Category Archives: Conversion

My experience with mobile phone and tablet optimization

The mobile is a big thing. Let me rephrase it. It is a huge thing. On our swedish Postcodelottery site the traffic from mobile phones and tablets have reached the 50% mark.

This upward trend is a challenge for all of us that work with digital channels since it affects everything from how your design process is to how the technology should be implemented. We are far from cracking the mobile landscape but we are working on it. Currently we are focusing a lot of making things mobile optimized. Our landing page, our sales funnel, our navigation and so on.

Approximately a years ago we launched our responsive site which was a step in the right direction but in all honesty it was done a bit hasty. Now that w have reached the 50% mark a more comprehensive approach needs to be taken. We need to fix stuff so it runs smoothly on mobile devices. A few months ago we did our first mobile only AB test. We tested a mobile friendly landing page vs a non mobile friendly. Unfortunately the test result was inconclusive which is interesting in itself although I cannot draw to many conclusions from just one test.

The second big mobile optimized test was our sales funnel. While changing the plattform we took the oppurtunity to make it more mobile friendly. AB testing a sales funnel is always a sensitive business, but it was done with great care. Unfortunately the results were still inconclusive. In other words the old non mobile friendly sales flow was as good as the mobile friendly. Strange but it can probably be exlained by the super attractie offer we had – no matter how hard you make it for the users they want the offer so they will push through your sales funnel.

So my take on mobile is still shaping. I can see that the trend is more and mobile and the more companies offer a mobile friendly experience the higher the customer expectation will be. To sum it up my key learnings from mobile so far are:

  • Depending on how you do your marketing will determine your mobile traffic volume. The more emails you send out the more mobile traffic.
  • Mobile screen real estate is extremely valuable so you need to prioritize hard which makes it a struggle especially if you have multiple products/services.
  • AB testing for mobile is more complicated than for computers and you need to consider several key factors such as different screen sizes, operating sytems etc.
  • Going forward responsive sites it the future but my limited AB test have so far not given me numbers to support that decission.
  • The big success with mobile optimization will probably come when we develop our mobile offerings further, so the value to the users are more clear.

What are your thoughts?

What is a Customer Experience Manager?

The online world keeps evolving every year. Lately I see more and more job ads about a title called Customer Experience Manager. The title implies that you should be responsible for how your customers experience you and your brand. I think it is a good way of thinking but the job could be huge.

First of all, what do we mean customer experience? Is it the looks of your advertising? Is the looks and feels of your website? Does it also contain loading times? What about your apps, should you be responsible for them too? Are you responsible for knowing exactly how you do the marketing? What if you are a global company with many different departments? As you can see the complexity is huge if you consider that this person should be responsible for everything.

Of course you can set it up accordingly but as I wrote in my other article about the complexity of online managers, the challenge for an online manager today is much more complex than it was just 3 years ago. And everything is connected. So no wonder that a lot of people are stressed.

I cannot stop wondering what will be the next big title within online business. Personalisation manager? Authentic experience manager? You-know-everything mananger?

Any guesses?

Online people need to clone themselves

Lately I have been to a couple of conferences about online business. The topics have touched everything from email marketing to conversion optimization to customer insights to relationship management and many other. Although they have been some really enjoyable sessions what hit me was the vast amount of knowledge you have to have to be able to make good decisions today. Driving online business today is much harder than it was just 3 years ago.

I have a feeling that the complexity has increased exponentially the last couple of years. This puts a lot of pressure to be able to know a bit of everything since everything is interrelated. How much more complex will it become? My spontaneous answer is much more complex.

So if it is already complex how will it be possible for a manager to possess knowledge in all fields to make good decisions. There are so many parameters to keep track of that it makes it impossible to know everything. Time has become such a scarce resource that you need to clone yourself to manage things effectively.

Let me give you an example of the complexity one faces.

If you had an online business a couple of years ago you would probably do fine with a website and some adwords buying. Then you hook up emails. After that you had to consider SEO. After that user reviews was a big thing. Then you had social media. Then you had conversion optimization. Then you have retargeting. Then mobile apps. And so on, I think you get the picture. Considering the technical aspects, such as load time, responsiveness etc you more or less need to be a super human to know everything.

Of course you have professionals in each position, but if you want to be successful as a business your top managers have to make good decisions. To make good decisions you need to know the key aspects of each area. To truly know the key aspects of each area you need to have hands on experience. No human, or at least no normal person has worked within all of these areas especially in a larger organisation.

I think that many companies today have not adjusted themselves to the complexity of an online world. The complexity of everthing being interrelated has huge implications on how you make decisions and how you create an effective organisation. The bigger the organisation is the bigger the challenge.

So if you are an online manager the only solution is that you should clone yourself ;). Then you get double time. Just think how much you can accomplish.

Question 4: What is they key learning from working on Sweden’s largest lottery?

Keys-To-Web-Analytics-SuccessWell, this is a hard one to answer. There are many learning’s to take away. First of all we are a lottery that is the largest one in Sweden. We have grown from 0 to 1 million customers within six years.

The concept is rather unique. We combine large winnings with charity and TV production. For example we produce one of the biggest television shows in Sweden (Who wants to be a Millionaire). We also give a massive amount to charity and have strong ties with well-known people. All of this makes a very interesting projection of the lottery towards our customers. The brand is as well known as Coca Cola in Sweden. The whole setup affects the way we work and communicate. I can see how this offline projection affects my online numbers. A bad article in a newspaper for example can affect our sales tremendously for a long time. In the same time a good offline campaign can have great effect on our online numbers.

I think one of the more interesting aspects that I have noticed is the tight correlation between the various channels. This demands a different approach than the companies I have worked on previously that were strictly online with weak brands. In sum I would say that companies with strong brands work differently that other companies which as a conversion specialist you need to relate to.

This question is part of a five question series that are the most common issues people ask me.

Hitting the conversion optimization wall

When AB testing hits the optimization wall
When AB testing hits the optimization wall

Have you ever hit the conversion wall? You do your first tests and often get double-digit increase in conversion. Everyone is excited and you feel that optimisation work is fairly easy. Then something happens. Your tests do not give you satisfactory results any more. You do test after test and only get incremental increase on your conversion rate. You feel frustrated and you have no clue if you next effort will give you that sweet double-digit increase or not. On top of that your testing take a lot of resources and you start wondering if you could putt hat effort into something else. This is when you have hit the wall. Your next step will determine if you will be a cutting edge online company or not.

Something that the consultants do not tell you

When working with conversion optimisation consultants it is in their interest to keep the account going for as long as they can. That is why few will tell you that you have hit the conversion wall. You should either stop doing further tests or that you need to build a conversion department. Building a conversion department will eventually take them out of work so they keep trying with tests after tests.

The 80/20 rule applies here too

Like in many other cases the 80/20 rule applies on your testing too. 20% of your tests stand for 80% of your conversion rate increase. Low hanging fruits are the usually biggest ones. When you have picked those ones you need to invest in a ladder. This investment is usually fairly substantial and might take long time to yield results.

When do you truly know that you hit the wall?

Well it is hard to say. Some companies have a longer way to go than others. It is usually when you have tried many different things and more or less run out of ideas. Take my work as an example. We are selling one product that is standardised. No colours, no sizes, no features, everyone gets the same thing. When testing our landing page, I built a few versions based on experience how a good landing page should be. Testing the first one yielded double digit conversion increase. The second one also, but then it got much harder. I started to optimize further into the funnel with little success. This is when I knew I hit the conversion wall. From here on I needed to think differently.

What do you do when hitting the wall?

This is when you need to take your game to the next level. You need to get into business development, use business intelligence data, setup conversion optimisation processes, use UX methodology, segment your users and get into personalisation. As you can see this puts your company on a new playing field where it will demand more resources than ad hooch testing and a new way of working and thinking.

Is it worth it?

If you are a small company I would say that you should pick the low hanging fruits and then stop. It does not make a lot of sense in getting a full time conversion employee before you grow bigger. If you are a bigger organisation and have specialized departments like business intelligence, fronted development, marketing department etc then it makes a lot of sense to invest in further conversion optimisation. Conversion optimisation will increase your bottom line revenue and in the same time you get smarter as an organisation. You can read more about building a conversion department on my other post here: http://www.onlineplanet.se/2012/11/how-to-build-a-world-class-online-conversion-department/.

Now, let me ask you a question, does your company have a conversion department? Do you know any company that does?

Conversion maturity – who has it?

The other day I was reading a post about the analytics maturity of organisations and I want in this post reflect not over our analytics maturity but rather our conversion maturity.

If you have worked in a managerial position for a company that produces a fairly complicated product or service you know that your success depends largely on how competent your co-workers are and also how you are structured to handle your daily tasks.

Since I joined my current company two years ago we have taken some critical steps towards becoming a smarter organisation with smarter co-workers. If you look from a bird perspective we have taken ten steps forward but in the same time five steps back. Let me explain what I mean by that.

Within two years we have created a sharp analytics organisation with all the necessary tools to pull critical business data. This process took approximately a year and a half. We have now started to do the fancy stuff like segmentation analysis, usage of scorecards, a bit predictive analytics and so on. This knowledge is pushed towards the organisation, which slowly becomes more and more data driven. This process is fun and exciting but you also have to respect big challenges of this process.

In the same time we added new products to our portfolio expanding the company and forcing us to learn a new area of expertise. The new products have made us take five steps back. Firstly it is about organisational issues and secondly it is about competence issues. I am not going to go into details but want to turn my focus on the conversion optimisation aspect of our journey. All organisations are different but I think more or less everyone has to go through the below steps.

 Conversion steps

First step – Data

The absolutely first step to become a highflying conversion organisation is to have control of your data. Clean data is a must and you need to recognize which data is important for your business model. This step involves the part of installing tools properly and configuring them for critical business data. This was our absolutely first step.

Second step – Testing

Start do testing even if you haven’t fully implemented the first step. A good start is to tell your stakeholders to do minim of two AB tests within the next 2 months. If you can put someone in charge of your AB testing. To get the fast lane to conversion optimisation you need to start doing AB testing. You can do this in two ways. Either you just pull two-three ideas and test them, or you let someone analyse the user flows and recommend an AB test. The second one is to prefer because you will get more accurate optimisation tests. We got to the testing phase within 2 months that sets a good tone for becoming more data driven.

Third step – Analyse

Analyse your tests and analyse your website data. This step is probably the hardest part but doing this properly is critical if you want to spring to a high converting organisation. Understanding how to read data and how to use it for actions is highly tied to the competence of your employees. Hire good analytics persons who can do this job.

Fourth step – Knowledge

Your company is as good as your employees. To get the whole company to the next level you need to constantly grow in knowledge and through challenges. The knowledge you get from analytics and testing needs to be packed in a smart way so new people entering your organisation gets quickly up to speed. To package knowledge in a good way is really hard which I have seen first-hand. The problem lies mainly on the knowledge level people are at. Some will be more experienced with working with data and some will be less. Getting your organisation to a high level take a lot of time.

Fifth step – Building on success

When you have reached a certain knowledge level within your organisation you can start doing the right stuff. On this level you will build on past success and manage to replicate them. This step is extremely valuable since your input will be low and your output very high. In other words here you are super effective, you do the right things and everything runs like a well-oiled engine. In our case seen through the holistic view we touched this level before we added new products forcing us to take two steps back for a time.

Sixth step – Segmentation

Some people might argue if this step should be on the previous one but I think that most organisations will sooner or later start segmenting their users. Applying this practice puts a lot of strains in an organisation that you really have to think carefully how you will solve the multiplying workload. As soon as you cater for different segments you need to scale up your content department, your design department and your analytics department. If you are like us a large organisation with a lot of customers the complexity of segmentation could be a ball breaker in the sense that it could create cracks in your performance. Of course doing segmentation correctly will most likely increase your revenue tremendously. Without revealing too much I can say that we are currently working on this step.

Seventh step – Software

To handle segmentation you need smart software. This is when you evolve to one to one marketing or in other words personalisation. The software will help you to optimize your efforts allowing you to maximise your conversion in real time. We are currently preparing for this step that I think will be a lot of fun. More on this in another article in the future.

Eight step – Automatitation

Automating your converting content is a big step if you want to scale up your business. When you understand how to produce high converting content you can automate this to various degrees. Information technology has allowed many businesses to be more effective, to produce more with less. Companies like Amazon uses recommendation engines to automate the content you are being served when surfing through their website. I think the way it is being done so far is very crude. Although lately Google has moved towards this way, integrating many different sources to give you a more personalized surfing experience hence increasing online conversion. I think in the near future we will see many interesting start-up companies within this area.

Conclusion

Moving through all these steps is a challenge. The bigger your organisation is the more complex and challenging it will be. I think that if you want to survive in the long run as a smart Internet company you NEED to move through these steps. You need the investment in people and technology, you need the dedication of your organisation and you need to be persistence in your efforts.

I am really excited where we are today soon getting into the segmentation and personalisation area. I think it will take a while until will master segmentation and personalisation as an organisation but I hope we can become so smart that we figure out how to automate high converting content production.