Driving Personalization through Marketing and A/B Testing

This article was written by our partner REO, as part of our series highlighting direct insights from our large ecosystem of partners.

In 2019, for the first time ever, digital ad spend represented more than 50% of total global marketing spend. Whilst the UK was considerably ahead of this trend (63.8% of UK’s total ad spend was attributed to digital in 2018, 66.4% in 2019), the US has now joined the group with online ad spend going from 48.6% in 2018 to 54.2% in 2019. With eMarketer forecasting a 17.6% year-on-year growth (to $333.25M) in worldwide digital marketing spend, the need to ensure each of your marketing channels is delivering the best possible ROI has never been higher.

Within the conversion rate optimization (CRO) space, most brands conduct A/B testing without fully considering which marketing channel or source their customers have come from. Customers are typically bucketed into various user segments based on their purchase history, onsite behavior, geographic and demographic data. However, users within the same audience segment can often demonstrate varying behavioral attributes when navigating through the purchase funnel, across countless online and offline touchpoints.

Let’s Take Paid Search as An Example

If a user arrives on your website via paid search, you already know what they searched for and which ad they clicked on; however, users who click on the same ad, but searched for different terms/items, will often experience the same customer journey. For instance, if a customer has searched for “luxury men’s white shirt” – not only do you know the item they are looking for, you also know they are looking at the higher end of the market.

A/B Testing the landing page a user is taken to is quite common, but you can go a step further and explore how to change the experience for the customer based on their search criteria.

A potential testing idea could involve pre-sorting these shirts by highest price first, and on the Product Listing Page (PLP), displaying all the available men’s white shirts. This can develop into personalization if the user has visited the site previously, within the cookie period; e.g. by storing size data within the cookie, you could pre-select the shirt size which the user filtered by on their previous visit. 

Reducing the number of clicks and filters it takes a user to find their item can only have a positive impact on conversion rate, especially on mobile. So, by showing a customer the items they’re looking for, sorted by their desired price point and filtered by their size, you will make the purchase journey more tailored to that specific customer.

Understanding a visitor’s context (location, date and time of day, device, internet connection, etc) as well as their intent (are they here to complete a quick purchase, to research and compare products, to seek inspiration, to test a coupon, etc) add an invaluable layer of behavioral understanding to your analysis, and will allow you to execute a more impactful form of personalization.

Making the Affiliation between A/B Testing and Voucher/Cashback Partners

By applying this testing method to the affiliate channel, you can optimize the largest click and revenue drivers; namely voucher and cashback websites. After all, you can already assume that users coming from these two affiliate types are both online-savvy and price-sensitive.

Voucher and discount websites should have a conversion rate of at least 20-25% on mature affiliate programs – so any of these affiliates who have a conversion rate lower than that, represents an opportunity for incremental revenue. For cashback sites, expect this figure to be upwards of 40%.

A test idea for these two affiliate types could be to re-enforce the discount or cashback offer listed on the affiliates’ website. For instance, if the deal was “Save £15 when you spend over £100” – you could use a “loading bar” at the top of the page which gradually fills up as you add items to your basket, until the user hits the spend threshold to activate the discount. 

For cashback sites, you could test a cashback calculator onsite, which automatically calculates the amount of cashback the user will earn if they purchase everything currently in their basket. This type of gamification can be incredibly effective in increasing the number of units per sale and, in turn, the average order value.

Serve Less Content, but More Dynamically

“Content is King” – we’ve all heard it before, but how can you be smarter in how you serve it? Content, and specifically dynamic content, is another channel where source-based A/B testing can improve engagement, click-through-rates and leads/ sales. If you know the article or blog post a user has come from, you can use this insight to serve them relevant and dynamic content, making their customer journey more seamless and less detached across the two sites.

User journey analysis shows that visits to content sites usually happen in the “Discovery Phase” of the sales funnel – including on product review sites, influencer social posts, news/magazine sites and blogs. Such content is informative and persuasive; perfect to push the user towards the bottom of the funnel.

Some of the more content-heavy merchants, such as insurance brands or high-end technology retailers, will have an eclectic and extensive array of content across their website, making navigation more muddled. A solution? Reducing the amount of content on-site and instead, storing the less frequently visited content pages elsewhere, to then be served dynamically.

For example, if a user looking to buy insurance is reading up on excess and the impacts it has on a claim and future premiums, the existing content about excess could be tweaked accordingly – which could be as simple as changing the title of an article, calling out the keywords or changing the order of the content on that page.

Again, a granular analysis of how customers are interacting with individual elements of content will help paint the complete picture of engagement. Measuring clicks alone will only tell one part of the customer behavior story: tracking metrics such as exposure, attractiveness and conversion rate per click (to name a few) will give a more complete view of how content is contributing to (or stalling) the user journey.

As the capabilities of A/B testing and personalization platforms continue to evolve, the way you test and analyze a customer journey should follow suit. One of the major challenges of channel/source-specific testing can be a lack of traffic volume. If you have insufficient traffic, it will take a while before a test reaches significance. For example, the 5th highest paid search term, or 4th largest voucher site probably won’t have the volume to justify running an A/B Test on.

Want to Know More?

Contact us! REO is a digital experience agency. We are an eclectic mix of bright and creative thinkers, embracing the best of research, strategy, design and experimentation to solve our clients’ toughest challenges. We work across a variety of sectors, with companies such as Amazon, M&S, Tesco and Samsung. 

Also invaluable to our company is our scope of partners, including Contentsquare, which allows our customers to capture the nuances of their end users’ behavior for even more sophisticated segmentation and ultimately, deeper personalization.  

Whatever the challenge may be, REO applies design thinking to identify and deliver big growth opportunities.

 

Hero image: Adobe Stock, via blankstock

How We Prepared for the 2019 Salesforce B2C Commerce Partner Demo Jam 

The Salesforce B2C Commerce Partner Demo Jam is going down tomorrow, and we’ve been busy polishing our own live demo performance, and figuring out the best way to showcase our new and improved digital experience analytics platform.  

Here’s a look at how we’ve been preparing to take home the Demo Jam crown…

What Sets the B2C Commerce Partner Demo Jam Apart

With participants having to do away with slideshows, presentations and videos, the challenge was how to create a condensed, 3-minute, to-the-point live demo of our solution.

If that doesn’t set the event apart, its setting and rules will. That’s because the Demo Jam is set up like a game show, meaning one team will walk away the winner.

The visitors are a live audience of approximately 80-100 spectators, as hungry for the next best thing as we are. We’re also in it to win it, so we can’t wait to square off with the five other partners, execution style. 

Joking aside, we’ve been working up a storm in preparation for the Demo Jam.

How Contentsquare Prepared for the B2C Commerce Partner Demo Jam 

We made sure key stakeholders from Marketing, Product and Sales were involved in prepping our performance. 

At a tactical level, we launched an internal brainstorm, inviting the entire Contentsquare US team to ideate over pizza and booze — the best possible stimuli, of course. With so many great minds in one room, our brilliant Content Director recommended breakout sessions with 3 separate teams to streamline the collaboration. 

What surfaced were 3 easily applicable concepts, and 1 winning idea that inspired a theme, script and the tapping of members from our Solutions Engineers, Digital Marketing and Client Success teams to creatively present the idea. 


Building on Our Partnership with Salesforce

This event is critical to our partnership success with Salesforce, because it enables 3 key opportunities:

Exposure: elevating the visibility of Contentsquare to prime stakeholders is an evolving challenge, and Demo Jam is an event that is promoted by Salesforce to and by their teams, who strategically promote partner solutions to clients and prospects.

Competitive benchmarks: Demo Jam feedback and consensus are instant, relatively speaking. The Insight Link Partners ascertain from the event hosts and audience questions, and ultimately the voting results, is a useful indication of whether or not your presentation and use case value mapping is resonating with attendees and prospects.

Demand generation: Customers who watch the performance and are interested in learning more about partner solutions opt-in to receive info. Need we say more?

Our Unique Demo Jam Take

Our singularity springs forth from our platform. The Contentsquare solution visualizes data in a unique way, and can show any brand directly from its website view where customers are getting frustrated or stuck across the acquisition funnel and which content is encouraging conversions. 

We display unique behavior and revenue attribution metrics directly onto the web page — which elements of content have a high Attractiveness rate, where visitors Hover and hesitate, what sections of the page drive revenue etc… Demonstrating this always brings the “oohs and ahhs.”

 


Why We’re in It To Win It

Aside from the fact that winning is universally fun, Contentsquare has powered Customer Experience insights for Salesforce customers like GoPro, L’Occitane, Crocs and the Gap, helping their team make data-driven decisions, innovate the experience and increase revenue. Winning the demo jam helps publicize how we can prove similar results for more of Salesforce customers who haven’t heard of us yet or are still considering how to best invest in their digital CX.

Closing Off on the Demo Jam

The Demo Jam prep was great fun, and helped align the entire team around a common goal. Everyone on the team has a unique take on how to best tell the Contentsquare story, and we wanted to bring all these perspectives together for this exercise. We also discovered hidden talents across the team — turns out we have a bunch of thespians and scriptwriters in the office! (As ever, we’re reminded that when good people come together, great things can happen.

Tune in to watch us go head to head with 5 other Salesforce partners during the webinar at 11 am.

Boo! 5 Examples of Scary UX to Avoid on Halloween — and Always

Halloween is creeping in on us as the October days tail off. But that doesn’t mean your user experience (UX) should be frightening. While frights are fun for haunted houses and other ghoulish festivities, they shouldn’t trickle into your customer experience. 

Alas, as our clients can attest, bad UX has reared its head like a zombie rearing out of a tomb many a time.

Scary. We know. That’s why we’ve compiled a horrifying list of poor UX design examples and ghastly digital experiences, right before Halloween, so you don’t scare off your potential customers. 

Even your most loyal customers will be put off by a bad digital experience. Sometimes, this bad UX arises out of something seemingly minor — a missing image, unclear text, an element located a little further down the fold… That’s what makes bad design particularly scary, in that what seems trivial and inconsequential gives rise to dire consequences.

But fear not! Our 5 scary examples of poor user experiences include very specific cases of how simple elements can go awry. Let’s see what scariness our clients underwent. (SPOILER ALERT: although these real-life UX horror stories seem grim, they all have a happy, data-driven ending). 

Unclear Filters Dampening Sales 

Clicks are great, right? So naturally, a hearty dosage of clicks should be a good thing, shouldn’t it? At face value, it may seem so, as when a zone or an element on a webpage receives a lot of clicks, it signifies ample interaction.

But as our client learned the hard way, click activity, or the study thereof, is not enough when UX is concerned. Studying clicks is crucial, don’t get us wrong. But it offers only a faint glimpse of the overall portrait of your UX.

Our client, a purveyor of men’s fashions, had recently developed a new mega menu. So when it recorded high click activity on the menu, this appeared to be nothing but positive. But it was bearing something sinister; the client noticed a major discrepancy on their site regarding attitudes towards clicks: when clicks increased, sales slumped. 

How was this possible? A UX analysis of in-page behavior presented some incongruity between the mega menu and search/category filters. While menu interactions were high, filter usage was stagnant. With unused filters, shoppers weren’t seeing all the products relevant to them, so sales took a tumble. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

Frightening Sliders Causing High Homepage Bounce Rate

Every mega menu — filled with panels, categories and text — ought to be complemented by visual elements. It would thereby seem natural to include sliders to accompany a mega menu, especially on the homepage, where such elements typically exist.

In the case of our beauty client, this placement wound up being a design fright, much to the detriment of their customers’ user experience, as the customers bounced.

Featuring a wealth of merchandise pushes, the homepage is the gateway to pique product awareness and interest for our client. But it was beset with high bounce rates. With a seemingly healthy swath of products on the homepage, the client was bewildered by what the UX culprit could be.

When analyzing the homepage, with special attention to the mega menu and sliders, the client found that the sliders were generating little to no engagement. Instead, these sliders overwhelmed the mega menu, leading many to bounce before engaging with either of these elements. Spooky.

Confusing Label on the Store Locator Causing Fewer Web-to-Store Visits

A store locator is a handy UI feature for click-and-mortar brands, especially those seeking to uplift web-to-store visits. After all, netizens won’t visit a physical store if they don’t know where it is. 

Instead of looking to Google, visitors ought to trust your brand enough to know that any useful location info exists on your own website. So when our client, a luxury click-and-mortar brand discovered high exits on their store locator, they were beside themselves.

Through granular analytics, they learned that for many site users, the store locator was the main reason behind their visit. Its button, however, had a ghastly label, one with even ghastlier results. It read “product search,” which befuddled users.

To the client, it appeared to be a nifty feature, an add-on to a traditional locator functionality. But it produced high hovers and low clicks, turning users away from the store locator, and as such, from completing their objective of a store visit. This worsened sales for items only available in-store. Creepers.

Disappearing Checkouts Angering Customers and Reducing Revenue

Conversions. Every brand wants them, but few products or even brands at large can trigger them. As such, users who reach the checkout — the final phase of both the customer journey and the sales funnel — signify a UX victory in itself.

Unfortunately, our retail apparel client was racked by bad UX on this holy grail of pages. Our VoC integration had gotten word of users’ ghostly experience when they reached the client’s checkout page.  In fact, a whopping 1,500 customers were afflicted by the ghostly checkout, leading them to complain via the call center, and as our UX analysis showed, leave the site.

When we say ghostly, we mean it. Session replay caught wind of the sudden onslaught of blank screens when users reached the checkout page. This, in turn, led users on the cusp of converting to abandon the checkout and the site, which reduced revenue for the clients. Yikes!

Simple Missing Image Impairing Conversion Rates

The above examples elucidated how site content led to a bad UX, with scary repercussions ensuing from each such case. But sometimes it’s the missing content that creates scary UX chaos.

In the case of our hospitality client, a missing image made all the difference for the conversion rates on their property pages. 

During a granular UX analysis, the client discovered high click rates on the links to property pages, i.e., pages with hotel offerings. The problem was, despite the clear interest in these hotel pages, users would abandon the site after landing on them.

This caused conversion rates to plummet and an addled brand, as it was unsure of the culprit behind the bad UX, since the images were crystal clear and the deals were showing.

A deeper UX analysis — one on journey analysis, revealed a major gap in the UX of these product pages. Visitors were looking for rooms that included a complimentary breakfast, commonplace in European hospitality, but were struggling to find this information. A simple image notifying free breakfast, even an icon of food would have prevented the loss of this conversion stream. The horror!

UX Analytics: The Bad UX Buster

Any brand can fall prey to scary bad UX. But bad UX need not uphold its reign of terror on your website; there is a solution.

This mighty antidote is granular user experience analytics, the kind of data that can back up the hidden trappings of customer frustration and its digital origins. Whether on its own or paired with VoC, granular data gives you indispensable knowledge on your UX.

The metrics and other capabilities (heatmaps with metric overlays, customer journey analysis) of these analytics do not merely point out the scary monsters causing a bad UX. They also deduce the changes and additions your website needs to rectify the issues caused by the poor UX and improve your sales figures. 

In short, a unique set of UX analytics combat these UX monsters so they can never rear their ugly heads again. Not even on Halloween.

 

How a Good UX Plays a Role in Conversion Funnel Optimization

Conversions rarely occur on a whim; usually, there is a layered process behind ecommerce purchases. Known as the conversion funnel — or the sales funnel — this model shows the conduit between the least aware prospects to those who are most aware, interested and bent on conversions.  

Brands have to be both wary and strategic in the ways they set up conversions, and that is where the concept of the conversion funnel comes into utility. While no one can truly “set up” conversions, you can set the scene and command all the workings that bring visitors closer to converting by heeding the conversion funnel and optimizing it. 

As UX-perts, we like to blare the horns on the importance of UX, so it should come as no surprise that a good UX plays an important role in conversion rate optimization. Let’s take a look at how you can optimize your conversion rate by way of working in a good UX to the different stages of the conversion funnel.

What is the Conversion Funnel in Marketing?

The conversion funnel denotes a process in which brands work to turn potential customers into converting customers.

It is comprised of several stages, with each one indicating your customers’ level of brand awareness, interest, and willingness to buy — along with the gradual steps/ undertakings you can to take to lead users further down.

While the stages in each conversion funnel may differ from brand to brand, each shares the ultimate goal of “pushing” site users down to the very last step, which, evidently, represents conversions.

Through this structure, brands can group their potential customers into easy-to-understand categories, thereby dictating several efforts they can maneuver to encourage prospects further down the funnel.

There are various marketing tactics to drive customers down the conversion funnel; they can be deployed through more than one stage. Let’s dig deeper.

Via sabelskaya / Adobe Stock


Good UX in Conversion Funnel Optimization

Now that you know what a conversion funnel is, the next thing to cover is how to apply good UX practices that relate to each stage in the conversion funnel. The following spells out the ways brands can enhance their UX per each stage of the conversion funnel to optimize it and garner greater conversions.

Stage 1: Awareness

Sitting atop the conversion funnel as the entry point, the awareness stage is the stage with the least… awareness of your brand or offering. It’s also the stage with mounting awareness, as potential clients become cognizant of your business and click onto your website, the act which carries with it the possibility to spawn possible interest. 

But that requires capturing new customers. Think of Stage 1 as a person attempting to swoop butterflies into a net. They’d have to reach out to catch them with careful movements to assure they don’t miss out on snatching their butterflies, or in marketing, their business opportunities.

The same should go for your Stage 1 marketing endeavors. You need to be careful and methodical so you can securely create a heightened awareness of what your brand does. 

Educating potential customers to your brand involves using common practices such as:

You have to keep your target audience in mind and create your campaigns accordingly. But once you’ve brought new people onto your site, the UX must be optimized, or at least suitable to pique interest within visitors (lead them to step 2), or — even better — make them convert on the spot.

There is a slew of general ways to improve upon the user experience. But in regards to stage 1, users usually arrive at your site via a landing page. 

The UX has to be top tier on this page. Keep the copy and imagery relevant to the conversion goal, while making it clear what your brand does. The latter is more important since you’re introducing new prospects to your company. The copy and other contents on landing pages should be to the point, so steer clear of wasting users’ time. In short, don’t overload it.

Most importantly, construct the landing page so that it is relevant to the message that led visitors to click on it in the first place. 

Stage 2: Interest

Next, we reach the stage of interest. Now that prospective customers know your company exists, they have to frequent your website; simply knowing about your offering does not ensure they’ll return to your site or engage with your site or social media content.

Content is key in this step, as it can foster and maintain interest within your prospects. There’s a twofold approach for optimizing the conversion funnel: the first is the nature of the content and the second concerns the UX, or the feelings and attitudes users develop over their experience. 

The first element deals with the core of the content — the content type, its subject matter, how it can help with your prospects’ problems, its visual identity, etc. You would need to establish a blog with relevant posts to your industry or niche. 

Other useful content for stimulating user interest are:

You would have to make sure these align with the needs/interests of your vertical as well as making your content stand out and offer something different. Videos and other content, for example, should not focus on the product alone, but offer something of value — whether that’s inspirational content, news related to your niche or something else. 

As for the attitudes toward the content, i.e. the UX, consider the amount of content on your page; is it slowing down your site? If so, reduce it so that you never have issues with loading speeds. 

Make sure everything can be easily seen and accessed. This will encourage further browsing. For example, if you have an in-page element that requires scrolling, the width of it, at the very least, needs to be wide enough so all the content can be easily read. 

You should limit scrollable in-page content to one type of scrolling function (either by length or width, never both.) This is generally length, as this is easier to look through. Use carousels, in-page recommendations and links to other pages to incite browsing.

In fact, when it comes to the UX in general, be sure to keep it continually optimized so that all content elements are easy to understand and seamless. The best way to gauge customer understanding and frustration is of course to measure interactions with each element.

Via Artram / Adobe Stock

Stage 3: Desire

Once you’ve developed some level of interest, you need to propel prospects towards the lower half of the conversion funnel, which starts with desire. Representing a heightened interest, desire attracts users to your actual offering aside from your content alone. 

At this stage, you should make your product or service, as the stage suggests, desirable. It’s also where you have to distinguish your offering from that of your competitors, specifically, by positioning your company as the better option. 

This can be done by:

The users with the highest level of interest will sign up for a newsletter or other form of email communication. This is vital, as it enables you to see exactly who your most interested prospects are and market to them directly. 

For the Desire stage, your best bet is to arrange a drip campaign, or an automated email campaign, which can be set off by different triggers and sent at strategic periods. For example, when someone signs up or makes a purchase, you can then sent prewritten emails during key periods, such as sales, new blog posts, company news, etc.

Also, although they’re prewritten content, assure that emails are personalized with the prospects’ names or their company names. Emails that appear roboticized yield a poor UX.

As you may have gathered, content is as weighty a component at this stage as in others. You need to eliminate any traces of a poor UX, such as an image that appears clickable, but doesn’t actually take users to a landing page, enlarging the image instead, a common UX problem. Nothing spoils a customer journey like obstacles in the digital experience — another reason to measure user behavior.

Stage 4: Action

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve reached the final stage: action. This is the most targeted stage of the conversion funnel for obvious reasons. After pumping out UX-optimized content and building a relationship with potential customers, only a small portion of them will make it to this stage. 

Most will hang in the balance of desire and action, toggling between the two until they make the decision to either buy or bounce. This is where your UX can make or break you.

First, you need to ensure that the navigation of your product pages are neatly organized so that products are easy to find. Don’t succumb to the UX sin of overstuffing your navigation. Finding your product/service should be a seamless experience.

As for the product pages, each must have selection tools that make it easier for customers to filter out products by way of their particular needs. (Think of common product organization types like size, color, price, etc.)

Additionally, all aspects of this experience must promote purchases, from the ability to zoom in, to quick load times of the actual product pages (when clicked on from a multi-product page), to the product image quality.

Any element can be off-putting at this stage, including non-design bits like pricing, so make sure your UX is superb and built around actual customer intelligence.

VIa Mymemo / Adobe Stock


UX Insights Throughout the Conversion Funnel

Measuring the success of your marketing efforts does not end while you embark on optimizing the conversion funnel. In fact, you should not approach the conversion funnel as a standalone marketing tactic to reel in more conversions. 

This is because not all user experience exists in such a linear way. As such, it may ring true for some users but not all. Particularly, the customer decision journey can be seen as a contrast to the funnel. This can be observed by viewing user paths and segmenting your users to narrow behavior-based categories. 

By tackling a specific segment, you can customize the UX to that segment, to assure an optimized journey that reduces exists and bounces. For example, pure player brands understand that their content will not be consumed by a general audience. Only specific segments will visit their sites and social channels. As such, they create content that aligns with the interests of their segmented users.

 

Hero Image: Visual Generation / Adobe Stock

A Guide to Improving Landing Pages

Your offering is clear. Your site is live. Your PR and ad campaigns are in full swing. You’re actively monitoring sales and subscriptions. But you’re not seeing the results you were hoping to see, and conversions are not growing fast enough.

Have you thought of optimizing your site’s key pages in order to increase retention and achieve a healthier conversion rate?

For example, when a visitor clicks one of your ads, are they directed to a page that was built as an extension of that particular ad? That’s the idea behind landing pages. You probably already have some on your site. But are you sure they’re as impactful as they could be?

In the following post, we’ll try to help you master the delicate art of landing page creation, by answering three key questions:

Let’s get started!

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page (or destination page) is a web page that is intended to be part of a marketing or ad campaign. 

Its purpose is to encourage visitors who click on the link to convert.

It tends to be fairly simple and pragmatic.

Why the no-frills approach? Because the objective here is simply to grab your visitor’s attention and encourage them to take a course of action.

It’s different from traditional pages (think FAQ, About, Homepage in some cases) in that it is specially conceived for paid traffic. (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads…)

Nonetheless, it can still appear in the organic results generated by search engines, even if it is first and foremost commercial.

Why Do You Need Landing Pages?

We won’t keep you waiting any longer. The main objective of launching a landing page is to maximize conversions. While your homepage may be built around the needs and expectations of your largest audience, you can afford to focus your landing pages around a single message.

You might want to build a landing page to:

Here is an illustration comparing a homepage and an example of a traditional landing page with a form.

Source: Unbounce


A landing page is part of a wider
communications and marketing campaign designed to maximize its reach and impact.

It’s probably wise to start by analyzing the pages you currently have live. 

Landing pages are often associated with search engine or social media advertising campaigns, PR campaigns or events. Their impact often goes hand in hand with a simple design and clear messaging. 

By communicating a major piece of information in a relevant format, they minimize the risk of distraction often associated with traditional web pages and encourage a more focused consumption. It is therefore crucial to that your landing pages echo the messaging of the campaigns they are tied to.

Further reading: The Call to Action: 5 Tips to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Your landing pages should not be an afterthought

You now know what a landing page is and it’s important for you to have them on your site. But there are still some things you need to know before you can launch the perfect landing page!

So before you put in a request to your marketing and UX teams, make sure to analyze your visitors’ behavior and understand their unique customer journeys on your site.

Five Things To Consider When Building A Landing Page 

1. What is the offering?

The very first step is to make sure you have a concrete offering for your visitors, whether that’s a product or service, a white paper or a discount.

The offer needs to be relevant to the needs of your client, wherever they are in the sales funnel. For example, if a customer is in the early stage of the buying phase, you may want to give them information about the various options available to them.

You may also want to wait until your visitor is further down the funnel to promote the actual products or services.

2. What is my objective?

Once you’re clear about what it is you’re offering, it’s time to figure out what the objective of your landing page is going to be. This objective will help you set conversion targets, which in turn will allow for efficient monitoring. 

There could be several objectives:

3. Who are my competitors?

At this stage, you may want to make sure you have a pretty clear idea of the types of campaigns your competitors are already running. This might seem obvious but the whole point of good practices is they’re tried and tested! 

So, find out who your competitors are, determine the key to their success and see how you can leverage similar strategies to increase your own conversions.  

4. What are your targets?

Knowing your prospects and customers is not optional. The better you understand your visitors, their needs, habits and expectations, the better equipped you will be to respond to these needs in a relevant and impactful way.

This behavioral “mapping” will allow you to find the right words, to choose the best visuals and to create the most appropriate experience for your visitors’ segments. 

At Contentsquare, we call this deeper understanding of customers the Mindset approach. 

Read more about mindset.

5. Where is my target audience coming from?

Where your visitors come from should not be taken lightly. In fact, this factor can even help guide the messaging and design of your landing page.

Indeed, your visitors’ browsing patterns and mindset may vary depending on the acquisition source — whether that’s Google, a Facebook page, an Instagram story or their Twitter feed.

Another obvious reality: the more landing pages you have, the higher the chance of generating leads, since each page can be customized for a specific audience. If this sounds like a lot of work, start with one page per campaign, and then try to add pages for specific segments.

11 Key Elements to Include in Your Landing Page in 2019 

You now have everything you need to create a landing page that answers your visitors’ needs.

But wait, there’s more.

We’ve quizzed our UX-perts in London, New-York, Paris and Tel Aviv to get their top tips on the subject of landing pages, and put together a list of 11 must-haves that will help you save time and increase opportunities for conversion

Let’s jump in. 

1. A winning header and subheader

While all the copy on your landing page is important, there’s an awful lot riding on the header and subheader.

One way to keep visitors engaged is to be clear and to the point. You should be able to capture their attention and share the key product or service message in one sentence (no more than a dozen words).

The header and subheader must of course echo the messaging of whatever link your visitors clicked on. Airbnb gets straight to the point with its “Earn money as an Airbnb host” landing page.

Source: Airbnb

 

2. Be clear about the value you add

Does your product have standout qualities? Can it solve several problems? 

You should enumerate those succinctly, in bullet points perhaps. Add icons for a visual representation of this added value. 

Amazon, for example, clearly lists the benefits of its Prime membership for potential members. 

 

Source: Amazon


3. Make sure your CTA is visible

“Without a clear Call to Action, you can kiss conversions goodbye.” – Contentsquare’s UX Team.

We won’t go on and on about the perfect CTA here because we already did that in another blog post. 🙂

But if we had to summarize:

Spotify is good at distinguishing between its main CTA (free trial) and its secondary CTA (Google Home Mini)

Source: Shopify

 

4. Keep it simple

Here’s a piece of advice that never gets old. 

The search bar, menu, copy, forms — remember, every added in-page element could be a potential source of distraction

So be ready to kill your darlings, on the one hand, and showcase key elements, on the other. 

Hired: a form with 3 fields and 3 arguments to sign up — couldn’t be more to the point! 

Source: Hired


5. Carefully curate your landing page visuals

Because an image is worth a thousand words, be picky when it comes to images. Try and stick to a simple and clean design, and don’t be afraid of empty space.

At the same time, don’t forget to optimize images so they don’t negatively affect the performance of your landing page.

Teambit’s landing page is the perfect example of how you can create a “fun” landing page without necessarily promoting an inherently “fun” product or service.

Source: Teambit

6. Feature video content on your landing pages

If you had to choose between reading a paragraph with several sentences or watching a very short video, what would you pick? 

It’s likely that, like most consumers, you’d opt for the second. 

In 2019, video remains one of the most powerful, highest-converting marketing medium out there. Hubspot uses video to contextualize its product or service and to highlight what problems it can solve.

Source: Hubspot


7. Responsive design

Unless you’re working in a very niche industry, it’s to be expected that visitors will connect to your site via a variety of devices. 

Desktop, mobile, tablet — be sure to anticipate the various devices your visitors may be browsing on and make sure your CTA and header are visible without the need to scroll.

Source: Slack


8. Peer reviews

It’s no secret that consumers are often swayed by peer reviews. 

Make sure to feature testimonials and leverage social proof to reassure visitors who are not familiar with your product or services, or are perhaps hesitant to convert.

You can include:

Instapage proudly displays its top client logos above the fold. 

Source: Instapage


9. Transparency over price

Consumers respond well to clear pricing. If you can, try to clearly display your costs or to direct prospects to an understandable rates table. And why not offer a free trial?

Shopify’s landing page is simple and has a clear CTA to signup for a free trial.

10. What about SEO

A beautiful landing page is great. A landing page that comes up in search results is even better. 

Make sure your content is SEO friendly and be mindful of what your potential audience is searching for. Be sure to optimize:

Unbounce is a good example of a brand utilizing SEO to drive traffic to its landing page. 

11. Remember to say Thank You

You did it. Your visitor subscribed to your newsletter or completed a purchase. But it’s not over yet. 

Don’t forget to always follow up with a “thank you” page after a user makes a conversion — any type of conversion. It’s the opportunity to reassure your customer about their choice and to once again, point out the value. 

Use this page to guide your visitor towards the next steps — you could, for example, direct them to useful resources such as blogs, reports, etc. 

The Thank You page is also a good opportunity for you to ask consumers to share their experience on social media. 

Source: CXL

 

Test, test, test!

While this guide is intended to give you some basic tools and advice to build the strongest possible landing page, it’s important to remember that there are as many approaches to landing page-building as there are businesses… and customers.

Just like your homepage and your product pages, your landing pages need to be carefully tested to surface any missed opportunity

Here at Contentsquare, we help brands maximize the impact they’re getting from testing by adding a critical layer of customer behavior understanding to their experiments through A/B testing. 

Interested in finding out how you can improve the performance of your landing pages?

We’ll be more than happy to show you how we can help your team deliver the perfect Customer Experience (CX) for every customer, every time. 🙂  

Marrying Experimentation with User Experience: Opticon19

Customer Experience (CX) school is back in session and what better way to get ready for a new season of A+ experiences than by attending  Optimizely’s Opticon19?

Centered on digital experience optimization, the conference will feature experts in the fields of CX experimentation and personalization to help you create standout experiences and steer your business towards digital Nirvana.

Taking place on September 11-13th at the Marriott Marquis hotel in San Francisco, Opticon19 is not to be missed.

Optimizely & Contentsquare

We at Contentsquare are quite fond of events — we don’t just boast of experiments, we help create them. So you’re probably wondering why we’re going to this conference, given that we’re fresh off of our Digital Happiness Summer Roadshow, which hit up several states in a multi-day event.

Additionally, you’re probably wondering why we chose to team up with Optimizely, of all the brands hosting regional events surrounding the topic of UX.

Optimizely is one of our premier partners, delivering a world-class experimentation platform that equips digital teams with a scientific approach to optimizing digital experiences. 

Our integration with Optimizely adds a critical layer of behavioral understanding to experiments for faster results and a bigger lift in conversions. We tell brands why some tests and personalization campaigns win, and help digital teams fine-tune variations and focus experimentation efforts.

Optimizely seeks to help brands obtain the highest ROI based on its SaaS and so do we. You could say we are a partnership made in heaven and Opticon provides the perfect setting for us to show you this partnership in action. 

Opticon19: What to Expect

A three-day event, Opticon19 will kickstart the conference with a day of training on the 11th of September. 

The other two days will feature sessions, networking events and a conference party. You will get to hear from some of the best and brightest in the digital space, including leaders from IBM, Salesforce and Mailchimp.

Opticon19 will include an impressive roster of keynote speakers, including actor, investor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher, astronaut and engineer Dr. Mae Jemison, Optimizely’s CEO Jay Larson and a host of other digital leaders.

The event will present over 20 sessions across 3 “tracks” — critical areas to learn and optimize for a superb experience that helps raise conversions. The three tracks are those of: culture and growth, strategy and process and platform and technology, each highlighting crucial nuances for your brand to digitally outperform.

Contentsquare is hosting its own cocktail event at the Everdene Bar, a rooftop bar atop the Virgin Hotel in San Francisco.


Contentsquare: Our Own Event & Booth at Opticon19

We won’t be sitting idly at the conference and our experts will be on hand at Booth G11 in the Yerba Buena Ballroom to share tips and best practices on how to power up your experimentation strategy and improve your digital CX.

We’ll be happy to show you how some of our 600+ clients have successfully put our software to use and improved on a number of KPIs and show off the newly instituted benefits from our coalescence with Clicktale.

We’re also going to host our own surrounding event just before the conference, in tandem with our friends at Tealium. Join us for an evening of drinks, fare and networking at the Virgin Hotel’s Everdene Rooftop Bar, which comes with sweeping views of the city.

So swing on over to Opticon19, meet with us at our booth, party with us at Everdene and absorb all the enlightening, up-to-date trends on experimentation and having your brand the upper hand in digital experience.

Book a Meeting

 

Cracking the Code of UX in Luxury Retail and Travel: Advice From Three Luxury Influencers 

The luxury industry can be a tough puzzle to decode as far as user experience (UX) is concerned. The lavishness of the industry is clearly presented in the messaging of luxury brands. But underneath all that glitz and glamor lies a very serious issue for brands, one that ultimately affects their conversions: user experience on their digital platforms.

You’ve read correctly. Even the top dogs in luxury retail have to contend with UX optimization if they want to forge ahead. They have to engage their site visitors every bit as much as non-high-end industries like grocery, cosmetics, gaming and general fashion.

A lackluster digital experience on a luxury website will be reflected in the key performance indicators of luxury businesses. It will doom a business’s swath of KPIs with underperforming ROI.

So what can luxury brands do to improve their digital experience? We consulted with three influencers in the multi-faceted vertical of luxury to weigh in on how its UX can improve. From what ticks them off, to how brands can perfect their UX, we’ve garnered a bundle of insights from these three content creators in the luxury space.

Desktop or Mobile: What is the Luxury Device of Choice? 

User experience starts with the preferred mode of entry to a website; in this context it’s the device used. We spoke with three influencers in the luxury space: Patrick Van Negri, a content creator and social media influencer who operates his namesake website, which provides lifestyle content on fashion, travel, fitness and more. 

Aftab Pathan is an influencer in the luxury travel  space, who documents his traveling adventures on his website Fresh & Fearless. The site offers insight on the places he’s visited with suggestions on the activities and services of his sojourns.

Marie Olin runs Luxury Travel Diva, a website in which she shares her luxury travel adventures and advice on a bevy of worldwide destinations. Her trips span across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe and her posts review exclusive properties, along with covering travel tips for those seeking extraordinary experiences. 

In the ongoing digital battle of desktop versus mobile, each of our interviewees gave their own takes, demonstrating that even one’s own preference on device usage isn’t always so clear-cut. Patrick made the case for desktop, because of faster load times, a higher-resolution screen and better control of the experience. However, he admitted that he’s been increasingly shopping on his phone, shining light on the potential of mobile conversions, which are unambiguously low. According to our industry benchmark data, the luxury conversion rate on mobile sits at a meager 0.62%, despite its healthy traffic rate of 66%.

While Aftab generally prefers using his laptop, he admitted that a lot of his shopping was done on-the-go. “I don’t always get time to sit down to shop, so I often find myself scrolling through my favorite fashion apps in preparation for my next travels,” he told us. “Especially as I thrive on looking my best when traveling.”

Marie opts for desktop, proving that this device is still a strong digital contender when it comes to digital shopping, even in a mobile-first world. A computer, she reasoned, allows her to “blow up the photos and see the products more easily.” 

Courtesy of Patrick Van Negri


Pet Peeves in the CX of Luxury Retail Sites

When we asked our three influencers to name some of their pet peeves on luxury sites, their answers pointed mostly to a dissatisfaction with the products themselves; or more to the point, with how they are presented. For Patrick, one cause of annoyance is “making sure the size is correct and how the product feels once you have it in your hands.” 

So how can this be rectified through changes to the CX? Brands should offer clear photos of the product in clear lighting, so that once the customer has the product, it doesn’t fall outside their expectations. Making sure you add clear size and size comparator charts will also go a long way to reassuring visitors. And if your brand has a presence in more than one country, consider helping your customers navigate different sizing standards so they can easily find their fit. 

One of Marie’s biggest peeves is missing out on a bargain because her size has sold out. Notifying visitors of low stock is a good solution to this problem, as well as providing the option to be notified once a sold-out item is back in stock.

Patrick, like many other shoppers, hates “going back to the post office for a return or exchange.” This is another area where retailers can make a difference: a pain-free return policy is today a key component of a positive experience.

Aftab chimed in with a joke, referring to the obnoxious prices in luxury. But while one of the defining characteristics of luxury is that the prices are as exclusive as the products, it’s interesting to note that some brands are adopting a “pay what you want” strategy on certain products, giving customers greater control of the shopping experience.

In earnestness, he referred to the lack of diversity from certain luxury brands as worrisome. It seems that, when it comes to inclusive marketing and campaign diversity, many luxury companies are lagging behind more mainstream retailers.

Courtesy of Fresh and Fearless

 

Courtesy of Fresh and Fearless


The Digital Luxury Experience, Best Sites & Apps

But while they had great insights to share on the experience gap, our three interviewees also pointed out that some luxury brands are really getting it right. Patrick singled out GQ, Farfetch, Nordstrom, and Dolce & Gabbana. “I love the style inspiration, user experience, and the info I get prior to my purchase,” he said.

That’s why digital teams ought to consider the weight of the content when designing their UX, as it can resonate with users so much so that it leads to a purchase. The purpose of content, after all, is to not only grab attention /entertain but to establish connections that resonate. 

It’s not surprising then that brands invest heavily in content to boost ecommerce conversions. But according to our data, 68% of luxury content never gets viewed, putting tremendous pressure on the  32% of content visitors are interacting with.

Aftab credits Mr. Porter as his ultimate luxury app and his partiality for this brand highlights the need for and positive outcomes of a mobile-first approach to UX. “It gives me all the latest luxury fashion essentials right to my phone, without needing to browse through various sites and spend hours finding my size,” Aftab said. “It stands out to me because it provides luxury fashion tailored towards men, and there aren’t many online stores like them, or with an app,” he concluded.

For Marie, a seamless navigation, one that shortens the path to product, takes center stage in her choosing of favorite luxury site, as well as the ease of making returns and quick order reception. “I love net-a-porter.com, she said. “It has some great designers, the site is easy to navigate, orders are sent quickly and no quibble returns. Aesthetically pleasing too!”

Courtesy of Patrick Van Negri


The UX of Luxury Travel 

The luxury space is not limited to luxury retail or shopping; plenty of brands render niche offerings that obviously deal with the digital space. Since Aftab and Marie are both laser-focused on the travel niche in the luxury space, we grilled them on this subsector.

We begin with their more high level takes on luxury travel: what the best parts of it are. Aftab praised personalized service and luxurious interiors, doubling down on the former by noting the importance of “attentive service” in one sentence. 

And personalization today is an omnichannel affair — consumers want tailored experiences both off and online. Behavioral analytics allow brands to deploy a deeper personalization strategy than ever before, one that takes into account more than just demographic data and enables meaningful experiences tied to context and intent. 

Additionally, he raved about “my one true love, branded bathroom amenities. Nothing makes me happier!” Providers in luxury hospitality take note.

Marie also ascribes the scenery as the highlight of luxury travel, along with other particular likings. “My favorite aspects of luxury travel are obviously luxurious surroundings but just as important are the staff,” she said. “Luxury travelers want to have everything running smoothly and have competent and polite staff. A Butler is my favorite treat in a top hotel.”

Zeroing in on the UX of luxury travel itself, Aftab cites the need for wish list function for a smoother, more convenient UX.

“I would like to see more travel sites allowing you to save packages and bookings in the form of a “wish list”, the same way you can on many fashion sites. Sometimes you don’t want to book the flight, hotel or both instantly, and want to revisit it at a later date (and for the same price!)”

Whether it’s to avoid longer bookings or to have easy access for a later session, the use of a wish list is crucial, and as we’ve seen in previous research, the converting power of the wish list is proven.

Marie goes for a more general rule of thumb for luxury sites that look to improve their UX, stating the necessity for user-friendliness. She pointed to the specific examples of attaining this: by providing up-to-date information with appealing and functional (clickable) links.

Luxury travel providers, especially those in hospitality, should also make specific types of hotels or other sojourning options readily visible, perhaps with left-hand navigation categories. This is because finding them can be as struggle for users — inevitably leading to their frustration. 

Aftab attests to this: “I’m very specific about the kind of hotels I choose for my travels. Often enough, I find it difficult to find a five-star hotel that fits my “vibe”, which is suitably located, and includes all the amenities/services I require during the dates I want to travel,” he said, following with a jest — “I know, total first world problems!” 

Marie’s biggest frustration in booking luxury travel stays is difficulty in navigation, particularly when there’s “too many boxes to tick!”  Additionally, a poor UX for her involves the insistence on certain dates of travel. She suggests luxury travel sites show an entire month of prices per one page for both convenience and even affordability. This is so — in her own words — “I can go on the cheapest date! Luxury travelers like a good deal.”

Courtesy of Luxury Fashion Diva

 

Courtesy of Luxury Fashion Diva


Advice for Luxury eCommerce Retailers and Content Creators

Lastly, we sought out advice from these influencers for luxury retailers in the digital space and content creators alike. 

According to Patrick, creativity and originality are at the helm of an optimized user experience. Creators need to be able to find their own voice and style and steer clear of duplicating what other content creators do; if they don’t avoid the latter, it’ll stunt the growth of their brand (whether that’s a business or their own media presence).

“Just like any other content creators, stay authentic because that is the only asset you have. Also, do not try to copy what other influencers are doing. You will look cheap and unoriginal, and your potential to grow is non-existent,” he said.

He closes off with: “Innovate and do not be afraid to try new things and concepts, even if they scare you and the risk is too big. That is the only way to stand out and get ahead of your competition.”

“Don’t ever start content creation for the sake of earning money or getting “famous”, it defeats the objective of being a genuine, and sought-after content creator,” he said. “And when it gets tough, or you lose inspiration, remind yourself why you started. Let your creativity run wild!”

Alongside focusing on community-building and common interests, Aftab also believes in the need to have a unique offering, whether that be in sales or content:

“If I had to share one piece of advice, it would be to be completely true to yourself. It’s easy to get consumed with what other luxury content creators are doing around you, but the main thing is that you create content that fits your brand, aura and truly allows your personality to shine through.” 

As they deal with the subject of luxury, Marie suggests that content creators in the luxury space make the content itself luxurious. “Make the content really luxurious, stand out from the ‘ordinary’, be extraordinary.”

Furthermore, she advises on the need to appeal to the target market, meaning those most apt to buy, or at least take interest in the luxury space.  “Someone recently commented that my website was luxury and not for ‘ordinary’ people. This made me happy because I aim to target the luxury market!”

Closing off, she proposes that luxury travel sites ought not forget the older travel market. “Remember the older travel market!  We are the people with time and money to spend on luxury trips. Older travelers want luxurious Business Class flights, top class accommodation,” she said.

Summer Marketing Campaigns: What 18.6 Million Visitor Sessions Reveal About Summer Sales

With summer drawing to a close, we thought it would be a good time to review one of the season’s most popular digital objectives: summer sales. Never ones to miss out on a data opportunity, we surveyed millions of digital visitor sessions to understand exactly how consumers interact with summer promotions, and how these campaigns are impacting revenue for brands.

In this article, we’ll share what online summer shopping reveals about desktop and mobile use, as well as the difference in digital behavior between buyers and nonbuyers. Relying on unique behavioral and revenue attribution metrics to understand how shoppers consume digital content, we’ll be sharing key insights into the customer journeys of summer bargain hunters.

Summer Sales in the Digital Experience Defined

A summer sale — in the context of digital experience — is defined as a marketing campaign centered on promotions and deals that explicitly mention the season. It often manifests in banners or carousels, with call-outs that feature discounts, naturally ones that allude to the summer. 

In this way, summer marketing campaigns are more broadly encompassing; they don’t refer to just a single holiday such as the Fourth of July and as such, can exist longer than a typical, holiday-focused sale. 

In terms of UX and website design, summer sales take precedence in a designated section of a page, such as a menu, slideshow, or the aforementioned banners.

Methodology

For the purpose of this article, we analyzed customer interactions across 8 websites, in four retail sub-sectors: apparel, accessories, beauty and jewelry. We included all visitor sessions on these sites for the month of July (July 1st – 31st).

Our survey on summer sales drew data from 18.6 million user sessions with a total of 122.4 million pages collected. From this wide set of data, we were able to glean a twofold macro comparison: that of typical behavior on desktop vs. mobile and tablet, and that of buyers vs nonbuyers during the summer sales period we studied in the US. 

Let’s learn how summer sales in 2019 performed in the ecommerce retail industry, in addition to how visitors interacted with summer sales content.


Device Performance for Summer Sales in 2019: Desktop Vs Mobile Vs Tablet

Conversions:

The biggest conversion driver for summer marketing campaigns in 2019 was desktop sales, par for the course based on the findings from our mobile report. Coming in at 4%, the average desktop conversion rate is double that of mobile. This manifests even more prominently in the average cart, which is 14.7% higher on desktop than on mobile — $106.99 on desktop, vs $93.30 on mobile. 

Meanwhile, the average cart on tablet is extraordinarily close to that of desktop, at $106.68. This average is inversely related to summer sales traffic by device, since mobile reaps the highest traffic: 68.01% of sessions, representing a whopping 12.65 million sessions. This number dwarfs tablet sessions, which garner only 5.72% of traffic. Desktop traffic came squarely in between at 26.15%.

Bounce Rates:

Much in keeping with our mobile report, mobile also bore the highest share of bounces, which averaged in at 41% — 6% higher than the desktop rate of 35%. The bounce rate on tablet was in between at 38%.

Time Per Session, Number of Pageviews & Time Spent on Site:

With an average session time of 8 minutes 9 seconds and 6.9 pageviews per session, the data shows that the bulk of summer sale browsing occurs on desktop. Mobile had the lowest stats on both accounts, with an average session time of 4 minutes 8 seconds, across 5.4 pageviews.

Despite mobile visitors seemingly unwilling to linger too long on a site, this audience still rakes in the highest sales volume with 257,000 sales, vs 222,608 for desktop. Nonetheless, desktop revenue remained the highest at $24.8 million.

So what does this tell us? That the gap between user expectations and user experience on mobile prevails, as desktop reigns supreme, with its lowest bounce rates and highest conversions. But with mobile traffic beating out all device types, mobile still presents a tremendous revenue opportunity.

Summer Sales 2019: Zooming In On The Homepage

The first thing we noticed when analyzing homepage interactions was that all summer sale shoppers click mostly on the menu to get to the products (28.10% click rate). The Sale tab on the menu drives only 2.88% of clicks versus 4.91% on the sale banner. It appears that when looking for a shortcut to a summer deal, shoppers will sooner click the banner than the Sale section on the navigation bar.

Although it has a fairly low click rate compared to the rest of the menu, the Sale tab on the menu boasts a healthy Conversion Rate per Click — 11.46% versus 6.35% for the menu — implying that those who do click on it are determined to convert. 

However, the Sale tab was defeated by the sales banners, which generate the highest conversion rate per click at 12.09%.

The high hesitation time on the banner (1.41% versus 0.92% for the Sale tab on the menu) points to a need for optimization; perhaps the wording isn’t clear, or visitors are not sure where or what to click.

Summer Sales: Comparing The Behavior of Buyers And Nonbuyers

Buyer Vs Nonbuyers: Time on Page

We found that shoppers who ended up making a purchase spent almost twice as long browsing as those who didn’t buy anything (28 minutes versus 15 minutes). Buyers also consume many more pages than nonbuyers: 28 vs only 6 by nonbuyers. 

Once they’re on the page, however, they essentially dedicate the same amount of attention to it — 58 seconds for buyers vs 53 seconds for those who don’t complete a purchase. These two audiences also appear to scroll in a similar fashion, with a 59% scroll rate for buyers and 57% for nonbuyers.

Visitors who made purchases consistently exhibited the highest number of pageviews across a wide scope of pages, including category, product and checkout. They viewed three times as many product pages on average than nonbuyers, and more than twice the number of category pages. 

Buyers Vs Nonbuyers: Interaction, Interest & Hesitation 

Overall, buyers were more likely to interact with the search bar than those who stuck to window-shopping, with 26% more clicks on this element. Much like other consumers, shoppers who end up making a purchase tended to access their summer bargains via banners instead of the Sale tab on the menu — 6.20% versus 2.90%. 

To maximize sales, make sure the search bar is prominent — making it sticky assures its viability no matter how far users scroll — and offer the best deals on your banners to take advantage of this interest.

Nonbuyers manifested a larger degree of interest for the homepage menu, with an almost 10% higher click rate than buyers. Nonbuyers were about as likely to click on the Sale tab as buyers (that is to say, not that much), but nonbuyers exhibit a much lower float time on this element, suggesting they are just as keen to score a bargain.

Their higher menu engagement and low hesitation time imply that non-buying visitors are interested in products, but may not have found exactly what they were looking for. Therein lies the need to optimize your homepage elements for this group, particularly the menu; distinct items that are hard to categorize should have their own menu category, or at least exist as a sub-category. 

Nonbuyers have a considerably higher average time before first click on the Sales banner, search bar, Sale tab and menu elements, showing that they ingest content much longer before clicking on it. 

Their hesitation also points to a more cautious attitude. Buyers arrive at summer sales elements with the intent to buy, while nonbuyers are far more careful, which inhibits them from buying. Thus, it is best to accentuate the savings aspect of your sales, sometimes across each item to lure in nonbuyers. Perhaps they won’t convert the first time around, but this will bring them back.

Tips to Optimize Your Summer Sales Campaigns

Understanding how visitor segments interact with promotional elements such as banners and the Sale tab on your menu is the first step to understanding how these areas of your site may fall short of user expectations. Optimizing the experience based on the unique behavior trends associated with various device and segments will ensure you make the most of the season’s revenue potential.

One of the first things you should do is look into what’s causing high bounce rates on mobile. This can be due to your touch areas being too small and other easy design fixes that can put an end to user frustration and therefore, exits. 

There could also be a variety of internal issues on your mobile site or app hindering your UX  and we provide 3 areas of improvement to optimize the mobile UX. Tablet users may also face the same issues that mobile users confront and can therefore rely on similar optimization tactics.

Whether they end up clicking the Purchase button or not, visitors tend to be more attracted to promotional banners than to the Sale tab on your navigation bar, so it is important to concert your tactics on optimizing this region. Take advantage of the higher engagement on the banner by highlighting products through images and text call-outs and maximize interactions by making the entire area clickable. 

Given that the menu receives the highest click rate among buyers and nonbuyers, you should focus your UX efforts on this element as well. Capitalize on it by including all the necessary categories possible on desktop, but keep it simpler on mobile. Make sure it includes a Sale tab for visitors who want a shortcut to discounted products. 

The Digital Happiness Summer Roadshow 2019

Summer is officially upon us and — never ones to skip a beat, we’re taking to the road to spread our UX-pertise far and wide. Our team of experts is hitting the road to a city near you to help improve your digital strategy to the max. Our roadshows take a results-oriented approach to digital experience, with a focus on Digital Happiness (which, by the way, you can measure). 

Why? Because we live in an age of experience, and brands today are competing on their ability to deliver experiences that meet (and exceed) the needs and expectations of their customers.

Disjointed experiences, counter-intuitive navigation, in-page frustration, a lack of transparency — a poor site experience is bad news for brands in a world where there are no second “digital” chances. On the other hand, seamless journeys, headache-free paths to conversion and value-adding content are the hallmarks of a successful customer experience. 

So — how exactly do you build standout digital experiences that keep visitors happy (and converting)? How can you make your site or app work harder for you? What tools can digital teams use to gauge customer bliss and encourage engagement? 

We’ll be discussing all this and more. But we don’t just speak on creating amazing experiences — we put our money where our mouth is —  we create them. 

So join us in one of four fabulous locations for insights, happy hour, networking and advice customized for your vertical.

Let’s take a look at what’s in store:

Digital Happiness Roadshow: Dates, Info & Why You Should Attend

Denver 

July 18th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

The show in Denver (along with the one in Philadelphia) kicks off the Roadshow. We’re starting with a bang, with the show set for Mile High Spirits, a lounge best known for its live music and patio games. If the craft cocktails and light fare don’t fill you up as much as you’d like them to, you won’t even need to walk far, as food trucks line this trendy space. Also, if you love modern distillery and spirits, stay around for some info on how to snag a spot at their distillery tours.

Philadelphia

July 18th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

In Philadelphia, our roadshow will take place in a historic meeting place — the Philidelphia Distillery, which is the state’s first spirit distillery since the end of prohibition. The meeting place itself was once a factory, a key marker during the state’s industrial revolution. The transformed the 13,00 square foot space was later transformed into a retail store, bar and tasting room. Come for the UX teachings. Stay for the spirit craftsmanship.

Atlanta

July 23rd, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

In Atlanta, our roadshow will leave you shouting from the rooftops — perhaps literally, as it’ll take place in SkyLounge, a world famous rooftop lounge and event space. Here you’ll get to enjoy craft cocktails and gander at incredible views of the ATL. The lounge sits atop the historic Glenn Hotel, situated in the heart of the Centennial Park District, known for being a hub for business and entertainment. There’s no better place to imbibe the sprightliness of the downtown district.

Austin

July 25th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

We’re hosting our Austin roadshow at Maggie Mae’s, an iconic “bar” that screams Austin. As you can see, we use the word “bar” loosely, as the venue boasts over 15,000 square feet of event space, 7 bars, 3 stages and is steps away from major hotels. It’s anything but boring — the perfect space for a memorable UX lesson. 

In this iteration, we’re partnering with Brooks Bell, a provider of analytics, A/B testing and personalization consulting for enterprise brands. Like yours truly, this company helps with website optimization and has a unique approach to obtaining it.

See you there!

UX International Map Lessons: Product Page Optimization

Welcome to the second installment in our 3-part series on the Global UX Map, the result of our extensive research into digital trends and browsing patterns from across the world. This insightful series is a surefire way to improve your user experience (UX) and boost your digital marketing efforts. In this chapter, we will be focusing on product page optimization.

If your marketing tactics are successful enough to impel users to land on the product page — or if they clicked into it by virtue of their own interest, that is magnificent news. It means your advertising, SEO and content campaigns were competent enough to push users to the page where actual purchase decisions are made. But getting visitors onto the product page is not enough and certainly doesn’t guarantee conversions.

Like your homepage, blog and other site pages, the product page must keep visitors engaged and digitally happy to encourage them to buy. But if there’s one thing we all know about user experience, it’s that one size most definitely doesn’t fit all. And when you have a global patronage — or are seeking to break into the international market — taking into account the needs and expectations of your local audiences is key. UX Analysis Methodology 

As you’ve learned in our previous UX map lesson, we drew our insights from analyzing over 35 million visitor sessions from January through February 2019, on 11 luxury websites in 7 countries. This adds up to 150 million pageviews and 3 billion clicks. 

The 7 countries from which we extracted data on the product page are the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, China and Japan. By analyzing how visitors in each of these countries interact with the various elements of the product page, we were able to understand what works and what doesn’t, and where brands should focus optimizations to drive maximum engagement. 

Visitors In China Most Engaged With the Product Page

While studying the user behavior on the product page across the 7 countries, one country in particular stood out due to its heightened engagement. Consumers in China clicked and scrolled between  1.5 to 5 times more than those in the other 6 countries we surveyed. They also spent more time on the page (25% more than the global average), avidly consuming both informational and visual content.

In fact, the data makes known that users in China often research a product extensively before adding to cart, navigating through many elements on the page, and generally consuming more content than visitors in any of the other regions we looked at.

They were particularly engaged with the product description, clicking on it over 23% more than their global peers. They were also far more interested in the shipping and returns description, with a click rate higher than other countries by over a heaping 95%. With many brands selling exclusively online, shipping costs are often an expensive and unavoidable expense, explaining this extra attention. 

Visitors in China also spent much more time viewing product images than their international counterparts, and were 50% more likely to click on the first product image than their global peers — an upward trend that continues onto the following images. 

Product Delivery and Shipping Descriptions: Vital in Japan

Descriptions on the product page go a long way to reassuring shoppers in general, as does clear information on shipping and returns. This is most discernible in Japan, where mobile consumers are often reluctant to make a purchase before reading all the information about a product of interest, including its shipping and returns policy. 

In fact, the click rate on the product description is 47% higher in Japan than in any of the other regions we studied, and the click rate on the shipping and delivery info, 48% higher.

The US and UK Have a Stronghold on Customer Trust

Visitors in the US and UK spend less time interacting with the product page. In both regions, product visuals receive 22% fewer clicks on the first product images and 53% fewer ones on the third click, compared to global averages. 

The scroll rate on the product page in the US and UK is also lower than the global average, coming in at 53% versus 56% for the rest of the world. The click rate on the textual content is also considerably smaller in the US and UK than in the global average. 

Precisely, the click rate on product descriptions sits at about 4.1%, versus a 4.5% global average. Meanwhile, the click rate on the shipping info in the US and UK is roughly 0.5%, while globally it’s at 0.7%. 

With truncated engagement on the product page, visitors from the US and UK clearly have less time in their customer journey to take in the content on this page. Instead, they make hastier decisions, so you have to catch their interests quicker than those from the other European and Asian countries. If you do, you will earn their trust, proven by their quicker conversions, which occur without skimming through visuals and reading content that’s further down the page.

Visuals Take Priority in Germany and Italy 

Chinese visitors on product pages aren’t the only ones captivated by visual content. Much like these constituents, visitors in Germany and Italy also show high levels of engagement around product images. These visitors click 7% more than their global counterparts on the first image, 6% more on the second and 28% more on the third on all devices.

Visitors in Germany also have a favorability towards the product description, clicking on this element 11% more than the other countries surveyed. As such, this element is crucial in their customer decision journey. A product description may compel or dissuade these users from making a purchase, so assure that your product descriptions are up to par, being both informative and marketing-friendly to convince your German audience to buy.

Product Images in Relation to the Product Page for Visitors in France 

The use of the product page in France can seem to be contradictory — giving the impression of both a low and high engagement of the page. Visitors in France are much less engaged on virtually every element on the product page, with fewer clicks on product descriptions, shipping info and images, coupled with shorter session times.

However, despite a low session time and engagement with these elements, shoppers in France total in a 60% higher time spent on page than the other 6 countries. This discrepancy relays an audience that is not as interested in content related to the product so much as interest in the product itself. 

As such, these users shouldn’t be disregarded; they are still good candidates for conversions, but they must be interested in the product from the get-go, so you should use other marketing channels to promote your products, so by the time shoppers arrive at your product pages, they’ll be interested enough to convert, or learn more. 

Refining the Product Page for a Global Audience with UX Recommendations

Product page optimization begins with making the right changes or additions to your product pages across its global editions. No matter how optimized your product page appears to be, remember that it won’t be received in the same manner globally. Here are several data-backed suggestions on product page optimization from a globally-oriented perspective. 

For US and UK visitors, opt for simplicity; there is no room for clutter for the least engaged duo in the product page. Align your text and images with a minimalistic style — nominal text, low interactions, large images and as little scroll as possible. The goal is to create a quick and easy consumption of the page. Don’t both laying out a shipping policy, as users from these countries are accustomed to cheap shipping and free returns. 

The UX optimization of the product page on your Chinese site is in direct opposition to the US and UK, since users there are much enthused about content on the product page. Since users in China are prone to scrolling, design your page with a vertical interface. You can rest assured that loading your product page with content will stimulate high engagement. Feel free to add affiliate links, reviews, images, descriptions, articles, etc. You should pay close attention to the product and shipping descriptions since there is high engagement there. Visitors in China are less certain on shipping, so give them cost-efficient options. For more slider engagement, speed up your load time; it is notoriously slow in China.

Much like China, the consumption of product and shipping descriptions is also high in Germany and Italy, particularly on mobile. Posit your product in the best possible light in these descriptions and provide all the relevant info on them, as visitors in Germany and Italy are inclined to read them. Make sure they are easy to access on mobile.

Since product imagery has a decent performance in Germany and Italy, don’t be scant in your product images on your site in these countries. Include at least 4 product images per product page. To ensure slideshow images are seen, implement visible arrows on the slideshow. While both countries are fans of images, visitors in Germany prefer horizontal navigation in the carousels, while Italians favor the vertical variety. Don’t forget to add a zoom function on your images.

Since users in France have a rather contradictory behavior on the product page — a long time spent on the page but few interactions with individual elements, you have to optimize accordingly. This may appear challenging, but luckily, there is a way to maintain a balance between few interactions and high consumption. To achieve this balance, insert a summary of the content above the fold with anchors that steer users further down. A long time spent on page means that these users are willing to consume it, so long as they don’t scroll. 

Optimizing the Product Page

As there is no marketing “one size fits all” strategy, the same should be applied to your globally existing product pages. As our UX map findings show, browsing behaviors vary from country to country, and it’s enlightening to be able to identify and sort them into different global localities. Localizing the user experience begins at understanding what needs to change and which areas of the UX require the most attention. To capitalize on this localization, you should continue studying user behaviors through unique metrics like scroll rate, time spent on element, conversion rate per click and more. 

The Global UX Map: Menu, Search Bar and Slideshow Usage Around the World

Digital marketers, website developers and ecommerce businesses from far and wide: welcome to a 3-part blog series constructed from our Global UX Map — an in-depth report on digital customer behavior from around the globe.

While we strongly recommend you download our UX map, which offers a wealth of data-backed insights on how worldwide site visitors browse websites and interact with specific pages/ in-page elements, this series will condense some of these topics for a more organized, topic-based read. As such, this series is set to help you increase your ecommerce conversions in a more focused way.

In this round, we’ll illuminate our recent findings on the menu, search bar and slideshow usage through a global lens, and provide tips on how to optimize these elements to cater to your international or US-based audience. 

UX Analysis Methodology

We ran our UX analysis on over 35 million visitor sessions from January and February 2019, on 11 luxury sites in 7 countries. This rendered 150 million page views and 3 billion clicks. 

We observed visitor interactions with the menu, search bar and slideshow starting domestically, in the United States. Our international analysis gathered data from 4 European countries: France, Germany, the UK and Italy. Additionally, we studied the UX in 2 Asian countries: China and Japan.

The aforesaid UX elements we studied all exist on homepages, so this post will discuss the top-priorities for the homepage in particular. These 3 UX elements all point to critical visitor mindsets — determined if they leverage the search bar, seeking inspiration from the slideshow, or methodically browsing the menu. 

The Attractiveness Depends on the Device

The menu, search bar and carousel have varying levels of attractiveness depending on the device, and visitors engage differently with these 3 UX elements on mobile and desktop. 

Desktop visitors, for example, are more likely to engage with these features than their mobile counterparts, except in the UK. There, mobile visitors clocked in 7% more interactions with the menu, search bar and slideshow combined than desktop users. 

In all other countries, except China, mobile yields 20% fewer interactions with the menu, search bar and slideshow. In China, this lowered attractiveness is compounded, with mobile driving 70% fewer interactions than desktop. 

Per these findings, you should expect more usage of all 3 UX elements on desktop, and you should be thinking about ways to efficiently and seamlessly guide customer journeys on mobile

The Slideshow: Not Getting Much Love from the US and Italy

The click rate on the menu, search bar and slideshow differs from country to country; some regional audiences are much more likely to click on these top homepage navigation elements. 

France has the highest combined click rate on all three of these elements on desktop (see above), while the UK has the highest click rate on these elements on mobile (49%). 

Users in the US, however, are not so click-happy when it comes to these top homepage elements, as they average in the lowest click rate of all the countries surveyed on desktop, roughly 43%. The US also holds the second lowest click rate on mobile, at 33%, only to be outdone by China, which has the lowest click rate on mobile, with only 13%.

As for the slideshow, visitors in the US and Italy show the least interest in this feature. The US has the lowest slideshow desktop click rate, at only 3.7%, followed by Italy, at 3.8%. Across all the countries we studied, the slideshow and the search bar received the least amount of interactions, with the menu coming out on top.

Slideshows drive small engagement in the US and Italy.


Visuals are a Big Engagement Driver in China and Japan 

Visual elements are a crucial ingredient of a good UX in China and Japan, as they produce the most engagement and fastest time to first click. Indeed, visitors in China and Japan are among the first to click on the slideshow. Japan proves that images rule, with the shortest time to first click — 87% faster than the global overage. The time to first click in China is 28% faster than that of the other countries.

While the slideshow is well-received by visitors in Japan and China, the search bar and menu don’t forge a good UX for these audiences, especially on mobile. These 2 site elements garner less interactions within these countries due to their complex writing systems. These elements are ill-adapted to Japanese and Chinese and it shows in the data, particularly in China, where the menu has 74% less engagement and the search bar 60% less than in the other countries. 

While visuals do well in China and Japan, the menu and search bar underperforms in these countries on mobile.

The Search Bar and Menu: Successful in the UK 

Unlike visitors in Japan and China, those in the UK are much engaged with the menu and search bar, as they depend on it more than any of the surveyed countries. Certain in what they want, this audience is eager to find the quickest path to product. 

Opposing the UX in Japan and China, the search bar is crystal clear to UK visitors, who use it roughly 45% more than the users in all of the other countries we surveyed. Mobile visitors in the UK also dominate in menu use, and are 50% more likely to rely on this feature than anywhere else.

Specifically, the UK click rate on the menu comes in at 38.3%, the highest out of all the countries on desktop. Its click rate on the search bar is also the highest, at 6.7%.

The Menu Reels in the Best Usage in France and Germany

The menu is the most preferred navigation element in France and Germany, which reels in over 15% and over 11% higher engagement, respectively. Visitors in the UK and Italy are also highly reliant on the menu, while Chinese and Japanese visitors rarely use this function.

With a much heftier use of the menu in Europe, you ought to capitalize it by making it adhere to a clear, visual hierarchy. But it should also have an air of simplicity to maintain its good results for these countries.

More Formulated UX Tips from our Data on a Country Basis  

Here are a few more tips we extracted from our data assembly: 

Visitors in the US, UK and Italy are determined in their browsing and are looking for the shortest, most direct path to the product. So there’s no need to cram the slideshow. Instead, feature a highly visible, sticky search bar on mobile. This will assure that no matter how far down these global users scroll on the homepage, they’ll have an omnipresent shortcut to the product. Make sure this UX element is fully optimized: enabling an autocomplete function for all search queries will also appeal to this audience.

A general deduction of the European countries we examined is that visitors in these countries are highly engaged with the menu. Optimize it for desktop with a hoverable dropdown feature for ease of use. On mobile, a hamburger icon is a popular, quick menu access solution.

Accentuate the bestselling items on desktop and create a shortlist of recommended products and product categories. Another great UX strategy is to suggest content based on searches such as blog posts, videos, etc. This also presents a solid internal linking opportunity — not all of your content will be stumbled upon by SEO.

Remember, audiences in China and Japan interact heavily with visuals. Go bold with the slideshow: meld in dynamic content such as standout colors, videos and inspiring images. Use product links on the slideshow to lessen the path to purchases. Each image does not have to be bound by one product link. 

Since the use of the menu and search bar is low in these countries, add a sticky navigation bar, so it stays in your users’ site even as they scroll down the page.

Optimizing Navigation UX

That does it for our findings on the usage of the menu, search bar and slideshow across 7 countries. It’s time to start tailoring the UX of these site elements in line with the expectations of your local audience. 

Localizing the user experience is not simply limited to applying the language of the country your website is tailored for. Brands that can localize the experience in accordance with user expectations and habits will be well poised to improve retention and conversion rates, allowing them to conquer international markets.

Beauty Giant Avon Sees Sharp Increase in Engagements and Revenue

With 130 years of social selling under its belt, legacy beauty brand Avon has been ramping up its digital transformation,  setting its sights on conquering new spaces for customer experience optimization.

As part of its digital brand lift, Avon has been investing heavily in customer-friendly content, equipping teams with the right tools to make insight-led customer experience decisions.

We recently caught up with Rachel Bronstein, Avon’s Website Optimization Analyst, who told us how one A/B test on the product carousel led to a 35% increase in revenue.

Applying Valuable User Experience Metrics

The team at Avon analyzed two category pages — makeup and skincare — to understand desktop customer journeys on these pages: how visitors were reaching the site, where they landed, and what they were doing once they were on the page.

They discovered that the product carousel on this page (which is where the company highlights best-selling products) had a low 60% exposure rate on desktop, meaning 40% of visitors were not even seeing it.

Many customers were seeing the banner image above the fold (what the team at Avon refers to as the A Spot banner) but were not scrolling down to the carousel.

A deeper analysis showed that, despite the low exposure of the product carousel, it had a high attractiveness rate and a healthy conversion per click rate, meaning that those who did scroll down to see it were likely to click and — even better news — to convert.

The team had already considered the potential benefit of shrinking the height of the A Spot banner to bring the carousel up the fold, but there had been insufficient data to back up this decision.

Armed with new customer behavior knowledge, the team decided to test the impact of a banner redesign to see if a permanent design change was the way forward.

The A/B Test Leading to User Experience Optimization

A/B testing is a key part of Avon’s continuous digital optimization strategy, and the team comes together every other week to discuss ideas of what tests to run next as part of its customer experience optimization.

The test subject on this occasion was primarily the banner, which the Avon team decided to shrink to determine if doing so would lift the exposure rate. Also part of the test was moving the carousel higher up on the page so that it would be in better view of the visitors.

The area of concern for Avon with cutting down the A Spot banner was that it might devalue this area of the site — the team was concerned that with the product carousel more prominent, consumers might disregard the banner. Running the test was therefore a crucial step to take before executing any changes — even the newly data-backed ones.

During the A/B test, the team at Avon paid special attention to a bounty of specialized metrics:  exposure, clicks, scroll, time spent on an element, and bounce and exit rates. Last but certainly not least, the brand studied conversion metrics and compared them against one another in each version of the makeup category product page.

Initial exposure rate analysis of the Makeup category page.

 

A/B Test Results and UX Implementations

The page with the shorter banner saw positive outcomes across the board. It led to a 44% increase in exposure, which climbed from 57% in the control page to 82% in the variant page. The click rate increased by 24% and the bounce and exit rates dwindled. The team also reported a 5-second increase of time spent on the page.

These uplifts resulted in a 35% increase in overall revenue in the carousel zone. The revenue in the variant page was 6% higher than that of the control page.

The test also disproved Avon’s original misgivings of reducing the banner, in that it did not negatively affect its performance — quite the opposite! Revenue generated by the banner increased by 2% during the test, strengthening the argument to change the standard size of the category page banner.

Original layout (left), and the variant layout with a smaller banner image (right).

 

Combining the Power of UX Analytics and A/B Tests

After this experience, the team decided to use Contentsquare with every test. Today, 20 people across several departments regularly use the solution to underpin UX optimization actions. The tool’s clear visualization means everyone on the team can understand behavior-measuring metrics like exposure rate, and see the impact of changes.

The other main benefit of anchoring the A/B testing strategy to Contentsquare metrics was how quickly the team was able to see uplift. Following the initial batch of insights, the test was up and running within a week, ran for a couple of weeks and results were analyzed in just a few days. Having indisputable results to share with the entire team also secured team-wide buy-in for implementing the winning variant.

Contentsquare answers the question of “how” and “why” and this is extremely valuable to our team with regards to our A/B tests and site analyses.

“Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is the visual representation of behavior that Contentsquare provides,” said Rachel Bronstein.

“We can sit in a room, take a look at the results and come up with a plan of action. We ran our test for two weeks, analyzed the results immediately thereafter and put a plan in motion on the day the results were presented. Contentsquare has empowered our team to make data-driven decisions quickly,” said Bronstein

The customer experience optimization strategy has proven to be an all in all victorious one for Avon’s engagement and revenue. It could not have happened without the consolidation of critical tools: unique behavioral UX metrics, which picked apart the elements and their performances in the category page, leading the team to understand what was going on UX-wise at a granular level; and the ensuing A/B test, allowing the brand to confidently determine how to best improve the UX.