WTF is wrong with conversion?@OptimiseOrDie                  Craig Sullivan, Belron®
#1 – Not enough immersion
Nice day at the   office dear?#2 – We’re robotic and emotionless
#3 – Copy isn’t written to be optimal for CRO   Comprehension  Clarity  Simplicity  Persuasion  Scanning
#5 – Crappy low converting forms, maintained by evil trolls  Luke Wroblewski           :  Caroline Jarrett  ...
Lovefilm postcode lookup:   CRO 1XA                 CR0 1XA                 SE!£ ^DH    CR0 lXA                CR0 1XA    ...
#6 – Slow performance                        • Google Site Speed                        •                 ...
#7 – Your office is your user research              ontext  Location  Goals
#8 – Not testing (enough)
SPAIN+31% over control99% confidence
FRANCE+8% over control99% confidence
GERMANY+12% over control99% confidence
SWEDEN+14% over control90% confidence
Make sure you use real,authentic, smiling,friendly, approachablepeople.Don’t use stock imagesfor testing or on yoursite.Lo...
Left turns mean more time and fuel waiting at stop lights.By changing satnav to turn right more, UPS saved28,541,472 miles...
Company                                         Website                    CoverageWho?Mongoose Metrics*                  ...
Don’t give up!
If you read these books, you’ll look       much smarter at work.     (+ follow @OptimiseOrDie)
Don’t give up!• Start with the customer at the heart of everything• It’s liberating• Use low budget solutions, cheap or fr...
Email :    Twitter :   @OptimiseOrDie  LinkedIn : :
(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012
(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012
(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012
(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012
(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012
(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012
(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012
(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012
(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012
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(Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012


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This was a new presentation style for me and I did this at Conversion Thursday. I was in a total flap with double sided notes to follow - as I'd never even practised this deck.

Please note - every slide in here is completely annotated with my notes, so you can read along (some mild profanity involved).

Somehow winged it and it also went down very well. Thanks for your patience! Enjoy these and other slide decks.

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  • My favourites are the small boxes that people designed and carried around – that have a drawstring like this one. You can see some cool Netsuke at the V&A if you’re interested. So – what’s the connection? My team is about optimising experiences - NOT in some ‘huggy warm and fuzzy’ £2000 a day charge out rate kinda way. We build stuff that looks good, works with customers and converts more people this month than last month. We also sweat *everything* that comes up, including all the tiny little details. Our mantra is “Everything makes a difference to the overall experience” These little marvels remind me of the work that my team puts in on every field, form, page and widget. I hope that during today you feel some of this customer love ANNND our ruthless use of psychological trickery on unwitting visitors.
  • And just to show it’s not all fluffy japanese kittens in the world of UX
  • Today I’m going to talk about all the problem areas in conversion. The bad stuff. I’m not going to show you 25 A/B test results and ask you to guess the winner. I want to show you the places where conversion goes to suck – and suggest ways to help here.PROBLEM 1 : Not enough immersionWhen these guys designed this product, they made everyone put in their registration number. It’s so badly designed, the queues take ages and all because they were too mean to let you share or give a parking ticket to someone else. The emotional message – “Screw you, people”. I’ve seen these parking meters being slapped, kicked, booted, defaced or even indeed ripped out of the ground.This is the lesson – get in the shoes for the journey of the customers. These magic slippers of customer experience will take you to new places – but you have to wear them first. There isn’t a chauffeured customer experience limo here. Tesco makes its IT managers go and work in the departments that use their software. Belron people go out with the van drivers, listen in the call centre, talk to customers and everyone involved. Get immersed.
  • Actually use the whole product, all of you, that you are optimising. I’ll come to web journeys later.You should be disruptive, difficult and demanding - make things happen and see what shakes out:Like:Order 12 pairs of shoes and send eleven back.If you make flatpack furniture, order it and put it together, with small children in the room.Send the products back. Ask for a refund. Complain about stuff.Buy 3 products by mistake. Try to get the order changed.Add a £1000 order to your basket on mobile and then switch to a desktop site to finish it. What happens?
  • All the work I’m doing these days is designed to avoid this : A ceaseless, never yielding robotic response to an experience that’s all too human. And that’s enough slagging off my IT department for one day. [PAUSE] but here’s a confession – we don’t actually have an IT department in the mix, which is another story entirely!Examples of emotional states we’ve found value in shifting :Responding more to different levels of urgency (stranded with kids -> not bothered at the other end)People wanted to leave their keys with a neighbour (sorted)15% of visitors don’t know their registration number (reassure them, ask them to get paperwork, we call back) – popular misconception here – it’s mainly guys, lol.We explain everything we do about the work, right down to how we hoover and clean up (very important emotionally)Forms – we can completely change the way people view requests for information through copy, help, framing, naming.Copy – we write to specifically respond to worries, fears, barriers, lack of comprehension.And so what can we do here to help?VOC feedback – from simple free/freemium tools all the way to enterprise NPSVOC feedback segmented – any analyst knows you need the slice and the dice, to understand customer sat score *drivers*Crowdsourcing & Remote testing – get customers to help design products, new features, widgets – use tools to show/get feedback online from traffic!Onsite feedback – Kamplye, 4Q, othersTriggered survey toolsBail surveysEmotional marketing, not robotic replacement of humans with IT designed and data led systems
  • The problem here is that people don’t read the web the way you want themto. The problem here is that not many companies are taking advantage of the scan/peck/hunt way of content consumption and the behaviours that go with it. Optimising words, using text decoration, simplifying meanings, removing company terms or viewpoints, Having a visual hierarchy for text, bullet points and paying someone who isn’t from the Muppets to write your words all helps (Sticky Content). All this stuff really works on conversion and micro tests we’ve done show it’s true. With shrinking screen sizes, copy expertise is vital for mobile sites and apps too. Every word and every syllable and how they are laid out – it all counts. In our multivariate tests – copy is usually 50-70% of the total lift. Invest in words and the emotions they create, the questions they solve. A neglected area and big opportunity. We’re experimenting with long form pages now – where we carry a design at the head of the page focused on one conversion possibility. We also create some genuinely useful copy, some for SEO purposes (in collapsed sections) and work hard on the scannability, sectioning and trigger words to have several further bites at converting them. The reading behaviour I’m talking about doesn’t mean using less words for customers – just knowing where and when to use short, persuasive copy, linking and calls to actions. And most importantly, where you can use copy that draws attention in the customers mind, in a highly visible place, in a highly visible way.So – my advice? Write your copy for conversion paths but support customer utility and SEO. Harder than it sounds - like herding weasels on speed.
  • I meet a lot of people who live in their cylinder of excellence in their company and all is good and wonderful. What they never do is get together and actually look at the entire customer journey. Optimisers often talk about scent trails and in Belron – we like to walk the adverts, referrer sites, organic search results, landing pages, funnels – as the user, with them in mind and always on the lookout for gaps.If you have a retail store you might have one or more main entrances. Not hard to keep an eye on blockages, rubbish and bad signposting there. But on a website, we have hundreds of doors, paths, landing pages, microsites – all different experiences that could be fucked up and nobody notices. If you’re looking, you’ll find them but nobody will come and tell you.There are many ways to improve journeys that we advise – but the one thing that sometimes gets missed is the relevance of the whole experience, never mind just one part of it. And don’t sweat all 10,000 journeys on your site – you should know the primary paths. Take your friends or family through these paths sometime and ask them to talk out loud what they’re thinking. Even better, do it with your customers. Start them at Google and take it from there. Shut the fuck up and listen.Aside from techniques like using scent trails, mirroring the customer, repeating their search phrase or word and doing testing and optimisation work – what’s the big learning for me? Use clicktale NOW! TODAY!
  • The important thing about this graph is the 99.2% figure. In the UK, customers have an average of 2.2 toolbars installed. Most of us designing websites have one or maybe two – but usually in a short header strip. When I visit friends and work on their computers, I say to them – look, this is like surfing the web with a fucking empty toilet roll over your eye. You’ve got such a tiny viewport, it’s horrendous!Still, the toolbars are around and my point is this – Clicktale measures where the ‘region’ of fold is on the page. And not in a precise way like 1024x768 either – it’s actually telling me whether that green freaking button is on the page or not.I know that when I screw up and put a new line of text in, that button drops off the page for some people and my conversion drops. Clicktale tells me where I’m ‘broadly OK’ and where I’m damaging conversion. It isn’t a fold line – it’s a fold zone. Get to know where yours is, from a CUSTOMER perspective, not how it looks on your Google Chrome with no crappy toolbars on it. Resolution is not viewport.(Authors note – this stands for short form pages but those with multiple calls to action or longer lengths clearly work differently as a scroll is involved. However, we know we can hit conversion because screen sizes are dropping – even on our desktop site – down to smaller notebooks but also tablets).
  • This is another basic clicktale report but done really well. It tells me the click map so I can see where the hell people are clicking that ISN’T active.Hey – a scotsman abhors an unmonetised click, so we can find out things about where controls, links, content, calls to action aren’t working.On this page, I’ve actually spotted a small strip that for some browsers isn’t working (along the top of the two middle lozenges).It’s these kind of details that Clicktale helps you smash out of the product.
  • And this is another example of how versatileClicktale is. I can ask it to spit out all browser errors where something screwed up (a Javascript error).They happen all the time and are worse, the more fucking tags you have on your page, slowing it down like barnacles on a ship (tip – Tagman).And so I go to clicktale and ask it to tell me where the experience screwed up for customers. I can see from this recording that the visitor clicked on the button several times and nothing happened. Uh oh. So I look at the javascript error and can see the culprit.This systematic weeding out of problems through segmented page analysis or through viewing segments of video recordings, allows you to completely improve a product far beyond what most web producers do. It makes customers very happy but most importantly, it avoids the huge fucking iceberg problem.That’s where the business you are losing is unkown, because you don’t know why.
  • And just to show we’re not immune. I found this on our Australian website and it’s a lead gen form.The average order value for each converted job on this form is 10’s of thousands of pounds. So by turning them away at the door here – no, kicking them in the teeth and throwing them in the gutter – we lose huge money.We don’t see the loss because we only compare the part of the pie we get, not the missing chunk. Without the frame of reference – without knowing what the art of the possible is – we don’t know the size of the opportunity we’re missing. The only way to find out is to optimise and test.If we reduce this form to 3 fields and then manage to convert more people, the ROI on the work could be hundreds of times. Yet this form may not have been considered as a priority by many companies – by talking to the business managers, we can see a huge MASSIVE opportunity going begging.I’ll keep you posted on the results – it won’t be my hardest test to turn around!
  • Aha – hard to explain this without being there.I spent 2 days once optimising a postcode lookup field for Lovefilm.OK – let’s say you get no problems – everyone finds their addresses, orders their stuff and is happy. Birds tweet. Plinky music plays. SkreeeeEEET. Wait a minute – what if it’s not.So I looked at the postcode rules (use the link at the bottom) and studied these in detail. Worked out how they are made and validated etc.I then looked at the website and found tons of stuff in the FAILED postcode lookups.Apart from the odd person putting in things like DICK and laughing alone whilst they do it, what did we find?People transpose the Letter ‘L’ and the number ‘1’People also transpose the Letter ‘O’ and the number ‘0’People put 1,2 or 3 spaces in the middle or the end of the postcodeSome people use CAPS – majority use lower case.Why do they do those then? Well the transposition is cause they write it like an envelope. It’s in CAPS (it’s probably an older demographic?) on the envelope so it gets typed in as CAPS. And people confuse their own postcode or use the wrong letter.We can autocorrect this – so we just fix the transpositions (cause we know what the customer meant anyway, based on the post office rules – all these codes in the two columns can be inferred) We then remove spaces or anything else that doesn’t look relevant (full stops on the end, but the rest is a valid postcode).Now – here’s the really clever bit. What the hell is that stuff in the right hand column? Rubbish? No – perfectly serviceable postcodes. Why are people shifting characters. Well, they’re not touch typists so they’re looking at the keyboard, right? And they’re typing in CAPS, so they’re shifting each character. SO when they do the numbers, they get £ and % signs. We can auto convert these.We applied many small techniques like this to ONE FIELD in a checkout process. This resulted in a 2.5% increase in conversion. Sadly they’ve now lost this ‘feature’ which is pretty silly.
  • Two banana slugs fighting (or having sex – not sure). Does it remind you of your mobile site?I’ve done A/B split tests on sites with and without performance enhancements or content delivery networks. Performance is HUGE on mobile – some retailers have 500K product pages, which is just stupid.Get this fixed, and you’ll make lots of money. But where do you start?Use google site speed tags. They measure actual customer load time, not a synthetic measurement. You now know what pages suck.Create a suck index = pageviews * load time. Sort the column in descending order. Start working on it from the top. Worth lots of money.Also – selectively tidy parts of your store – like streamlining the checkouts whilst you wait for new tills. Enhance the performance of key landing pages, site functions, funnels or tipping point pages and you’ve front loaded all the conversion benefit whilst you work on the less important stuff. Prioritise around the customer/conversion and you’ll do alright.Use – super, awesome, really useful and detailed analysis tool. It actually tells you how to fix all the problems it finds. So, not like a usability consultant then eh?
  • If you want ideas of levers to use on people, persuasive tactics to set up or just what might be preventing them bailing on you, then do some testing. All you need is a £40 bit of software, a laptop and two people with a pulse. It’s not expensive or hard.
  • Doesn’t matter if you’re rolling the slickest, sexiest looking dice around – you’re still guessing if you’re not testing stuff.We even do micro testing now, where we vary a line of copy, a button somewhere. We’re pretty excited because this stuff is good – one small test (copy + button) was worth 300K Euros a year on one site. If we did 100 micro tests instead of 10 big tests, we’d make more money faster and the product improves incrementally every time.
  • These are examples of counter intuitive photography.All these people completely beat other images of people that were more beautiful. An ad agency wouldn’t have picked this one, or some of the others I’m going to show you, but it makes my point. It’s about the authenticity of the image.First of all, in our tests – a real smile is important. This is one where the eyes crinkle and the upper face muscles are involved around the cheekbones.We also find body language and expression to be important. People focus on the face a great deal so what we want is totally genuine expressions from real people. We don’t use actors and so these are all people that work for the company and volunteer. We keep them posted on the test results and they’re really competitive! The customers decide in this contest though!This lady is the winner in spain against a raft of what look like subjectively better people. But I’m the wrong person to judge and most senior people can’t pick this stuff for toffee (I know – I’ve tested them). Ironic that they often make the final call on creatives, rather than the frigging customers.She’s posting a 31% lift over her nearest rival in a test, with 99% confidence.
  • And this guy is from France and again – wasn’t the most classically beautiful but looks pretty relaxed and natural. He’s doing well in test too, as you can see.
  • This lady beat the original control in a test by over 12%. She’s my favourite test winner image. She looks natural, is friendly, approachable, interested, ready for notetaking/helping you (the clipboard has been tested and works) and the logo on the uniform also helps. Imagine this scenario in your mind “You’re in France – in a department store. You don’t speak french and have ten minutes before you go to the airport. You need help now and are scanning the floor, looking for staff with a uniform or staying still. As you look, your eyes find a face and this person looks friendly. You think – yes – they’ll be able to help. Think about what that person looks like. Keep that image in your mind.”That’s the photographs I want to take – what’s in your head there.No call centre hotties are used here (
  • And from Sweden – again beating off blondes like nobodys business. She looks really good to me and I’m not surprised – another good image test.If you look on slideshare, I have made guidelines of everything I’ve tested in photography. We’ve done over 28M of these and know that, for example, adding a baseball cap increases conversion, as long as it has a company logo on it. Seriously. If you’re using people images – read my stuff.
  • And if this feels like your CRO effort – look for something easier to test or simpler to get results from. Find really bad things to fix that could be tested out quickly. And if you’re still stuck – look to customers or other sources to get disruptive ideas.
  • UPS saved all this money by turning right to arrive at their destination. This avoided stop signs and so optimised the rest of the business.The conversation was – Is that an urban myth? Dunno – let’s find out (curiousity). Nope – it’s actually true. Wonder if we can tweak the sat nav in all the trucks? OK – let’s do a test.They saved 3 Million gallons of fuel by doing it. Remember – optimisation as a discipline isn’t about the website – it’s about the optimising the business, the processes, the offline stuff, the crappy on hold messages – all of it.
  • And if you do one thing from this presentation, it’s this. Invest in a call tracking solution.What we learned from playing with this is that the entire stats for search/PPC/advertising are just bullshit, built on a house of cards.That’s because the phone traffic that results from all this online and offline activity, isn’t tied in with the web. What looks like a bad PPC campaign for web conversions looks like a winner when you ADD THE PHONE. We do this with all our contact channels (phone, email, tap2call etc.) so we can segment results that include telephony.We’re the first company in the world to hire a multi-variate tester to work solely on phone systems. All your marketing data is wrong in some way, if you can tie it to knowing what page you were called from, what the keywords were, if it was PPC or SEO or Direct or Referrer. You can also claim you conversions away from the phone guys. They’ve been busy picking up all the credit for a lot of online activity and it’s time the pie came back.
  • And please don’t give up.
  • There’s always a Kevin somewhere – if you’re not optimising then your downstream and upstream competitors might be. If you take 1M visitors a year and Kevin gets 15 out of 100 whilst you get twelve – what happens after a year. Yes – Kevin is smiling his ass off – because he has 30,000 more customers than you, without spending a penny more on marketing. And if he does spend more than you, he’ll convert more of those too. You should imagine you have a Kevin working in your competitors. If he exists, you’re gonna try and kick his ass. If he doesn’t, you’ve just made your company more money anyway.
  • (Download to get speaker notes) - WTF is wrong with conversion - Conversion Thursday - 23 Feb 2012

    1. 1. WTF is wrong with conversion?@OptimiseOrDie Craig Sullivan, Belron®
    2. 2. #1 – Not enough immersion
    3. 3. Nice day at the office dear?#2 – We’re robotic and emotionless
    4. 4. #3 – Copy isn’t written to be optimal for CRO Comprehension  Clarity  Simplicity  Persuasion  Scanning
    5. 5. #5 – Crappy low converting forms, maintained by evil trolls Luke Wroblewski : Caroline Jarrett : Ignore this stuff at your peril!
    6. 6. Lovefilm postcode lookup: CRO 1XA CR0 1XA SE!£ ^DH CR0 lXA CR0 1XA SE% $RL CRO1XA CR01XA CT^&EF CR0lXA CR01XA EC!A 1DF CRO 1XA CR0 1XA SE£ (SH CR0 lXA CR0 1XA SE3 9SH.Strip spaces. Fix transposed characters (0/1/L/O). Transformshifted characters. Trim if front part matches post office codes.Clean it. Auto fix = 2.5% increase in conversion for one field.Outcodes and Incodes :
    7. 7. #6 – Slow performance • Google Site Speed • • Mobile is vital!
    8. 8. #7 – Your office is your user research ontext  Location  Goals
    9. 9. #8 – Not testing (enough)
    10. 10. SPAIN+31% over control99% confidence
    11. 11. FRANCE+8% over control99% confidence
    12. 12. GERMANY+12% over control99% confidence
    13. 13. SWEDEN+14% over control90% confidence
    14. 14. Make sure you use real,authentic, smiling,friendly, approachablepeople.Don’t use stock imagesfor testing or on yoursite.Low Q video andimages are also fine –they reinforceauthenticity.
    15. 15. Left turns mean more time and fuel waiting at stop lights.By changing satnav to turn right more, UPS saved28,541,472 miles travel and 3 Million gallons of fuel.Belron stick and carrot example.
    16. 16. Company Website CoverageWho?Mongoose Metrics* UK, USA, Canada Ifbyphone* USA TheCallR* USA, Canada, UK, IT, FR, BE, ES, NL Call tracking metrics USA Hosted Numbers USA Callcap USA UK, SE, FI, NO, DK, LT, PL, IE, CZ, Freespee* SI, AT, NL, DE Adinsight* UK Infinity tracking* UK Optilead* UK Switchboard free UK Freshegg UK Avanser AUS Jet Interactive* AUS * I read up on these or talked to them. These are my picks .
    17. 17. Don’t give up!
    18. 18. If you read these books, you’ll look much smarter at work. (+ follow @OptimiseOrDie)
    19. 19. Don’t give up!• Start with the customer at the heart of everything• It’s liberating• Use low budget solutions, cheap or free tools to get business cases made• Money talks so even micro testing will illustrate ROI• Invest in people who care about customers, as well as conversion• Invest in analytics talent or CRO expertise• If you can make a 10% shift in online revenue, just from smart thinking, then what would a team of 5 be like?• If you’re finding it hard to hire people, mail me for advice.• We don’t do anything special – we just work on customer problems to make the product better, and we love what we do.
    20. 20. Email : Twitter : @OptimiseOrDie LinkedIn : :