-brands-need-to-know/">an insight into what this means for Instagram users</a>.</p> <h3>What will the world look like in 2020?</h3> <p>What’s better than one infographic? Two infographics!</p> <p>Beyond Digital have created this visual based on <a href="http://www.infomentum.com/uk/solutions/business-solutions/Business-2020/index.htm?utm_source=pr_origin&amp;utm_medium=pr&amp;utm_campaign=Business%202020">a survey of 1,000 UK office workers</a> looking at how office technology is set to evolve over the next five years.</p> <p>Click this image to see the full version, and for more advice on changing working practices check out our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">Digital Transformation hub</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3518/beyond_digital.jpg"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3517/office_infographic.png" alt="" width="600" height="413"></a></p> <h3>Third-party content slowing down websites</h3> <p>Websites are being slowed down by third-party content such as display ads and remarketing services.</p> <p>This unsurprising finding comes from NCC Group which looked at the UK’s top 50 retail sites, then analysed the 10 fastest and 10 slowest. </p> <p>It found that on average the slowest homepages contained 7.5 times more third-party content than the fastest. </p> <p>The faster sites averaged just 83KB of third-party content, while the slowest contained 618KB. </p> <h3>We’re football crazy, we’re football mad...</h3> <p>Ahead of the European Championships in France this summer, <a href="http://advertising.ebay.co.uk/news/2016/mobile-first-brands-will-cash-football-fever-summer">eBay Advertising has published a load of data</a> about people’s online shopping habits during major football tournaments.</p> <p>During the 2014 World Cup UK shoppers made more than 3bn searches on eBay.co.uk, with the Sporting Goods category seeing a particularly big uplift.</p> <p>92,000 searches were made for “football” on ebay.co.uk in the first week of the 2014 World Cup, equating to almost ten searches per minute. </p> <p>This was almost a quarter (22%) higher than the average number of searches for the equivalent weeks in April and May. </p> <p>And to wrap up this week, here's a great song about football by George Dawes...</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ByvUIRm1BzA?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="461"></iframe></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67630 2016-03-16T12:07:00+00:00 2016-03-16T12:07:00+00:00 Forget AO.com, does Benefit Cosmetics offer the best ecommerce experience? Paul Rouke <ol> <li>Knowing and communicating your unique value proposition.</li> <li>Being truly, passionately customer centric.</li> <li>Harnessing social proof to make this central to the purchasing decision.</li> <li>Embracing <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/PRWD/iterative-versus-innovative-testing-exploiting-the-full-spectrum-of-testing-opportunities-paul-rouke-elite-camp-2015-final">the full spectrum of testing and optimisation</a>.</li> </ol> <p>Whenever a website is praised or wins an award, I always check to see what all the fuss is about.</p> <p>Using these four criteria as a starting point, you can begin to assess whether or not a website can truly deliver the goods.</p> <p>I am always curious to see who can join the illustrious list of true disrupter brands such as Uber and AirBnb, and as my previous post concluded, AO.com hs joined that list having disrupted the white goods industry.</p> <p>As such, when I read that Benefit Cosmetics (part of the multi-billion, multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH) was recently awarded '<a href="http://beauty20awards.com/who-won-the-beauty20-london-the-10-best-loved-beauty-brands-online/">Best Beauty Brand Online</a>’, I had to check it out for myself and see whether the brand is worthy of the title!</p> <p>So here goes. Will Benefit join the illustrious list of disruptive brands and cement itself as a trailblazer for the beauty industry? Let's find out.</p> <h3>1. Knowing and communicating your unique value proposition</h3> <h4><strong>Universal header area</strong></h4> <p>Landing on the homepage - or other primary landing pages - I’m extremely surprised to see that Benefit Cosmetics doesn’t dedicate <em>any</em> part of the primary header area to communicate anything tangible about its unique value proposition.</p> <p>Prime website real estate is just being neglected.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2800/Homepage_top_half.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="382"></p> <p>This online crime happens all the time.</p> <p>Brand X feels like it is big enough, credible enough and well known enough to not need to communicate why visitors should stick around and buy from them and not one of their competitors.</p> <p>As crowded as the beauty market is, you would think every brand would jump at a chance to communicate their USPs.</p> <p>It doesn’t matter how big or well-known you are, <strong>you should always be providing visitors with reasons to stay. </strong></p> <h4>On primary landing and decision making pages, under the navigation</h4> <p>Just as Benefit doesn’t communicate any form of its unique value proposition in the site-wide header, it doesn’t dedicate any area under or around its primary navigation for communicating what makes the brand and products special.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2818/bestsellers.PNG" alt="" width="601" height="339"></p> <p>As I shared in my AO.com critique, we all know about the fact that people need to see things a number of times before it typically “sinks in”.</p> <p>Never has this been more important for retailers than with your unique value and service proposition messages.</p> <p>In summary,<strong> Benefit Cosmetics is failing to communicate its value proposition clearly on key landing pages</strong><em>. </em></p> <h3>2. Being truly, passionately customer centric</h3> <h4><strong>Providing customer journeys that match different types of buyer behaviour</strong></h4> <p>The two ways to browse products on Benefit Cosmetics are to ‘shop by product’ and ‘shop by dilemma’.</p> <p>Though 'shop by dilemma' is an intriguing concept, only having two initial options to start a product search is limiting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2819/product_page_top_half.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="306"></p> <p>What about shop by latest releases, shop by most popular, shop by highest rated?</p> <p>Even with a small product set compared to a retailer like AO.com, visitors will still benefit from being able to browse your range by other ways than just the type or category of product.</p> <h4><strong>Replicating the offline shopping experience</strong></h4> <p>Benefit Cosmetics is doing some really positive things in this area, not least actively encouraging visitors to visit a store.</p> <p>Often multichannel retailers are almost afraid of promoting their store finder as they want their online visitors to buy online.</p> <p>Truth is, bridging this gap (and encouraging the multichannel shopper) will in turn help create new customers who have the potential to become brand advocates.</p> <p>The terminology used in the primary navigation ‘Get Serviced’ followed by the headline ‘Pamper Yourself Pretty’ are excellent examples of using emotive language and speaking directly to the visitor.</p> <p>Creative and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65365-how-seven-ecommerce-brands-use-highly-persuasive-copywriting/">persuasive copywriting</a> is certainly an area that Benefit has prioritised as part of its online user experience and it shows.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2820/pamper_yourself.PNG" alt="" width="601" height="324"></p> <p>Store integration is intrinsic to the online experience.</p> <p>In the section ‘explore our services’, hovering over any of the services immediately presents you with a ‘Find a Store’ button – this <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67345-23-creative-examples-of-hover-states-in-ecommerce-ux/">subtle hover state</a> change ensures visitors are drawn to what they want you to do.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2821/find_a_store.PNG" alt="" width="601" height="324"></p> <p>Benefit has another whole area dedicated to its customers with the ‘Wow your Brows’ page.</p> <p>From striking, emotive imagery and humanised language, to video content and specific advice tailored to women’s different styles of eyebrows, this is an extremely (and impressively) customer-centric page.</p> <p>I can't help but wonder why it doesn't promote this specialist area in the universal header!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2822/wowbrows.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="360"></p> <p>In addition, it dedicates a whole section of the homepage to helping fix ‘Beauty Dilemmas’.</p> <p>This once again showcases visually striking images that ooze brand personality (which is consistent throughout the whole site).</p> <p>In summary,<strong> when it comes to being truly, passionately customer centric, Benefit is doing a lot right.<br></strong></p> <h3>3. Harnessing social proof to make this central to the purchasing decision</h3> <h4>Customer satisfaction is one of the first things new visitors are presented with</h4> <p>First-time visitors to AO.com see a prominent customer satisfaction score on the homepage.</p> <p>When examining Benefit’s homepage, apart from a sub headline ‘What benebabes love most’ (which doesn’t provide you with any way to find out what or who are ‘benebabes’) and some very small hearts, there is a distinct lack of social proof used to demonstrate the popularity and advocacy of the Benefit customer base.</p> <p>Of course it has the standard social links in the footer, but visitors have absolutely no idea if Benefit has 500 or 500,000 Pinterest followers, or 250 or 250,000 Twitter followers, or 800 or 800,000 Facebook likes.</p> <p>I will let you guess the numbers behind the brand...</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2823/footer.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="117"></p> <h4>Prominence of reviews</h4> <p>As mentioned, with the miniscule love hearts under product images it’s almost as if Benefit Cosmetics doesn't want visitors to think about or look at <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/">the reviews</a>.</p> <p>It would be interesting to see if any research was made in this decision.</p> <p>Not only that, you have no idea whether products have seven or 700 reviews until you get to the product page.</p> <p>From my experience, I always advise retailers to clearly communicate how many reviews you have for a product prior to visitors going to that product page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2824/most_loved.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="371"></p> <h4>Detailed, intelligent, informative, relevant customer reviews</h4> <p>Whilst the reviews are not prominent on the homepage, once you get on the product page Benefit has an exceptional rating and review system.</p> <p>It provides both fantastic depth of reviews and also puts the visitor in control of seeing the reviews most relevant to them.</p> <p>This shows how important Benefit take its customer reviews and the review system should be applauded, but ideally it should look to get this in front of the customer earlier in the journey.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2825/mascara_page.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="340"></p> <h3>4. Embracing the full spectrum of testing and optimisation</h3> <p>Unlike with AO.com (which is a brand I know truly embraces the full spectrum of optimisation), the very fact that Benefit doesn’t appear to have a testing tool installed says to me that this is one of the biggest opportunities for its next phase of growth.</p> <h4><strong>What do I mean by the full spectrum of testing and optimisation? </strong></h4> <p>Very few businesses embrace the full spectrum of opportunities on offer from A/B, multivariate and personalisation testing.</p> <p>Typically testing is quick and simple and focused on the low hanging fruit (what we at PRWD call <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67245-why-mvt-doesn-t-live-up-to-the-hype-isn-t-worth-significant-investment/">iterative testing</a>).</p> <p>The biggest business growth opportunity many businesses are missing out on is the impact and growth that innovative and strategic testing can deliver for their business.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>In summary, Benefit Cosmetics is doing some fantastic things with its digital experience to convert visitors into customers.</p> <p>But as this quick evaluation has highlighted, there are a range of opportunities which can take it to the next level:</p> <ol> <li>Effectively communicating the unique value proposition to differentiate itself in the marketplace.</li> <li>Utilising the scale and passion of its social communities and customers to better effect.</li> <li>Most importantly, recognise that full spectrum optimisation represents the biggest growth lever.</li> </ol> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67454 2016-02-01T10:09:36+00:00 2016-02-01T10:09:36+00:00 Five digital realities every CEO & MD must face in 2016 Paul Rouke <p>You can’t change your past but you can change your future. You can’t change the decisions got you where you are today but your future decisions can take you in new, more life changing directions.</p> <p>My point is that there are some things you can’t control but you shouldn’t let that define you.</p> <p>For the few percent of people in the world who choose to take control of their own destiny and start their own business (or those who become a business owner), there are business realities that we have to face up to but you can still control your own destiny.</p> <p>The reality is you and your team simply have to create a perceived value in your product and service to get people to spend money with you.</p> <p>You can’t control what your competitors are doing but you <em>can</em> create your own culture. For a business to succeed it requires one person to make it happen.</p> <h3><strong>What about your business online? How important is it and what steps should you be taking?</strong></h3> <p>Back in late 2012 I published “<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/11372-will-2013-be-the-year-of-conversion-optimisation/">Will 2013 be the year of conversion optimisation?</a>” So, was it?</p> <p>Was it hell.</p> <p>So when will it be the ‘year of conversion optimisation’? At the rate we are going, 2019. What a crying shame.</p> <p>If only conversion optimisation was as sexy sounding as social media, big data, personalisation or omni-channel (for more areas of focus, see Ashley Friedlein's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67397-ashley-friedlein-s-10-digital-marketing-ecommerce-trends-for-2016/">10 digital marketing trends for 2016</a>).</p> <p>In this post I will discuss five realities every CEO must get to grips with in 2016 (and beyond) when it comes to their online experience.</p> <h3>1. Investing intelligently in converting visitors to customers will become essential</h3> <p>There is still a fundamental disconnect between the amount of money companies spend on acquiring traffic, versus what they are willing to invest in turning a higher percentage of that traffic in to customers.</p> <p>It’s almost as if increasing the investment in conversion optimisation is somehow problematic for an acquisition strategy, when reality is it has the potential to dramatically improve the ROI you get from the hundreds, thousands and millions of pounds spent on traffic acquisition each month.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1185/Jedi-Master-Yoda-in-a-sce-006.jpg" alt="" width="550" height="330"></p> <p>Even those businesses who <em>are</em> increasing their investment in conversion optimisation may not be doing so intelligently and are therefore still struggling to grow.</p> <p>Millions of pounds of marketing budget is wasted each year on tools which just aren’t used properly and are therefore failing to produce the advertised results.</p> <p>Then there are millions of pounds being spent on big website redesigns that simply don’t deliver the increase in performance expected from that level of spend.</p> <p>The reality for CEOs is that by investing consistently and intelligently in strategic conversion optimisation they will finally be creating the platform on which they can outgrow their competition.</p> <p>Here are <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66339-five-characteristics-of-businesses-ready-to-grow-through-data-driven-optimisation/">five characteristics of businesses ready to grow through conversion optimisation</a>. If you are embarking on a website redesign, <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/PRWD/how-to-avoid-a-website-redesign-disaster-paul-rouke-at-digital-marketing-show-2015-55256619">here is how to avoid disaster</a>.</p> <h3>2. Pure and simple, A/B testing needs to be mastered before you starting chasing the home run that is big data &amp; personalisation</h3> <p>It is very easy to be excited by something new and shiny. You want to dive in head first and play with all the bells and whistles.</p> <p>Think about your first love. Whether it was love at first sight or your mutual feelings took a little longer to develop, you no doubt fell head over heels with that person.</p> <p>You probably didn’t even stop and think about what are the important foundations to get in place to allow your new relationship to have the biggest chance of long term success.</p> <p>Because of this, realistically, you won’t be with your first love today. Data-driven optimisation is a culture of experimentation.</p> <p><a href="http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/muppet/images/7/74/BeakerHands.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120626193657"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1226/dr_beaker.jpg" alt="" width="475" height="316"></a></p> <p>It can’t be like a first love because if it is, chances are you will have limited impact, low test success rate, poor buy-in from senior management and a general lack of confidence in the potential of conversion optimisation being a crucial growth lever for your business.</p> <p>So many times I see businesses conducting quite complex personalisation and multivariate tests, with little or no reason <em>why</em>.</p> <p>When you analyse the online experiences of these businesses, it become clear very quickly that what they shouldn’t be doing is getting distracted by the shiny new tools and complex tests.</p> <p>Instead, they should learn to walk before they can run by mastering the science and art of researching, planning and delivering intelligent, insight driven A/B tests.</p> <p>The reality for CEOs is that they need to recognise that big data and personalisation is not what their business needs right now.</p> <p>What their business <em>really</em> needs is intelligent and pure A/B testing to drag their online experience kicking and screaming to a place which benefits everyone of their visitors.</p> <p>Intelligent KPIs are also required to measure and improve the impact that optimisation is having for your business – my previous article ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66434-vanity-versus-sanity-metrics-in-conversion-optimisation/">vanity versus sanity metrics in conversion optimisation</a>’ underlines the importance of quality <em>then</em> quantity, for your optimisation strategy.</p> <h3>3. Tools and machines cannot replicate people’s brains</h3> <p>I have previously written about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67245-why-mvt-doesn-t-live-up-to-the-hype-isn-t-worth-significant-investment/">why MVT (multivariate testing) should be replaced by NHT (No Hypothesis Testing)</a>.</p> <p>In that article, I explained how so often the role of coming up with an ‘improved’ version or variation of a webpage is put in the hands of the tool.</p> <p>Instead of having one or two strong, intelligent variations based on an insight driven hypothesis, the tool is used to deliver multiple variations of headlines, buttons and copy to visitors to see “which one sticks.”</p> <p>The biggest mistake businesses make is in limiting the investment they make in people, or more importantly, in people’s expertise.</p> <p>So often companies invest a huge amount of money in enterprise level tools, only to just scratch the surface on what is actually possible.</p> <p>If you asked 50 brands if they feel they are getting value for money from their testing platform or whether they are utilising the feature set to its potential, 10% (at most, from my experience) would say yes.</p> <p>The reality for CEOs is that they need to recognise that data-driven optimisation will not be achieved without significant investment in the people responsible for crafting and delivering improved online experiences.</p> <p>Think user researchers, data analysts, UX designers, front and back end developers, copywriters and psychologists.</p> <p>These are all essential skill-sets being employed by brands like Booking.com, AO.com and Spotify. AO.com has used such people so well that it led me to asking <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/">whether AO is the best ecommerce experience online</a>?</p> <h3>4. You will need to become customer-centric at some stage</h3> <p>Becoming or being customer-centric seems like an obvious statement. Most business would claim they are customer-centric.</p> <p>The reality is businesses are still only scratching the surface when it comes to truly understanding the behaviour, perception, expectations and motivations of the people they call customers.</p> <p>Let’s get this straight. Having some remote user testing videos done, adding an on-site survey and watching a few session recordings does not a customer-centric business make.</p> <p>It doesn’t even get you close. You could say I’m just biased as I have worked in user research for over 15 years now, but here is what these 15 years <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc6wzgsaZTw">have taught me about conversion optimisation</a>.</p> <p>The reality is those businesses that genuinely make that decision to become customer-centric are the ones outpacing their competition and taking market share; you only need to <a href="http://www.prolificnorth.co.uk/2016/01/shop-direct-predicts-increase-in-digital-personalisation-in-2016/">look at Shop Direct Group</a> to see that.</p> <p>You need to make this same decision before it’s too late.</p> <h3>5. Yes, your competitors are already taking optimisation really seriously</h3> <p>Be warned, your competitors are already taking conversion optimisation much more seriously than they ever have before.</p> <p>They’ve seen the true beauty of conversion optimisation, experimentation, and having a test and learn culture running through their business.</p> <p><strong>The beauty is you can take control of your own destiny.</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1227/destiny.gif" alt="" width="512" height="256"></strong></p> <p>You choose how much investment you’ll make in people, skills, tools, processes, cultural transformation.</p> <p>You choose how ambitious and progressive your business will be in optimising and evolving your online experience. You choose whether the business <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/PRWD/iterative-versus-innovative-testing-exploiting-the-full-spectrum-of-testing-opportunities-paul-rouke-elite-camp-2015-final">embraces the full spectrum of optimisation</a>.</p> <p>Do you want an example of a brand controlling its own destiny? Look no further than AO.com.</p> <p>I’ll put it out there, it's making buying washing machines and dishwashers fun and desirable. If AO.com can do this, what is stopping you?</p> <h3>In summary</h3> <p>It’s time to face up to these realities and start walking the walk. Remember, you can control your own destiny.</p> <p>Time to choose.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67382 2016-01-12T15:20:43+00:00 2016-01-12T15:20:43+00:00 How record-breaking sales may have masked Black Friday failure Alex Painter <p>Many organisations focused, with mixed success, on making sure their websites didn’t collapse under the weight of the extra traffic.</p> <p>But while a website that falls over on the busiest shopping day of the year is the nightmare scenario, there are other aspects of performance to consider.</p> <p>A number of studies show that even small fluctuations in the time it takes a web page to load can have a significant effect on the revenue it generates.</p> <p>One of the best known is from Walmart, which demonstrated a direct link between load time and conversion: average load time for the converted population was 3.22 seconds. For the non-converted <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/devonauerswald/walmart-pagespeedslide">population it was 6.03 seconds</a>.</p> <p>More recently, Etam increased conversions by 20% by cutting <a href="http://blog.quanta-computing.com/etam-earns-20-of-conversion-by-optimising-its-online-store/">average page load time from 1.2 seconds to 0.5 seconds</a>.</p> <p>With this in mind, it isn’t enough just to make sure the website stays up. A website that slows down during peak periods is also potentially very costly.</p> <p>In this article I'll look at how page speeds were altered on Black Friday, and for more on this topic read:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67061-seo-black-friday-how-are-brands-preparing-their-landing-pages/">SEO &amp; Black Friday: How are brands preparing their landing pages?</a></li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66657-need-for-speed-how-to-optimise-website-performance/">Need for speed: how to optimise website performance</a>.</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10936-site-speed-case-studies-tips-and-tools-for-improving-your-conversion-rate/">Site speed: case studies, tips and tools for improving your conversion rate</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>Page speed on Black Friday</h3> <p>Slowdowns on Black Friday are very much the norm. The graph below shows how one major UK retail homepage performed before, during and after Black Friday (load time is represented by the green and yellow bars).</p> <p>Median load time increased from 9.4 seconds on 26 November to 11 seconds on 27 November, falling back to 9.6 seconds on 28 November.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/0411/black_friday_1-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="555" border="0"></p> <p>This website didn’t suffer any serious errors. It didn’t go down altogether. But it does look as though it failed to make the most of a huge sales opportunity.</p> <p>It would be interesting to know whether this retailer considered its Black Friday a success.</p> <p>The website made it through unscathed. It probably made record sales. But the drop in performance on the big day almost certainly meant it missed out. No matter how successful it was, it could have done better.</p> <p>Rather than just avoiding outages, then, retailers need to focus on maintaining performance at busy times.</p> <p>This is something that can be addressed in load testing – subjecting a website to increasing levels of traffic in a controlled environment.</p> <p>Part of the process involves finding out where the system’s breaking point lies, but it’s also crucial to find out when and why performance starts to degrade.</p> <p>Remedial steps can then be taken to make sure the website doesn’t slow down when it matters most.</p> <p>And some organisations do manage to maintain performance. The graph below shows load times for another retailer that ran some big Black Friday promotions.</p> <p>While we can’t know how far traffic met or exceeded expected levels, we can at least say that this organisation didn’t miss out on extra sales because its website was slow.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/0412/black_friday_2-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="555" border="0"></p> <h3>Improving performance when it matters most</h3> <p>There is a third way.</p> <p>What if you don’t just maintain performance on your busiest day of the year, but actually manage to improve it?</p> <p>There are a few retailers that achieve this. It’s not always clear whether it’s by accident or design, but some Black Friday homepages are noticeably lighter (i.e. have less content) than their everyday counterparts.</p> <p>This has two advantages – one is that it puts less pressure on systems, potentially reducing the need to invest in shoring up those systems.</p> <p>The other is that the page is likely to load faster. And a faster page delivers a better user experience, better conversion rates and more revenue.</p> <p>We saw a number of retailers adopt this approach, and the graph below shows performance over time for one of them.</p> <p>Both page size (represented by the grey area) and load time (shown in green) fall in perfect harmony on the eve of Black Friday:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/0413/black_friday_3-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="555" border="0"></p> <p>It’s worth mentioning that this particular site’s performance left a lot to be desired, both before and after the change.</p> <p>However, it did see a huge improvement, with the likely result that it earned substantially more per visitor on and after Black Friday.</p> <h3>How do retailers actually achieve these savings in page size?</h3> <p>In the above case, the standard homepage included some very large banner ads that were cut from the Black Friday version, along with a large volume of video content.</p> <p>Black Friday also offers the opportunity to direct visitors to a narrow range of deals, rather than deliver content that represents the full product range.</p> <p>Very often, though, the things organisations do to cut page size on Black Friday are things they could and should be doing throughout the year.</p> <p>This suggests that performance probably isn’t the main driver - why would you only want a high-performing website on one day of the year?</p> <p>If so, some retailers are blissfully unaware that they owe part of their Black Friday success to a faster website – just as others don’t realise they could have done better if they’d maintained or improved performance.</p> <p>In both cases, the impact of performance is real but masked by other factors.</p> <h3>Summary</h3> <p>The message, then is a relatively simple one, even if the reality of getting a website ready for Black Friday is anything but simple:</p> <ul> <li>Performance has been shown to affect the ability of ecommerce sites to generate revenue.</li> <li>A website’s performance tends to suffer at peak times.</li> <li>Retailers should focus on maintaining or improving performance over the Black Friday period – just making sure the website’s available isn’t enough.</li> <li>One way to optimise the performance of a homepage or Black Friday landing page is to deliver less content – and some retailers appear to be reaping the rewards of this approach.</li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67361 2016-01-04T14:21:16+00:00 2016-01-04T14:21:16+00:00 Why adopting HTTP/2 should be a priority in 2016 Patricio Robles <h3>What is HTTP/2?</h3> <p>HTTP/2 is the new version of the HTTP protocol that is used to transfer data across the web. The current version, HTTP 1.1, became a standard in 1997.</p> <p>Obviously, the web has changed a lot since then and HTTP 1.1's shortcomings have become more and more apparent over the years.</p> <p>Several years ago, Google set out to address some of these shortcomings by developing <a href="https://developers.google.com/speed/spdy/">SPDY</a>, a protocol that modifies HTTP to improve page load times.</p> <p>Major browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, added support for SPDY, but less than 3% of websites are using SPDY because it requires installation of a web server module.</p> <p>HTTP/2 is based on SPDY and will bring many of SPDY's improvements to the masses. The most notable of those improvements are:</p> <ul> <li>Multiplexing support, which allows clients to transfer data over a single connection.</li> <li> <a href="https://nghttp2.org/blog/2014/11/16/visualization-of-http-slash-2-priority/">Prioritization</a>, which allows the most important content to be transferred first.</li> <li>Built-in compression.</li> </ul> <p>HTTP/2 retains the most familiar components of HTTP 1.1, such as methods (GET, POST, etc.) and headers.</p> <h3>Why does HTTP/2 matter?</h3> <p>HTTP/2 has significant user experience implications, and may also become a key SEO consideration.</p> <p><strong>1. User experience implications</strong></p> <p>Fast page load speed is critical to delivering a superb user experience. Even on tablet and mobile devices, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10497-tablet-mobile-users-expect-pages-to-load-within-seconds-report">users expect pages to load within seconds</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, many organizations struggle with page load speed because their sites require lots of assets like CSS, JavaScript and images to be served.</p> <p>HTTP 1.1's limitations can make serving these assets very costly, but HTTP/2's improvements have the ability to increase page load speeds without any application-level changes.</p> <p>As <a href="https://http2.akamai.com/demo">Akamai's HTTP/2 demo</a> demonstrates, HTTP/2 can reduce load times significantly.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0353/Screen_Shot_2016-01-04_at_11.43.01.png" alt="" width="795" height="442"></p> <p><strong>2. SEO implications</strong></p> <p>In a Google Webmaster Central Hangout in November, Google employee John Mueller revealed that GoogleBot will soon support HTTP/2.</p> <p>As Search Engine Land's Patrick Stox <a href="http://searchengineland.com/everyone-moving-http2-236716">explained</a>, this has SEO implications because site speed is a ranking factor:</p> <blockquote> <p>With GoogleBot adding support for HTTP/2, websites that support the protocol will likely see an additional rankings boost from speed.</p> <p>On top of that, with Chrome and Firefox only supporting HTTP/2 over HTTPS, many websites that have not yet upgraded to HTTPS may see an additional boost in rankings when they do.</p> </blockquote> <p>Additionally, Stox suggests that at some point, Google could make use of HTTP/2 itself as a ranking factor <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65783-just-how-much-of-a-ranking-signal-is-https">the way it has HTTPS</a>, so coupled with the potential user experience benefits, HTTP/2 is a no brainer.</p> <h3>Adopting HTTP/2</h3> <p>A number of popular web servers <a href="https://github.com/http2/http2-spec/wiki/Implementations">have implemented HTTP/2</a>. Specifically, Apache supports HTTP/2 as of version 2.4.17 and Nginx supports HTTP/2 as of version 1.9.5.</p> <p>Microsoft offers HTTP/2 support under the Windows 10 and Server 2016 Technical Preview. </p> <p>In most cases, organizations with the ability to upgrade their web servers will be able to adopt HTTP/2 with minimal hassle and simple configuration.</p> <h3>Gotchas</h3> <p>Not surprisingly, not every organization can adopt HTTP/2 and take advantage of what it has to offer by installing a web server that has HTTP/2 support.</p> <p>Many of the techniques created to address HTTP 1.1's shortcomings are actually problematic when using HTTP/2.</p> <p>As web developer Matt Wilcox <a href="https://mattwilcox.net/web-development/http2-for-front-end-web-developers">explained</a>, widely-used optimizations that are problematic in an HTTP/2 world include:</p> <ul> <li>Image sprites</li> <li>CSS and JavaScript file concatenation</li> <li>Use of cookie-less domains to serve assets</li> <li>Domain sharding for asset hosting</li> </ul> <p>Before adopting HTTP/2, organizations will want to "undo" these optimizations to ensure that they are not negating HTTP/2's benefits.</p> <p>Fortunately, implementing these optimizations often requires considerable effort and in some cases, application-level changes, so once HTTP/2 is ubiquitous, many organizations will find that their optimization efforts can be directed elsewhere, such as to their application backends.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67314 2015-12-14T09:54:00+00:00 2015-12-14T09:54:00+00:00 What will be the biggest UX trends in 2016? Jack Simpson <p>Let’s take a look at some UX predictions for 2016. </p> <h3>A stronger focus on testing and quantitative data </h3> <p><strong>Paul Rouke, Founder and Director of Optimisation at </strong><strong><a href="https://www.prwd.co.uk/">PRWD</a></strong></p> <p>UX designers will be held more accountable and will validate their design ideas by focusing on quantitative data through <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67249-a-beginner-s-guide-to-a-b-testing">A/B testing</a>, not just qualitative insights or UX best practice. </p> <p>This simply needs to happen if brands don’t want to get left behind their more ambitious, in-tune competitors.</p> <p>We’ll also see a continued increase in brands investing in resources to better understand both the conscious and sub-conscious actions of their prospects and customers, in order to deliver more persuasive, emotive, influential online experiences.</p> <p><strong>Alon Even, VP of Marketing and Business Development at </strong><strong><a href="https://www.appsee.com/">Appsee</a></strong></p> <p>There will be an increase in the use of app UX analytics solutions, providing app makers with the reasons behind the user behaviour and a deep understanding of what is working and what is not within their app. </p> <p>Delving into the user behaviour will help them to continuously refine and optimise their app to deliver the best possible UX.</p> <h3>“The encryption Streisand effect” </h3> <p><strong>Josh Payton, VP of UX at </strong><strong><a href="http://www.hugeinc.com/">Huge</a></strong></p> <p>We’ll see the encryption Streisand effect.</p> <p>As uninformed politicians everywhere continue to wrongly vilify encryption and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67154-how-will-privacy-by-design-principles-impact-web-development-ux">internet privacy</a> as the tools of terrorists, I think John Gilmore’s statement that “the net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it” will start to prove itself out ever more broadly. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8856/ASOS_cookie_law_popup.png" alt="" width="388" height="222"></p> <p>Snapchat has already become mainstream, and the world is awash with anonymous or otherwise private tools, apps, and websites including Burn Note, Line, a hundred versions of the Smart Hide Calculator, TOR, Silk Road, Bitcoin, etc. </p> <p>As ‘the man’ continues to try to tame the internet, I think we’ll see some of these niche privacy protection apps become very popular and broadly used. </p> <p>VPN services are probably the most obvious overt encryption technology ready to go mainstream. </p> <p>If you look at apps like Popcorn Time and Smartflix, both are abstracting away the ‘advanced’ technology of BitTorrent and VPN respectively. </p> <p>These are two of the most obvious examples of innovation outpacing what are arguably arbitrary modes of censorship/control/regulation which are geared towards protecting private interest and not necessarily improving the experience of the end user or serving the public good.</p> <h3>The continuing improvement of mobile UX</h3> <p><strong>Alon Even, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Appsee</strong></p> <p>As location-based advertising becomes more refined, so too will the user experience be enhanced.</p> <p>In-app advertising is going to become more relevant, contextual and effective, hence providing the users an overall better UX.</p> <p>Specifically, Beacon technology installation will be increased in such locations as hotels, airports and malls, where app marketers can benefit by knowing the precise locations of their users and send them push notifications and/or in-app messages in real time. </p> <p>The more precise the location-based advertising is, the more it will contribute to a better UX, thus resulting in an increase in user engagement and in-app/store purchases. </p> <p><strong>James Abbott, Director of Digital Strategy and Optimisation at </strong><strong><a href="http://www.ahume.co.uk/">A Hume</a></strong></p> <p>Personally I hope we’ll see an improvement in mobile payment provider support. </p> <p>From a friction removal perspective, I'd love to see what could happen to mobile conversion if <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66778-why-apple-pay-offers-brands-more-than-just-another-payment-channel">Apple Pay</a> or PayPal launched something that enabled pin code verification or fingerprint scan authorisation for online purchases that would automatically provide the billing details with an option of default shipping address or manual entry. </p> <p>This would potentially greatly reduce the requirements for forms, which, on mobile, still prove to be quite challenging.</p> <h3>Touch-free input and increasing use of gestures (mobile)</h3> <p><strong>Alon Even, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Appsee</strong></p> <p>Moving your eyes to pause a video on a mobile screen and non-tactile inputs and gestures were on the rise in 2015 and will continue at a rapid pace in 2016. </p> <p>We’ll see more ways to input data into mobile devices and other sophisticated touch-free ways to interact with mobile devices. This will further tie mobile devices to their owners.</p> <p>Apple's 3D touch technology where the app responds to different pressure will also be a trend to watch out for.</p> <h3>UX design will move into the browser</h3> <p><strong>Nick Marsh, Head of Product at </strong><strong><a href="https://www.lostmy.name/en-GB">Lost My Name</a></strong></p> <p>For me, I think that 2016 may, finally, be the year that high resolution design and UX work moves into the browser.  </p> <p>Services like Figma are very exciting. There will be huge productivity gains if design teams can more easily collaborate on pixel perfect, interactive designs using shared stylesheets.</p> <p>I hope this happens - it's the missing piece of tooling.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67249 2015-11-26T13:06:35+00:00 2015-11-26T13:06:35+00:00 A beginner’s guide to A/B testing Jack Simpson <p>But don’t despair, because it really isn’t a very complicated process to test and tweak your pages to get the most out of them. </p> <p>The simplest way to achieve this is through A/B testing, otherwise known as split testing, and that’s what I’ll be covering in this post. </p> <h3>What is A/B testing?</h3> <p>In the simplest terms: You take a page on your site that you want to improve (version A) and create a tweaked version of it (version B). You then run both pages simultaneously and see which one performs better. </p> <p>The idea is that half of visitors will be shown version A – otherwise known as the control page – and half will be shown version B, the variation page. </p> <p>At the end of the test period you can look at the results for both pages and see which one performed better. </p> <p>If the tweaks yielded the desired result then you can take down the original page and make the updated one a permanent fixture. </p> <p>In <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67235-how-a-b-tests-improved-add-to-basket-levels-by-almost-30-case-study/">my recent post about A Hume</a> I provided a few different examples of A/B testing the clothing retailer had carried out, including updating one of its footwear product pages with new copy and images. </p> <p>Below are the before and after pictures for that experiment:</p> <p><em><strong>The original page (A)</strong></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9411/A_Hume_Product_Page_Control.png" alt="a/b testing on a hume product pages" width="720"></p> <p><em><strong>The tweaked page (B)</strong></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9414/A_Hume_Product_Page_Description_Image_Variation.png" alt="a/b testing a hume product page" width="720"></p> <p>As you can see, A Hume made some fairly simple changes to the product page, but the results were significant. </p> <p>This particular A/B test resulted in almost a 15% increase in add-to-basket levels for the modified page.</p> <h3>Why do you need it?</h3> <p>There’s an old saying, "Art is never finished, only abandoned."</p> <p>The idea is that you could go on tinkering with a book or a painting or a song indefinitely, making slight improvements but never really ‘finishing’ it because there’s always something else that could be done. </p> <p>This analogy works for websites, too, except you don’t have to ‘abandon’ them like you do with an art project. Unlike a novel, you can easily make changes to a web page once it has been published. In fact, you should make a point of it. </p> <p>Why? Because if you’re not testing your pages you can’t be sure they’re performing their best. And if your website pages aren’t performing their best then you might not be making as much money as you could be. </p> <p>Ultimately A/B testing can lead to increased revenue, whether that’s directly through sales or by <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65285-10-ways-to-increase-customer-engagement-in-ecommerce">increasing customer engagement</a> or content shares. </p> <p>And given that it’s relatively cheap and easy to administer, why wouldn’t you do it? </p> <h3>Things to bear in mind...</h3> <p>Hopefully I have you on board now when it comes to the merits of A/B testing, so let’s take a look at some of the key things to bear in mind when carrying out your own experiments. </p> <p><strong>Know exactly what you’re trying to measure</strong></p> <p>Having vague intentions of making your site work better is a great start. Hey, at least you’re actually thinking about testing and improving it, which is more than you can say for a lot of brands. </p> <p>But before you get down to the nitty-gritty you need a solid plan. </p> <p>Pick a specific page, decide what you want to improve, and then based on that you can work out what you’re going to measure to see whether page B is an improvement or not.  </p> <p>A typical example might be a product page with a low <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">conversion rate</a>, with one obvious thing to measure being the number of people who add the product to their basket when they visit the page. </p> <p>The important thing is to make sure you know exactly what success looks like before starting any tests. </p> <p><strong>Start with one variable</strong></p> <p>Keep things as simple as possible to begin with by only tweaking one element of the page, such as the copy or the imagery or the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66755-10-brilliant-examples-of-calls-to-action">call to action</a> button. </p> <p>If the initial test works then you can experiment with further tweaks, but always start off simple or you’ll lose sight of which changes are actually having an impact. </p> <p>In the example from A Hume I mentioned above, the brand first tested out the updated copy, saw a positive result, and then moved on to testing new images and saw an even bigger change. </p> <p>Testing in this staggered way means you have greater control over the results. </p> <p><strong>Don’t drag out tests for too long</strong></p> <p>Lenny Kravitz may well believe "it ain’t over ‘til it’s over", but if he was a digital marketer he might have added the following line to that chorus:</p> <blockquote> <p>…provided you don’t go on for more than, say, two months, because then you might begin to skew the results of your A/B test and in any case shouldn't you really be getting on with other things by now?</p> </blockquote> <p>I mean clearly there’s a reason I’m not a songwriter but you get the point: Any longer than a couple of months and your results could start losing their validity. </p> <p>Two months is a long time in the fast-moving digital world, particularly with monthly fluctuations in traffic and so on, so too many variables start coming into play after a while. </p> <p>That said, you’ll want to run the test for at least a week or two to get any kind of significant result. </p> <p><strong>Never stop testing</strong></p> <p>Back to the ‘art is never finished…’ analogy: a website is never ‘complete’. You got a positive result after making some changes? Great. Now test something else. Test the same page again, even. </p> <p>Always be tweaking and tinkering with your site to make sure you’re getting the absolute best performance from it. Even if pages are performing well, you might be able to get even more out of them with just a few simples changes. </p> <p>Think of your website as an infinite work-in-progress and never pass up an opportunity to improve it. </p> <h3>Tools that can help</h3> <p>All of these tools are either free or very reasonably priced, so even small businesses should be able to use them. </p> <p><strong>Google analytics</strong></p> <p>It goes without saying (but I said it anyway) that <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/analytics/">Google Analytics</a> is your friend when it comes to A/B testing, particularly in the planning stages when you’re trying to work out which pages you want to target. </p> <p><strong>Opitimizely</strong></p> <p>You don’t need to be a techie to use <a href="https://www.optimizely.com/">this tool</a>. It easily integrates with most analytics packages and it’s extremely intuitive so you’ll be able to get your experiments running in no time. </p> <p>The tool makes it really easy to tweak your pages without having to always rely on developers, as you can see from the screenshot below. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9440/Screen_Shot_2015-11-25_at_11.15.53.png" alt="optimizely interface web page editor" width="720"></p> <p>There is a free starter plan with limited features, but the premium package is relatively inexpensive. And it’s always easier to ask for budget if you can show some kind of return on the free version first.   </p> <p><strong>Visual Website Optimizer </strong></p> <p><a href="https://vwo.com/">Visual Website Optimizer</a> (VMO) enables you tweak, optimise and personalise your website, again without the need to rely on tech-savvy developers. </p> <p>There’s a free trial, but with plans starting from $49 per month this platform should be well within most people’s price range. </p> <p>This site also has a number of great free tools you can use without an account, including its Landing Page Analyzer that rates your page based on five different parameters. </p> <p>There’s also a tool called the <strong>A/B Testing Duration Calculator.</strong> You can probably guess what this is for already, but essentially it helps you decide how long to run a split test for in order to get the most significant result. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9441/Screen_Shot_2015-11-25_at_11.27.28.png" alt="VMO a/b testing duration calculator " width="720"></p> <p>Then there’s the <strong>A/B Testing Significance Calculator,</strong> which tells you whether the results of your split test are worth having a celebratory drink over. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9442/Screen_Shot_2015-11-25_at_11.27.46.png" alt="VMO a/b split test significance calculator" width="720"></p> <h3>Conclusion: get addicted to testing</h3> <p>I can’t stress this enough: you can read all the so-called expert opinion about digital marketing best-practice you want, but the only real way to find out what works for your site and your customers is to keep on testing and optimising. </p> <p>With the tools I mentioned above, A/B testing costs relatively little time or money, yet the impact on your revenue line over time could be extremely positive. </p> <p>Get addicted to testing your site and always believe there is something that could be improved (because there definitely always is). </p> <p>If there’s anything I’ve missed in this guide, or if there’s a particular A/B testing tool you feel deserves a mention, please let me know in the comments below. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67239-the-ultimate-ecommerce-cro-ux-case-study-rs-components/">The ultimate ecommerce CRO &amp; UX case study: RS Componen</a>ts</em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67235-how-a-b-tests-improved-add-to-basket-levels-by-almost-30-case-study/"><em>How A/B tests improved add-to-basket levels by almost 30%: Case study</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67245-why-mvt-doesn-t-live-up-to-the-hype-isn-t-worth-significant-investment/"><em>Why MVT doesn't live up to the hype &amp; isn't worth significant investment</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67245 2015-11-25T11:56:00+00:00 2015-11-25T11:56:00+00:00 Why MVT doesn't live up to the hype & isn't worth significant investment Paul Rouke <p>MVT. It sounds exciting. It sounds intelligent. It certainly sounds like there is much more to it than plain old A/B testing.</p> <p>We are a conversion optimisation agency and we have never run a MVT. Why? Let me explain.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9424/MVT-blog-header.png" alt="MVT: Testing with no hypothesis" width="507" height="296"></p> <h3>What is MVT?</h3> <p>In short, this is where you want to test more than one variation of more than one element of any given web page simultaneously (i.e. three different headlines and three different button colours), and you let your MVT tool create numerous test variations with every possible combination of headline and button colour.</p> <p>It is often the case that businesses have 16, 32 or even 76 versions of a page being served to visitors for any one MVT test.</p> <p>The main alternative to running multivariate tests is running straight A/B or A/B/n tests.</p> <h3>Why is MVT popular?</h3> <h4>Mainstream promotion</h4> <p>Google was one of the first providers of a tool to allow website owners to run these types of tests back in 2008.</p> <p>Since then, one of the industry’s biggest and most well-known testing tools has built a business on being an “enterprise MVT tool”. MVT sticks in the mind easier, as do all three letter acronyms based partly on how the human mind likes ‘The Rule of Three’.</p> <h4>The term is used to describe testing in general</h4> <p>Often when we are speaking with senior decision makers they refer to MVT as the catch-all term for their optimisation strategy, even if they are mainly running A/B tests.</p> <h4>It sounds intelligent and complex</h4> <p>On the surface MVT sounds like there is some intelligence and science behind it. The prevailing thought is: ‘This isn’t just basic A/B testing, we are testing multiple variations at the same time. It must be good.’</p> <h3>What is the biggest problem with MVT?</h3> <p>MVT lacks a crucial ingredient when it comes to running a test - <strong>a reason why</strong>. Why are we doing this test? What is our hypothesis? What are we aiming to learn from running this test? Why have we chosen to make these changes?</p> <p>Running multivariate tests ignores the skill and experience of the person/s planning and creating the test hypothesis and creative execution, and instead places the work on the tool to serve any number of combinations to visitors and to finally tell us which of the many variations has performed the best.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9425/Why...why_not_by_BuzzFarmers._Flickr.jpg" alt="MVT: No why behind your tests" width="504" height="338"></p> <p>Many companies invest a significant amount of budget each year on enterprise tools with a much smaller budget invested on people and skills.<strong> This is sad.</strong></p> <p>It indicates that testing is seen as more about the technology rather than what it truly should be - driven by a multi-disciplinary team who create insight driven test hypotheses across the full spectrum of testing.</p> <p>What do I mean by full spectrum testing? This means everything from simple, quick iterative testing, all the way through to testing business models and value propositions.</p> <h3>Why MVT should be renamed NHT</h3> <p>Anyone who is testing should have a hypothesis behind each test. Why are we running this test, what behaviour are we expecting to change and what impact are we expecting to get?</p> <p>In its very basic form, this is how a hypothesis should be structured:</p> <ul> <li>By changing [something] to [something else] we expect to see [this behaviour change] which will result in [the impact on our primary/secondary metric].</li> </ul> <p>As businesses mature within conversion optimisation, they recognise that this basic hypothesis structure is lacking one critical element: the observations and insights which have led to creating the hypotheses in the first place.</p> <p><strong>This is a more intelligent structure for your hypothesis:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Based on [making these qualitative/quantitative observations and based on prior experience/test learnings], by changing [something] to [something else] we expect to see [this behaviour change] which will result in [the impact on our primary/secondary metric].</li> </ul> <p>So there we have it. The intelligent, insight driven hypothesis structure you should be using.</p> <p>Let’s go back to MVT and evaluate how this compares. A hypothesis structure for MVT could read something like this:</p> <ul> <li>By creating [lots of variations to our control page] changing [a wide range of page elements such as our headline, image, copy and call to action colour] to [other random variations of headlines, images, copy and call to action copy] we expect that our testing tool [will create variations of each permutation and serve these over weeks or probably months] which will result in [at least one of the variations out-performing the original, in which case we have a success and can then produce a detailed analysis report]. </li> </ul> <p>It doesn’t quite follow. It doesn’t have intelligence. It lacks any real form of data and customer insight. Plus it will probably take three months to get anywhere near statistical significance.</p> <p><strong>This is why MVT should be renamed NHT. No Hypothesis Testing.</strong></p> <h3>Four reasons we do A/B testing rather than MVT</h3> <p>Since I first started my business back in 2004, we have never run a MVT. We almost exclusively run A/B tests and here are four reasons why:</p> <p><strong>1. </strong>When each of your test hypotheses are driven by intelligent user research and prior testing and have a clear purpose of positively altering user behaviour, you can confidently create one test variation against a control with the expectation that it will deliver an increase in the primary performance metric.</p> <p><strong>2. </strong>Tests reach statistical significance far quicker than if you were running five or more variations at one time. <em>Time is money</em>.</p> <p>Each day is an opportunity to learn something meaningful about your businesses visitors and customers. Each day is an opportunity to create new ways of increasing the revenue and profit your visitors are delivering for your business.</p> <p>A/B testing allows you to run back-to-back tests covering the full spectrum of testing to build and maintain testing momentum, rather than relying on one big MVT running for weeks or months – with the often faint hope that one of the multiple variations out-performs your control.</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> A/B tests allow you to draw meaningful insights from the test outcomes themselves, whereas MVT doesn’t allow you to draw conclusions on which elements impacted your customers and which were just extra noise that had no impact.</p> <p>Don’t underestimate the value of the learnings and customer understanding you can gain from “simple” A/B testing; they will allow you to make your testing programme more efficient, more progressive and can have big positive implications on the wider business.</p> <p><strong>4. </strong>With A/B testing everyone involved knows the reason they are doing what they are doing:</p> <ul> <li>They have the hypothesis.</li> <li>They may have seen the research and data.</li> <li>They know what the goal of the test is.</li> <li>They know that they are not just testing on whim.</li> <li>There is a ‘why’ behind the work they are doing.</li> </ul> <p>MVT turns this process into a sometimes complex technical set-up to get all the elements and variations set-up, QA’d and ready to go live.</p> <p>MVT isn’t and has never been synonymous with agility. In fact, the technical complexity of setting up and QA’ing MVT can often be one of the major bottlenecks in a company’s testing strategy.</p> <h3>So what next for MVT?</h3> <p>MVT needs to go in to a quiet room with its big brother CRO and have a long hard look at itself. MVT needs to realise that its time has come and gone.</p> <p>Now is the time to get back to what testing and optimisation should be all about – <strong>developing intelligent hypotheses and running clean A/B tests which conclude quickly and deliver insights, learnings and helping grow businesses</strong>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9426/Little_Tussle_by_Rob._Flickr.jpg" alt="MVT should look at its bigger brother CRO" width="509" height="313"></p> <p><em>For more on this topic, check out these A/B testing success stories:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67239-the-ultimate-ecommerce-cro-ux-case-study-rs-components/">The ultimate ecommerce CRO &amp; UX case study: RS Componen</a>ts</em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67235-how-a-b-tests-improved-add-to-basket-levels-by-almost-30-case-study/"><em>How A/B tests improved add-to-basket levels by almost 30%: Case study</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67206 2015-11-19T15:31:25+00:00 2015-11-19T15:31:25+00:00 Why call tracking is vital for accurate attribution modelling Justin Rees <p>But do you really have the full picture of your marketing efforts?</p> <p>Because if you are like most advertisers then you probably aren’t tracking calls and their outcomes.</p> <p>An increasing number of services are going online as apps become more pervasive and ever more sophisticated.</p> <p>The role of a human voice in the path to purchase may seem like an antiquated notion but that fact is that calls are still the lifeblood of many industries.</p> <p>A recent report from Invoca showed that conversation is still the number one reason that people use their phones and that 33% of smartphone owners reported using their devices to make calls more than five times per day.</p> <p>And people aren’t just making calls to speak to their friends and family. Another report from Marchex estimated the US <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/67206-going-offline-why-marketers-shouldn-t-obsess-so-much-about-online-conversions/edit/e">click-to-call commerce</a> is worth more than $1 trillion annually.</p> <p><em>Google's click-to-call buttons</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9180/click_to_call.png" alt="" width="615" height="387"></p> <p>Yep; that’s people making calls and buying stuff... a lot stuff.</p> <p>So if you are paying (either directly or indirectly) to drive traffic to your digital properties and there is an option anywhere for consumers to place a call to your business then there is a good chance that some consumers will go offline to make a purchase.</p> <p>But this isn’t a problem as there are many companies that allow you to track this activity and bridge <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67038-11-ways-to-track-online-to-offline-conversions-and-vice-versa/">the gap between online and offline</a>. </p> <p>If you are already generating a healthy return on marketing spend then call tracking will give you a far better insight into which channels are really performing well.</p> <p>You might think that your search campaigns are performing okay but becoming an increasingly expensive acquisition channel but if you are not tracking any associated call activity then you aren’t getting the full picture.</p> <p>Search is often right at the bottom of the sales funnel and there is a high propensity for people to make a call once they hit your landing page but are you measuring what happens after the initial click if the consumer goes offline?</p> <p>There are many examples of consumers starting online but transacting offline.</p> <h3>Travel example</h3> <p>Perhaps the best illustration comes from the travel sector as it’s well known that there is a huge <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63466-nine-case-studies-and-infographics-on-cart-abandonment-and-email-retargeting/">rate of basket abandonment</a> in the industry.</p> <p>Much to the chagrin of all the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">conversion optimisation experts</a>, often it’s not because there is anything wrong with the ad copy, site layout or usability of the landing page.</p> <p>Consumers pick up the phone when they have a very specific question that’s important to them but seems so trivial that it is quite unlikely the information would be anywhere on the advertisers website.</p> <p>Before they make a purchase people call up and ask about all sorts of things, so somebody looking to book a family holiday might call the hotel to ask whether children are allowed in the main hotel restaurant in the evening or whether the swimming pool in the spa is open at the same time on a Sunday as other days of the week. </p> <p>If somebody makes a call to get the answer to this question and then transacts over the phone, if you aren’t tracking this then your channel attribution could be all wrong.</p> <p>For sectors where the basket value of goods is hundreds of pounds or more then this can make a huge difference even if just a few percent of customers go offline and make a call to complete their purchase.</p> <p>At the most basic level call tracking will enable an advertiser to measure how many calls on aggregate are being generated for a given campaign but that’s just the start.</p> <p>The amount of information available across some of the leading platforms enables advertisers to get as granular with calls as they can with data.</p> <p>From tracking which keywords generate the calls with the longest duration to which publishers generate the most inbound calls on the weekend, the potential to generate insight is huge. </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67166 2015-11-10T10:27:00+00:00 2015-11-10T10:27:00+00:00 Why UX is important for charities: Macmillan's digital approach David Moth <p>At Nomensa’s recent <a href="http://2015.interactconf.com/">Interact Conference</a> Amanda Neylon, head of digital at Macmillan Cancer Support, described how the organisation was gradually becoming more digitally focused.</p> <p>Beginning with a sobering stat, Amanda said that half of people born after 1965 will get cancer.</p> <p>Macmillan's aim is to improve the lives of cancer sufferers and support their loved ones, which means it has to inspire millions of people to help by donating their time and money.</p> <p>Read on to find out more about how Macmillan uses digital to achieve its aim, but for more on this topic read our posts on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66620-10-inspiring-content-marketing-examples-from-charities/">10 inspiring content marketing examples from charities</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66592-why-charities-need-true-digital-transformation/">why charities need true digital transformation</a>.</p> <h3>Charities are user-centred</h3> <p>People go to charities because they require help or advice, so Macmillan has to ensure its digital platforms are focused on user needs.</p> <p>These are the nine problems Macmillan has to solve for people:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8835/Macmillan_s_nine_questions.png" alt="" width="512" height="373"></p> <p>To get a better understanding of its users Macmillan created six personas.</p> <p>Each one is modelled on a different information-seeking behaviour, which then informs the way in which the charity presents information to its users.</p> <p>One of the personas is Amrik, a real-life cancer sufferer who came to Macmillan for help and thanks to the support he received has now turned into one of the charity’s evangelists, even <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QddC6vQQOM">appearing in promotional content</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8836/Macmillan_personas.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <h3>In-house vs. Agency</h3> <p>Decisions over <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-marketing-organisational-structures-and-resourcing-best-practice-guide/">digital team structures</a> are a headache for many businesses, as is the process of deciding which roles to bring in-house and where to rely on agencies.</p> <p>As part of its project to develop new site navigation, Macmillan made the decision to bring digital skills in-house.</p> <p>This included UX, UI, content and front-end designers, though the charity also works with an external build agency. </p> <p>The project to create a more user-focused site threw up several challenges:</p> <ul> <li>Macmillan had more than 1,600 articles.</li> <li>Information architecture was clear, but deep.</li> <li>It had to cater to the most common search criteria (type of cancer).</li> <li>How to optimise for different devices?</li> </ul> <p>Each member of the digital team was involved in the design process as they each brought different questions and insights.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8837/Macmillan_UX_questions.png" alt="" width="662" height="419"></p> <p>When it came to testing the new search tool the team carried out ‘guerrilla tests’ where they sat in coffee shops with a laptop and asked people to try out the new site.</p> <p>This was followed by traditional user-testing involving Google Analytics, Fresh Egg and outside agencies.</p> <p><em>Different iterations of the search tool</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8838/macmillan_iterations.png" alt="" width="515" height="414"></em></p> <h3>Iterative approach</h3> <p>Macmillan further developed this iterative approach as way of testing and evolving new digital products.</p> <p>As part of this process additional developers were hired so technical delivery could also be done in-house.</p> <p>An example of one of these iterative projects is <a href="https://my.macmillan.org.uk/Profile/Index">My Macmillan</a>. This service allows logged-in users to create a personalised experience by saving relevant articles and content.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8839/My_Macmillan_iterations.png" alt="" width="558" height="429"></p> <p>The first release of My Macmillan was used to build a business case and prove the value – a very important process for charities with small budgets.</p> <p>Subsequent video user testing enabled Macmillan to identify problems and refine the user journey to suit the needs of the six persona-types.</p> <p>It also provided a visual way of illustrating issues to other stakeholders.</p> <h3>Five top tips</h3> <p>And just to wrap things up, here are Amanda’s five digital tips for charities:</p> <ul> <li>Bringing UX in-house works brilliantly for charities.</li> <li>Collaborate collaborate collaborate.</li> <li>Start small and iterate.</li> <li>And iterate again.</li> <li>The people are real – tell their stories and inspire them to tell yours.</li> </ul>