tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/optimisation-inc-testing-cro Latest Optimisation (inc testing, CRO) content from Econsultancy 2018-01-31T12:40:01+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69760 2018-01-31T12:40:01+00:00 2018-01-31T12:40:01+00:00 How to stay safe when A/B testing Frederic Kalinke <p>Or it is, until you think about it (which I wouldn't advise).</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67249-a-beginner-s-guide-to-a-b-testing/">A/B testing</a> can be a rabbit hole from which some never re-emerge (we call these people statisticians, or even, if things get really bad, data scientists).</p> <p>This article provides some pointers to help you navigate the ins and outs of A/B testing, and perhaps, escape unscathed.</p> <h3>Plan</h3> <p>When A/B testing, the plan is everything. Once you set the plan in motion, you must stick to the plan. You might be tempted to deviate, analyse results early, or tweak the experiment and move the goalposts. That way lies madness.</p> <p>As the plan is everything, it needs to be clear. There is an art to a well-defined hypothesis and there is an imperative for a single, solid metric on which the hypothesis hinges. Generally-speaking, it makes most sense for marketers to use revenue, and if you can’t use revenue, use the next closest thing, such as sign-ups. </p> <p>Depending on how you are testing, you will also need to consider setting the sample size in advance (<a href="http://www.evanmiller.org/ab-testing/">use this handy tool</a>). You should always plan to guard against analysing results too early. Most importantly, do not make this more complicated than it already is. Make a plan, make it a good one, and stick to it. </p> <h3>Traffic isn’t uniform </h3> <p>The multitude of things that can trip you up when A/B testing is enough to induce a healthy degree of paranoia. For example, you will want to think about the web traffic you are testing on. <a href="https://blog.optimizely.com/2016/06/20/website-traffic-ab-tests/">Where is it coming from and how might this affect your test</a>?</p> <p>If your sample is dominated by traffic from a PPC ad, you will get different users, with different intentions and behaviour, than if the sample is dominated by traffic from users sharing a specific article, particularly if the ad and the article are about different parts of your business. </p> <p>During your test, as long as you split traffic randomly between A and B, you might not need to worry too much about uneven traffic. However, remember why you are testing. You want to know which variant will make more money in the immediate future. If your traffic in the immediate future is of a wildly different character to the traffic you tested on, then your test data won’t be telling you anything useful.</p> <p>The traffic source is not the only thing that might differ between a test period and the period of implementation. <a href="https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-account-for-seasonality-in-A-B-or-MVT-tests">Think about seasonality</a>. If your business is affected by changing seasons, you will need to consider that your users’ intentions will differ over time. The A/B test you ran in the run-up to Christmas might not tell you much about what to do in the summer holiday season, or vice versa. </p> <p>Time presents other difficulties too. User behaviour in your variants can be affected by the simple novelty of a change. Regular users might be put off by an unfamiliar new feature. However, after a month or so they might become accustomed to it and prefer it to the predecessor. Conversely, users might be naturally curious about a new feature they notice, giving the variant an artificial bump in performance that will soon wear off.</p> <p>There’s also another way that traffic isn’t uniform. Not all your users are humans. The internet is beset by bots, crawling around (usually benignly) on behalf of search engines and so on. While it is likely to be a low priority, there will be some scenarios where you might need to worry about bots skewing the data in your A/B test.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1988/amigo.jpg" alt="breakfast event" width="615" height="410"></p> <p><em>Delegates discussing testing at an Amigo breakfast event</em></p> <h3>Lies, damn lies</h3> <p>The simplicity of A/B testing can also quickly give way to some fairly advanced statistical concepts. You may find yourself torn between one- and two-tailed tests or, and buckle up for this one, Frequentist versus Bayesian inference.</p> <p>You will at least have to get your head around the fundamentals of probability. For example, to say that the p-value is less than 0.05 doesn’t mean you are 95% sure. P-values can be slippery <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/not-even-scientists-can-easily-explain-p-values/">even for the professionals</a>. The p-value is the chance that you would record results at least as extreme as the ones you have recorded if A and B were in fact the same. </p> <p>You might get results that are easier to understand and communicate by <a href="https://amigotechnology.com/blog/what-is-bayesian-ab-testing-for-marketing">using Bayesian rather than Frequentist testing</a>. Bayesian comes with the blessing of avoiding p-values. However you will still have to deal with some uncomfortable concepts, such as expected loss. </p> <p>Besides the fact that no-one wants to be talking to their boss or their clients about an ‘expected loss,’ this concept isn’t a simple measure of the likelihood that A is better than B either. Expected loss is the amount you would expect to lose if you rolled out the winning variant but were wrong to do so. </p> <p>If all this is too technical, here are a couple of practical steps you can take to improve the statistical rigour of your A/B tests.</p> <ol> <li>Run an <a href="https://marketingexperiments.com/a-b-testing/use-variance-testing-break-through-noise">A/A test</a>. An A/A test is where both halves of your test are identical, so you know it shouldn’t pass in favour of either. It’s a simple way to check the robustness of your testing framework. If you get a result in an A/A test, you probably have a problem.  </li> <li>Control for outliers. Even A/B tests with large sample sizes can be swung by outlier data. That one corporate client who makes a massive transaction doesn’t come along very often, so they probably won’t be split evenly between your control and your variant. This will give one of A or B an unfair edge and you need to adapt to that in your analysis. </li> </ol> <h3>Limit your assumptions</h3> <p>Statistical analysis isn’t too different to any other logical process of evaluating evidence. It just supports complex ways of evaluating large bodies of evidence. You should still be able to summarise in plain English (or any other vernacular language) what you are trying to find out and how you are trying to do it.</p> <p>This means you need to think logically and critically about what you are actually doing and the best way to start is by thinking about your assumptions. You will need to make some assumptions, but you want to be aware of what they are and why you are making them.</p> <p>You will want to avoid making assumptions about user journeys. Marketers are accustomed to the metaphor of a funnel. If you increase the size at the top, you ought to see a proportionate increase at the bottom. However, this is not true of all user journeys. </p> <p>Clicks through the stages of your user journey (sometimes called micro-conversions) may not necessarily carry through to the conversions you actually care about. You might boost your click-through rate 100X by advertising “free bitcoin, no questions asked.” However at some point, your conversion rate will tank as you are forced to admit to customers that their blockchain bounty was a lie.</p> <p>Another dangerous assumption you might be tempted to make is causation. You may (especially if you’ve ever had the misfortune to get into an argument on social media) be familiar with the logical fallacy known as “confusing correlation and cause.” Just because two things seem related, it doesn’t mean they are (see these <a href="http://tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations">excellent spurious correlations</a>).</p> <p>This is an especially dangerous assumption when A/B testing. On the one hand, the A/B test (when done right) should guard against this fallacy by design. If the only difference between A and B really is the variant you are testing, then you should be fine to assume some causal relationship. </p> <p>However, having more or less proven causation once, you shouldn’t get carried away and extend your certainty any further than the precise subject of the test. B may have seen better results than A because your variant is better than the control, but you still can’t be sure why. You can’t confidently know what it is about B that makes your customers more likely to convert.  </p> <h3>Use your brain </h3> <p>A/B testing may not be as easy as it seems, but it is an exercise in logic. Therefore the most important advice for any marketer getting involved in A/B testing is simply to think very carefully about everything you choose to do and be sceptical about everything you think you have learned.</p> <p>It is a minefield out there, so your best bet is always to keep it simple. Come up with a strong hypothesis on which you can justify your expectation of seeing a big uplift. Approach the data with scepticism and back your own reasoning. Don’t believe the case studies and certainly don’t believe anyone who would tell you that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69424-marketers-have-more-data-than-ever-so-why-aren-t-they-better-at-experimentation/">your opinion doesn’t matter in the face of the cold, hard data</a>.  </p> <p>Thinking about A/B testing is dangerous, but it is inevitable. And the only way out is, I’m afraid, more thinking.</p> <p><em><strong>Further reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69549-six-a-b-tests-used-by-duolingo-to-tap-into-habit-forming-behaviour">Six A/B tests used by Duolingo to tap into habit-forming behaviour</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69730 2018-01-25T14:27:00+00:00 2018-01-25T14:27:00+00:00 Ask the experts: Email marketing optimisation Ben Davis <p>Here are their pearls of wisdom. Note you can skip between questions using the links below.</p> <p>(Additional note: Econsultancy provides <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/email-marketing/">face-to-face and online training</a> in email marketing, and subscribers can download our <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/email-marketing-best-practice-guide">Email Best Practice Guide</a>).</p> <ol> <li><a href="#There%20are%20lots%20of%20things%20to%20optimise.%20Where%20should%20marketers%20look%20first?">There are lots of things to optimise. Where should marketers look first?</a></li> <li><a href="#Is%20there%20a%20particular%20metric%20marketers%20should%20be%20optimising%20for?">Is there a particular metric marketers should be optimising for?</a></li> <li><a href="#What%20new%20technologies%20or%20consumer%20behaviors%20are%20having%20most%20impact%20on%20email%20optimization?">What new technologies or consumer behaviors are having most impact on email optimization?</a></li> <li><a href="#What%20types%20of%20emails%20can%20be%20optimized%20most%20effectively?">What types of emails can be optimized most effectively?</a></li> <li><a href="#How%20far%20will%20AI%20take%20us?%20How%20important%20is%20the%20creative%20person%20and%20their%20instinct?">How far will AI take us? How important is the creative person and their instinct?</a></li> </ol> <h3>1. <a name="There%20are%20lots%20of%20things%20to%20optimise.%20Where%20should%20marketers%20look%20first?"></a>There are lots of things to optimise. Where should marketers look first?</h3> <p><strong>Kath Pay, founder and senior consultant, Holistic Email Marketing:</strong></p> <p>I would focus firstly on the subject line, as if they don’t open/read the email, then it’s hard to test everything else. But over and above that I recommend testing motivations as the more you know about your customers, the better you can speak to them.</p> <p>So, ask them what they like best; via testing in the channel that is one of the key drivers of traffic to your website – email marketing. Your email database contains your target market, so use email’s unique push ability and treat every email as a survey by asking your customers what they like via a scientific A/B testing program.</p> <p>By using a hypothesis and testing to determine a motivation, you are not limited to just testing one factor (i.e. subject line, CTA, landing page, copy, imagery). As long as they all support the hypothesis, for example “benefit-led copy will increase conversions over loss aversion-led copy” – you will be able to test the subject line, CTA, headlines, copy, imagery and landing page as you are testing a motivation rather than a factor or element of the email.</p> <p>This is what we call Holistic Testing.</p> <p>By seeking these long-term valuable insights through email marketing, you not only increase results within email marketing but you can share them across other channels to drive the business objectives that are common to all channels. Apply what you've learned to your website copy and organisation, to your search keywords, PPC campaigns and related landing pages, and in ads and banners you run on third-party sites in remarketing or network campaigns.</p> <p>Email gives you a good basic testing structure that you can build on to sharpen your insights and improve your marketing efforts bit by bit across all channels. It's another one of email's superpowers that marketers so often overlook or ignore. </p> <p>Ultimately, it's another reason why investing both time and money in email pays off across your entire marketing program.</p> <p><strong>Parry Malm, CEO, Phrasee:</strong></p> <p>Well, here’s the thing. I run Phrasee, a company that uses AI to create better subject lines than humans. So what am I gonna say here?</p> <p>Still, jokes aside: your subject line is the crux of your email marketing programme. If it sucks, then your snazzy content won’t get seen, no matter what time you send it. So yeah, logic and statistics indicate the subject line is where to start. Sure, I’m biased. BUT - that doesn’t make me wrong.</p> <p><strong>Dale Langley, head of deliverability, Emarsys:</strong></p> <p>Searching the Internet for ways to optimise your email program can often lead marketers into a crazed frenzy of making changes with little understanding of whether it’s sensible to make those changes and what the long term consequences may be. My advice is to remember one thing; no-one knows better what your customers want than you. You just need to read the signals and have a plan in place for measuring results. Different optimisations can work better for different stages of the customer lifecycle and some are better suited to short-term gains at the expense of long-term results.</p> <p>For example, using tempting offers in your email subject line such as 50% off will surprise (some of) your customers and lead to an increase in clicks, but where do you go from there? Some brands are now so perpetually stuck in the discount game that they’re unable to get out. Instead, use different offers for different segments (such as lapsing high-value customers) and use other channels, such as social media, to encourage one-time purchasers to re-engage.</p> <p>You also have to recognise that a customer’s profile will change over time. This includes when they prefer to read email, the frequency that they want to receive it at and the topics that interest them, a common mistake of marketers is to build a marvellous customer journey but to forget that customers can switch personas at any point. Our advice is to build out your personas and understand the motivation for each persona to engage with your brand, model the customer journey for each persona and built-in the ability for personas to change over time. This requires effort but it’ll pay dividends in the long-run.</p> <p>And if you’re interested in testing things like subject line, send time, content etc. make sure that you’re using a proper control group. This means that for a particular campaign, you will exclude a group of customers (the control group) who are similar to customers in the rest of your database and are only excluded for this one campaign. When you make your change (to subject line, send-time etc), measure the revenue generated by the control group vs. the campaign and you can determine whether the tactic you’ve employed yielded any results.</p> <h3>2. <a name="Is%20there%20a%20particular%20metric%20marketers%20should%20be%20optimising%20for?"></a>Is there a particular metric marketers should be optimising for?</h3> <p><strong>Parry Malm, Phrasee:</strong></p> <p>Many will say to focus on end conversions, and, in related news, many also don’t have a strong grasp on statistics. </p> <p>Think about it like this. Say you’ve got a list of 1m subscribers, and 20% open. That’s 200,000 events you can learn from. But then let’s assume a 10% click-to-open rate. You’re down to just 10,000 events - and you run the risk of making decisions on insignificant numbers. Let’s say you get a 10% conversion rate of clicks - that’s just 1,000 events. You’re unlikely to get a statistically significant result, and thus will be making decisions based upon random variance. (Pro tip: anyone who doesn’t understand this should not be in your analytics department)</p> <p>Here’s another fact: the data shows that, in the long run, open rates correlate very strongly with click rates. And guess what? Click rates correlate very strongly with conversion rates. Therefore, the dominant strategy is to use opens as a proxy metric for email marketing success.</p> <p>There are, of course, caveats to this. For example, you shouldn’t resort to spammer techniques just to get a few more opens in the short-run. Never forget that email marketing is, in essence, a form of advertising. You wouldn't put an ad on TV that was off-brand, so why would you send out emails that are?</p> <p>The sweet spot is when you’re maximising open rates whilst remaining on brand. That’s when you’re winning at life. Well, winning at email, but still, you gotta take the wins you can get.  </p> <p><strong>Dale Langley, Emarsys:</strong></p> <p>I’m tempted to say revenue since that’s the ultimate goal of most email programs. However, I’m going to say inbox placement rate since if your email isn’t in the inbox, it’s not generating revenue!</p> <p>If you’re having difficulties due to inbox placement then you need to figure out which levers you can pull to persuade the spam filters that your email should be delivered. Spam filtering mostly occurs these days when you’re sending email to people who aren’t engaging with your brand - so improve the acquisition tactics, introduce a re-engagement program and be prepared to suppress subscribers to your email program (or target through other channels) when they’re ignoring your efforts.</p> <h3>3. <a name="What%20new%20technologies%20or%20consumer%20behaviors%20are%20having%20most%20impact%20on%20email%20optimization?"></a>What new technologies or consumer behaviors are having most impact on email optimization?</h3> <p><strong>Dale Langley, Emarsys:</strong></p> <p>Consumers now have a relationship with the brands they engage with, right from the first interaction you’re influencing whether a consumer will turn into a loyal advocate or a one-hit wonder</p> <p>The days of your IT team triggering an email from the website upon signup and purchase, before the marketer takes over with batch and blast are gone. Every interaction a consumer has with your brand should be influenced by the marketer and through smart, AI-driven marketing automation platforms (like Emarsys), on which you have the ability to craft programs that adapt to the changing needs of the consumer.</p> <h3>4. <a name="What%20types%20of%20emails%20can%20be%20optimized%20most%20effectively?"></a>What types of emails can be optimized most effectively?</h3> <p><strong>Parry Malm, Phrasee:</strong></p> <p>To exist as a concept, “optimisation” inherently requires measurement. Therefore, the key feasibility driver is universe size. If you’ve got a list of 1000 people on your list, well, you can “optimise” to your heart’s content… but you’ll just be doing it for the lols, as any significance measures will be unattainable.</p> <p>It’s pretty simple, really. Focus on your campaigns with the biggest audience, which will in turn have the biggest impact on your bottom line. You’ll have way more data to experiment on and learn from. Then, apply what you learned to your smaller campaigns, and boom goes the dynamite. You’ll get that promotion you’ve been haranguing your boss about for the last six months. Congrats, big timer!</p> <p><strong>Kath Pay, Holistic Email Marketing:</strong></p> <p>All types can be – whether they’re campaign-based or automated. For either of these, processes and planning are key to success. With automated programmes, the hypothesis is being tested over time, which reduces the chances of time-sensitive anomalies, world events etc. affecting the results. However, with campaign-based tests, ideally, the hypothesis should be tested multiple times to ensure that the results are valid. A statistical confidence calculator should be used in all cases.</p> <h3>5. <a name="How%20far%20will%20AI%20take%20us?%20How%20important%20is%20the%20creative%20person%20and%20their%20instinct?"></a>How far will AI take us? How important is the creative person and their instinct?</h3> <p><strong>Parry Malm, Phrasee:</strong></p> <p>AI can do a lot less than what you probably think it can. For every <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/oct/18/its-able-to-create-knowledge-itself-google-unveils-ai-learns-all-on-its-own">AlphaGo</a>, there’s a <a href="https://gizmodo.com/here-are-the-microsoft-twitter-bot-s-craziest-racist-ra-1766820160">Tay, the racist chatbot</a>. Everyone seems to think we’re approaching an AI apocalypse, where the machines take over. When that happens, I, for one, will welcome our new robot overlords.</p> <p>Here’s the reality. There are limited - and powerful - use cases for AI currently, and also for the foreseeable future. Here’s one powerful use case as a (totally unexpected amirite?) example: using AI to generate optimal subject lines. It is a known business requirement - to increase eyeshare on your marketing messages - that we solve by combining two forms of AI (NLG &amp; deep learning). It's a niche problem, for sure, and that's by design.</p> <p>The fact that we use AI is super dope. But – and it’s a Sir-Mixalot-sized BUT – that in itself doesn’t solve your problems.</p> <p>Instead, here’s my advice: if you have 60 minutes to solve a problem, spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem, and 5 minutes on the solution. If the solution uses AI, awesome, and if not, that’s OK too.  The important thing is that your problem is solved.</p> <p><strong>Dale Langley, Emarsys:</strong></p> <p>In simple terms, human-driven personalization can’t scale. It just can’t deliver on true 1:1 experience that consumers want and brands strive for. AI can, which provides an opportunity for brands that understand how to introduce hype-free, tangible AI solutions effectively. AI allows us to analyze vast amounts of data, understand consumer patterns and channel preference and to craft incredibly personalized consumer journeys. Furthermore, AI allows us to do this in real-time rather than spending hours creating huge (or many micro) segments. It’s taking us much closer to the 1:1 consumer-brand relationship that we’re all striving for….the promise of marketing.</p> <p>However, AI isn’t human. It can’t (yet) build something from scratch without basing it on what it knows from the past and it can’t cater well for emotion and a true personal connection. This is why the combination of AI and human ingenuity is the key to successful marketing. We believe that AI can take on the burden of marketing execution, leaving the marketer more time to focus on strategy, content and what we believe will be a new creative renaissance.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-marketing-best-practice-guide"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3237/Email_Marketing_Best_Practice_Widget.png" alt="email report banner" width="615" height="243"></a></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69741 2018-01-22T09:00:00+00:00 2018-01-22T09:00:00+00:00 Just half of ecommerce companies do regular usability testing (but 60% planning conversational commerce) Nikki Gilliland <p>But are ecommerce marketers reaching experimentation maturity? Here are a few key charts from the report, with further insight into what they tell us.</p> <h3>Striving for advancements in strategy</h3> <p>With 78% of companies surveyed reporting that their ecommerce revenues have grown in the past 12 months, it’s clear that the market is buoyant. </p> <p>So, is this due to advances in strategy? Not necessarily, as it appears there are strides still to make. While 43% of respondents say their organisations’ ecommerce strategy 'quite advanced' and 11% consider it ‘very’ advanced, 46% of companies still rate themselves as either ‘not very advanced’ or ‘immature’.</p> <p>Meanwhile, many businesses are struggling to break out of a siloed organisational structure, whereby information about online customer behaviour is not freely available to offline departments. </p> <p>There also appears to be a lack of insight into the barriers to conversion. Just 15% of company respondents say they have an accurate idea of how much online revenue is lost through site abandonment due to a poor user experience. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1789/advancements_in_strategy.JPG" alt="" width="622" height="479"></p> <h3>Gaps between expectations and reality of experimentation </h3> <p>56% of respondents rate the impact of experimentation as ‘high’ or ‘very high’, with the majority clearly willing to acknowledge it as a key business enabler.</p> <p>Despite this, however, many respondents who understand the advantages have not yet taken steps to put it into practice. </p> <p>This could be because organisations have not yet reached maturity in ecommerce optimisation. However, it largely appears due to organisations failing to even address the practicalities required – i.e. resources, capabilities, and financial backing. Just 14% of companies describe experimentation as a strategic priority, meaning they have a documented and structured approach to testing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1787/a_strategic_priority.JPG" alt="" width="632" height="490"></p> <h3>How marketers are tackling experimentation</h3> <p>So, what tools are companies using for experimentation?</p> <p>The research shows that many organisations are restricted in terms of the volume of experimentation they conduct, as well as relatively low levels of sophistication in the experiments ran. As a result, companies are often basing their ecommerce decisions on limited or incomplete data.</p> <p>The analysis of customer feedback is the most widely-used technique for improving ecommerce performance (81% of company respondents and 70% of agencies). <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67249-a-beginner-s-guide-to-a-b-testing/" target="_blank">A/B testing</a> is similarly commonplace. In contrast, usability testing is relatively under-used, as are expert usability reviews, and multivariate testing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1788/experimentation_tools.JPG" alt="" width="625" height="487"></p> <h3>Plans for future experimentation</h3> <p>When asked about plans for experimentation in relation to technological and consumer trends, 59% of companies said they are planning for conversational commerce – i.e. messaging apps and chatbots. </p> <p>Next, 55% of companies said they will be experimenting with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69112-what-s-the-difference-between-ai-powered-personalisation-and-more-basic-segmentation" target="_blank">AI for personalisation</a>, and 44% said digital payments. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, just 18% are planning to experiment with voice technology, despite an apparent <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69724-how-will-voice-technology-change-consumer-behaviour" target="_blank">surge in consumer interest</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1786/future_experimentation.JPG" alt="" width="608" height="478"></p> <p>Overall, it’s clear that many organisations are still struggling to balance performance optimisation with the limitations they currently face, all the while striving to experiment in response to technological trends. </p> <p>If we can gather anything from the current state of experimentation within organisations, it is that a strategic approach (rather than ad-hoc testing) will be the first step on the road to success.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4689 2018-01-18T10:50:00+00:00 2018-01-18T10:50:00+00:00 Ecommerce Performance <p>The <strong>Ecommerce Performance</strong> report, produced by Econsultancy in partnership with <a title="Conversion.com" href="https://conversion.com/">Conversion.com</a>, explores <strong>the extent to which organisations use experimentation to improve ecommerce performance</strong>, looking at ecommerce strategies, approaches used to identify and address issues, and barriers to delivering an optimal ecommerce experience.</p> <p>The research is based on a survey of more than 400 ecommerce professionals.</p> <p>While growth in online sales continues in a seemingly unabated fashion, the world of ecommerce is becoming more and more competitive, with established brands generally having got their act together, and more disruptive start-ups coming up with innovative and compelling propositions.</p> <p>Against this backdrop of opportunity and competition, the report explores <strong>the</strong> <strong>importance of improving and maintaining ecommerce performance through experimentation</strong>. </p> <p>The <strong>key findings</strong> from the research can be summarised as follows:</p> <ul> <li>Ecommerce goes from strength to strength, but is becoming more competitive.</li> <li>Companies strive for a strategic approach to ecommerce, but capability gaps are evident.</li> <li>Experimentation is recognised as the bedrock of performance optimisation, but there is a gap between expectations and reality.</li> <li>Companies will need support to realise their ambitions around personalisation as resource is focused on getting the basics right. </li> <li>A failure to quantify checkout abandonment is losing companies significant sums of potential revenue.</li> <li>Complexity and technical shortcomings are among the most significant barriers to progress.</li> <li>Conversational commerce and AI for personalisation are very much on the radar.</li> </ul> <p>The report also makes <strong>five main recommendations for companies seeking to improve ecommerce performance through experimentation</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> <p>A <strong>free sample</strong> is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69506 2017-10-13T17:06:59+01:00 2017-10-13T17:06:59+01:00 10 thrilling digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Let’s get down to businesss.</p> <h3>Facebook native videos generate 530% more comments than YouTube</h3> <p>Quintly’s <a href="http://press.quintly.com/159939-530-more-comments-on-facebook-native-videos" target="_blank">latest study</a> involves the analysis of 187,000 Facebook profiles and over 7.5m Facebook posts from January to July 2017.</p> <p>Alongside the discovery that 92% of these profiles used native video, it was found that Facebook native videos resulted in 530% more comments than YouTube videos.</p> <p>Cementing the power of the platform, Quintly also found a 477% higher average share rate for Facebook native videos, and a 168% higher average interaction rate compared to YouTube videos.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9710/Quintly.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="704"></p> <h3>Majority of consumers think AI in marketing should be regulated</h3> <p>On the back of Blade Runner 2049’s release, a survey by Syzygy has revealed US and UK attitudes about artificial intelligence.</p> <p>It found that the majority of respondents think AI in marketing should be governed by a key principle from the movie – i.e. that it should be illegal for AI to hide its real identity and impersonate a human. 85% of Brits agree with this sentiment, as do 79% of Americans.</p> <p>The survey also found that 43% of Americans believe AI poses a threat to the long-term survival of humanity, while 17% feel anxious about the rise of the technology.</p> <p>Meanwhile, 92% of Brits believe there should be regulation with a legally-binding code of conduct, while 75% think brands should need explicit consent before using AI in their marketing.</p> <h3>Negative reviews rise in November and December due to delivery issues</h3> <p><a href="https://marketing.trustpilot.com/hubfs/Content%20Marketing/Consumer%20Behavior%20and%20Expectations:%20The%202017%20Holiday%20Season%20Report%20%5BUS%5D.pdf" target="_blank">Trustpilot</a> has analysed data from over a million online reviews left in November and December in both 2015 and 2016.</p> <p>Results show that delivery was the biggest cause of complaints. The most common two-word phrases in one-star reviews were “customer service,” “days later,” and “still waiting” during October to December 2016. The appearance of “delivery” in one-star reviews rose to more than 19% in December – a 13.27% increase since October.   </p> <p>Finally, there were more negative reviews left on 20th December than any other day of the year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9711/Trustpilot.JPG" alt="" width="662" height="612"></p> <h3>Conversion rates on desktop more than double that of mobile</h3> <p>A new study by <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/qubit-tackles-product-discovery-on-mobile-with-industry-first-ai-powered-solution-2017-10-11" target="_blank">Qubit</a> has found that mobile commerce still lags behind desktop when it comes to discoverability, conversion, and revenue.</p> <p>In the analysis of data across 35 fashion and cosmetics brands since January of this year, it found traffic to each channel to be about the same – 45.87% on desktop and 44.7% on mobile. However, there are stark differences in other areas.</p> <p>Conversion rates on desktop were found to be 3.35%, while conversion rates on mobile were 1.61%. Similarly, revenue per visitor (RPV) is more than double on desktop – £6.10 vs. £2.66 on mobile.</p> <p>Lastly, the average number of products viewed per customer was also far higher on desktop – 17.99 on desktop and 13.65 on mobile.</p> <h3>Music improves the customer experience in-store</h3> <p>A study by <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171012005445/en/Mood-Media-Sacem-Study-Reveals-Virtues-Music" target="_blank">Mood Media and Sacem</a> suggests that music can improve the customer experience in-store, even in more ‘serious’ sectors such as banking.</p> <p>When measuring the difference music makes in locations where it was not previously used, it found that 70% of customers had a more positive perception of a business’s image when music was playing, and 65% agreed that music helped to differentiate the business from its competition.</p> <p>When sectors like banking and pharmacy were silent, only 33% of customers initially thought adding music would feel appropriate. However, 76% of customers agreed the music was a good addition once it was introduced.</p> <p>Interestingly, customers in banking felt more comfortable having confidential conversations when music was playing in the background.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9709/Mood_Media.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="561"></p> <h3>Global digital payments predicted to reach 726bn transactions by 2020</h3> <p>Capgemini’s <a href="https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.worldpaymentsreport.com%2F&amp;data=02%7C01%7Cnikki.gilliland%40centaurmedia.com%7C835f7751d319493ccb0408d51089e78e%7Cfdd3bf0d1bfa49198a45f1a311d56753%7C0%7C0%7C636433106849505369&amp;sdata=dbsMKux7oiMO67NmPsmgskeBwudEEaA1xjYvM9ubbqs%3D&amp;reserved=0" target="_blank">World Payments Report</a> says that global digital payments volumes are predicted to increase by an average of 10.9% in the run up to 2020, reaching approximately 726bn transactions.</p> <p>This is said to be heavily influenced by retail customers, who are increasingly willing to use online and mobile channels to adopt next-generation payment methods.</p> <p>The report also revealed that by 2019, it is estimated that around 50% of transactions carried out using a credit or debit card will be made either online or via mobile.</p> <h3>Fewer marketers see CRO as ‘crucial’ to success</h3> <p>Econsultancy’s Conversion Rate Optimization Report, in association with RedEye, has revealed a dip in the perceived importance of CRO. </p> <p>In a survey of 800 marketers and ecommerce professionals, 38% of respondents said they still see it as ‘important’. However, just 50% now see it as ‘crucial’ – a decline from 55% in 2016. </p> <p>This percentage has fallen even further since 2013, when 59% of professionals cited CRO as ‘crucial’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9708/CRO.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="517"></p> <p><em><strong>Subscribers can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/" target="_blank">full report here</a>.</strong></em></p> <h3>More consumers predicted to shop online this Black Friday</h3> <p>A survey by <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171011005249/en/Market-Track-Study-Give-Online-Retailers%21-Shoppers" target="_blank">Market Track</a> suggests that more consumers will choose to make online purchases this Black Friday, favouring digital commerce over traditional brick and mortar stores.</p> <p>Out of 1,000 people surveyed, 40% of respondents said they expect to shop in physical retail stores on Black Friday. Meanwhile, 30% said the same for Thanksgiving compared with 50% last year.</p> <p>In contrast, 80% said they are likely to purchases from Amazon this year – an increase of 6% from 2016. And while in-store shopping is likely to decline, Walmart came out on top as the top retail destination for the holiday season.</p> <h3>Snapchat is top social platform for US teens</h3> <p>Despite reports that Snapchat usage is declining among <a href="http://mediakix.com/2017/10/top-influencers-instagram-stories-vs-snapchat-study/#gs.otoiTsI" target="_blank">top influencers</a> (with a 33% decrease in usage over the past six months), <a href="http://www.piperjaffray.com/2col.aspx?id=287&amp;releaseid=2306037&amp;title=Survey+Says+Teens+Prefer+Food+over+Clothing%2c+Nike+is+Losing+Its+Heat+and+Streetwear+is+on+the+Rise" target="_blank">Piper Jaffray</a> suggests US teens still can’t get enough of the platform.</p> <p>In a survey of 6,100 US teenagers across 44 states, it found 47% of respondents cite Snapchat as their favourite social media platform – almost twice as many as those who prefer Instagram.</p> <p>Just 9% of teens said they favour Facebook, while 7% said Twitter, and just 1% said Pinterest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9712/Snapchat.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="563"></p> <h3>Interactive video ads boost viewing time by 49% </h3> <p>According to <a href="https://www.magnaglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Tremor-IPG-Media-Trial.pdf" target="_blank">Magna</a>, interactive video ads result in a 47% increase in time spent watching compared to non-interactive ads. </p> <p>What’s more, when consumers interact with a 15-second ad, brands can reportedly triple their time spent with consumers. </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68943 2017-04-05T10:00:00+01:00 2017-04-05T10:00:00+01:00 Five tips to maximize your mailing list signups Patricio Robles <h4>Include a signup form on every page</h4> <p>One of the most effective ways to drive mailing list subscriptions is to invite users to subscribe on as frequent a basis as possible. A dead simple way to do this is to include a signup form on every page of your website.</p> <p>Location can vary; some sites feature signup forms in headers, sidebars or in the middle of page content, while others place them less conspicuously in page footers. Obviously, the more prominent the positioning, the more likely it is that users will see the form, so as a general rule, footer signup forms don't work as well.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5071/nytimes.png" alt="" width="339" height="377"></p> <p><em>The New York Times includes signup forms for its email newsletters in article content.</em></p> <h4>Make sure the call-to-action is descriptive if not compelling</h4> <p>The appeal of signing up to your mailing list might be obvious to you, but is it obvious to your users? A compelling call-to-action is an incredibly important factor in driving mailing list signups, but far too many companies still use weak calls-to-action like "sign up for our email list."</p> <p>Calls-to-action should always describe the value provided. For example, "sign up for our email list to receive exclusive offers" or "sign up for our mailing list and get early access to special events" is a reasonably strong call-to-action.</p> <p>High-end retailer Barneys New York might have a well-known brand, but its call-to-action on the email signup form below leaves a lot to be desired.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5073/barneys.png" alt="" width="368" height="273"></p> <p>In some cases, it can be worthwhile to employ calls-to-action that encourage users to subscribe with a direct incentive. For instance, some retailers offer the promise of a coupon in exchange for a signup ("sign up for our email list and receive 25% off your next order").</p> <p>Incentive-based calls-to-action can be incredibly effective, but it's worth monitoring retention of the segment of subscribers who signed up for an incentive to ensure that the incentive is driving quality signups.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5075/bloomingdales.png" alt="" width="382" height="440"></p> <p><em>Bloomingdale's describes why shoppers should hand over their email addresses, and offers them an incentive.</em></p> <h4>Avoid the dreaded popup</h4> <p>Most users agree: popups are annoying. So don't be lazy: if you can avoid using them, do it. Enough said.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/5070/bostonglobe-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="335"></p> <p><em>No-no: the Boston Globe wastes no time displaying pop-ups.</em></p> <h4>If you use the dreaded popup, do it right</h4> <p>To be fair, popups, however annoying, can be effective, which explains why they're still in use despite the fact that they're widely panned. But if you're going to use them, be smart about how you use them. The timing and associated value proposition both need to be right.</p> <p>Many publishers, for instance, hit users with a popup the minute they land on an article page after clicking on a link shared on social media or found through a Google search. This is bad form and generally not very effective in large part because it disrupts the user experience before it even begins. Additionally, in cases where the user is not familiar with the publisher or not a loyal reader, the publisher is asking the user to give up something of value (his or her email address) before the publisher has delivered any value to the user.</p> <p>A better approach is to employ popups based on behavior. For instance, a publisher might display a popup to a user who has read multiple articles across one or more sessions. Or, a publisher that limits users to a set number of free articles each month could give users who have hit the limit access to an additional article if they subscribe to its mailing list.</p> <h4>Use transactional emails</h4> <p>Transactional emails offer great opportunities to convince individuals to subscribe to your mailing list, but they're often under-utilized. For example, retailers frequently invite customers to subscribe to their mailing lists as part of the checkout process. There are a number of reasons that customers don't, but that doesn't mean that they should give up. Instead, transactional emails, such as order confirmations and shipping notifications, are the perfect place to include additional invitations to sign up. </p> <p>The great thing about transactional email calls-to-action is that you will likely have more information about the customer that can be used to more effectively encourage a signup. For instance, a retailer might incentivize a signup with a coupon offering a higher-than-normal discount if a customer placed an order that was well above its average order value.</p> <p><em><strong>For more advice on email best practice:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67872-email-newsletter-sign-ups-how-fashion-brands-welcome-new-subscribers/">Email newsletter signups: How fashion brands welcome new subscribers</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-fundamentals-of-email-marketing/">The Fundamentals of Email Marketing</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68910 2017-03-27T12:04:45+01:00 2017-03-27T12:04:45+01:00 Why so many website relaunches fail (but shouldn’t have) Paul Randall <p dir="ltr">But this is 2017. Surely, we have better tools than ever to unearth what it is customers want. We’ve never been better equipped to test web pages before they are rolled out. So why do brands continue to make a hash of launching a new site?</p> <p dir="ltr">One basic reason might be the temptation to go for a big bang launch, complete with PR fanfare. Great if it works. But what if conversion rates suddenly drop through the floor? </p> <p dir="ltr">You won’t have enough usable analytics data to identify where the problems are so you’ll either have to make changes and hope for the best, or quickly restore the old site. When you can make a series of controlled and tested incremental improvements, why take the risk of the big bang relaunch? That’s the riskiest thing you could do!</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s interesting to compare the approaches of Google+ and LinkedIn when they relaunched. LinkedIn seemed to do a great job of annoying the hell out of some of its most important users by plonking the new version on their desktops without much warning (I'm referring to LinkedIn's previous relaunch here, not the one currently underway).</p> <p dir="ltr">These people shared, very publicly, what they didn’t like about the new version. As the roll-out gradually reached other users there was an expectation that they wouldn’t like what they were about to see – even though for most of us it turned out to be okay.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5026/old_linkedin.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="622"></p> <p dir="ltr">Google+, on the other hand, went out of its way to keep users informed. Google ran the new and old versions side by side for several months and people could switch back and forth at will. By the time the new version was fully rolled out there had been changes based on the feedback and there was very little outcry.</p> <p dir="ltr">The BBC website is also one that seems to be in a constant state of development. It offers new options for keeping up with news, sports results etc., that you can try out, but always with the option of going back to what’s familiar. When new features are fully rolled out, users have been involved and everything is thoroughly tested.</p> <p dir="ltr">Surely this is a smarter way to approach website upgrades and relaunches. Compare this to CNN which, in a desire to ‘update and refresh’, launched a site that used more resources and made it harder for readers to find the news that interested them – users hated it. Or how about the legendary <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/6477-is-digg-digging-itself-into-a-hole-with-its-new-design">Digg.com relaunch that almost killed the business</a>.</p> <h3>Learn from your current site before relaunching</h3> <p dir="ltr">A classic mistake is to assume there’s nothing to learn from your existing site. Okay, it’s going to get binned. But you have thousands of customers using it every day providing data on what they want, how they want to do things and what they find difficult. You need to make use of that data.</p> <p dir="ltr">Yes, it does make sense to do usability studies even on a site you are replacing. That way you can focus on improving the parts people dislike, and keep hold of the things you know they like and use.</p> <p dir="ltr">And while you’re at it, talk to your customer service teams. They’ll have some excellent insights to offer on where people find the current website troublesome, as well at where there’s room for improvements to be made.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">What does your business need to achieve?</h3> <p dir="ltr">Every business has targets: the number of new customers, sales growth by product/service category, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-lifetime-value/">lifetime customer value</a>, cost of acquisition. How often do these business goals feed directly (and I mean <em>directly</em>) into your website redesign?</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s one thing to launch a new website because you need to increase sales by 20%. It’s quite another to identify exactly <em>how</em> the new site and the activities that feed traffic to it will achieve that goal. And it’s yet another thing to have the test data to show that the new site will deliver the conversions you need.</p> <p dir="ltr">Businesses rarely approach website relaunches with this degree of confidence. That’s because they don’t join up the dots between what the business needs to achieve and what the website is designed to deliver. And they rarely put those assumptions to the test before they launch. Result: disappointing return on the investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">With clear goals and certainty about the weak areas on your current site you can focus the development priorities more productively. Are your current below-target sales because people struggle to select the right products, or because too many shoppers abandon carts before completing a purchase? It certainly helps to know.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">What user experience do you want to create?</h3> <p dir="ltr">You’ve collected data and insights on current issues. You’ve blended these with the business goals you need to achieve. The next step is to define a user experience that will satisfy customers and deliver your goals.</p> <p dir="ltr">What, exactly, do people need to do on your site? How are you going to make this simple, enjoyable and rewarding?</p> <p dir="ltr">Draft a succinct and crystal clear statement for each key page across the website that defines the main objective(s) for your new, improved customer experience. Refer back to this constantly as you design and build the new solution to ensure you’re still focusing on your primary objectives.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">What does your brand stand for?</h3> <p dir="ltr">A website redesign is an excellent opportunity to revisit your fundamental brand values. What do you stand for? What is it that particularly appeals to your customers?</p> <p dir="ltr">What needs do you meet, what value do you create, and why do you do it better than your competition? What emotional drivers decide how visitors will act? Do they want to picture themselves as being more healthy, successful, in control, influential or contented? Or are they looking for something else?</p> <p dir="ltr">This analysis will guide colours, imagery, typography, content and vocabulary. Your insights will help you create more powerful CTAs and better performing landing pages.</p> <p dir="ltr">Here’s a great example of some content guidelines we recently came across from the team at uSwitch:</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4825/Screen_Shot_2017-03-17_at_15.32.32.png" alt="uSwitch tone chart" width="790" height="274"></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>uSwitch tone chart guide: <a href="https://ustyle.guide/language/tone.html">https://ustyle.guide/language/tone.html</a> </em></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Making it real</h3> <p dir="ltr">So now you’re clear about what your target audience think of your current website; you understand how the new site needs to perform, and how it needs to support visitors on their journey to becoming customers. What now?</p> <p dir="ltr">Wireframes let you test the structure and navigation against defined user journeys. How obvious will each step be? Are there too many steps? You can design the prompts and help users will need at each stage. You can make better informed decisions about content, headings and CTAs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Design visuals start to build a realistic picture of the look and feel of the new site that you can test against the business objectives and brand values.</p> <p dir="ltr">Everything you design can, and should, be tested before launch on a variety of devices. There are great tools out there for usability and A/B split testing that will take the risk out of your new web pages. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">The testing never stops</h3> <p dir="ltr">Launch isn’t the time to put your feet up. It’s a time to dive into the data and see whether all the hard work is paying off. It’s a time to be plotting tests and optimisation efforts to keep the metrics improving and to squeeze even more value out of your investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">The digital world moves quickly. Technologies emerge, and your customers will be trying to outdo your user experience. Plan how you are going to stay ahead in the long term.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68887 2017-03-14T14:56:56+00:00 2017-03-14T14:56:56+00:00 Ethical CRO: The end of dark patterns Paul Randall <p dir="ltr">In an attempt to increase the numbers, psychological tricks which affect user behaviour in a negative way are being used to mislead an unsuspecting audience.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although not technically illegal they are certainly unethical. Businesses need to be aware of the long-term risks posed by knowingly misleading customers for short-term gain, both in terms of UX and brand reputation.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Dark patterns</h4> <p dir="ltr">Harry Brignull coined the phrase in 2010 and ever since has received hundreds of examples with the hashtag #darkpattern. His website: <a href="https://darkpatterns.org/">https://darkpatterns.org/</a> holds a collection of just some of them.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">How can designers sleep at night, when they no longer allow users to say "No"? <a href="https://t.co/R4659wBYyM">pic.twitter.com/R4659wBYyM</a></p> — Micah Scott (@scanlime) <a href="https://twitter.com/scanlime/status/832729043761967104">February 17, 2017</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">What it looks like when companies are on their way out of business-Legally mandated unsubscribe link colored white <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ux?src=hash">#ux</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/darkpatterns?src=hash">#darkpatterns</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/zynga">@zynga</a> <a href="https://t.co/3XZ04teBK3">pic.twitter.com/3XZ04teBK3</a></p> — Mark Bailey (@themarkbailey) <a href="https://twitter.com/themarkbailey/status/833775152424816642">February 20, 2017</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Really, <a href="https://twitter.com/STN_Airport">@STN_Airport</a>, you need to coerce your customers into subscription? <a href="https://t.co/GJ8Y2SLGPt">pic.twitter.com/GJ8Y2SLGPt</a></p> — Sebastian Deterding (@dingstweets) <a href="https://twitter.com/dingstweets/status/833248153507860480">February 19, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h4 dir="ltr">Why dark patterns work</h4> <p dir="ltr">It's easy to understand how people can be affected by these.</p> <p dir="ltr">When we are tired, or hungry we pay less attention to our surroundings - it’s almost like being on autopilot. Sites with a high cognitive load require lots of mental effort, so reducing this is a good thing. But when you aren’t giving your total attention you can misinterpret what you see and read.</p> <p dir="ltr">When we are shown a left arrow and a right arrow, in Western cultures we have learnt that the right arrow is the next step. This is learnt at a very early age and has become second nature. This example comes from <a href="https://www.zsl.org/ticket/zsl-london-zoo">ZSL London Zoo</a>:<a title="ZSL London Zoo" href="https://www.zsl.org/ticket/zsl-london-zoo"><br></a></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4652/zsl_blurred.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="428"></p> <p dir="ltr">If the right arrow is also green (another convention for ‘next step’) we automatically assume this is the thing we need to do next. We may not even read the text on it anymore, and this is where designers can exploit our ingrained behaviours.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4654/zsl_focused.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="428"></p> <h4 dir="ltr">The difference between influencing user behaviour and tricking people</h4> <p dir="ltr">The grey area comes when you aren't tricking people into doing something, but using clever psychological nudges to do so. Countdown timers if used appropriately can inform customers that placing an order before 10pm can get Next Day delivery. This is displaying relevant and meaningful information.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Snapchat's <a href="https://t.co/jIJ8qMwKGo">https://t.co/jIJ8qMwKGo</a> has a fake time-pressure countdown in their checkout. It's just a looping animation. <a href="https://t.co/YmWqvQJzt0">pic.twitter.com/YmWqvQJzt0</a></p> — Harry Brignull (@harrybr) <a href="https://twitter.com/harrybr/status/837597399082217472">March 3, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h4 dir="ltr">‘Why’ - The missing metric</h4> <p dir="ltr">When you hear of a site with a 2% conversion rate, the natural question is "what happened to the 98%". Numbers only tell you how many people didn't complete a task. Crucially, it won't tell you why they didn't convert.</p> <p dir="ltr">Research needs to be undertaken to uncover and remove fears, uncertainties and doubts that can lead to someone leaving a site before completing a task. It’s easy when you see thousands of visitors to lose sight of their individual needs and think that the same technique will work on all of them.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">You can improve user experiences and conversion rates without misleading visitors</h4> <p dir="ltr">I recently worked on a big redesign for a utilities company where the use of forms was getting out of hand. Forms on the homepage, in popups — all in the aim to generate leads!</p> <p dir="ltr">While gathering some feedback through usability studies it was found that forms everywhere gave the complete wrong impression. People saw the forms, but they just felt the company was too ‘grabby’ in wanting their visitors' details.</p> <p dir="ltr">So, by removing all but one of the forms and creating a simple user journey with compelling content, form submissions went up by 18%.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4655/flogas_screenshot.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="433"></p> <p dir="ltr">Just because you want to improve leads or sales doesn’t mean you have to do it at the expense of your user experience.</p> <p dir="ltr">This wasn’t an easy sell either. Convincing clients to remove things is a rarity but the truth is that adding gimmicks isn’t sustainable in the long term, and the negative press that comes when you get called out on it isn’t worth thinking about.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Where do ethics sit: the company, or the designer?</h4> <p dir="ltr">The User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) has a <a href="http://uxpa.org/resources/uxpa-code-professional-conduct">code of conduct</a> which looks to address professional conduct between a UX designer and their client. There is also <a href="https://ind.ie/ethical-design/">Ethical Design</a> outlined by ind.ie which focuses on the efforts and rights of human beings.</p> <p dir="ltr">But neither of these focus on the responsibility a website has to its audience. These standards are typically held within a company but the truth is that some businesses (i.e. budget airlines) have a reputation for using dark patterns during the payment process, and negative experiences will ultimately not help long-term growth and customer advocacy.</p> <p dir="ltr">Should companies agree to an ethical code of conduct on the web, and support others which do so? Have your say in the comments below.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68710 2017-01-18T09:49:32+00:00 2017-01-18T09:49:32+00:00 Lack of resources and budget still the main barriers to CRO: report David Moth <p>Much has been written on the Econsultancy blog recently about the importance of conversion rate optimization, but to what extent are businesses actually doing it? And what methods are most popular?</p> <p>The latest version of our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">Conversion Optimization Report</a>, published in association with Redeye, asked respondents about both of these areas, revealing some interesting findings.</p> <p>Encouragingly, 55% of client-side respondents said that CRO is ‘crucial’ to their overall digital marketing strategy. Only 10% rated it as ‘quite important’ or ‘not important’.</p> <p>According to business consultant and all-round digital whizz <a href="https://twitter.com/danbarker">Dan Barker</a>:</p> <p>"It’s a rarity to get any kind of consensus on what is/isn’t ‘crucial’ in any business, so this essentially vindicates that if you do not feel it’s in your interest to focus a good amount of resource on CRO, you are a big exception among website owners.”</p> <p>However, despite this consensus, the report indicates that businesses are failing to dedicate enough resource to CRO.</p> <p>For the third year running a lack of resource and budget were cited as the main barriers to improving conversion rates.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3121/CRO_barriers.png" alt="" width="700" height="541"></p> <h3>CRO methods</h3> <p>The report also asked respondents about which methods they currently use to improve conversion rates. While the list isn’t exhaustive, it shows that the simplest forms of CRO are the most popular, which is to be expected.</p> <p>A majority of respondents (61%) said they use A/B testing, while online surveys (54%) and copy optimisation (51%) are also popular methods.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3120/CRO_methods.png" alt="" width="700" height="481"></p> <p>Tactics that involve some level of personalisation achieved lower scores, perhaps due to the data and tech capabilities required to implement them properly.</p> <p>For example, website personalisation is only used by a quarter of respondents (25%), while abandonment and behavioural emails scored 34% and 37% respectively.</p> <p>If you’re one of those who has yet to implement basket abandonment emails, you can find out how to get started in our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-fundamentals-of-email-marketing" target="_blank">Fundamentals of Email Marketing Guide</a>.</p> <p>And to learn more about CRO, download <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">Conversion Rate Optimization Report</a> or book yourself onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/conversion-optimisation/">Conversion Optimisation training course</a>.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68676 2017-01-04T11:44:47+00:00 2017-01-04T11:44:47+00:00 10 important stats from Econsultancy's 2016 research Nikki Gilliland <h3>Agencies predict low growth rates for 2017</h3> <p>The <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/digital-agency-rate-card-survey-2016/">Digital Agency Rate Card Survey 2016</a> revealed that predicted year-on-year growth in the UK has reached an all-time low.</p> <p>From an online survey of 398 UK digital agencies, it found that the proportion of agencies expecting their businesses to grow by over 50% has more than halved in the last two years, going from 24% in 2014 to 11% in 2016.</p> <p>Meanwhile, agencies predicted that their daily rates will grow by an average of just 2% this year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2738/Digital_Rate_Card_Survey.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="564"></p> <h3>Disparity between customer needs and marketer capabilities</h3> <p>Our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-recognition-how-marketing-is-failing-at-its-top-priority">Customer Recognition Report</a> highlighted how marketers are falling short on customer experience management due to a lack of digital capabilities.</p> <p>While up to 84% of marketers cite identifying users, personalizing messaging and measuring impact as “very important to growth,” only 10%-14% are able to deliver in these areas.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2739/Customer_Recognition.JPG" alt="" width="649" height="491"></p> <h3>60% of marketers lack a cooperative culture</h3> <p>In the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/trends-and-priorities-in-the-media-and-entertainment-sector/">Trends and Priorities in the Media and Entertainment Sector</a> report, the biggest barriers for digital transformation were found to be organisational factors.</p> <p>59% of marketers said they lack a cooperative culture, while 49% said management is against investing in data and tech, and 46% said that boards fail to understand digital strategy.</p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2745/Trends_and_Priorities_Media.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="473"></em></p> <p><em>You can find out three further priorities for marketers <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68129-four-urgent-priorities-for-marketers-in-media-entertainment" target="_blank">in this article</a><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/trends-and-priorities-in-the-media-and-entertainment-sector/" target="_blank">.</a></em></p> <h3>Companies to increase CRO budgets this year</h3> <p>In October, our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/" target="_blank">Conversion Rate Optimization report</a> was released, looking at the strategies companies are using to improve conversion rates.</p> <p>With 52% of companies seeing a significant increase in sales from adopting a structured approach to data, research also found that over half of companies plan to increase their CRO budgets this year.</p> <p>This appears to be an effective strategy, with 73% of those who have already increased their budget seeing a marked improvement.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2742/CRO.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="470"></p> <h3>84% of influencer research is carried out manually</h3> <p>At the beginning of 2016, Econsultancy published the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">Rise of Influencers report</a> in association with Fashion &amp; Beauty Monitor.</p> <p>Exploring the role influencers play in the fashion and beauty industries, it found that there are some big challenges for brands navigating this new marketing realm.</p> <p>According to the survey, finding the right influencer is one of the biggest tests, with 84% of research being carried out by manually searching platforms like Facebook and Twitter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2743/Influencers.JPG" alt="" width="343" height="629"></p> <h3>74% of agencies are working with celebrities</h3> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-future-of-celebrity-marketing/">Future of Celebrity Marketing report</a> further reflected the growing demand for both social media stars and high profile personalities.</p> <p>While 74% of agency respondents said that they are already working with celebrities, a further 12% said that they aim to embark on a celebrity endorsement within the next year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2751/Celebrity_Marketing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="419"></p> <h3>35% of organisations believe technology is key to understanding customers</h3> <p>At every level of maturity, organisations agree that having the right technologies for data collection and analysis is key to understanding customers.</p> <p>This statistic comes from the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/secrets-of-elite-analytics-practices/" target="_blank">Secrets of Elite Analytics Practices</a> report, which also found that the more advanced the analytics capabilities, the more adept companies are at sharing knowledge between teams.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2744/Secrets_of_Analytics.JPG" alt="" width="637" height="587"></p> <h3>48% of organisations do not have a mobile strategy</h3> <p>Despite the fact most organisations agree that mobile deserves a strategic approach, last year's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-taking-advantage-of-the-mobile-opportunity/">Digital Intelligence Briefing</a> found that nearly half are failing to put this into practice.</p> <p>The report explained how even the 20% that do have a well-defined mobile strategy are not making the most of customer analysis, proving the untapped potential of data.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2748/Digital_Briefing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="536"></p> <h3>Email rated top for ROI</h3> <p>2016 marked the 10th anniversary of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census-2016/">Econsultancy's Email Marketing Industry Census</a>.</p> <p>In an online survey of 1,150 marketers in February and March, 73% of respondents ranked email marketing as 'excellent' or 'good' for ROI.</p> <p>Increasing from 66% in 2015, this meant that email marketing was ranked 9% higher than SEO (organic search).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2749/Email_marketing.JPG" alt="" width="640" height="544"></p> <h3>B2B marketers lack confidence in CX</h3> <p>Last May saw the release of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-tension-in-b2b-customer-experience-management/">Tension in B2B Customer Experience Management report</a>, highlighting how B2B organizations are improving the customer experience.</p> <p>Surprisingly, despite B2B companies realizing that they're being evaluated on the same level as consumer brands, just 16% believe customers rate their CX on a par with B2C.</p> <p>Internal silos and a lack of long-term strategy were reported to be just two of the reasons why.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2750/B2B_CX.JPG" alt="" width="690" height="574"></p>