A/B Testing Ideas To Turn Your E-commerce Store Into A Conversion Magnet

Is your e-commerce website experiencing high traffic but low checkouts? Is your cart abandonment rate at an all-time high? Are you losing prospect customers because something on your website is putting them off and are not sure how to make visitors leave the site only after finishing a purchase? This blog will help you unlock […]

The post A/B Testing Ideas To Turn Your E-commerce Store Into A Conversion Magnet appeared first on Blog.

Is your e-commerce website experiencing high traffic but low checkouts? Is your cart abandonment rate at an all-time high? Are you losing prospect customers because something on your website is putting them off and are not sure how to make visitors leave the site only after finishing a purchase?

This blog will help you unlock the true potential of your online store. Keep reading to learn a few ideas while you are A/B testing for e-commerce to turn your store into a CONVERSION magnet. But don’t take our word for it. A/B test them to see what works for your e-commerce store.

Have A Prominent CTA

Your Call-To-Action (CTA) button should stand out as soon as a visitor lands on your website. This is where the real action takes place – whether or not visitors finish their purchases and convert, if they fill out the sign-up form or not, and more such actions that have a direct bearing on your conversion rate. A/B test different copies, placement & sizes for your CTA till you find the winning variation. Some key characteristics of a magnetic CTA:

  • Be Creatively Persuasive: CTA text should be persuasive and creative at the same time and should encourage visitors to act-in-the-moment.
  • Make it Unmissable: If your CTA is too small to be noticed or placed in the wrong spot and visitors have to look for it, they are most likely going to leave your page without converting.

Add An Omnipresent Search Bar

Support your website navigation with an omnipresent search bar. Build an omnipresent search bar keeping in mind two metrics: Precision and Recall.

  • Precision is the percentage of retrieved search results that are relevant.
  • Recall is the percentage of all relevant results that the search system actually retrieves.

Imagine that on your website, you have 1000 products, of which 300 are mobile phones. When visitors search for mobile phones, they get 500 results. Of those 500 search results, only 100 of them are mobile phones; the remaining 400 are not relevant to the search. That means the precision is 100/500 or 20%. The recall would be 100/300 or 33%, as the search engine only found 100 of the 300 mobile phones available on the site, which means that 200 mobile phones didn’t show up on your search-results page at all. A perfect search engine would give only 300 results, corresponding to the 300  mobile phones available on the site, so it would have 100% precision and recall.

Building an omnipresent search bar keeping in mind precision and recall:

  • It will improve your website’s search performance and UX.
  • It allows visitors to quickly locate a product category or something specific without having to scroll through endless product pages to find what they are looking for.
  • It enables visitors to narrow their options and supports their ability to return to an item previously located.

If you do not have an omnipresent search bar, you may try A/B testing it against your existing design.

Ease Your Site Navigability

Good navigation reduces a visitor’s cognitive load. If your website navigation is stressing the visitor, it is time to rethink its functionality and make navigational paths shorter and simpler. The higher the mental load on the visitor, the higher the chances of them bouncing off your website. Each click should direct visitors to the desired page.

Here are some ideas that can help you up your navigation game:

  • Match visitor expectations by placing your navigation bar in standard places like horizontal navigation on the top and vertical down the left to make your website easier to use.
  • Too many navigation options can confuse visitors and lead them off your website. If your page has too many links, A/B test each one of them to determine which one is distracting your visitors most.

Enlisted items should be the most relevant ones. With fewer items, visitors are more likely to spot important items. Each item removed means added importance to the remaining ones.

Keep It Visually Neat

Because everything seems so essential, e-commerce entrepreneurs find it very challenging to simplify their website. As e-commerce stores, you do not have the liberty to go imageless with your website. Customers like to see every detail in high-definition before they buy.

But it is time to be brave and make cuts to the website. Get rid of every element that is a distraction:

  • Home page and landing page

Add plenty of white space and high definition images, feature product videos instead of images or test out different layouts. De-clutter your pages using clickmaps to analyze dead clicks and identify distractions. The less cluttered your home page and landing page, the more likely that visitors easily find what they are looking for.

  • Product page

Your product page should address your potential buyer’s concerns and hesitations without getting cluttered:

  • Provide all necessary context: Based on the products you sell, find creative ways to provide all necessary context so prospective buyers do not get overwhelmed with an unorganized copy while looking for answers to their queries. Provide clear copies, size charts, color options, and visual guides and instructions if a product needs assembly.
  • Customer reviews are critical: Add customer reviews for every product possible. Do not omit negative reviews as they add credibility to your store.
  • Keep your copy simple: Do not confuse prospective buyers with descriptions that are decorated with over-complicated language. Keep it simple and fun to read.
  • Create urgency: Your product page should create a need among prospective buyers to purchase your products. A  ‘soon going out of stock’ pop-up, keeping a countdown like ‘3 more left’ or highlighting exclusive product discounts can be some ways to nudge a prospective buyer to purchase immediately.

Zalora, the fastest growing online fashion retailer in Asia, optimized its product page and increased conversion by 12.3%.

Ease Your Checkout Process

Many prospective buyers to convert into buyers, make sure they do not get thrown off by a complicated checkout process. A well-designed checkout allows shoppers to complete their purchase quickly and conveniently, while a poor user-experience can cause friction and cart abandonment.

Here are some ideas that may help you optimize your checkout process:

  • Add multiple payment options (and test each payment option)
  • Introduce single page checkout (and reduce the freedom and excuse to delay purchase)
  • Highlight shipping and return offers (create a sense of urgency through them)
  • Add a progress bar to your checkout (let your customers know where they are in the process and how much longer it will take to complete their purchase)
  • Allow guest checkout
  • Reduce form fields
  • Add “similar products” recommendations

Test Rotating Carousels On The Website Home Page

Automatic rotating carousels are often thought of as an easy solution to provide better navigation to all the important content on the site. Before implementing these, A/B test your ideas because they may have worked for other websites, but the story can be entirely different for your website.  

There can be two parts to A/B testing the addition of rotating carousels:

  • First, A/B test to see how your visitors are reacting to the carousel addition.
  • Once the result comes in (and if it is positive), A/B test the format of your carousel.

There are different types of carousels that you can test to be used on your website like automatic sliders, visitor controlled slider, horizontal carousels, vertical carousels, carousels with images, carousels with videos, etc.

Add Social Proof

Social proof such as recommendations and reviews comes from experts of the particular fields, from celebrities and customers themselves. There is a strong correlation between the number of online reviews an e-commerce website has and its sales.

Express Watches, an authorized Seiko watch dealer that ships to over 23 countries, witnessed a 58.29% increase in sales by adding a customer review widget to their website.

Click here to know about more ways to use social proof for higher conversions.

Inform Prospective Buyers About Abandoned Carts

According to research, 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned right before a user completes their purchase. Prospective buyers add products to their cart and forget about them.

To prevent the loss of customers through abandoned carts, you can set up cart abandonment notifications on your website. While some prospects may go ahead and delete the items they don’t intend to buy, such notifications can act as reminders for items that people would have added and perhaps forgotten about.

By nurturing prospective buyers with more information and creating an urgency that nudges them to take action, the chances of them converting to customers increases. Yo! Free Samples, an online store giving out free samples and coupons, nailed 99% revisit to their website using push notifications.  

Highlight Your Offers And Discounts

E-commerce businesses often roll out multiple offers in the form of discount coupons, website-wide flat discounts, loyalty points, free gifts, exchange offer and so on. If visitors are not aware of them, the offers will not produce the desired result.

Showpo, an online pure play women’s fashion company, highlighted certain offers on its product page and increased its conversions by 6.09%.

Put Up Noticeable Trust Signals

Trust signals are qualities of your website that inspires trust in the minds of your visitors. They usually take the form of badges, certificates, money back guarantee, 100% satisfaction or testimonials. As business owners, you have to give visitors reasons to trust you. The best way to do this is to provide your shoppers with hard evidence that you are a trustworthy website to buy from.  

For example, if you want prospective buyers to make payments on your website, popular payment trust seals that you can add are McAfee, TrustArc, and Verisign to reassure them that their personal data is safe with you. You may also add industry (specific) association logos and certificates to establish the credibility of your website.  

Parting Words

The list of A/B testing for e-commerce ideas enumerated above is in no way exhaustive. You can either draw inspiration from these or come up with your own testing ideas to improve your store’s conversion rate. However, the bottom-line to optimizing your e-commerce website seems to be the same for all the pages: they should be straightforward, relevant and informative.

All you need to know is how to combine and balance functionality, usability, security, and design. Adopt a continuous testing approach until you turn your e-commerce store into a conversion magnet. Following a structured CRO process will enable you to pinpoint exact problem areas and allow you to use learning from each test to improve your subsequent tests. If you are unsure about how to start, here is an 8-week DIY Guide to help you kickstart your CRO program.

The post A/B Testing Ideas To Turn Your E-commerce Store Into A Conversion Magnet appeared first on Blog.

How to Implement Website Surveys without Affecting Conversions – Intended Consequences

In this episode of Intended Consequences, we discover how to implement website surveys that actually help increase conversions and we evaluate some great tools to measure and analyze the gathered data. Implementing website surveys is always a great ide…

In this episode of Intended Consequences, we discover how to implement website surveys that actually help increase conversions and we evaluate some great tools to measure and analyze the gathered data. Implementing website surveys is always a great idea. Unfortunately, if wrongly implemented, they may lower conversions. Our visitors may decide to respond to the […]

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Intended Consequences Podcast Season 1, Episode 1: Mouseflow

Don’t miss the first episode of the first Podcast season, where we chat with Mouseflow, a user-behavior analytics tool and cover recordings, heatmaps, funnels. Plus, how to manage helicopter executives. Intended Consequences Podcast Season 1 Epis…

Don’t miss the first episode of the first Podcast season, where we chat with Mouseflow, a user-behavior analytics tool and cover recordings, heatmaps, funnels. Plus, how to manage helicopter executives. Intended Consequences Podcast Season 1 Episode 1: Key Takeaways Exit Intent: Not sure what this means? You’ll learn about that and why it matters. What […]

The post Intended Consequences Podcast Season 1, Episode 1: Mouseflow appeared first on Conversion Sciences.

We Used Ahrefs to Analyze 25 Highly Competitive eCommerce Search Terms. Here’s What We Found

How can you rank your eCommerce product pages for competitive terms? What page elements help product pages rank well for trending and profitable keywords? Is building as many backlinks as possible really the key to ranking well? (Hint: nope) To help answer these questions, we identified 25 competitive eCommerce terms that have been trending upward

How can you rank your eCommerce product pages for competitive terms? What page elements help product pages rank well for trending and profitable keywords?

Is building as many backlinks as possible really the key to ranking well? (Hint: nope)

To help answer these questions, we identified 25 competitive eCommerce terms that have been trending upward in search volume in the past year (according to data from Google Trends and Shopify).

We used Ahrefs to analyze the top ten results for each keyword, then looked for trends among the results.

Some of our key findings:

  • Site authority and page authority helps product pages rank in the top 10—but they are not enough to get the top spots on their own.
  • For high authority sites, a few quality backlinks gave a strong boost to rankings.
  • Ranking in the first organic position was not a guarantee that a site would receive the most traffic.

Note: We’ve worked with dozens of eCommerce companies to increase conversions based on organic traffic. We can create a custom SEO strategy for your business. Contact us here.

It’s Difficult to Rank in the Top 10 with a Low Domain Rating

Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) is a measure of the strength of a site’s backlink profile and overall authority.

DR is measured on a scale from 0-100. Sites with a DR over 90 tend to be household names like Amazon and eBay. Sites with a DR over 60 are often more niche sites—but ones that have a strong backlink profile.

Here’s the distribution of DR for every page that ranked in the top 10 organic results on Google from the results of our 25 keywords:

eCommerce product pages: Ahrefs Domain Rating of Sites Ranking in First 10 Positions on Google

Most sites that rank for these competitive keywords have thousands of backlinks.

If you don’t have that many backlinks, don’t worry. We’ll talk more about ranking product pages on sites with lower domain authority scores.

Site Authority Helps You Get into the Top 10—but Not to Advance into the Top Spots

How important is your site authority to ranking for the first position of Google? We looked at the median DR of sites by ranking to find out more:

eCommerce product pages: Median Ahrefs Domain Rating by Google Ranking

From the previous graph, we know that having site authority is important to ranking in the top 10. This graph shows that once you’re in the top ten, more authority won’t necessarily push you to the top.

If there was a strong correlation between ranking in the top of the first ten results and overall authority, you would expect the median Domain Rating of the top spots to be better than the lower spots.

Page Authority Matters to a Certain Extent

Ahrefs has another metric to estimate the ranking power of a single page called URL Rating (UR). You can think of it as an estimation of how Google rates the page authority of a single URL.

Like Domain Rating, URL Rating is also based on a 0-100 scale. Here’s the median UR at each position for our eCommerce keywords list:

eCommerce product pages: Median Ahrefs URL Rating by Google Ranking

Like Domain Rating, increasing the authority of an individual page seems to have a point of diminishing returns.

That doesn’t mean that aiming for a higher UR is a bad choice. It may very well contribute to you outranking some of the bigger sites like Amazon. Consider the current rankings for “yoga mats”:

A sample of what's displayed in a google search for "yoga mats". Proving that some outrank bigger sites like Amazon when they have a higher UR.

The top three results are product pages from smaller eCommerce sites that are outranking the product page from Amazon.

The smaller sites’ product pages all have a better backlink profile and UR than the product page. That doesn’t mean that page authority is the only reason they outrank Amazon, but it definitely helps.

One of your advantages against a big company like Amazon is that you’re willing to spend more time ranking a particular product page. Amazon isn’t going to do as much link building or optimizing for a single product page.

While site authority and page authority do seem to be necessary to rank for these competitive terms, Ahrefs’ DR and UR are not perfect estimates of how Google decides how to rank pages.

Consider this screenshot of the current rankings for “tank tops.” The second-to-last result has a lower DR and UR than the last result:

A sample of what's displayed in a google search for "tank tops". Proving that the second-to-last result has a lower DR and UR than the last result.

DR and UR are useful concepts, but take them with a grain of salt. Better scores in a tool like Ahrefs does not always mean you’ll get better rankings in Google.

The Quality of Backlinks Seems to Matter as Much (Or More) as the Overall Number of Backlinks

If you want to rank a product page, how many backlinks do you need to build? We analyzed the median number of referring domains by position to find out.

eCommerce product pages: Median Number of Referring Domains by Google Ranking

We can see a slight correlation between the number of referring domains to a page and its Google ranking.

At first glance, this seems to contradict the previous graph in which UR stopped mattering after a certain point. After all, UR is a measure of the backlink profile of a single URL.

How we reconcile this difference is to remember that Ahrefs UR takes into account the quality of a backlink. Our guess is that sites that rank in the higher position are more likely to have some low-quality backlinks. That means more referring domains but no meaningful change in UR.

All of this points to the importance of just building high-quality backlinks. We saw in our data clear examples of product pages ranking without a huge number of backlinks.

Here’s a screenshot for what comes up first in Google for “yoga leggings.”

A sample of what's displayed in a google search for "yoga leggings". Proving that product pages rank without a huge number of backlinks.

Yoga leggings a relatively competitive term with clear buyer intent. Yet, the first domain ranking only has one backlink (we checked, and it is from an authoritative site). The next two results have many more backlinks, but that hasn’t earned them a higher ranking. Take note that all have a DR above 50.

The rest of the pages ranking for “yoga leggings” have a UR between 11 and 20 and a DR above 40. This reinforces our earlier conclusions that building backlinks to a site and a page only work to a certain point.

Ranking First Doesn’t Guarantee the Most Search Traffic

Conventional wisdom says that the higher you rank, the more traffic you will get. This is almost certainly true for a single search as people mostly click the top results. But, pages that rank for competitive keywords also tend to rank for other long-tail phrases.

This means that it’s possible that a page that doesn’t rank at the top for a competitive keyword still gets more overall search traffic than the top ranking site.

For example, look at the top 3 results for “heat vests”:

A sample of what's displayed in a google search for "heat vest". Proving that it's possible that even if you aren't ranked at the top, you can still get quality search traffic.

The third result receives more overall search traffic than the first result. To be clear, this is not a measurement of traffic from this search alone. Instead, it’s a measurement of all search traffic when looking at all the keywords this page ranks for.

To see how often a page that doesn’t rank first for a head term gets more overall search traffic than the first ranking page, we looked at the position with the most traffic for each of our 25 eCommerce keywords:

eCommerce product pages: Position with the Most Traffic by Keyword

In only 10 out of 25 keywords did the top ranking site have the most SEO traffic overall. In the other 15 cases, a site that didn’t rank in the first position received the most SEO traffic.

So how important is it to rank at the top of a competitive keyword? We looked at how overall traffic is distributed amongst the sites ranking in the top 10:

eCommerce product pages: Median Overall Search Traffic by Google Ranking

The product pages we analyzed that ranked first did receive the most overall search traffic, but it’s not as disproportionate as is often portrayed.

You may have read that long-tail keywords are responsible for 70% of all SEO traffic. This graph shows why focusing on the long-tail is a much easier path to getting SEO traffic.

Instead of relying on just one search which fluctuates based on the ever-changing Google algorithms, ranking for hundreds or thousands of long-tail keywords can make your product page more resilient against Google’s changes.

Small Relationship Between Ranking and Total Keywords

We also investigated whether a page that ranks higher will rank for have more keywords:

eCommerce product pages: Median Number of Total Keywords by Google Ranking

The minor correlation between position and keywords reinforces how nebulous the long tail is. Still, there are general principles you can follow to maximize long tail rankings (as we’ve described here).

In Closing…

  • Increasing your site and page authority with a robust backlink profile can give you the chance to rank for keywords that you otherwise would have almost no chance of ranking for.
  • A handful of quality backlinks can help your product page break into the top 10 and even outrank some of the biggest eCommerce sites.
  • Instead of focusing on ranking for a singular term, try to rank for many long tail keywords.

Note: Want a custom in-depth assessment of your search ranking performance? Contact us to get started.

How to Choose the Best eCommerce Agency for Your Needs

What would it look like to find the best eCommerce agency for your company? What signals would you look for to decide if they were delivering value?

What would it look like to find the best eCommerce agency for your company?

If you hired that agency, how would you judge “success”? What signals would you look for to decide if they were delivering value?

In what follows, we’ll share with you how we think about delivering value. We’ll also share some decision-making criteria you can use when evaluating an eCommerce agency.

As you’ll see, if there’s one thing to look for, it’s this:

  • A strategic consultant focused on results, not on a one-size-fits-all order taker.

Note: At Inflow, we work with dozens of eCommerce companies to increase traffic, conversions, and sales. Let us create a custom strategy for your business. Get started now.

What the Cookie Cutter Approach Looks Like

Avoid the cookie cutter approach when it comes to your eCommerce agency.

There are many eCommerce agencies with set packages: silver, gold, platinum, etc.

A tactical approach sounds like this:

  • “We publish one blog post per week and build five links to each of them.”

The problem with the cookie cutter approach is that it is not designed to meet the needs of your company. You can identify an agency that’s taking this approach by looking for the following:

1. Same Activities for All Clients

The Best eCommerce Agency shouldn't have the same strategy for each client.

Some agencies usually execute the same set of activities for all clients, regardless of the product, the market, or the competition.

They often have service levels such as silver, bronze, and platinum. Clients choose how much of the agency’s services they want by choosing one of the service levels.

There’s nothing wrong with service levels, of course. The problem happens when the agency’s activities never change and the activities are focused on execution rather than what really matters: the result.

2. Activities Are Standard and Don’t Change

The best eCommerce Agency isn't solely focused on tactics with a set list of activities it executes.

An agency focused on tactics has a set list of activities it executes, and those activities never change.

An SEO agency might publish four articles a month, for example. A PPC agency might run three ads a week, then rotate them on your behalf. Or a CRO agency might run one conversion test every three weeks.

What’s missing from this approach is innovation and prioritization against target goals.

The agency isn’t actively trying to find new ways to meet your needs. It’s simply executing a list of activities, and those activities never change.

3. Reactive

Avoid reactive agencies that will stunt your growth as a company.

Finally, agencies focused on tactics are usually reactive rather than proactive.

You might have to ask them what’s happening with your account or for their insights into a recent change in the results.

This is because a purely tactical approach isn’t focused on meeting your company’s goals. It’s just focused on deliverables, so that’s what the agency focuses on.

What a Strategic Approach Looks Like

A strategic approach is goal-focused. The agency starts with your goals, then designs activities to meet those.

A strategic approach sounds like this:

  • “Here’s the strategy we’ve designed to help you meet your goals.”

You can identify an agency that’s taking a strategic approach by looking for the following:

1. Activities Aligned with Your Company’s Goals

The best eCommerce agency acts as strategic partners for their clients.

The best eCommerce agencies act as strategic partners for their clients.

They start by identifying your goals and evaluating your present situation. Then they design a strategy they believe will best help you meet those goals.

Instead of having a standard list of activities they perform, they have a menu, a group of tactics they can execute if your situation calls for it.

Think of it this way: If your house had a falling foundation and cracks were showing in your walls, you wouldn’t want someone to simply replace the drywall.

A strategic partner will focus on the foundation first since that’s what matters the most.

2. All Activities Flow from Strategy

Best eCommmerce agency: Strategy comes first.

Strategy comes first, and all activities flow from that strategy.

Instead of saying, “We publish four articles each month,” you’ll hear something much more specific.

They might say, “We believe the best thing we could do to increase sales is to increase organic traffic and your conversion rate on your product pages. For those reasons, we propose publishing four articles a month plus a series of conversion rate optimization tests on your product pages.”

See how different that is from an agency that only thinks tactically?

3. Proactive and Transparent

You want an eCommerce agency that is proactive and transparent.

Finally, a strategic partner is available to discuss strategy whenever needed. They are transparent about what they’re doing on your behalf, why they’re doing it, and how things are going.

If something underperforms, they’re just as open about their failures as they are about their successes. Testing and learning from data can be a very important piece of a successful digital strategy.

Most importantly, an agency taking a strategic approach is innovative—offering new ideas and changing their tactics accordingly.

They’re proactively trying to find new ways to meet the goals you’ve agreed on.

Choose a Partner, Not a Vendor

Ultimately, the reason any eCommerce company hires an agency is to increase sales from its website.

In the early stages, however, it can take some time before the numbers really start to improve, and this is completely normal. Some initiatives can have a positive impact on sales immediately. Others build slowly over time.

That’s why it’s important to identify an agency that starts its process by understanding your goals and evaluating your current situation because this is the best way to maximize your results. Strategic partners start with the highest impact activities to improve your bottom line and meet your business objectives.

Look for an agency that acts like a partner, not just a vendor with a set list of services.

Note: Let us prepare a custom in-depth assessment of your eCommerce performance and a strategy for improving your results. Contact us to get started.

Online glossary of A/B testing terms and abbreviations

We are happy to present a brand new addition to our website: a comprehensive A/B testing glossary containing terms and abbreviations used testing as part of conversion rate optimization (CRO).  Definitions start from very basic things such as “A/…

We are happy to present a brand new addition to our website: a comprehensive A/B testing glossary containing terms and abbreviations used testing as part of conversion rate optimization (CRO).  Definitions start from very basic things such as “A/B test“, “mean“, “conversion rate” and “revenue per user“, go through “hypothesis“, “null hypothesis“, “standard deviation“, “p-value” […] Read More...

Research: How BBB Seal Negatively Impacted Conversions on a Client’s eCommerce Site

The BBB trust seal decreased conversions of our eCommerce client, per recent tests. Our hypothesis why: customer star reviews on business profiles.

Recently we tested the presence of the Better Business Bureau’s seal on one of our retail client’s eCommerce sites. Specifically, we tested its impact on conversions.

And we were very surprised by what we found.

In an A/B test with and without the badge, the version without the badge resulted in a 5% lift in conversions.

The version with the BBB badge had less conversions.

Presence of BBB seal resulted in less conversions.

This is the opposite result we’ve found in the past, when the badge lifted conversions in other tests we’d run.

So what was different?

Our hypothesis is this: it’s not the badge itself. It’s what customers find when they click through the badge to the company’s business profile on the BBB’s site.

Customer reviews.

The BBB added "star reviews" to business profiles.

Our previous tests occurred before the BBB added customer reviews to business profile pages.

In this article, we’re going to walk through the consequences of the BBB’s decision to roll out customer reviews on its website, including data from our own tests and what we recommend doing about it.

Before Star Reviews

Consumers view the BBB with respect. Because of this, in the past, we found that including a badge on your site can increase brand trust — and conversions.

In fact, previous tests resulted in a 4 to 15% lift in conversions with the BBB seal.

This is true of other trusted seals, as well. Over many tests of different security and customer service seals, we found that Norton, McAfee and BBB seals were the most likely to increase conversions.

But, in the case of the BBB, it wasn’t just the badge that helped.

We suspect that part of why the BBB badge worked so well in the past is because potential customers could click on the badge to a business’s profile on the BBB site.

There they’d find useful information about a business, such as the number of years it has been in business and BBB accredited. Having a detailed history of the business can increase consumer trust.

Information on BBB's site could increase trust in your company.

Visitors that are likely to be positively impacted by the presence of a BBB seal are interested in the company whose site they’re visiting. And those visitors may click through it to read about the company.

This used to be a good thing.

Until the addition of the star reviews.

Note: Making small changes to your site, such as adding or removing a trust badge, can make big differences to your conversion rate. Want to know what else we’d recommend?  Get started now.

After Star Reviews

In 2014, the BBB began rolling out star-based customer reviews on business profile pages. But because business profiles are managed by local branches of the BBB, you might not have been impacted until recently. For instance, the Alberta area implemented reviews in 2015 and Omaha area in 2016.

Now, if you use the BBB badge on your site, it may be negatively impacting your eCommerce site.

This is what we found in our most recent A/B test (with and without the BBB badge).

The version without the BBB badge resulted in a 5.3% lift in conversions with a 99% confidence rate.

Completely opposite what we’d seen in the past.

Even companies with an A+ BBB rating can still have a low star average. In fact, it’s very common.

The customer reviews don't match the BBB seal rating, therefore discouraging customers from making the final purchase.

People don’t go to the BBB to say positive things about a business —  they go to complain about a company and prompt them to resolve their issue.

Now, customer complaints and reviews are separate things. When a consumer files a complaint against a company, the business can improve its letter grade by responding to and resolving that complaint.

On the other hand, the business cannot raise its customer review score. It’s simply the average number of stars left by customers.

This is why visitors may see an A+ Rating on your site, and then click through to find one-star reviews on the BBB’s site, which can kill their trust in your brand.

Why The BBB Added Star Reviews

Katherine Hutt, a national spokesperson for the BBB explained that online reviews were tied to the organization’s mission. “For more than a century, BBB has been all about fostering trust in the marketplace between businesses and consumers. What started out as a truth-in-advertising campaign in 1912 has grown to include dispute resolution, industry self-regulation, consumer education, and charity reports.”

Reviews are vetted by BBB team members and require reviewers to prove that they were a customer before the review is posted.

The reviews are meant to be a more credible way for customers to find information about a business they’re interested in.

We Recommend Testing and Alternative Sources for Reviews

If you have a BBB seal on your site, we recommend testing the impact of linking to the BBB’s site.

We also recommend looking into alternative customer review platforms, such as Trustpilot or ShopperApproved. These platforms automatically aggregate your reviews and send them to Google to be used on search pages.

Consumer reviews via Trustpilot.

The benefit of such a platform is that you can set up emails and online forms to encourage your customers to review your business.

The placement and size of trust badges can make a difference when it comes to conversion optimization.

If you’re interested in implementing a review platform or testing the presence of trust badges, we can help. Contact Us.

Mobile Video Optimization And Its Impact On Conversions

Mobile video optimization isn’t only about making videos play smoothly on smartphones of different screen sizes. Popular video hosting sites can help you to that end. Vimeo and Wistia even offer responsive embedded code so that you can upload videos on your landing pages or blogs without worrying about the container size. Even if your […]

The post Mobile Video Optimization And Its Impact On Conversions appeared first on Blog.

Mobile video optimization isn’t only about making videos play smoothly on smartphones of different screen sizes. Popular video hosting sites can help you to that end.

Vimeo and Wistia even offer responsive embedded code so that you can upload videos on your landing pages or blogs without worrying about the container size.

Even if your website is responsive, embedded videos with fixed width can give your visitors an unpleasant experience. And studies say that half of your users are less likely to engage with you if you give them a bad mobile experience. So, the next time you are planning to embed a video, go for responsive instead of “fixed width.”

Optimizing videos for mobile can be tricky. This article will not just help you fit your videos within the screen of a mobile device, but also help you improve these videos to increase conversions.

We have more video optimization hacks laid out for you below. Dig in.

And note that making videos playable on mobile is not your end goal. What matters more is conversion. Why are we even paying so much attention to mobile?

Mobile Video Optimization: Reasons

The reason we want you to be serious about mobile video optimization is because of these 2 stats:

1. Mobiles give you a wider reach compared to desktops. A study indicates that there are more mobile users now than desktop users.

Source

2. By 2021, 75% of all mobile traffic will come from video content.

Per these 2 points, you get the idea that mobile browsing is on the rise and people like to watch videos, more on the smartphone than on their desktop. Ergo thinking out a mobile-first strategy is crucial for your video marketing success.

After all, it’s much easier to watch a video on your phone. And the cherry? 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others. That means easy marketing for you—higher views, engagement, and click-throughs!

Let us now move to how videos can be optimized to drive conversions on mobile devices:

Optimization Tip 1: A/B Test Vertical Video Ads

Most videos are designed to play in the landscape orientation. But let’s face it—we hold our phones vertically 94% of the time. So, it can be a hassle to flip your phone just to watch a video and then flip it back. Sounds like a waste of time, right? Many marketers thought so and are now A/B testing their ads with vertical videos.

Source

Vertical videos are popping up as in-app ads too. So far, we have heard a lot of success stories about use of vertical videos.

Chartboost adopted the vertical video ad format, and reported that their advertisers saw up to 20% lift in install per thousand impressions (IPM). That’s great, right?

Even a study from Facebook saw people preferring vertical video content:
– 79% of the novice vertical video consumers were in favor of the vertical video format.
– 65% of respondents applauded brands that are using vertical video for their advertising as “more innovative.”

So, prepare to contribute to this brave new world of vertical video content.

Optimization Tip 2: Use Native Video Uploads to Get More Views

Natively uploaded videos play automatically while you need to click to play videos that have been linked with other platforms. Facebook reports imply that you can achieve as much as 1055.41% higher average share rate with native videos compared to YouTube third-party video links.

So, don’t be a stranger to this native video tactic.

In one of the expert interviews, Matthew Vazquez also asserted the importance of uploading your video separately on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook each, and to use modified descriptions with strategic keyword density for all 3 uploads. Matthew says that “this is powerful when done right because now you’ve 3X your SEO potential.”

Source

Optimization Tip 3: Ensure That Your Landing Page Video Is Mobile-Compatible

Conversion prophets have revealed that adding an explainer video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by
up to 23%.

Source

One of the best landing pages using an explainer video as the conversion bait was that of Dropbox. They had kept their landing page simple with one engaging video and a download button. Visitors watched the video, saw the benefit of using Dropbox, and proceeded to download it. It was a simple funnel, and the conversion rate was high. Reports say that Dropbox earned a million users and bagged a revenue of $48 million.

There are a few problems when it comes to adding a video to your landing page:

– To begin with, ensure that your landing page video is responsive. As we shared in the beginning, you can use Wistia or Vimeo’s responsive embedded code to get this done. These video-hosting platforms offer incredible analytics to help you monitor your video performance. You will get cool insights, such as at which point your viewers are dropping off, and will be able to use these to optimize the playback accordingly.
– Use a thumbnail that prompts visitors to play the video. Never put your landing page video on autoplay. That’s a no-no.
– Keep your video short; 60 to 90 seconds is the best. (Stats say 59% of viewers will watch your video to the end if it’s under a minute.) The idea is to ensure that your video isn’t too heavy and that it shouldn’t lag.
– Position the Call to Action (CTA) button next to the video. Also, ensure that the narrator ends the video with a verbal CTA message, or use text to highlight CTA on the end screen. Try doing both as well.
– Try user testing to see how your target audience interact with the video. Check if they click the video right away or if they are distracted by some other elements on your landing page.

Select these probable issues before spending on PPC campaigns and ads. After that’s done, you will have a landing page with a video that can get you the ROI.

Optimization Tip 4: Ensure that your video has a call to action at the end

Remember those “Please subscribe to our channel.” requests that video makers leave with at the end of the video? These work.

If you watch a video till the end, that means you already like it. So when the creator politely asks you to subscribe, there’s a good chance you would do it.

Call to actions are, therefore, important.

These instruct your users on the next course of action—what they should do after watching the video. So, don’t just put up your CTA message or link in the video description. Say it. Have the narrator of the video conclude your video with the call to action message.

You can also use the actor in the video to point to the CTA button at the end. (If it’s an animation video, use a hand illustration or directional cues.) You will notice that many YouTube video creators use this tactic to request the viewers to subscribe.

There’s another CTA hack. If you are using YouTube, it is its annotation and card features. You can also use these to pop up your CTA link on the screen itself. For mobile users, that makes navigation easier.

Source

Optimization Tip 5: Use typography or subtitles to get a reaction

Your videos should make sense even when muted.

With platforms like Facebook and Twitter having the muted autoplay feature, you are bound to have viewers who will look at your video for a few seconds to determine if it’s worth watching. This means that you can’t afford to have videos that rely only on audio and narration.

Your video should make sense even without the audio or at least provide a context of what’s being presented. Mute your video and see if the idea is being conveyed even without the audio, or if the visual is powerful enough to make the viewers turn the volume up or put on their earphones (if they are at a public place).

Best way—try adding captions or subtitles or use typography animation. Either will help you grab viewer attention, engage them even with a muted video, and get a reaction.

Conclusion

Making your video play on mobile devices is not your end goal. As a marketer and business owner, what matters more is conversion. By using the above optimization hacks, you can get your videos to perform better on mobile.

Just remember the distinct phases of your buyer’s journey. A video designed for customers in the awareness phase may not be appealing to your audience in the evaluation phase or those hesitating at that purchase point.

So, create several types of videos to power your customer’s decision journey.

Conduct a survey acquiring information about your demographics if you want to be painfully precise; but for the most part, develop your content such that it is not inhibited by a small screen. Your videos should have details clearly presented so that these may not get missed out if viewed on a small screen.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have some cool video optimization tips, please share your story in the comments below.

The post Mobile Video Optimization And Its Impact On Conversions appeared first on Blog.

How To Build A Culture Of Experimentation

It’s one thing to run an A/B test correctly and get a meaningful uplift. It’s another thing entirely to transform your organization into one that cares and respects experimentation. This is the goal, though. You can only shake off so much additional revenue if you’re the only rogue CRO at your company. When everyone is […]

The post How To Build A Culture Of Experimentation appeared first on Blog.

It’s one thing to run an A/B test correctly and get a meaningful uplift. It’s another thing entirely to transform your organization into one that cares and respects experimentation.

This is the goal, though. You can only shake off so much additional revenue if you’re the only rogue CRO at your company. When everyone is involved in the game, that’s when you stride past the competition.

It’s not just about the tools you use, or even the skills, but also about the people involved. But organizational matters tend to be a bit complex, as anything that involves humans is. How do you build a culture of experimentation?

This article will outline 9 tips for doing so.

1. Get the Stakeholders Buy into CRO, and Establish Program Principles

First thing’s first—we need to get everybody on the same page.

It used to be more difficult to convince people of the value of conversion optimization. Now, it seems that it is more mainstream, and most people buy into the benefits.

We know from conducting State of the Industry Report that CRO is being more widely adopted, and those that are adopting it are increasingly establishing systems and guidelines for their program. All of this is good.

If you’re just getting started on your CRO journey, though, don’t fret. There are some simple and tactical ways you can start establishing a vision.

First, if you don’t have full buy-in from stakeholders, make sure you have at least one influential executive sponsor who is on your side. If you don’t have this, you won’t go far. (Programs tend to have a substantial ramp-up period before you see a good return.)

Second, write down up front, your program principles and guidelines. I like to create a “principles” document for any team I’m on (and a personal one as well), just so that we know what our operating principles are and we know how to make decisions when things are ambiguous.

Here’s an example of a principles document from my team at HubSpot (just a small section of it, but you would get the point):

Of course, we have tons of documentation from everything on how we run experiments to our goals, and more.

Andrew Anderson gave a great example of his CRO program principles in a CXL blog post:

  • All test ideas are fungible.
  • More tests does not equal more money.
  • It is always about efficiency.
  • Discovery is a part of efficiency.
  • Type 1 errors are the worst possible outcome.
  • Don’t target just for the sake of it.
  • The least efficient part of optimization is the people (with you also included).

Yours could look completely different, but just make sure you up-front script the critical plays and don’t leave any questions hanging in the air. This will help stakeholders understand what you are up to and will also help onboard new employees in your team when they get started.

2. Embrace the Power of “I Don’t Know”

With most marketing efforts, we expect a linear model. We expect that for X effort or money we put into something, we should receive Y as the output (where Y > X).

Experimentation is somewhat different. It may be more valuable to think of experimentation as building a portfolio of investments, as opposed to a machine with a predictable output (like how you’d view SEO or PPC).

According to almost every reputable source, many tests are going to fail. You’re not going to be right. Your idea is not going to outperform the control.

This is okay.

If, for every 5 tests that fail, you get 1 true winner, you’re probably already ahead. That’s because, on the 5 tests that failed to improve conversion rates, you are only “losing” money during the test period. You didn’t set them live for good, so you mitigated the risk of a suboptimal decision. (This alone is a great benefit!)

Outside of that, the one test that did win should add some compounding value over time. A 5% lift here and a 2% lift there add up; and eventually, you’ve got the rolling equivalent of a portfolio with compounding returns:

Source

A side point to the whole “embrace I don’t know” thing is that you shouldn’t seek to test things to validate only what you think is right. The best possible case is that something wins that you didn’t think would win.

That’s how Andrew Anderson frequently frames conversion optimization, saying in this post that “the truth is, in optimization, the more often we prove our own perceptions wrong, the better the results we are getting.”

Ronny Kohavi, too, makes the point that a valuable experiment is when the “absolute value of delta between expected outcome and actual outcome is large.” In other words, if you thought it would win and it wins, you haven’t learned much.

Source

3. Make It a Game

Humans like competition; competition and other elements of gamification can help increase engagement and true interest in experimentation.

How can you gamify your experimentation process? Some tools, such as GrowthHackers’ NorthStar, embed this competition right into the product with features like a leaderboard:

Source

You can create leaderboards for ideas submitted, experiments run, or even the win rate of experiments. Though, as with any choice in metric, be careful of unintended incentives.

For example, if you create a leaderboard for the win rate, it might be possible that people are disincentivized from trying out crazy, creative ideas. It’s not a certainty, but keep an eye on your operational metrics and what behaviors they encourage.

4. Adopt the Vernacular

Sometimes, a culture can be shifted by subtle uses of language.

How does your company explain strategic decision making? How do you talk about ideas? How do you propose new tactics? What words do you use?

If you’re like many companies, you talk about what is “right” or “wrong,” what you have done in the past, or what you think will work. All of this, of course, is nourishing for the hungry, hungry HiPPO (who loves talking about expert opinion).

What if, instead, you talked in terms of upside, risk mitigation, experimentation, and cost versus opportunity instead?

The world sort of opens up for those interested in experimentation. Obviously, you still have to be grounded in reality. You can’t throw insane test ideas at the wall and hope that everyone jumps on board.

But if you can propose your ideas in the context of a “what if,” something you can test out with an A/B test rather quickly, you can probably get people on board.

We see here that 40% of our users are dropping off at this stage of the funnel. We’ve done a small amount of user research and have found that our web form is probably too long. It would take us very little time to code up X, Y, and Z variants, and we’d have a definitive answer in 4 weeks. The upside is big. The risk is low. Let’s run the experiment?

It’s much harder to argue against something like this.

Most of persuasion is framing. If the person you are trying to convince feels attacked or threatened (“you think a scrappy A/B test is better than my 25 years of experience?!”), you’re not going to get far.

If you pull people into the ideation process and propose ideas as experiments with lots of upside, it’s easier to get people involved in the process. Or maybe just start throwing the words “hypothesis,” “experiment,” “statistically significant,” “risk mitigation,” and “uncertainty reduction” into all of your conversations, and hope that people follow along.

It doesn’t need to be limited to experimentation, either. You can make it normal to talk about pulling the data, cohort analyses, user research, and others. These should be normal processes for decision making that replace gut feel and opinions.

5. Evangelize Your Wins

It’s important to stop and take the time to smell the roses. When you win, celebrate! And make sure that others know about it.

It’s through this process of evangelization that you both cement the impact and results you’re creating in others’ minds as well as recruit others to become interested in running their own experiments.

How do you evangelize your wins? Many ways:

  • Have a company Wiki? Write your experiments there!
  • Send a weekly email including a roundup of the experiments.
  • Schedule a weekly experiment readout that anyone can attend.
  • If possible, write external case studies on your blog. This isn’t always possible, but can be a great way to recruit interesting candidates to your program.

I’m sure there are many other interesting and creative ways to celebrate and evangelize wins as well. Make sure to comment in the end on how your company does it.

6. Define Your Experiment Workflow/Protocol

If you want everyone to get involved with experimentation, make sure that everyone understands the rules. How does someone set up a test? Do they need to work with a centralized specialist team or can they just run it themselves? Do they need to pull development resources? If so, from where?

These all are questions that can cause hesitation, especially for new employees; and this hesitation can really hinder the pace of experimentation throughput.

This is why it’s so beneficial to have someone, or a team, owning the experimentation process.

Even if you don’t have someone in charge of the program, though, you can still build out the documentation and protocol. At the very least, you can create an “experimentation checklist” or FAQ that can answer the most common questions.

In Switch, Chip and Dan Heath wrote:

“To spark movement in a new direction, you need to provide crystal-clear guidance. That’s why scripting is important – you’ve got to think about the specific behavior that you’d want to see in a tough moment, whether the tough moment takes place in a Brazilian railroad system or late at night in your own snack-packed pantry.”

“Clarity dissolves resistance,” they say.

Luckily, there are tons of examples of testing guidelines, frameworks, and rules out there to borrow from.

7. Invest in Ongoing Education and Growth Opportunities

This is anecdotal; but I’ve found that the best organizations, those that run very mature experimentation programs, tend to invest heavily in employee development.

That means granting generous education stipends for conferences, books, courses, and internal trainings.

Different companies can have different protocols as well. Airbnb, for example, sends everyone through data school when they start at the company. HubSpot gives you a generous education allowance.

There are tons of great CRO specific programs out there nowadays, specifically through CXL Institute. Some programs I think everyone should run through:

8. Embed Subtle Triggers in Your Organization

I’ve found one of the most powerful forces in an organization is inertia. It’s exponentially harder to get people to use a new system or program than it is to incorporate new elements into the current system.

So what systems can you use to inject triggers that inspire experimentation?

For one, if you use Slack, this is certainly easy. Most products integrate with Slack—Airtable, Trello, GrowthHackers Northstar, and others—so you can easily set up notifications to appear when someone creates a test idea or launches a test.

Just seeing these messages can nudge others to contribute often. It makes the program salient overall.

Whatever triggers you can embed in your current ecosystem—even better if they’re automated—can be used to help nudge people toward contributing more test ideas and experiment throughput.

9. Remove Roadblocks

According to the Fogg Behavioral model, there are 3 components that factor into someone taking an action:

  • Motivation
  • Ability
  • Prompts/Triggers

Source

I think the ability, or the ease at which someone can accomplish something, is a lever that we tend to forget about.

Sure, you can wow stakeholders with potential uplifts and revenue projects. You can embed triggers in your organization through Slack notifications and weekly meetings so that people don’t forget about the program. But what about making it easier for everyone who wants to run a test?

That’s the approach Booking.com seems to have taken, at least according to this paper they wrote on democratizing experimentation.

Some of their tips include:

  • Establish safeguards.
  • Make sure data is trustworthy.
  • Keep a knowledge base of test results.

To summarize, do everything you can to onboard new experimenters and mitigate their potential to mess up experiments. Of course, everyone has to go through the beginner phase of A/B testing, where they’re expected to mess things up more often than not. The trick, however, is to make things less intimidating while also making it less likely that the newbie may drastically mess up the site.

If you can do that, you’ll soon have an excited crowd anxiously waiting to run their own experiments.

Conclusion

An organization with a mature testing program knows that almost all of it is dependent on a nourishing experimentation culture. One cannot operate, at scale and truly efficiently, with only one or a handful of rogue experimenters.

The program needs to be propped up by influential executive stakeholders; and everyone in the company needs to buy into the basic process of making evidence-based decisions by using research and experiments.

This article outlines some ideas I’ve seen to be effective in establishing a culture of experimentation, though it’s clearly context dependent and not limited to the items on this list.

Got any cool ideas for implementing a culture of experimentation? Make sure you let me know!

The post How To Build A Culture Of Experimentation appeared first on Blog.

The A/B Testing Guide to Surviving on a Deserted Island

The secluded and isolated deserted island setting has been used as the stage for many hypothetical explanations in economics and philosophy with the scarcity of things that can be developed as resources being a central feature. Scarcity and the need to…

The secluded and isolated deserted island setting has been used as the stage for many hypothetical explanations in economics and philosophy with the scarcity of things that can be developed as resources being a central feature. Scarcity and the need to keep risk low while aiming to improve one’s situation is what make it a […] Read More...