Thursday, 8 January 2009

Seasonal shift

The established wisdom of web page optimization suggests that images, and particularly images of people help build a connection between the visitor and your content/product/brand, See earlier post about quick wins regarding this.

We have been testing this theory through ongoing multivariate (multivariable) testing on several product pages on the site. However we've inadvertently created a rod for our own backs.

The original test was started back in November and we gave it an autumnal theme. The test variant with these images originally performed well but a gradual errosion in performance occured as the test and time wore on. The test was still running as we entered the Christmas period and suddenly the autumn theme looked out of place so the drop in visitor appeal was understandable. To confirm this we revisited the variant and replaced the autumn images with winter based ones. Again an uplift in performance was immediatly acheived. The test is still running and currently producing a respectable 8.95% uplift in conversion; but it's still wintery outside with the occasional snow flurries to reinforce that, so maybe this explains the appeal. Now as time moves on it will be interesting to see if this begins to errode in performance too.

So we have a situation where we know a particular content works but it will require constant maintenance to keep on top of the shifting seasonal themes. We'll need to come up with a sustainable image or theme that will work as well despite the time of year. We still have an MVT test on the roadmap for March/April that plays on the Spring theme but hopefully this test will be it's last incarnation. All of the past and proposed images are below, we've nicknamed this variant 'Shallow Grave' due to the half-buried nature of the models in shot.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Emphasis of key words

A recent finding of our optimisation testing on our product pages is that if you embolden key words that emphasize a positive aspect or feature of your product you can more or less guarantee an uplift in conversion. The image below is taken from a recent winning test variant of a multivariate test we conducted on one of our savings product pages.

This winning page design resulted in a 4.32% improvement in conversion of visitors clicking on the ‘Apply Now’ button and more importantly it resulted in an 8.21% improvement in the conversion of visitors submitting the product application form. We're now rolling this keyword emphasis out across our other product pages.