If you have been following along with our webinars, case studies, U-tube videos, and blogs, I am sure you are pretty familiar with A/B testing by now. However, if you have just discovered us and A/B testing, where have you been? You are missing all the fun!
A quick note on what A/B testing is. Testing takes the guesswork out of optimizing your website, it enables you to make data driven business decisions and can shift conversations from "we think" to "we know." A/B testing is also known as split testing and it’s a method of comparing two elements on your webpage against each other to determine which one performs better with a defined metric. The end goal is to improve the on-site user experience and enhance their journey and in turn help them convert more. The cool thing about using a testing tool is that you don’t have to include IT at all during this process. One would bring them into the story once we have a proven winner and have decided that it should become a permanent part of your site.
So, Multiplica’s Travel Clients have been using this technique to run data driven tests to give them insights and keen business acumen into their target audiences. First, we take a deep dive into their existing data, create a focused test which avoids a shot gun pattern of ideas and elements, and then execute, monitor, and report. An interesting A/B test we did was to take a normally ignored, overlooked, and dull looking interstitial page into something more interactive. The idea was to engage the user more, reduce their bounce rate, move them further down the funnel, and in turn increase total bookings. As you can see it’s a pretty plain page, with walls of text, and an incredibly large drop down:
Hmmm…. Not very appealing to a user which explained the high bounce rate from this page. The thing is, it leads to one of their most important pages – the Travel Deals page. So, we tested making it more interactive with a clickable map instead:
So, once you click the state you are you in it will only list the gateways near you, instead of a massive list for the whole nation. This resonated very well with New and Returning users, it reduced bounce rate from this page, and got more people to the Deals page, which lead to more bookings.
The lesson here was to sometimes look past the major pages and don’t overlook at the smaller areas of you site which can unwittingly be conversion rate killers. You may just uncover hidden gems in your site that with a little polish you may be able make them more engaging and increase the likelihood of more bookings.
Another interesting Travel Site test we’ve run did in fact use a major page and had a touch of personalization along with it. It was also perfect for cold weather gateways during the colder months of the year. We placed a Weather Widget in one of two places on the homepage either “sticky” on the right rail or on the main hero image:
Within this experience we geolocated the user to display their metropolitan area, and we also pulled the current temperature in Cancun, Mexico. Lastly, we set a rule for this to only show when the location the user is in was below a certain temperature, and then added a CTA that would lead them to the deals page for Cancun from their gateway.
The whole idea of this was entice users who might be feeling the winter blues with a tempting deal to warmer climes. The results showed that the users engaged with the Weather Widget on the right more than the one in the image. The hypothesis was that it was because more noticeable. Naturally as the weather warmed up as we got into spring the engagement levels began to decline.
So, there we have two AB tests that used previously unused real estate on a Travel Site to increase engagement, move people further down the funnel, and help improve conversion. Both were especially good at putting the idea of travel into the mindset of the users via an interactive map, and an inviting weather widget.