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How Many Columns Should I Use? How using the best page layout led to a 681% relative increase
 

How Many Columns Should I Use? How using the best page layout led to a 681% relative increase

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Think for a few seconds about a page or email you manage. How many columns does it have? Do you know whether that is the optimal number? If you do know, have you tested it? What if you could improve ...

Think for a few seconds about a page or email you manage. How many columns does it have? Do you know whether that is the optimal number? If you do know, have you tested it? What if you could improve the performance of the piece by adding or removing columns?

In our next clinic we’ll be drawing on about 15 years of research on optimizing columns and layout for the web to help you discover the best way to layout your page or email.

Some of the questions we are planning on answering are:

• What is the optimal number of columns for a page?
• How should I weight columns on the page?
• Which is better, a right sidebar or left sidebar?

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    How Many Columns Should I Use? How using the best page layout led to a 681% relative increase How Many Columns Should I Use? How using the best page layout led to a 681% relative increase Presentation Transcript

    • How Many Columns Should I Use? How using the best page layout led to a 681% relative increase
    • We’re sharing on Twitter! #WebClinic
    • Today’s speakers Jon Powell Senior Manager Research and Strategy MECLABS @jonpowell31 Marketing research practitioner with 7 years of hands-on experience gained through managing hundreds of A/B and multivariate tests for e-commerce, health care, financial and education Research Partners.
    • Today’s topic A ? B C D Given a choice between these particular page templates, which would you choose for your offer pages? Why?
    • Today’s topic ? What is the highest performing layout (number of columns) for my webpages? How do I know which one to choose?
    • Experiment 1: Background Experiment ID: TP1736a Record Location: MECLABS Research Library Research Partner: [Protected] Background: A large technology company selling software to small businesses. Goal: To significantly increase the number of software purchases from paid search traffic (branded terms). Research Question: Which column layout will generate the highest rate of software purchases? Test Design: A/B multifactor split test
    • Experiment 1: Control 2-Column Layout COLUMN #1 COLUMN #2
    • Experiment 1: Treatment 1-Column Layout COLUMN #1
    • Experiment 1: Side-by-side 2-Column Layout COLUMN #1 COLUMN #2 1-Column Layout COLUMN #1
    • Experiment 1: Results 681% Relative Increase in Orders The one-column treatment design increased branded search orders by 680.6% and revenue per visit by 606.7% when tested against the two-column control design. Design Order Rate Revenue/Visit Control – 2 Columns 0.20%* $0.50* Treatment – 1 Column 1.58%* $3.56* 680.6% 606.7% % Relative Change: *Absolute performance rates and numbers have been anonymized
    • Audience question 2-Column Layout ? 1-Column Layout Why did the single-column page layout have a significant increase in results?
    • Experiment: Results From the Test Protocol: “The eye path of the page is confusing to users … ” “ … by providing a linear eye path, distractions will be removed and will cause an increase in conversion.” *Certain sections of content have been anonymized for the Partner
    • Similar findings Protocol IDs: TP1306 Example: Main offer page 2-Column Layout 1-Column Layout 266% In Clicks
    • Similar findings Protocol IDs: TP1356, TP1407 Example: Transaction page 2-Column Layout 1-Column Layout 22% In Completed Orders
    • ? Is there an underlying theory for choosing the highest performing page layout?
    • Experiment 2: Background Experiment ID: TP1736b Record Location: MECLABS Research Library Research Partner: [Protected] Background: A large technology company selling software to small businesses. Goal: To significantly increase the number of software purchases from paid search traffic (non-branded terms). Research Question: Which column layout will generate the highest rate of software purchases? Test Design: A/B multifactor split test
    • Experiment 2: Side-by-side 2-Column Layout COLUMN #1 COLUMN #2 1-Column Layout COLUMN #1
    • Experiment 2: Results 85% Relative Decrease in Orders The one-column treatment design decreased non-branded search orders by 84.9% and revenue per visit by 67% when tested against the two-column control design. Design Order Rate Revenue/Visit Control – 2 Columns 5.69%* $19.78* Treatment – 1 Column 0.86%* $6.53* -84.9% -67.0% % Relative Change: *Absolute performance rates and numbers have been anonymized
    • Experiment 2: Results ? Why did the winning page layout suddenly underperform in the same channel?
    • To help answer this question, we accessed our library of case studies for a deeper study and isolated tests where page layout was a primary variable.
    • TP1460 We then conducted a meta-analysis of those Test Protocols to uncover patterns in performance. TP1457 TP1621 TP1746 TP1306 TP1356 TP1560 TP1633 TP1267 TP1315 TP1639 TP1268 TP1499 TP1658 TP1636 TP1203 TP1635 TP1498 TP1165 TP1475 TP1192 TP1182 TP1469 TP1091 TP1460 TP1585 TP1214 TP1503 TP1422 TP1500 TP1488 TP1616 TP1511 Plus many more Protocols …
    • Initial findings ! There appeared to be performance patterns for each page in the conversion path …
    • Initial findings ! However, the patterns were not clear due to numerous outliers.
    • Outlier Protocol IDs: TP1268 Example: Transaction page 3 Columns 2 Columns 54% 15% In Revenue per Order In Revenue per Order Homepage traffic Shopping cart traffic
    • Outlier Protocol IDs: TP1457 Example: Main offer page 2-Column Layout 60% In Conversions 1-Column Layout
    • Outlier Protocol IDs: TP1165, TP1182 Example: Directory page 3 Columns 1 Column 5.8% 7.5% Everyday Traffic Holiday Traffic In Searches In Searches
    • Back to the original question ? Is there an underlying theory for choosing the highest performing page layout?
    • Experiment: Analysis When we took a closer look at TP1737a-b, each winning page is essentially in the same position in the conversion funnel. Main Offer Page Channel Directory Pages Homepage Category Page Checkout Path Thank You Page
    • Experiment: Analysis (Ma)YES They are NOT, however, in the same position in the customer funnel. Y (Mi)YES (Mi)YES A Web search using brand language indicates prior knowledge of the value proposition. A generic Web search does not, requiring more clarity of value. (Mi)YES (Mi)YES Branded Winner (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (Mi)YES Non-Branded Winner Value Proposition (Mi)YES
    • Meta-analysis results (Ma)YES Y (Mi)YES We recategorized each Test Protocol in the analysis according to its stage in the customer thought sequence (as opposed to the conversion path). (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (Mi)YES In doing this, we discovered a single pattern that encompassed all Test Protocols analyzed. (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (Mi)YES Value Proposition (Mi)YES
    • Meta-analysis results Number of Columns Less (Ma)YES Column Weight Uneven Y (Mi)YES (Mi)YES At the beginning of the thought sequence, the highest performing pages often have three or more columns that are evenly weighted. (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (ex: 33%/33%/33%) (Mi)YES (Mi)YES More Even Value Proposition (Mi)YES
    • Meta-analysis results Number of Columns Less (Ma)YES Column Weight Uneven Y (Mi)YES (Mi)YES As the thought sequence progresses, column counts in high-performing pages drop. If there are two columns, they are unevenly weighted. (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (Mi)YES (70%/30% or 80%/20%) (Mi)YES (Mi)YES More Even Value Proposition (Mi)YES
    • On the ideal number of columns F Key Principles 1. First, we must understand there is no single answer to the question, “How many columns should I use?” Sometimes “less” is optimal; and sometimes “more” is optimal. 2. To begin answering this question, we must understand where the customer is in the mental (not physical) conversion funnel. From there, we can apply two underlying principles: 1. The more we know about what the visitor wants, the more we should focus on that desire (less columns; unequally weighted). 2. The less we know about what the visitor wants, the more we should enable the them to self-select (more columns; equally weighted)
    • Live Optimization Columns
    • Live Optimization Tracky Primary Audience: Business and consumers Primary Objective: Awareness http://bit.ly/1aJj4sL #WebClinic
    • Live Optimization Santa Fe Way Primary Audience: Health enthusiasts Primary Objective: Information page http://bit.ly/1c3zQDN #WebClinic
    • Live Optimization Windstream Primary Audience: B2C Primary Objective: Lead gen/sales http://bit.ly/1f6PyP1 #WebClinic
    • Live Optimization Environmental Defense Fund Primary Audience: Potential donors Primary Objective: Raise funds http://bit.ly/1aqws7k #WebClinic
    • Live Optimization StudyAbroad.com Primary Audience: Students Primary Objective: Info page http://bit.ly/KGhAG1 #WebClinic
    • Live Optimization Declaring Bankruptcy Primary Audience: B2C Primary Objective: Lead generation http://bit.ly/1biojwl #WebClinic
    • Live Optimization Jewish Federation Primary Audience: Members Primary Objective: Fundraising http://bit.ly/1f6PyhV #WebClinic
    • Live Optimization IHG Primary Audience: B2C Primary Objective: Lead generation http://bit.ly/JH3dkj #WebClinic
    • Live Optimization Applied Inspirations Primary Audience: B2C Primary Objective: Sales http://bit.ly/1dvTJ24 #WebClinic
    • Next Clinic: Background Experiment ID: TP2136 Record Location: MECLABS Research Library Research Partner: [Protected] Background: A large, well-known audio technology and engineering company offering professional and personal audio products. Goal: To significantly increase the number clicks from a promotional email. Research Question: Which email call-to-action copy will produce the greatest clickthrough rate? Test Design: A/B single factorial split test
    • Next Clinic: Email template
    • Next Clinic: Email template
    • Next Clinic: Version A
    • Next Clinic: Version B
    • Next Clinic: Side-by-Side Version A Version B “Shop Now” “View Details”
    • Which treatment won?
    • To see the results Live Feb. 12 at 4 p.m. EST Join the live 35-minute Web clinic • How can I get the most clickthrough for the least effort? • Which call-to-action copy works best for promotional emails? • How does copywriting change for newsletters and nurturebased emails? To join live, register at the link below: MarketingExperiments.com/TwoWordsEmail
    • See how you can conduct research with us MECLABS conducts rigorous experiments in the new science of optimization. We apply our discoveries to help leaders optimize the financial performance of their sales and marketing programs. Learn more about how you may be a fit for a MECLABS Research Rartnership: • Select Research Partnership Opportunities on the postwebinar survey • Contact us directly info@MECLABS.com 1-877-635-0565 x