Category : CRO
8 ways to minimise cart abandonment
It might be a familiar sinking feeling - why do users keep deciding at the last minute not to buy an item? There are a whole range of reasons that online shopper abandon their shopping carts. You might not be able to do anything about the majority of these reasons, but if you are seeing a high cart abandonment rate then it is definitely something you can actively work on minimising. In this post I dive into shopping cart abandonment: what it is, why it matters, and how to minimise it using proven practices from successful ecommerce sites. What is the average rate of cart abandonment? The Baymard Institute has compared reported cart abandonment from 41 studies, to conclude that the average rate stands at 69.57% in 2019. However, reports varied wildly over the years. In 2010, Forrester Research calculated that cart abandonment stood at just 55%. At the high end of the scale, AbandonAid stated in 2017 that cart abandonment occurs 81.4% of the time. Is your average checkout completion rate below the industry average? How to calculate cart abandonment rate Fortunately, there is no need to consult a mathematician when it comes to calculating your cart abandonment rate. To find the percentage of users who have not completed a purchase after adding an item to their cart, you must divide the number of complete purchases by the number of carts created: 1 - (Complete purchases/Carts created) x100 After doing this division, subtract the result from 1 and multiply by 100 to get your percentage. Fortunately, there’s no need to get the calculator out. You can easily monitor ecommere analytics with Littledata’s Shopify app. Connect this to Google Analytics to make the most out of tracking user movements - in this instance, when they removing products from the cart. Why might a cart get abandoned? There is no simple answer to this question. The truth is, carts get abandoned for a variety of reasons, although the recurring theme is that a lower abandonment rate means a more intuitive and trustworthy store. A high proportion of people browsing your store might be doing so in the hope of coming across a hidden discount, to compare prices or to check your stock against competitors. Some might even be compiling a wishlist for the future, with almost no intention of purchasing your product now. In short, there isn’t a lot you can do about this type of shopper. Focus, then, has to turn to the shoppers who would have made a purchase, was it not for an element of your site or checkout process that led to them scurrying away. As part of the Baymard Institute’s research into cart abandonment, it conducted a survey of over 2,500 US adults asking why they abandoned their purchase after passing the stage of adding an item to their cart. Many of the factors above can be countered by making tweaks to the checkout process. Take the second largest influence - “the site wanted me to create an account”. By offering a guest checkout option where an account is not necessary, this 34% of respondents will be one step closer to purchasing the product in their cart, and avoiding the dreaded stage of checkout abandonment. What goes into a better checkout process? It’s fine to say that the checkout needs to be streamlined in order to reduce cart abandonment, but what does this actually mean? What are the characteristics of a site that experiences relatively low checkout abandonment? This is specifically about what happens after a user has added a product to their cart - optimising add-to-cart rate itself is a different stage in the purchase funnel that we have talked about before here at Littledata. The first thing to take a look at is the intuitiveness of your buying process. After adding a product to cart, ensure that the following trail resembles a standard ecommerce store. This might mean identifying a clear “checkout button”, followed by payment options and providing delivery address, then reviewing the order before submitting. Any significant change to the standard process could throw a user off balance. Making your store as trustworthy as possible is another key step to reducing cart abandonment. Check that the secure payment icons are visible when checking out, and a money-back guarantee will always send a customer’s confidence skyrocketing. Offering incentives to complete a purchase also does the trick. As mentioned, shoppers may be on your site as part of a price comparison tour, so making a 10% discount visible from the outset will make your site a winner in the eyes of many a potential customer. In a similar vein, you should make sure that product and delivery details are easy to locate and understand. Adweek shows that 81% of shoppers conduct detailed research before buying a product, so make this task easier for them. Please don’t include any last-minute delivery charge shocks. Another thing to consider is the mobile-friendliness of your checkout process. The statistic that half of all ecommerce revenue will be mobile-based by 2020 is banded around a lot, but shouldn’t be ignored. If a site is near impossible to navigate on mobile, you can be sure of frustrated cart abandonment. 8 ways to minimise cart abandonment I want to give you a list of specific ideas that you could implement on your site. These have all been taken from Missions - our new optimisation tool. Each mission consists of a pack of ecommerce optimisation tips on a certain subject, complete with evidence and studies found by our researchers. The following eight tips, of course, have all been taken from our “Minimise Cart Abandonment” mission. Steeped in proof, we like to take a step away from gut feel. These tips have all reduced cart abandonment for other sites, and I am sure that some of their effects can be replicated. 1) Send cart abandonment emails This one really is the only place to start. We will of course take a closer look at tweaks you can make to your sales funnel, but targeting people who have already abandoned their carts is a crucial way of reviving a potential sale. Ecommerce site owners are becoming increasingly aware of the opportunities provided by email marketing. Hertz are one company making the most of this practice, reporting that 37% of people who opened a cart abandonment email went on to make a booking. In the past, so much money would have been left on the table by users who abandoned carts. Now, it’s so easy to send a personalised email to every customer who abandons their purchase on your site. This is all about remembering that not everybody who abandons a purchase does so on bad terms. They may simply have gotten distracted, or left the purchase for a later date. A friendly nudge back towards your buying funnel might be just what they are after! 2) Trigger exit surveys and live chat at key moments If a user is on the brink of exiting a site in frustration at not being able to find what they want, a live chat session could keep them around. Some classic stats served up by BoldChat suggest that live chat is the preferred method of communicating with a business for 21% of shoppers. If you manage to solve a customer’s biggest doubts, they will be one step closer to completing a purchase. In turn, exit surveys allow you to gather the opinions of customers who abandoned their cart. Why didn’t they make a purchase? Gold dust. Easily identify recurring themes and patch these things up so fewer potential sales slip through the net. A handy tip for exit surveys - give people open-ended questions to answer instead of preset options. According to Groovehq, this will increase response rate by 10%. 3) Use address lookup technology to minimise typing Form-filling is dull. Customers know this as well as anyone, and will often go to great lengths to avoid it. If your checkout funnel is littered with unnecessary forms to fill, more than a couple of potential customers will run like the wind. Of course, a customer’s shipping address is central to completing their order. To make this easier on them, some accurate address lookup technology such as Loqate will squash the time it takes to get things done. Anything you can do to make the form-filling process as pain-free as possible is a surefire way of reducing your cart abandonment rate. Hotel Chocolat, after introducing address lookup, reported a 19% uplift in the amount of people completing each stage of their checkout funnel. 4) Give shoppers the option of using a guest checkout Finding the option to “checkout as a guest” is starting to come as naturally to customers as looking for the “add-to-cart” button. Research from the Baymard Institute indicated that 30% of all shoppers abandon their purchase immediately upon viewing a registration process. Not even a second thought! Similarly to tip #3, this is all about saving time on the customer’s side. If they have a product in their basket and are willing to pay for it, the last thing you want to do is shove a registration form in their face. 5) Use dynamic retargeting to recover lost sales Stella & Dot saw their average order value increase by 17% when targeting customers with more relevant ads. This is all about employing technology which is able to accurately create a picture of a customer’s browsing experience, so that they can be targeted with adverts to match their interests. Although female lifestyle and fashion website Stella & Dot were more focussed on increasing their average order value, dynamic retargeting is a valid method of reducing cart abandonment by presenting individual users with adverts to match their activity. 6) Provide a one-click checkout Made famous by retail giant Amazon, a one-click or one-step checkout allows a user to immediately purchase a product if they already have their payment details registered on the site. The ability to avoid form-filling and save time is a godsend for shoppers - and the estimated $2.4 billion value of Amazon’s recently expired one-step checkout patent goes to show this. Other ecommerce sites have designed one-click checkouts of their own, finding that they do wonders for retaining customers within the purchase funnel. A case study by Strangeloop showed that implementing a one-step checkout increased conversion rate by 66%. 7) Be clear about delivery (especially free shipping) A joint study conducted by eDigitalResearch and IMRG found that 53% of cart-abandoners cite unacceptably high shipping costs as the reason for abandoning their purchase. Making sure that your shipping fees are blindingly obvious from an early stage in your purchase funnel will prevent any user frustration at discovering the cost just before payment, or simply not being able to locate this information at all. A study by Accent has shown that 88% of online shoppers expect free shipping to be offered to them in one way or another. Failing to meet this rising expectation will likely result in a chunk of abandoned carts. 8) Experiment with exit-intent popups It isn’t a coincidence that popups always appear just when you are about to close a page. Many sites use technology that detects an aggressive mouse movement towards the top corner of the screen - usually a sign that it will be closed down. These are a last-ditch attempt to keep a user browsing the site, but if they capture attention in the right way then they can work wonders in terms of saving a cart that was about to be abandoned. A common tactic is to offer a discount. Research from Beeketing indicates that 48% of ‘window shoppers’ would buy a product they were interested in if they were offered a limited-time discount. This works on the scarcity principle - a perceived rush to buy a product can prevent someone from abandoning their cart to come back at a later date. Reduce your cart abandonment today Packed with plenty of tips similar to the ones we have explored, the ‘Minimise Cart Abandonment’ mission will equip you with an arsenal of techniques to drive that statistic down and keep shoppers inside your purchase funnel until the very end. Littledata automatically benchmarks ecommerce sites so you can see how you compare, then recommends missions to optimise performance. Knowing your average checkout completion rate is a good place to start. Whether you're looking at a Shopify abandoned cart or abandoned carts on a different ecommerce platform, you can launch the 'Minimise Cart Abandonment' mission directly from your Littledata dashboard. Use the app to track progress as you test ideas to discover what works best for your site. And one final tip: don’t try to fix everything at once. Start with one of the tips above that’s most relevant to your current shopping funnel, and go - or should I say grow - from there! This is a guest post by Jack Vale, a UK-based freelance writer and ecommerce expert.
How auditing Google Analytics can save you money
When is the last time you audited your Google Analytics account? If the answer is 'never', I understand, but you could be wasting a ton of cash - not to mention potential revenue. It's easy to put off an analytics audit as a 'someday' project considering the multitude of other tasks you need to accomplish each day. But did you know that auditing your Google Analytics account can save you money and add a big bump to online revenue, even with sites that are not ecommerce? Whether people spend money directly on your site, or your site is primarily for lead generation, you spend money to get those site visitors through your marketing channels. When you view a channel like AdWords, there is a clear financial cost since you pay for clicks on your ads. With organic traffic, such as from Facebook fans, you spend time crafting posts and measuring performance, so the cost is time. With an investment of any resource, whether time or money, you need to evaluate what works - and what does not - then revisit the strategy for each of your marketing channels. In this post, I’ll walk you through some of the automated audit checks in Littledata and take a look at what they mean for your online business. If your analytics audit doesn't ask the following questions, you're probably wasting money. Is your AdWords account linked to Google Analytics? If you run AdWords campaigns, linking AdWords and Analytics should be at the top of your to-do list. If AdWords and Analytics are not linked, you cannot compare your AdWords campaign performance to your other channels. Although you can still see how AdWords performs within the AdWords interface, this comparison among channels is important so you can adjust channel spend accordingly. If you discover that AdWords is not delivering the business you expected compared to other marketing channels, you may want to pause campaigns and reevaluate your PPC strategy. Are you tracking website conversions? There should be several conversion goals set up on your website because they represent visitor behavior that ultimately drives revenue. The above example shows a warning for a lead generation website. Although it is possible that no one contacted the site owner or scheduled an appointment in 30 days as indicated in the error, it does seem unlikely. With this warning, the site owner knows to check how goals are set up in Google Analytics to ensure they track behavior accurately. Or, if there really was no engagement in 30 days, it is a red flag to examine the strategy of all marketing channels! Although the solution to this warning will be different based on the individual site, this is an important problem to be aware of and setting up a goals in Google Analytics, such as for by destination, is straightforward. You can also get creative with your goals and use an ecommerce approach even for non-ecommerce websites. Do you use campaign tags with social media and email campaigns? This is an easy one to overlook when different marketing departments operate in silos and is a common issue because people do not know to tag their campaigns. Tagging is how you identify your custom social media and email campaigns in Google Analytics. For example, if you do not tag your paid and organic posts in Facebook, Google Analytics will lump them together and simply report on Facebook traffic in Google Analytics. In addition to distinguishing between paid and organic, you should also segment by the types of Facebook campaigns. If you discover poor performance with Facebook ads in Google Analytics, but do great with promoted posts in the Facebook newsfeed, you can stop investing money in ads at least for the short term, and focus more on promoted posts. Are you recording customer refunds in GA? Refunds happen and are important to track because they impact overall revenue for an ecommerce business. Every business owner, both online and offline, has dealt with a refund which is the nature of running a business. And this rate is generally fairly high. The return rate for brick-and-mortar stores is around 9% and closer to 20% for online stores, so less than 1% in the above audit seems suspicious. It is quite possible the refund rate is missing from this client’s Google Analytics account. Why does this matter? Let’s assume the return rate for your online store is not terrible - maybe 15% on average. However, once you track returns, you see one product line has a 25% return rate. That is a rate that will hurt your bottom line compared to other products. Once you discover the problem, you can temporarily remove that product from your inventory while you drill into data - and talk to your customer support team - to understand why that product is returned more than others, which is a cost savings. Are you capturing checkout steps? Most checkouts on websites have several steps which can be seen in Enhanced Ecommerce reports in Google Analytics. Shoppers add an item to their cart, perhaps log-in to an existing account or create a new one, add shopping information, payment etc. In the ideal world, every shopper goes through every step to ultimately make a purchase, but in the real world, that is rare. Last year alone, there was an estimated $4 trillion worth of merchandise abandoned in online shopping carts. Reasons for this vary, but include unanticipated extra costs, forced account creation, and complicated checkouts. By capturing the checkout steps, you can see where people drop out and optimize that experience on your website. You can also benchmark checkout completion rates see how your site compares to others. [subscribe] Are you capturing product list views? If you aren't tracking product list views correctly, your biggest cash cow might be sleeping right under your nose and you wouldn't even know it! Which products are the biggest money makers for you? If a particular product line brings in a lot of buyers, you want to make sure it is prominent on your website so you do not leave money on the table. Product list views enable you to see the most viewed categories, the biggest engagement, and the largest amount of revenue. If a profitable product list is not frequently viewed, you can incorporate it in some paid campaigns to get more visibility. The good news An audit is not only about what needs fixing on your website, but also can show you what is working well. After you run an audit, you will see the items that are set up correctly so give yourself a pat on the back for those - and know that you can trust reporting based on that data. Either way, remember to run an analytics audit regularly. Once a month is a good rule. I have seen cases where a website was updated and the analytics code was broken, but no one noticed. Other times, there may be a major change, such as to the customer checkout, so the original steps in your existing goal no longer work. Or an entirely new marketing channel was added, but with missing or inconsistent tagging. It is worth the time investment to ensure you have accurate Google Analytics data since it impacts influences your decisions as a business owner and your bottom line. Littledata's automated Google Analytics audit is especially useful for ecommerce sites, from online retailers to membership sites looking for donations. It gives a clear list of audit check results, with action plans for fixing your tracking. And Shopify stores can automatically fix tracking to capture all marketing channels and ensure that data in Google Analytics matches Shopify sessions and transactions (not to mention the data in your actual bank account!), even when using special checkouts like ReCharge and CartHook. When you're missing out on the revenue you should already have, an audit is the first step in understanding where it's falling away, or where you're over-spending. Run an audit. Make a list. Fix your tracking. Grow your revenue. Sometimes it really is that simple!
Abandoned cart email tactics that actually work (with steps and examples)
The number one reason for shopping cart abandonment is that online shoppers are simply not ready to complete the purchase yet. That’s something marketers have little control over. However, there is one thing you can control: the smart use of abandoned cart email flows. The average rate for documented shopping cart abandonment in 2017 is as high as 69.23%. But adjusting for technical performance and improving the checkout funnel can increase conversions for 35.26%. That’s $260 Billion worth of recoverable profit with through check-out optimization and better follow-up emails! No ecommerce owner wants to face cart abandonment. The customer has been so close to making a purchase, yet for some reason, your chance for profit slipped through your fingers. Don't worry though, the loss isn't final yet, because with the help of sales recovery tactics using email marketing automation software, you can win your customers back. SaleCycle reports that around 31% clicked abandoned cart emails proceed to finish their purchases. The series of emails after cart abandonment is substantial because some clients leave their carts unintentionally. Reasons like site time-out, complicated check-out, or a website crash may have interrupted their purchase. Here are the top three email strategies to win back abandoned carts! 1. Set up the right abandoned cart email sequence The right email sequence triggered at just the right time makes a tremendous amount of difference. Marketo recommends a series of three emails scheduled as follows. I've included some actual email examples to help illustrate the points. Send the first email within an hour of cart abandonment You have to drive your clients to continue with the purchase before they leave their computers. The first email aims to address technical glitches. Don’t sound pushy, just aim to help the client just in case the abandonment is not intentional. Below is an example of a gentle reminder for the first email. Send the second email after one day This time, you have to create a sense of urgency. The cart abandonment email below by Grove informs the client that the cart will expire soon. You may also talk about fleeting discounts or stock availability. And send the final email after 48 hours This is your last chance to win your client back so give it your best shot. You can give incentives like free shipping, bonus items or an additional discount. Here's an example of a final abandoned shopping cart email that works extremely well. It comes from the ecommerce site for Aéropostale. 2. Use catchy, personable email copy Your success in re-directing your clients to the shopping cart starts at a smart subject line. It will dictate if your client clicks on your email. So, craft subject lines that drive receivers to click on. One example is this email subject line by Helm Boots: These will look great on you The words strike empathy and curiosity. It gives a sense of compliment which will compel the receiver to click on. Not so different from what a friend would tell you in real life while actually shopping in a store! Appeal to your clients through creative wordings and graphics. It helps to know your buyer personas so that your copy will be more fitting. Use words that your clients can easily relate too. Humor is also a great way to spice up your content. The email below by Chubbies is clever, cool, and compelling. The visuals and wordings charm their target customers who are carefree and adventurous. 3. Use multiple, eye-catching buttons and links The email above by Chubbies also aced this up. It has three active links that direct the client back to the cart. The title, the main image, and the CTA button at the end of the copy are all clickable. Notice also that all the clickable elements stand-out from the rest of the copy. This makes it easier for your client to notice and click on your CTAs. The button below is cleverly worded. It has a distinct color and size you can’t miss. The copy further explains which elements are clickable in a friendly way. The CTA button is already clear but the added explanation guides the clients on the next steps and avoids confusion. Conclusion: Even before you start these top three tactics to get your customers back, you need the data to know which of your customers have abandoned their carts. Data analytics and triggers do this for you. They provide the information as to whom and when abandoned carts happen. The first step in solving your marketing problems is to identify what the problems are. Data analytics and triggers help you identify these glitches so you’ll know what to do next. After you have accurate data about who’s abandoned their carts, set up an email marketing automation software to automatically send your email series through behavioral triggers like shopping cart abandonment. Then drill down into analytics about every ecommerce checkout step to see where you can improve. With the correct data, effective automation software, perfectly timed emails, topnotch copy, and striking CTAs, you can leverage your losses into profits. You can gain back a part of the $260 Billion worth of recoverable earnings - and start to increase your add-to-cart rate too! [subscribe] This is a guest post by Kimberly Maceda, a Content Writer for ActiveTrail. Kimberly writes for some top online marketing sites and blogging advice on email marketing and marketing automation. Activetrail is a leading provider of professional-grade email marketing and automation software for growing businesses.
9 ways to optimise landing pages for conversions
How to improve AdWords retargeting using ecommerce checkout steps
In the ecommerce world, one of the smartest ways to improve ROI for marketing campaigns is to retarget customers who visited your website in the first place. These visitors are already in the market for the types of products that you sell, but how do you pull them back if they've dropped out of the checkout process? The most effective way to grab these customers is to target them based on where they dropped off. Luckily, Google lets you do exactly that: with the right analytics, you can set up retargeting campaigns based on checkout behaviour. At Littledata we've helped online stores in over 50 countries to improve marketing ROI using ecommerce tracking. In this post I share three simple steps you can take to improve your AdWords retargeting based on ecommerce checkout behaviour. 1. Set up accurate product tracking for your store Enhance Ecommerce tracking has been available from Google Analytics for a couple of years now. If you're already using this Google Analytics feature, good for you! Having product data means you can take advantage of this and create Audiences that then can be shared with AdWords (and other platforms). In order to improve AdWords retargeting using checkout steps, you must have checkout tracking and Enhanced Ecommerce enabled in Google Analytics. Then you can follow this checklist to set up accurate product tracking that can be used for Audiences in AdWords. Check out this resource (or share it with your lead developer): Google's Guide to Measuring a Checkout Repeat after me: "The fields must by dynamically populated! This is important!" Clarify where the checkout process starts and ends on your website (and again, if your developer is handling the setup make sure they're clear about each stage in your checkout funnel, including where the process starts and stops) Set up checkout tracking based on that process Once this data is successfully coming into Google Analytics, you're ready to create Audiences and share them with AdWords At this point, it's important to mention that there are a lot of elements to Enhanced Ecommerce tracking and each part needs to be set up separately. For example, you will not automatically be tracking product categories, listings and details. If you're not sure how to implement the full extent of Enhanced Ecommerce, we're here to help. If you're using the Shopify platform, you're in luck, as our Shopify reporting app's audit feature checks for accurate product and checkout-step tracking, and automatically assists with setting these up for you. The app works directly with the Google Analytics setup for your Shopify store, so you don't have to deal with Shopify's native reporting, which doesn't let you see how users are progressing through the checkout process. 2. Analyse customer behaviour, including checkout steps Shopping cart abandonment is the most frequent complaint we hear from ecommerce marketers. Why does someone add products to their shopping cart and then just abandon it completely? This isn't common in brick-and-mortar stores, so why does it happen so often online? Remember that online shoppers don't want to leave those things behind. They were attracted to those products and have expressed the desire to buy. But with a bad checkout flow, too much information or too little, they'll fly away and leave behind only unloved products with high shipping costs or under-promoted benefits. One of the best Enhanced Ecommerce use cases is the Checkout Behaviour report. This is essentially a Shopping Cart Abandonment report, showing weaknesses in your checkout process and where to invest your time and money to convince users that have added-to-cart to go ahead and complete a purchase. Why is this important and relevant to AdWords? Well, everything in marketing is about perspective. The above report doesn't only show you where you could improve your checkout flow, but also where you've lost customers. 'Lost' is the key word here. If you're losing a significant percentage of customers at the shipping stage of your checkout process, this is an opportunity to improve - and to market those improvements using AdWords. For example, you might look at that report and ask yourself: Are you charging customers too much for shipping? You can't really change that cost for all carts (we know that shipping costs are significant) but you could, for example, offer free shipping to shoppers with items in their cart over some profitability margin. Retargeting those users in Google AdWords is an effective way to show them that you're ready to reward them for making large purchases from your online store. Are you limiting yourself to too few territories? Put your analysts to work to find out where customers that leave the purchase flow want their goods to be delivered. Can you extend your logistical capabilities, or do you have a brick-and-mortar store nearby where you can direct these shoppers? Use AdWords retargeting to let them know. Of course, Google Analytics' native reports aren't for everyone. If you find them confusing or haven't worked extensively with enhanced ecommerce data, check out Littledata's report packs. These automated reports are an easy but comprehensive way to read and interpret ecommerce data without any hassle. For the purposes of tracking checkout steps to improve retargeting, I'd recommend our Ecommerce behaviour pack, which includes reports on shopping behaviour by marketing channel and checkout steps. [subscribe] 3. Set up retargeting campaigns based on that data How do you retarget users in AdWords based on Google Analytics data? Fear not, my brave colleagues! If you've made it to this step, you shouldn't have any trouble creating powerful retargeting campaigns. First you'll need to create a new Audience. In your Google Analytics Admin, find Audience Definitions in the middle of the screen near the bottom. Click on New Audience. Click on Create New and on this screen go to Conditions and Filter Users to Include the steps you want to target with this Audience. Set the Shopping Stage to contain (equal) 'Checkout_Abandonment' or 'Checkout_1', 'Checkout_2', etc. - wherever your customers have been falling off and leaving a basket full of goodies without completing the purchase. (Note that this field is auto-completed, so give GA a second after you start typing to show the options here.) You'll then need to set a time period. Think about your specific business and how far back you want to go with the search. Once you're happy with your selection, pick which Google AdWords account you'll want to link to this new Audience. That's it! You're now ready to run PPC promotions to a buy-ready audience that would otherwise have disappeared. I hope you've enjoyed this quick guide. Please drop me a line below and let me know how you use checkout steps in relation to AdWords. I always love to hear how other specialists in the field combine platforms to create perfect marketing. PRO TIP: If you're in a country with Google Merchant available, you can benefit from dynamic remarketing. This does take some extra setup on the product level, so let us know if you have specific questions. (And stay tuned - we're planning some Google Merchant Center-related posts for the near future.)
Important update to Remarketing with Google Analytics
How does page load speed affect bounce rate?
I’ve read many articles stating a link between faster page loading and better user engagement, but with limited evidence. So I looked at hard data from 1,840 websites and found that there’s really no correlation between page load speed and bounce rate in Google Analytics. Read on to find out why. The oft quoted statistic on page load speed is from Amazon, where each 100ms of extra loading delay supposed to cost Amazon $160m. Except that the research is from 2006, when Amazon’s pages were very static, and users had different expectations from pages – plus the conclusions may not apply to different kinds of site. More recently in 2013, Intuit presented results at the Velocity conference of how reducing page load speed from 15 seconds to 2 seconds had increased customer conversion by: +3% conversions for every second reduced from 15 seconds to 7 seconds +2% conversions for every second reduced from seconds 7 to 5 +1% conversions for every second reduced from seconds 4 to 2 So reducing load speed from 15 seconds to 7 seconds was worth an extra 24% conversion, but only another 8% to bring 7 seconds down to 2 seconds. Does page speed affect bounce rate? We collected data from 1,840 Google Analytics web properties, where both the full page load time (the delay between the first request and all the items on the page are loaded) and the bounce rate were within normal range. We then applied a Spearman’s Rank Correlation test, to see if being a higher ranked site for speed (lower page load time) you were likely to be a higher ranked site for bounce rate (lower bounce rate). What we found is almost no correlation (0.18) between page load speed and bounce rate. This same result was found if we looked at the correlation (0.22) between bounce rate and the delay before page content starts appearing (time to DOM ready) So what explains the lack of a link? I have three theories 1. Users care more about content than speed Many of the smaller websites we sampled for this research operate in niche industries or locations, where they may be the only source of information on a given topic. As a user, if I already know the target site is my best source for a topic, then I’ll be very patient while the content loads. One situation where users are not patient is when arriving from Google Search, and they know they can go and find a similar source of information in two clicks (one back to Google, and then out to another site). So we see a very high correlation between bounce rate and the volume of traffic from Google Search. This also means that what should concern you is speed relative to your search competitors, so you could be benchmarking your site speed against a group of similar websites, to measure whether you are above or below average. [subscribe] 2. Bounce rate is most affected by first impressions of the page As a user landing on your site I am going to make some critical decisions within the first 3 seconds: would I trust this site, is this the product or content I was expecting, and is it going to be easy to find what I need. If your page can address these questions quickly – by good design and fast loading of the title, main image etc – then you buy some more time before my attention wanders to the other content. In 2009, Google tried an experiment to show 30 search results to users instead of 10, but found the users clicking on the results dropped by 20%. They attributed this to the half a second extra it took to load the pages. But the precise issue was likely that it took half a second to load the first search result. Since users of Google mainly click on the first 3 results, the important metric is how long it took to load those - not the full page load. 3. Full page load speed is increasingly hard to measure Many websites already use lazy loading of images and other non-blocking loading techniques to make sure the bare bones of a page is fast to load, especially on a mobile device, before the chunkier content (like images and videos) are loaded. This means the time when a page is ready for the user to interact with is not a hard line. SpeedCurve, a tool focussed entirely on web page speed performance, has a more accurate way of tracking when the page is ‘visually complete’ based on actual filmstrips on the page loading. But in their demo of The Guardian page speed, the page is not visually complete until a video advert has rendered in the bottom right of the screen – and personally I’d be happy to use the page before then. What you can do with Google Analytics is send custom timing events, maybe after the key product image on a page has loaded, so you can measure speed as relevant to your own site. But doesn’t speed still affect my Google rankings? A little bit yes, but when Google incorporated speed as a ranking signal in 2010, their head of SEO explained it was likely to penalise only 1% of websites which were really slow. And my guess is in 7 years Google has increase the sophistication with which it measures ‘speed’. So overall you shouldn’t worry about page load times on their own. A big increase may still signal a problem, but you should be focussing on conversion rates or page engagement as a safer metric. If you do want to measure speed, try to define a custom speed measurement for the content of your site – and Littledata’s experts can work with you to set that custom reporting up.
How to improve your landing pages using Google Analytics
Landing page optimisation is one part of a broader digital marketing process called conversion optimisation, or conversion rate optimisation (CRO), with the goal of improving the percentage of visitors to a website that becomes sales leads/or customers. Let's see how to improve your landing page performance. There are some things to check when you want to improve the conversion rate of a particular page. In order to get the best data, we use Google Analytics and Hotjar. I will start with Hotjar because it is faster! With Hotjar you will understand what users want, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behaviour. This is shown with nice videos of a user's journey leading to conversion. With Hotjar, you can see what confuses people, what is not clear and if for your customer point-of-view is clear on your landing page. And now the hard and exciting part: Analyse the data collected in Google Analytics. If you think that the home page is a landing page please read this before you go further: Website Homepage vs Landing page - what's the difference? and this: Don’t obsess over your homepage – its importance will decrease over time! When a visitor clicks on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad, they're taken to a landing page — a web page whose sole purpose of existence is to entice people to take an action. If done well, it could be the most effective marketing weapon in your arsenal. The correct analysis of data can save you a lot of money or even your business. If your visitors donʼt know what to do when they land on your landing page, then you are throwing your advertising money out the window. Your call-to-action (CTA) is the primary conversion goal of a visitor to your landing page. Next, I give you some examples of common actions that you might want a customer to do on your landing page: purchasing a product subscribing to a newsletter calling you on the phone downloading an ebook or whitepaper watching a demo requesting information Let's find out, step-by-step if your landing page is a winner using this checklist. Click on them to find out how to analyse and interpret data CTA(s) clear and unambiguous Do what you say and say what you do Don't be like Trump. Leave the Amazing! Awesome! words elsewhere Less is more Keep it where it can be seen Know your clients Twice is better Design matters Choose what matters the most CTA(s) clear and unambiguous Google Analytics report: "Landing pages" with a second dimension added to the report: "Second page" If you are offering an app access go with "Get Started" or "Create account" and don't say “Get your free ebook” or “go” or “submit”. Do what you say and say what you do Google Analytics report: "Landing pages" with a second dimension added to the report: "Second page" analyses the bounce rate on the call-to-action link. Donʼt promise one thing and then deliver something else or even worse nothing at all (a 404 page). To follow the same example, if you have an app and say "30 days free trial" don't let people click 'try for 30 days' and on the next page provide a PayPal form to charge them for a month period. Don't be like Trump. Leave the Amazing! Awesome! words elsewhere Google Analytics report: "Pages" see how many FAQ and Terms pageview you have. Resist the temptation to include bloated adjectives. Such claims are likely to make people think you are overselling and trying too hard. Less is more Google Analytics report: "Top Events" with a second dimension added to the report: "Page" analyses the clicks on your call-to-action versus other clicks in page or scroll actions. Make space for your call-to-action. Let them breathe visually. Using more whitespace will allow your button or statement to stand out on the page. Colour choice is important here also; create a high contrast between the call-to-action and surrounding elements to assert it’s dominance. Keep it where it can be seen Google Analytics report: "Top Events" analyse the scroll tracking. See how far your visitors are scrolling down If you have a long page, donʼt put the call-to-action below the fold. Take into consideration, the different screen sizes and adapt your landing pages for the most common. Most of the users will not scroll far down the page so be sure to put your value proposition and your call-to-action as a first-seen element in the page. Know your clients Google Analytics report: "Demographics - Language" Speak your client's language. Provide different landing pages based on country. Advertise differently based on specific demographics. However good your product or service is, the simple truth is that no one will buy it if they don't want it or believe they don't need it. And you won't persuade anyone that they want or need to buy what you're offering unless you clearly understand what it is your customers really want. Twice is better Google Analytics report: Combine "Top Events" (for scroll tracking) and "All Pages" for the propotion of sessions with FAQ/Terms pageviews Not all customers are ready to engage right away and might need some supporting information to ease their worries or answer their questions. If you are asking someone to buy something, a sensible secondary call-to-action can be to download a product brochure. This keeps them in your realm of inﬂuence (as opposed to leaving to do research elsewhere) and builds conﬁdence. Ensure that the safety net CTA doesnʼt compete in size and visual dominance – often a simple text link is adequate, beneath the main big action button. If you are asking someone to purchase online, offering a phone number for phone orders can make a potential customer more likely to convert if thatʼs their preferred contact method. Design matters Google Analytics report: "Source/medium" shows the bounce rate for each campaign Carry your primary call-to-action throughout the entire acquisition and conversion experience, from audience acquisition ads (PPC, email, banner, social media link) through your landing page and on to the ﬁnal destination page. Choose what represents you the most (maybe some colours or even the call-to-action itself), you should be able to look at the page and have your eye immediately drawn to the action area. Be audience appropriate Google Analytics report: there is no report in Analytics for this. Just remember your experience when reading an email or a Facebook comment Previously, I said to speak the customers' language. Now I'm saying to take care what they can interpret. Reading a statement is different from hearing it. So don't be too pushy, don't use a lot of exclamation signs, don't use a lot of caps lock wording and be a friend when they say what they feel when they see the call-to-action. I recommend reading this blog post from January: How to improve your conversion rate optimisation and this one: Conversion friendly experiences: reducing landing page friction with psychology. These two are related and complementary to the actions you're trying to take. In the next couple of weeks I will go deeper in each section and show you how good and bad engagement looks like for a landing page. Have any questions? Get in touch with our experts! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.
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