Google Website Optimizer Case Study


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Are you right-brained or left-brained? Does your brain lateralization affect how you interact with websites? These were burning questions for SearchAdNetwork and Westwood College. To find the answers, SearchAdNetwork tested contact form placement—right side of page versus left—on Westwood’s numerous degree program landing pages in an effort to link the type of program and brain hemisphere dominance to contact form location.
Discovering a connection between brain lateralization and contact form location could have had a major impact on the search and web design industries, deciding on form placement based on the common characteristics of one’s target audience. SearchAdNetwork did not find a universal correlation between brain lateralization and form locations; however, they did succeed in optimizing Westwood’s program landing pages, lifting conversion rates by 39.87% on averages, with 83.1% being the greatest improvement.

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Google Website Optimizer Case Study

  1. 1. Brainy Days: Lateralization & Website Optimization Presented by: Angie Pascale Copywriter & Marketing/PR Coordinator
  2. 2. Background • Westwood College, along with Redstone College and Westwood College Online, are a system of higher education institutions powered by Denver-based Alta College, Inc. • 19 campuses in six states, six schools, numerous degree programs, 17 online degree programs • Location3 Media has been managing Westwood’s paid search for over five years • During that time, we have created tons of landing pages for the campuses, schools and degree programs for all three colleges
  3. 3. Objective • After five years, we’d optimized nearly every aspect of PPC campaigns, all were performing well • Next logical step was to focus on landing pages • Due to the many landing pages, creating a GWO test for each was an extremely daunting task • Instead, we focused on the degree program landing pages only • Increasing conversions is always the ultimate goal, but we wanted to really learn something about the users and take a creative, psychological approach
  4. 4. Contact Forms • Why are contact forms always located on the right side of the page? • In English, we read from left to right • Approximately 90-95% of individuals are right-handed and prefer performing activities with or on their right side • What about the lefties? • If the right side of the body is controlled by the left side of the brain, does that mean 90-95% of people are left-brained? • What could this mean for landing page design?
  5. 5. Hypothesis • Lateralization of brain function (i.e., right-brained or left-brained) dictates which side of the page a user prefers to complete a form on • Brain lateralization of users can be determined by degree program they are interested in • Right-brain degree programs will perform better with form on left side; left-brain degree programs will perform better with form on right side
  6. 6. GWO Experiment • We conducted A/B split tests using original page with contact form on the right versus new page with contact form on the left • Created new version for all 56 degree program pages Original Landing Page New Version of Landing Page
  7. 7. Brain Lateralization Right-brained Traits Left-brained Traits Artistic, visually-oriented, Logical, detail-oriented, risk-taking practical Responds to demonstrated Responds to verbal instruction instructions Fluid and spontaneous Planned and structured Prefers elusive, uncertain Prefers established, certain information information Sees correspondences and Sees cause and effect resemblances; analogical Source: Bastable, S. B. (2002). Nurse as educator: Principles of teaching and learning nursing practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
  8. 8. Brain Lateralization & Career Choice • These characteristics help define an individual’s career goals: Left-brained Right-brained Interested in math and Interested in literature and science; become Humanities; become lawyers, accountants, engine entrepreneurs, athletes, sales ers and scientists. executives, artists, musicians and craftsmen.
  9. 9. Brain Lateralization & Career Choice • We associated each Westwood degree program with a dominant hemisphere of the brain Left-brained Degree Programs Right-brained Degree Programs Criminal Justice Game Art MBA Marketing & Sales Airframe and Powerplant Construction HVAC Interior Design Healthcare Management Graphic Design Paralegal Fashion Merchandising ISS Game Software E-business Management
  10. 10. Results Degree Program Winning Form Side Confirmed Hypothesis? Criminal Justice Right MBA Left Airframe and Powerplant Right HVAC Left Game Art Right Construction Left Marketing & Sales Right
  11. 11. Conclusions • Although a compelling experiment, we did not find a conclusive link between contact form location and brain lateralization. Reasons for the discrepancies: • Too many outside variables • Those seriously interested in the program would complete the form regardless of its location • Brain lateralization simply has no connection to online conversion activity • Experiment was based on a hypothesis created by right-brained individuals!
  12. 12. Conclusions • We did, however, succeed in optimizing Westwood’s many degree program landing pages: • Average 39.7% conversion rate improvement • 83.1% conversion rate improvement for HVAC page • Winning form location has been applied to all landing page designs since
  13. 13. If you would like a copy of this presentation, please provide a business card or contact me: Angie Pascale 720.881.8528 To view online case study, visit:
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