This is the fortieth episode of ‘This Week In Organic’, the weekly show that debates the ramifications of the latest SEO and content marketing news.
In this special episode of TWiO we’re discussing how Adobe’s analytics tools compare with Google’s tools, what is Google Analytics 360? And what analytics data drives UX design?
=== Topic #1
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of businesses rely on Google Analytics to track their site visitors. But why do some companies use Adobe’s analytics tools and how do they compare with Google’s tools?
=== Topic 2:
Google have launched their Analytics 360 product over the past few days to a bit of a fanfare, aimed at doing a much better job of tracking the whole customer journey. But why are Google releasing this and what impact is it likely to have?
=== Topic 3:
What does conversion optimization best practice mean in 2016? Is it all about split testing? What should we be testing? And what’s likely to have the biggest impact on the bottom line?
What software should we be using? What should we be testing? What’s the difference between CRO for B2B & B2C?
=== Topic 4:
What analytics data should we use to drive UX design decisions?
Web design has changed a lot over the past few years – responsive design has produced sites that work well whatever your screen size – and ‘just in time loading’ has sped up the user experience. But how do we know which elements of design drive great user experience?
DAVID BAIN: How does Adobe Analytics tools compare with Google’s tools? What is Google Analytics 360? And what analytics data drives UX design? All that and more in our special pre-Adobe Summit edition of This Week in Organic, Episode Number 40.
Hello and welcome, I’m David Bain, and each week I’ll be joined by some knowledgeable opinionated folks to discuss the latest happenings in anything that impacts organic traffic. As for you in the live audience, get involved. Click on the tweet or the post buttons in your top left hand side to share the show with your own followers, and tell us what you think of what’s been discussed in the comments section, and perhaps even click the call in button, and we’ll have you join the conversation. But let’s find out more about today’s guests, where they’re from, and what’s caught their attention this week. So maybe starting out with Melissa.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Hi, I’m Melissa Kavanagh. I’m the director of analytics at Fuel Travel Marketing. We are a full service digital agency that focuses in the hospitality area. We’re located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s a beautiful day here; I hope it’s beautiful everywhere else. And I work with both Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics clients, and I’m just excited to be here today.
DAVID BAIN: Oh, it’s wonderful to have you here, so thanks for joining us, Melissa. Also joining us today is Akshay.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Hi, I’m a UX designer at Vendasta – that’s a company in Saskatoon, and we make software for ad agencies and stuff, and for basically sales tools, and those kind of applications. Market automation, sales automation, that kind of stuff.
DAVID BAIN: Great okay, and you’re a UX focused guy, aren’t you Akshay?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Yep.
DAVID BAIN: I’m pronouncing your name correctly, aren’t I?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Yep, you’re saying it correct. You can call me Shay.
DAVID BAIN: Shay, whatever you prefer. Okay, we’ll go with that then. So that’s wonderful. So thank you both for joining us. We’ve got loads of nice topics to talk about. Topic number one is I think it’s safe to say that the majority of businesses rely on Google Analytics to track their site visitors, but why do some companies use Adobe’s analytics tools, and how do they compare with Google’s tools? So I think Melissa’s smiling about that topic already. What do you find are the main reasons why people end up using Adobe’s tools rather than Google’s tools?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I think one of the predominant things you need to be aware of is if you’re going to a paid solution, you need to be able to justify the resources you have at your hand to utilise the tool to the best of its ability. So in my opinion, I think that if you don’t have at least one dedicated analyst who’s in that tool every single day, looking at that data to the depth that it needs to be looked at, it doesn’t make sense to pay for a tool. And Google Analytics, especially over the last two or three years, has really come into its own in terms of what its offerings are, and the capabilities. Back in the day you could only have four goals set up, for example, four conversion goals, and now we’re way above that. So the tools are definitely becoming more competitive with each other, but I still think the resource that you have on hand is probably the determining factor on which way you decide to go. Whether it’s the free version of Google Analytics, or going with Adobe Analytics. Adobe is certainly more customisable if you have a very robust website, or complicated things that you need to be tracking that would be more the way to go.
DAVID BAIN: So do you think that generally if you have the budget, and if you have the resources to manage these platforms that the Adobe solutions is probably still the better one for these larger type companies?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I think for enterprise companies, I still think that’s the case. I haven’t had any first-hand experience with Google Premium at this point, but there is a really hefty price tag on that, and I would have a hard time justifying moving from the free version of Google Analytics up to the premium version for not much more gain in terms of its capabilities up until the new 360 suite was just announced.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah, that could be very interesting indeed. It’s $150,000 a year isn’t it, for the premium level?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Rumour has it, yes. I’ve never seen official Google say that, but that’s everything that I’ve seen and heard, yes.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, we’ll stick to rumours just now. So that’s intriguing that obviously people are paying a significant chunk of money, perhaps that, perhaps something different. You could argue, I guess, maybe they’re even paying that money to have a bit more consultancy with Google as opposed to just using the platform. Do you know if that’s the case, Melissa? Do you know if Google will give the companies time of themselves, rather than just the premium platform?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I’m not sure of that. I know from an Adobe standpoint, from an agency, I guess we’re a little bit different than their typical business model, but from an agency standpoint obviously it’s nice to be able to pick up the phone, and call somebody, and actually have tech support. If you need more than that, obviously then they have consultancy services that you could certainly pay for, and they’re happy to take your money for that.
DAVID BAIN: I mean I use to use Omniture a little bit in the past, but I haven’t used Adobe Analytics products for a while. What is available from Adobe at the moment?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Oh, they have really invested a lot since Adobe bought Omniture, they’ve really invested in the user interface, thank goodness because it’s heads and tails better than it used to be. When we first signed up with them, probably seven or eight years ago, the capabilities, just the user functionality are just heads and tails above, better than what they used to be.
One of the things that I love in Adobe versus Google are the dashboarding functions, where you can have a very user friendly dashboard where everything lines up nicely. You can print it. It doesn’t go across page breaks. You can email it in a nice PDF format again that is very usable to the end user. But more important to me is the fact that you can have multiple report suites on one dashboard, and you could have multiple date ranges on the same dashboard, and Google does not really allow you to do that. So that’s one of those functionalities.
And then the other one that I feel that Google could probably do this anytime, maybe tomorrow, but Adobe allows you to stack segments on top of each other. So if you wanted a natural search segment, and people who entered on the homepage, you don’t have to create a new segment of people from natural search and entered on the homepage, you just stack them on top of each other. And right now with Google you still need to basically create all those individual segments. So those are my two big selling points from my own standpoint from Adobe.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so then would it be fair to say that Adobe is probably more straight out of the box, and an enterprise can use it straight away, as opposed to Google Analytics, that’s probably got to be customised to your own needs a bit more?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: That’s a trick question. From an implementation standpoint, I feel like Google Analytics is a lot easier to implement out of the box, but in terms of usability once it is implemented, then yeah, I would actually prefer Adobe out of the box.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, because Google Analytics have used that quite bit as well obviously, and I did my Google Analytics IQ two or three years ago or so, but even then I found a lot of the videos weren’t that completely up to date, and you really do have to work hard to actually keep yourself up to date with everything because they add on so many improvements so often. It’s almost a full time job in itself just to stay up to date with everything. Is it feasible for a small company for instance to actually really understand and get everything possible they can out of something like Google Analytics, or do you think generally they’re better off using a consultancy to deliver and optimise things on their behalf?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I think it depends on how much time again a small company would have to dedicate to looking at that data. Google Analytics is very good at telling you the important things, so if you’re just looking for a top line, hey what’s going on with my website? You can actually go into the real time analysis, and see exactly what’s happening right now, and the basic information is really at your fingertips. They’re very good about showing you good graphs, and very easily understood information. However, if you’re looking to dig deeper, that’s when I feel like they may be better off paying for a consultant to come in, and really help them understand what’s going on in the deeper levels of the data that’s available to them through Google Analytics.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, and Akshay, you’ve one in a slightly different direction. You’re using the tool Get Clicky, I believe. So I assume you’ve got a bit of experience with Google Analytics as well. How would you compare the pros and cons between Get Clicky and Google Analytics then?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: So basically I use Get Clicky to get an overall baseline view of the website, and see what page are getting more views, and not to do more, but just stay on where am I getting clicks from, which pages have more user attention, and more time is spent on that page, and just the overall view. So for that I find Clicky works for me. If I do the same thing with Google Analytics I have to go through so many screens just to get to that point. And another problem I face with Google Analytics is the information architecture is you have to go inside properties, and then you have to go inside another screen to manage your account. Like every time I use it, I have to relearn it. That’s a bit of a friction for me to understand the Google Analytics basically.
DAVID BAIN: And this is from a guy who’s quite technical obviously, and if you have challenges with keeping up to speed with how Google Analytics works, then what hope do conventional small business owners have? Maybe that means that Get Clicky is better for smaller businesses to quickly understand their analytics, and just see a few simple screens in terms of what’s going on.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Yes, but the layout is very well laid out. It’s not as clean as Adobe UI, but you see everything right away. As soon as you get into your dashboard you can scroll into all the sections of the analytics.
DAVID BAIN: So how does it work in terms of goals, and measuring things that your users do on your website? Does it do that fairly satisfactorily?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Oh yeah. I mean, you can do everything that Google Analytics does, and it’s way easier to set up on Clicky.
DAVID BAIN: So how do goals work? Is it just URL based, or are there quite a few other options there as well?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: You have URL-based, you have clicking-based, you have heat map tracking. I don’t use goals a lot because I’m still more focused into the overall look and overall performance of the website, and the pages and stuff. So at least on my personal projects, that’s the extent I go into analytics because with analytics I’m not working on bigger projects. With UI design, UX design, I do go into a lot of depth.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, yeah. I remember years ago using a service called Stat Counter. Now that was before Google Analytics even existed, so you remember that one there. But that was quite appealing because they gave the live data straight away, but you were limited to a certain amount of users. But they worked by having a pixel on your website, and the rumours were that that was one of the reasons why they became one of the first PR 10 websites, because so many people obviously were kind of linking back to them inadvertently. But tracking has come quite some way since then. Okay, so that’s Get Clicky. It’d be interesting to see if anyone watching is using any other service, what service they’re using, and indeed what they think of the pros and cons of the service. So if you’re watching, you’re using a particular analytics tool that you think is a bit different, tell us in the chat, and we can maybe talk about the pros and cons of that as well. But with regards to the companies that actually use the Adobe tools, Melissa, do you find that even though it’s an enterprise, if they don’t have a massive website with loads of pages and different calls to action, is it really worthwhile paying for a big analytics tool?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: To be honest, I don’t see the value there compared to—I mean all the data exists in Google Analytics that exists in Adobe for the most part. I would be hard pressed to say you need to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars a month for a service where the data is available in another tool for free. You just need to go look for it.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah, absolutely. Take time to learn it, and set it up, and it’s worth it in the long term even though it’s a little bit painful in the short term.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Yeah.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, well let’s move on to topic number two, and that’s Google have launched their Analytics 360 product over the past few days, so a bit of a fanfare. And it seems it’s doing a much better job at tracking the whole customer journey, but why are Google releasing this, and what impact is it likely to have? So a few chuckles there from Melissa. What are your thoughts behind why you think Google are wanting to do this?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I do think that they are in a constant battle to compete with the more enterprise solutions like Adobe. Adobe does have the entire marketing cloud with all of these competitive products, so I think that that has to be their angle – that they want the full customer picture. They are also Google, so we know that all the data is probably self-serving – that they get to collect as well. I’m sure they wouldn’t come out and say that, but that would be part of my instinct there.
I’m pretty excited to see what these products end up being. There’s very little information that you can see right now to see really what these products are, but it’s pretty exciting to see. I’m also unclear as to whether if you are a Google Premium client, do you just get these additional products, or are they one off, and you have to purchase them separately? I’m not sure about that.
DAVID BAIN: Yes, it’s certainly unclear regarding the pricing structure as well, and who would actually get access to them, and whether or not it might be viable for medium sized businesses, because certainly when you click on the link at the moment it doesn’t give you any information at all or anything. I read an article on VentureBeat earlier on today about it, and it was quite interesting. They were saying that one of the reasons that they’re doing this is because Facebook has got so much power now in terms of information, and being able to provide more detail about customers or prospects to people who are wanting to advertise. Of course, Google+ is a social network that’s not really utilised that much compared with certainly Facebook, and Twitter, and Snapchat, and you can list a few over Google+ certainly at the moment. So is Google going to be able to compete with Facebook and these other networks in terms of the delivery of a full picture of what its customers do? I mean, where’s the data coming from? Is it coming from the fact that to use Google services like YouTube you need to be signed in to your Google account, rather than an individual service now? So obviously Google are passing information through its different platforms. Is that going to be enough to be able to compete with the Facebook goliath? What are your thoughts on that, Melissa?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I think it’s not just that. I think it’s the fact that they’ve got now the ad platforms that also link in to—you know, ad words will be linked to their other display advertising networks will…
DAVID BAIN: Have a place, yeah.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Yes, which then opens up to all advertising. So I think that because it’s all going to feed into that one central system, I think that it’s going to give them a lot better, close to a 360 look at their consumer. It’s just going to follow you everywhere.
DAVID BAIN: 360 following you about. Maybe that’s not the best way to look at it. I mean, it’s certainly being sold as positive for advertisers, positive for consumers as well, but I think there are probably less positives for consumers than advertisers.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: From my own personal experience, if somebody’s going to advertise to me, I would much rather at least see a relevant ad than something completely irrelevant. So if my data’s floating around out there, and I’ve looked at shoes, for lack of a better something to search for right now, and I leave that website, and now I’m on the weather.com website, and there’s an advertisement for those shoes that I just looked at. I would rather be served that shoe ad than something completely irrelevant like golf clubs. That’s just my own experience.
DAVID BAIN: Absolutely, yeah. And I guess it’s down to the quality of the advertising as well by whoever’s doing the advertising because if you do retargeting campaigns, some advertisers go overboard, and if you visit a webpage once, they may follow you around the internet, and try to advertise everywhere possible, and you have to be more subtle than that.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I would agree with that. It can get a little overbearing at times.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah. Well hopefully it’ll allow a more scientific, a more clever approach in terms of knowing what to say to people at the right time. If you start to note things like what they’re doing on the device that they’re on, then you can tailor the advertising experience towards what they’re doing as opposed to who they are.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I agree. I’m curious to see how this is going to play with cross device tracking. I still feel like this is a big gaping hole in analytics in general, but really understanding the full consumer path from start to finish, or if it’s a cycle of repurchasing, what that full cycle looks like. If people start on a mobile device, you still have that problem. Unless you have a website that requires you to login for some reasons, it’s just very, very difficult to track across device. So I’m curious to see if Google is going to somehow use this 360 suite to gather this data across device, and show that information in some way.
DAVID BAIN: Absolutely, I mean we’ve been talking about cross device tracking, and also attribution for years really, but it doesn’t seem to have improved that much at all. I mean, did you favour any particular attribution model at all, or is that just an art rather than a science?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I feel like it’s an art rather than a science, and I feel like from an agency standpoint, we talk about first click, last click. From a Google Analytics standpoint actually, one of Google Analytics’ selling points for me is that they do have the multi-channel attribution model that you can play around with, and do a linear attribution, and really see that very easily, where Adobe does not have something that simple available to you. But I do think it’s a little bit by client, and a little bit of art to it for sure. Like where does PR play into that, where you never necessarily see, you know, your press release went out, and where did that play into that customer journey?
DAVID BAIN: So actually don’t worry; we’re going to be talking about user experience in a little bit. We have to contribute more to that obviously. But in regards to what Google are doing here, and also I guess onsite interaction of the user, do you deal much in personalised content based upon where the user is coming from at all? Is that something that you’re thinking of in terms of UX?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: That is something we’re leaning towards. We haven’t quite got there yet though, but it’s on our radar.
DAVID BAIN: I mean one of the challenges with that is SEO as well, and you’ve got to make sure that there’s a primary piece of content that Google sees, and ranks, and sees hopefully social signals coming into as well. And if everyone experiences personalised content then I guess that may be more challenging. Do you think there’s a good solution to that?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: That’s a tricky question. SEO is not necessarily in my wheelhouse, but I agree. I feel like regardless of where you’re coming from, from an SEO perspective, whatever you search for has got to be the primary piece of information on that landing page. It’s got to serve you at that moment, at what your part of whatever this purchase is, or research that you’re doing, it needs to provide that information to the consumer.
DAVID BAIN: Okay great, well coming up we’re going to be talking about conversion rate optimisation, best practice in 2016, and asking the question what analytics data should we use to drive UX design decisions. But first of all, thanks to a few people who have been sharing the show on Twitter with your own followers. So thanks to Dave from erocket.co.uk, Louise from kromark.com, and Casey from fueltravel.com. Do you know them at all, Melissa?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I do know Casey.
DAVID BAIN: So yeah, thanks for sharing the show on Twitter. Use the hashtag TWIO, and I’ll try to keep an eye on the tweets that are coming in there, and relay any comments. And keep the comments coming on Blab; there’s a bit of a lack of comments in Blab. We’ve got quite a few people watching here, but maybe just listening rather than interacting. So if you’ve got a strong opinion on what’s being said, then add a comment or two, and we’ll try and interact with that as well. But let’s move on to the next topic, which is what does conversion optimisation best practice mean in 2016? Is it about split testing, and what should we be testing? And also, what’s likely to have the biggest impact on the bottom line? So let’s go Akshay for the first moment here. Now in terms of producing a great user experience, we’re wanting to make sure that the content is as effective and relevant as possible. Does that mean that split testing is one of the most important things to be doing?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: It’s definitely the easiest way to go about testing the performance of the page, and I think people are now turning to more simple and concise content strategies, like just not have a lot of content, and make it more streamlined. Just give them one simple button, but then you have to balance it with the complexity of the product, and keep in only the points that are directly valuable to the target audience. Like if your campaign is for, let’s say, sales marketing for individuals, then you are streamlining the content strategy just for individuals, not for agencies, and not for large enterprises. That would work more than other messages. I think that’s what people have been doing for a while, and they’ll still continue doing that, I guess.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so does that mean that something like buyer personas are what companies are really focusing on at the moment? What they’re doing is they’re trying to really very closely identify who their target prospect is, and write content around that. And do you think most companies are doing that successfully, or there are a lot of improvements that need to be made?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: So right now, I have a meeting with one of my clients, and I will have to convince him to reduce the audience that he’s targeting his campaign for because again I see that he wants to give out all the points about his product, but the target, the 80/20%, the people who are going to be doing the buying of the product are a small percentage of the whole message. So I mean, yeah, again and again you come back to the client to simple things down, and you just have to make the content way more simple, and more focused on just the audience, like who are going to make the purchase right away?
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so basically a low percentage of whoever is browsing your site are likely to make an immediate transaction, so because that’s the case you need to be producing and publishing content that bobbles them on along the way, builds your brand reputation in their minds, and makes them more comfortable, and more likely to make a purchase with you in the future.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: It’s hard for me to give an example without saying the name of the brand, so yeah. Yeah, basically it’s just narrowing down your focus to the right audience that you’re targeting your product for.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, and what type of industries have a very long purchase cycle, and need to be more aware of publishing more content to build a relationship rather than actually be focused on just the end purchase?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: That’s a long question. Okay. It’s a tough question to understand.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, maybe we can simplify it down to B2B and B2C. Generally with B2C you might be dealing with products that cost less, and maybe more likely to actually result in some kind of instant decision in terms of purchase, but B2B is quite a long communication cycle before any kind of purchase is made. So if you’re talking about a B2B business, how would you encourage a business to actually structure their content on their website in order to actually build that relationship overtime?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: For that, I think analytics is the best tool to kind of judge what kind of pages are getting more views, and then do a lot of user testing just to find out what the customers want, and what they’re looking for on the website. Even if you have a product, how they go about looking at your product. If it’s, let’s say analytics, what part of analytics is more relevant to them? Do they want to set a lot of campaigns, or do they want easier reporting and sharing data? It’s all about what kind of – let me think of some example.
DAVID BAIN: I mean it sounds like what you’re saying is have a look at the pages that people are interacting with, and make sure that your content and your split tests are focused on those kind of areas – on the most common landing pages that people interact with.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Yeah.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so if you were to identify the top pages there, and you were to find, for instance, maybe an older post is ranking quite highly for a certain keyword phrase that happens to be bringing in traffic, and a decent amount of organic visitors, is there anything that you would generally tend to recommend with that? I mean, would you want to add content to the top of an old blog post, or maybe actually add some kind of call to action in the sidebar?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: You can always give on your own blog posts like an update, or something at the bottom that adds, like a content revision. Yeah, I mean you can always try out making more pages, and getting the feedback from other people. Do the pages actually give them information that they require? I need to think – I’m not prepared with examples in my mind right now.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Can I jump in with an example?
DAVID BAIN: Go for it.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: We actually just had this come up with a client this morning at a client meeting where we have, again, mostly hotels are our clients, and we have one hotel client that their website ranks very well for a very, very specific room type – people looking for Jacuzzis in their hotel room. And this one blog post ranks really well for that particular search term in Myrtle Beach. But when you look at the blog there’s no call to action on it. It links to some internal page where you can view these rooms, but to the average user there’s certainly nothing jumping out at you that says hey, click me, look at this room, let me book this room type with this Jacuzzi. And at least in Myrtle Beach, that’s a very qualified buyer at that point. They’re looking for a very specific thing in their hotel room, and there aren’t many to choose from in this area. So when we looked at the analytics, we saw that about 50% of those people were just leaving the site from that page instead of going on, and pursuing those rooms further. So we’ve already made those recommendations to clean up the page a little bit, add some calls to action, and hopefully get people deeper into that conversion funnel.
DAVID BAIN: So Melissa, do you see a trend towards websites starting to optimise for very long tail niche keyword phrases, but obviously something which is hyper relevant to that individual?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Yes, exactly that. And I will say that these pages don’t get tons and tons of traffic, but like I said, the traffic that they are getting is extremely qualified. So if you can get those 100 people a month at a 2 or 3% conversion rate versus moving them, that’s a lot of money in our clients’ pockets for very little, you know, what would seem minute changes to the website.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah, yeah. I mean the quick wins are certainly the pages that you already are getting traffic from. I mean it could be traffic from links from other websites. It could be organic ranking certainly. But I think it’s easy as a business to think okay, we’ve done it in the past, what do we need to publish in the future? But taking advantage of the content that you’ve already got is probably the biggest quick win.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Right.
DAVID BAIN: Akshay, I see you nodding to that as well. Is that one of the initial things that you would talk to a business about in terms of maximising their traffic, and their ROI by focusing on their existing content rather than publishing new content?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Yeah, researching content is the easiest throughout. You look at, like the Jacuzzi example, I think yeah, if you clean the page up—what I’m also thinking of trying is trying out building landing pages to the home. I think a lot of people are already doing that is just have the logo to go back, and remove the navigation. It won’t work on blog pages because on blog pages you still need the main navigation, but I think the special pages, I think on balance have a singular landing page which stands out outside the website, but has the logo and the branding, but it’s more focused – there’s only one call to action. And also remove the footer, and make it just for the purpose of the whole goal.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, yeah. So that’s great because if you have too many calls to action on the same page obviously you’re giving people too much choice, and perhaps too much irrelevant choice. So if you can get inside the minds of the consumer in terms of what they’re looking for, then that’s the call to action that you need to offer on the page, and if you give them too much additional choice, they’re going to forget about what they were looking for to begin with.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: And also experiment with, so if a product can serve different audiences, experiment with a few. Let’s say if there are cloud servers, then you can make a page for cloud servers for podcasting. Like storing your podcasts and delivering it to iTunes, and make multiple pages – I mean, just make one page for a cloud server for podcasting. See if it’s getting more responses, or something like that.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, that’s a great idea. So you can expand your content based upon the activities that people would want to use your product or se
rvice for, and not just talk about your product or service. So it’s put in context, and everything…
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Add use cases, different use cases and stuff.
DAVID BAIN: Now you mentioned Bounce as a tool there, are there any other tools that spring to mind as being great tools to actually use for split testing for improving conversion rates? I mean I’ve been trying Hot Jar recently myself, and I found that really good. Is that something that you’ve tried?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: I haven’t tried that. The simplest way is to just draw it on a piece of paper, discuss it with the team, what do you think about structuring content like this? Do you think having the information about, let’s say, if I take the same example – cloud servers for podcast – do you want the server performance in the top, or do you want the storage and the file handling or something like that in the bottom? Just talk about it. The thing is whatever content that ends up on the page should be easier to convince on a piece of paper as well. Don’t think of design right away, just think of structuring on the page first, and if it works, if you can explain that or talk about it with somebody on a piece of paper then it will probably work on the web.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so don’t try and restrict yourself to existing themes or templates. Think out of the box, just design what you think is right in physical copy, and then worry about code afterwards basically.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Yeah, and I think if you can incorporate open card testing, card sorting basically, just if you’re familiar with this. It’s just basically, let’s say you have a bunch of cards, and you write down features, you write down different keywords, and see where your target audience places those cards together. Like if they place something that you thought of as a service under features then you can think of adding that on a page as a content strategy structure, if I’m making sense right now.
DAVID BAIN: Yes, absolutely. That’s brilliant. So Melissa, have you got anything to add to that at all in terms of experiencing a website from a user experience perspective – improving a website from a user experience perspective? I mean, I was thinking personally of user testing. I’ve used the service usertesting.com, and obviously you shouldn’t just rely on software to track what people do when they visit your website. If you actually talk to people, and get their feedback then you might have a different perspective on things. Is that something that either of you have done and liked?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: We have used usertesting.com as well, and it’s a very valuable service to hear that feedback. You know, like you said, not just watching what people are doing on the site, but actually getting to hear what they’re thinking as they’re completing a task that you’re asking them to complete on the site. And we are constantly amazed at the hiccups that just seem so blatantly obvious, like why would you click on that thing instead of this thing that we think is so obvious that you should click on? But to actually hear people, and their input on the process of completing a task is very valuable.
We also use visual website optimiser, is our AB testing platform right now, and they have recently released a behavioural analysis service as part of that product, where it’s basically competitive to Click Tail or Crazy Egg where it’s got the heat maps, and it also does have the video of people’s mouse movements to the site, and whatnot. But what’s been really valuable to me are the scroll maps that are available, so you can actually see what percentage of people are viewing a portion of your page, and you can see as you scroll down that the visibility gets smaller and smaller and smaller, and it really gives you some good ideas at least to start testing, to start deriving hypotheses on where you need to start testing on a page. If there’s a certain part of the page that’s getting no visibility at all, and you feel that there’s valuable content, or your call to action is down there, but only 10% of the people are seeing that part of the page, that gives you some ideas to start testing.
DAVID BAIN: Brilliant, great. Is VWO something that you’ve been using as well, Akshay?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: I used it in the beginning. Actually my friend built it, so yeah.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, you know people who did it. Okay, that’s great.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Yeah. I really like the scroll testing thing that you just mentioned because I’ve been working on longer pages, and I think that people might not be reading the pages, and I think that scroll testing thing would give the visibility of if it’s actually working. Yeah, that’s a really interesting part.
DAVID BAIN: And what about something like user testing? Have you used that? Have you talked to users directly?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: I prefer testing around ten, fifteen people, like in person testing, and user tests, I ran more of the surveys than user testing. I use Survey Monkey for doing surveys, and that too to get a quantitative, like a general idea for something, and then bringing people into the office, and doing direct interviews, and then running them through the prototypes, that sort of a deal. But I haven’t used usertesting.com as of yet.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so it’s certainly the principle of getting a group together is taking traditional marketing tactics to improve your online experience. And that’s wonderful that people are starting to do that now, and not just viewing online as being completely separate to offline.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: And I found, let’s say Survey Monkey, it’s good for overall direction, but to narrow it down again you need the right audience inside the office. And one more thing, so the people who are using Survey Monkey, when we had our questionnaires we found out that their answers were—I’m assuming that people who were working on Survey Monkey surveys, they were using desktops. So we also placed in one question are you using a desktop, are you using a laptop, or your mobile phone? So all the answers were laptop or desktop, and that kind of influenced their opinions on, let’s say if they want access on a mobile phone, or they want something on a desktop. So that was another thing that we found it’s better if you do the in person interviews with the right audience.
DAVID BAIN: It’s a good point that the device that your users are using has got to reflect the devices that your target audience are likely to be using, and certain industries will be mobile led, and other industries—I mean like our own website, or one of our own websites, authoritas.com, looking at the stats through there I can see that 90% of the people viewing that website are viewing it on a desktop because it’s very much the B2B type service. But if you’ve got a retail service, or perhaps a restaurant or something like that, you’re more likely to have people using mobile devices, so make sure that your user testing reflects your users, yep.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Exactly, yeah.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, great. Well that probably takes us nicely up to our last topic, which is web design has changed a lot over the last few years. Responsive design produces sites that work well whatever your screen size, and just in time loading has sped up user experience, but how do we know which elements of design impact great experience? So I mean Akshay, obviously with responsive design, that’s let us experience websites nicely no matter what your screen size. How do you know when designing a site how to actually stage the responsive design? Is that something that you have much involvement at all with?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: That also comes from the part where you’re doing it on like wireframing and structuring. If you think of those things first, it becomes easier to think of how other things will squeeze. And another thing that I noticed that people are missing out on responsive design is when they scale the design down, they don’t think about the typeface size, the font basically. And you would still see websites responsive, but on a mobile screen you need a larger font size. I think even if you do in 0.5 to two times the desktop size, it’s still more readable than the default size of the website.
DAVID BAIN: And would you say that most responsive websites are doing it fairly well, or there are loads of bad examples out there at the moment?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: I mean, as a structure, say you are doing well, there are problems with the readability.
DAVID BAIN: Okay. So whenever you have to start pinching, then it’s not a good experience.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Yeah, and then there are problems with ads. Sometimes these ads are slowing down the websites drastically on the older versions of iPhone and Android devices basically. So yeah, again you need more testing on all the different platforms.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so make sure that you test your site on every platform that your users are likely to use. I remember designing websites ten years ago, and it used to be so easy. It was 800 pixels wide or 1024 pixels wide, and that was it. But you look at your analytics now, and there are probably hundreds if not thousands of different screen sizes that people are viewing your website on, and it’s tough to make sure that your site looks good on all of them.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: And then there’s a bit of a problem if you share a link off a website through Facebook, Facebook automatically opens it through their browser, and if it’s got ads on it, it might crash. It actually does crash a lot.
DAVID BAIN: And obviously do things like make sure you have a featured image if you’re using WordPress so when people are sharing links to your site, an image will come up with a social share as well. And Melissa, with regards to responsive design, is there any way that you can see which version of your responsive design converts best within your analytics at all?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I mean, we are definitely focused very much. We’re trying to get our clients and our own internal processes to think mobile first, because for the majority of our clients we are looking at about 40 to 50% of traffic now on a mobile device. Some sites are now over the 50% threshold, so mobile is critical to our industry right now. So we really do try and keep mobile first at the top of our minds, and from our perspective again we’re talking about what should be a simple process of booking a hotel room, but you may not be ready to book a hotel room when you’re looking on your mobile phone. You know, this may be your first idea of hey, I want to go on a vacation, and I’m looking for some place to stay, I have no idea where I’m going yet. So that information needs to be displayed in a way that’s easy to read, the site is easy to navigate, and the very pertinent information is up front and centre, and hopefully if you’re on a mobile device, and not ready to make that purchase today, you will remember us, and go Google us, and come back on your laptop tomorrow, and then make that purchase. But we are seeing drastic increases in conversion rates on mobile phones compared to where we were at this time last year. Conversion rate is increasing faster than the traffic increases, so it shows us even at a greater increase that we really need to be focused on this, and responsive design is very important to us.
DAVID BAIN: That’s intriguing. Do you think that is because the quality of the devices are increasing, or because consumers are getting more comfortable with making purchases on a mobile phone because they trust sites more?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I think it’s both. I think that we’re going from smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller mobile devices, and now we’re getting bigger, bigger, bigger mobile devices. So I think that the increase in the screen size is certainly an advantage to us, but I also do think that the consumer is getting more comfortable making a purchase on their phone. A vacation is a little bit of a big ticket item, so the fact that they are willing to do that is a good sign for us.
DAVID BAIN: And I guess it’s also access to 4G, faster internet as well. If they have that then they’re more likely to stay on right to the end, and be happy experiencing a purchase path of a website on a mobile device.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Yes.
DAVID BAIN: Great, great. Well, I reckon that just about takes us towards the end of this week’s show, so shall we just finish up with a single takeaway, maybe based in our discussion – what you think our audience should be going away and thinking about looking at within their websites or their businesses based upon the conversation that we’ve had so far today. So what would you leave our audience with, Melissa?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Boy, that’s a tough one. I would say choose an analytics tool that fits your needs to the best of your ability. If you need help, there are people out there who can help. Let me tell you, Twitter is an amazing tool when you’re looking for help when it comes to analytics. And keep mobile top of mind.
DAVID BAIN: Keep mobile top of mind, absolutely. Keep an eye on what devices your audience are using, where they are when they’re using it, and try and deliver an experience that’s right for your audience at the right time.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Yes.
DAVID BAIN: I’ll tell you what, I love Google’s micro moments content strategy. I don’t always like everything that Google says, but this time I do. And I think it’s a wonderful way to look at how you’re interacting with anyone that experiences your website. Think of what they’re likely to be thinking themselves at a particular moment in time, and try and deliver what they’re seeking, as opposed to just selling your stuff to them.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: I agree with that.
DAVID BAIN: And also with us today, Akshay. So Akshay, thanks for joining us, and what would be your one takeaway do you think based from our conversation that people should think about?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: From a user experience design perspective, I would say user testing and wire framing. Explain it to your client on a piece of paper. I mean, it depends on the stage you’re on, the planning, and if it works out on a piece of paper, it might work as a real page. I mean, if the structure is as simple as the piece of paper, it will work.
DAVID BAIN: So the paperless office hasn’t arrived yet, and isn’t going to arrive anytime soon if you’ve got anything to do with it. That’s great because again, people are stuck on their computer screens, and just to see things from a different perspective could, I guess, let them come up with designs that are a little bit more novel, and not just copies of everyone else out there. That’s great. Okay, so Akshay, so again, thanks for joining us. Can you remind our viewer where they can find out more about you?
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: You can go to my website, you can follow me on Twitter @akshayspaceship, that’s my Twitter handle, and that’s it. Yeah.
DAVID BAIN: Lovely, and sorry what’s your website again?
DAVID BAIN: Wonderful, and I will include links to that in the show notes as well. And Melissa, where can people get a hold of you?
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Easiest to find me on Twitter @makavanagh. You can also look at us at www.fueltravel.com if anybody is in the hotel industry space, and looking for some help with their digital marketing.
DAVID BAIN: Wonderful, and thank you so much for joining us today. It was great to have you both on.
MELISSA KAVANAGH: Thanks so much.
AKSHAY CHAUHAN: Thanks.
DAVID BAIN: I’m David Bain, Head of Growth at Authoritas, actual big data for enterprise content marketing. And you can sign up for a demo of our platform at www.authoritas.com. And you can also find me interviewing online marketing gurus over at www.digitalmarketingradio.com. Now if you’re watching this show as a recording, remember to watch the next show live. So head over to www.thisweekinorganic.com, and be part of the live audience for the next show. But for those of you watching live, we also have an audio podcast of previous shows. So again, sign up for email updates at www.thisweekinorganic.com, and you’ll receive the podcast links from there too. But until we see you again, have a fantabulous weekend, and thank you all for joining us. Adios, and thanks again Melissa and Akshay.
Working as Content Marketing Director for Authoritas since March 2015, David also hosts our own weekly show – “This Week In Organic”, commonly referred to as #TWiO.