Best practices are the first go to’s when testing but it’s important to know that not all best practices are always applicable. The next go to’s are understanding the user and how they react to your websites experience. What’s interesting is that testing best practices or user experiences differ from one vertical to the next. Furthermore, a user coming from a social media platform like Facebook is very different than one coming from LinkedIn for example while a user landing on site from an email received or paid search advertisement, will react very differently.
It boils down to testing… testing everything all the time.
Below are some of the more recent testing’s that have shown positive results and learnings in the travel industry specifically:
On travel websites, visuals are key in helping users envision their ultimate vacation. Images still help to build the compelling story but what more can we do? Bring in video! Showing videos of people swimming with dolphins can go a longer way than showing a picture of dolphins. As we continue to learn the impact of video, there are other tests we can perform to give our users a more personalized experience. Video on hover vs looping a video the entire time. The length of video and informational vs. experiential videos are only some of the ideas of how we can test video.
- Maximizing Personalization
Today most testers have used the basic targets in their testing tool; new versus returning customers, geolocation, weather etc. How can we expand our targets and give our users a more personalized experience? Providing users, a different experience for example since those who have searched for a particular product and did not enter the checkout funnel versus those who searched for a specific product and did enter the checkout funnel behave differently. How do we treat and personalize those that exited the site during the above and understand why? The user who did not enter the funnel on their second visit could need more information before they booked or need to see what value they will get if booking on your site. Whereas, those that enter in the funnel and exited may need an urgency purchase or an exit survey for us to learn more about them.
- Unique Mobile Experience
Almost all searches when planning a vacation begin on a mobile device. Mobile is our first instinct when researching. It has always been the understanding that users prefer to search on mobile and prefer to purchase on their desktop devices, especially for big purchases like a vacation. Because of this, we recommend your mobile experience be a different experience from your desktop. Put information that is necessary for your users to know upfront on the mobile device. Use icons, tables and filters that will help them in making a decision quickly on mobile. Optimization entails continuous innovation and zoning into your customers and understanding their digital purchasing behavior. Our users expect us to know them, expect the best treatment and we need to curate the site where it is a one to one user experience and not a one that fits all.
How does Analytics impact Optimization?
Analytics plays an important role in optimization and should be a part of every step in the testing and optimization process. A thorough check of the analytics data and the analytics setup for that matter is beneficial in guiding the path of where to start testing. Creating a sound testing hypothesis often helps serve as extra validation that your current analytics setup is correct.
- Analytics offers a guided path of where to start testing. When testing, it is often hard to figure out what to test. Understanding where to start is always the biggest hurdle. Analytics helps in showing us where users bounce, exit and drop off on a website. Analytics should always be your go to for checks and balances.
Any data point is a finding which is an opportunity for a learning and an opportunity to test. When a test is run, using the testing tools data to validate the results is important but having the analytics tool as the secondary data point to further validate the result is extremely useful.
- Analytics data helps in creating a sound hypothesis. Getting approval of a testing idea, especially a major change to a site can be difficult to achieve especially when you are new to testing. Being able to analyze data and provide a reason for your testing idea will go a long way and end in a more valuable learning. Always try to share the data point of why you should test something and once you have tested and obtained a result, re-share that data point to show its change.
- Keep evaluating your existing analytics setup. Business needs and decisions are based on data. When a business need arises or a change occurs, it’s important to ensure your analytics is setup to track that addition or change. When creating a hypothesis for testing, you will often run into metrics that are not currently set up or need to be added. Maintaining your existing setup is important for continued business evaluation and growth. If changes or additions are not clear in your analytics data you will not be able to correctly identify testing opportunities. Constantly evolving on your analytics data by always adding in metrics and tracking should be key.
Testing is an extremely important part of business today. Making sure to test a hypothesis that is proven by your analytics data is an essential part of the process. Keeping your data up to date is vital in this exercise. Happy Testing! If you would like us to assist you in your testing strategy please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.