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Convince management to adopt A/B testing through easy wins

Posted in Case Studies on April 16th, 2013

Since adding a prominent Call To Action (CTA) buttons is one of the favorite tricks of conversion optimization specialists and marketers worldwide, I’m going to give a different twist to this case study. Instead of just showing you the mind-blowing results one smartly placed CTA can have on your growth, we’ll talk about how you can use that experience to push for greater A/B testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO) in your (or your client’s) organization.

Patrick Mckenzie
The Biggest Problem With A/B Testing Isn’t Technology, It Is Organization
Patrick McKenzie

Organizational hurdles to conversion rate optimization come in many forms. The most obvious is when someone from marketing realizes they want to A/B test but don’t have the technical know how to implement a test. Or they find out about A/B testing tools like Visual Website Optimizer but still need IT’s help include the JavaScript code on the website.

But there are other kinds of hurdles. For example, when you suggest a headline change and the branding team gets the fits because the variation headline completely alters the product positioning. Or when designers get all grumpy and start cracking “let’s make it pop” jokes because your CTA color test throws up a winner radically different from the website color scheme.

So how do we remove organizational friction? Some ways to convince people to believe-in and dedicate time & resources to CRO are

  1. Run tests with small changes that get large wins
  2. Prove the ROI benefit of Conversion Rate Optimization (here are our case studies if you want to show them to someone)
  3. Play on the competitive spirit and show what others in the industry are doing

For this post, I’ll discuss how a small change increased conversions and helped convince stakeholders..

Case Study

The VineyardThe Vineyard is a luxury hotel about one hour from Central London. Their USP is great food, luxurious accommodation, a large collection of fine wines and a collection original art that adorns the walls. They hired Splice Marketing to improve the SEO and conversion rate of their website.

The Test

The test run by Splice Marketing was an attempt to convince management that they should regularly optimize the website to increase conversion rates. Splice studied the website and this is what they saw.

The Vineyard – Control
Vineyard A/B Testing Control

As you see, the call to action to book online was hidden at the end of the page text. Splice Marketing immediately recognized this as an opportunity and created a call to action (CTA) button that would not break away from the design of the page but would attract the attention of visitors, clearly telling them what to do next.

The Vineyard – Variation (blue marking mine)
Vineyard A/B Testing Variation

The Result

Click through rate (CTR) to the room booking page increased by 32.12% (99.99% chance to beat original). I know it’s kind of obvious. A bare page with a hidden CTA is expected to perform better when a clear, large CTA button is added above the fold.

However, the value of this A/B test lies in the fact that its purpose was to show the high-and-mighty the value of conversion rate optimization without creating too many ripples, and it achieved its purpose very well indeed.

Here’s the summary image (click to see larger version).

The Vineyard A/B testing summary

Patrick’s image taken from Betsy Weber @ Flickr

Siddharth Deswal

I do marketing at Visual Website Optimizer.

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  • What is A/B Testing?
  • Is it compatible with SEO?
  • How to start your first A/B test?
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2 Comments
Anthony Myers
May 8, 2013

I recently landed a job as an SEO Specialist for a large company. I’m in charge of anything related to lead generation via the internet.

I used VWO on a daily basis at my previous job, working for an “Internet Marketing Guru”. So one of my first goals was to convince the new company that A/B Split testing was important and we needed VWO in our weapons arsenal.

Got some initial stats by using VWO free trial, had them intrigued… I got them to sign up for 100,000k visitors package (Hopefully VWO loves me just as much as I love them, for sending some nice business their way).

Today one of my tests ended, I presented the data to our CEO and COO that my theory of switching to a 1-step landing page from a 2-step landing page would increase conversions and leads was correct.

Switching to a 1-step landing page resulted in a 33% increase in conversion.

Couldn’t have done it without you guys… thanks!

Anthony,

Wow! That’s a major win :-)
Just shared your messaage on our common Skype company chatroom and all of us here at Wingify are mighty happy (and a wee bit proud) that VWO enabled you to do all this.

Also, I’d love to hear more about the test you ran.

Thanks so much for getting in touch :-)

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