Paul Cheney

Customer Response: The surprising reason why color matters

October 30th, 2014

Can something as simple as a change in color have an impact on whether a customer will use a search tool on a page?

Intuitively, we thought it did, but we really couldn’t be sure until we tested. This led us question this particular page for a large media brand:

 

The Variable Tested:  “I want to … ” search box

 

The page was a normal page layout with a white background. However,  we wanted to test the impact of color on the search box.

 

The Treatments: “I want to…” search box color variants

 

The Results: How did these changes impact clickthrough?

The treatment search box using a white background with red text design (Treatment 1 – example No. 2 in the above graphic) increased search clickthrough rate by 34.32%. Statistically speaking, there was no comparative difference in performance among the other colors.

 

We gained the following customer insight: The high contrast colors were having an unintended (and negative) effect on customers who would otherwise use the search tool.

All the treatments but Treatment 1 performed the same, and they significantly underperformed when compared to Treatment 1. The search bar with the same background color as the rest of the page (the one that blended in the most) was the winner of the test. What factor caused customers to skip over the higher-contrast search bars? By process of elimination, we can start to understand.

 

1. The difference was not due to the intrinsic properties of the specific colors

 

Any meaning customers attach to an abstract color is based on their own subjective or cultural experience. We can guess that the performance difference of the treatment colors was not overall due to cultural perceptions  because the red search box did not perform differently from the blue or teal search boxes — two families of colors that typically have opposite cultural meaning for the demographic we tested.

 

2. The difference was not due to brand affinity

For this particular brand, all the colors fit into the brand guidelines. However, the white background search bar outperformed the others, thus eliminating the possibility of strong brand association.

 

3. The difference was likely because of banner blindness

 

As we can see in the illustration above, banner blindness is a condition where customers instinctively overlook any element on a page that resembles a banner advertisement.

We think the higher contrasting colors were causing customers to mentally categorize the search box as a banner that was not actually a part of the content of the page.

By using less color contrast, the search box looked more like a tool on the page and less like a banner.

Ultimately, we learned that customers were more inclined to use a feature of a page when they perceive it as a useful tool that is part of the content of the page.

 

You might also like

On-site Search: How to help your customers find what they want (to buy) [More from the blogs]

Site Search Solutions: 3 methods for implementing search on your site [More from the blogs]

Marketing Experiment: Learn from our split testing mistakes [More from the blogs]

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Categories: Site Design Tags: , , , ,

Erin Hogg

Price Testing: Order of prices increases revenue 51% per visitor for Portland Trail Blazers

October 27th, 2014

Last month, I sat down with Dewayne Hankins, Vice President of Marketing and Digital for the Portland Trail Blazers NBA team, to talk about how they leveraged dynamic ticket pricing in the purchasing process for single-ticket buyers.

We talked a lot about the effort as a whole, which involved launching a brand new site and optimizing various elements to provide fans with an experience that was relevant to them.

Testing, instead of relying on gut feelings and instincts, is the only way to truly know if your efforts are making an impact.

The team at the Portland Trail Blazers took testing to heart, and experimented on even smallest elements on the single-game ticket pages — the order of pricing.

Here are the details on one of those tests:

 

Control 

 

On the ticket pages displaying the upcoming games, pricing was listed in ascending order from left to right, with the highest price next to the “Find Tickets” button.

 

Treatment

Treatment

 

On the treatment ticket page, the team reversed the order of pricing. The lowest prices were now next to the “Find Ticket” button.

Read more…

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Categories: Practical Application Tags: , , , , , ,

Joey Taravella

Email Marketing: Graphic design elements lift clickthrough 11.97%

October 23rd, 2014

Graphic design.

It is a phrase often thrown around without much thought. What does it actually mean to be a graphic designer, and what does that job title entail?

I graduated from the University of North Florida with a BFA and a concentration in graphic design and digital media. While in school, I worked for the school newspaper (The Spinnaker) where I started as an illustration artist, which led to a layout designer position and, eventually to art director.

Later, I helped transform this newspaper into a glossy magazine. This was a big transition because, generally speaking, photos and graphics need to be of a higher quality for a magazine than they need to be for newsprint. This transition also required an entirely new layout and art direction. The new magazine received Best in Show at the Associated Collegiate Press conference in New Orleans. 

I have also traveled to Brazil where I offered pro bono design work for various non-profits working with children in poverty-stricken areas.

I say all of this not for the ego boost, but to give you some background as to who I am and what my trade is.

Merriam-Webster defines “graphic design” as this:

The art and profession of selecting and arranging visual elements — such as typography, images, symbols and colors — to convey a message to an audience. Sometimes graphic design is called ‘visual communications.’ It is a collaborative discipline: writers produce words, and photographers and illustrators create images that the designer incorporates into a complete visual message.

In a perfect world, the designer would get the best words, the best photos and the best illustrations and arrange them all into the most appealing and effective visual message pertaining to the target audience’s motivation levels.

However, all of those things don’t always fall into place. Even if they do, how can you be sure?

 

The control

Below is an email that was created in the same manner that Merriam-Webster uses to describe “graphic design.” There are words on the page, given to a designer, which speak of the company and its product’s value. There is also a professionally-shot photo that shows a couple enjoying the product featured in the email. All of these elements have been combined into a visually pleasing design: 

 

From a design perspective, this is an appealing email:

  • The main headline is a very legible sans-serif (a proven category of typeface for headlines)
  • There is plenty of contrast between the headline and background
  • The email layout itself is dynamic, leading the viewer’s eye from left to right and then down the page to the rest of the message
  • Overall, best design practices have been used (color, proximity, scale, etc.)
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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , , ,

Eddie Lutz

Perception vs Reality in the Eyes of a Decision Maker

October 20th, 2014

Every company struggles with finding ways to convey the value of their product or service in an impactful way. The reasons for subpar value proposition can range anywhere from the value of the product being presented in a convoluted or confusing way to not reaching the customer when they are motivated to buy.

In some cases, the mindset or pre-existing biases can cloud the value proposition in a potential customer’s mind. The ability to overcome that destructive perception is key to guiding a potential customer through any sales funnel.

 

Clarity trumps persuasion — and a wrong perception

Anyone who has seen a webinar or attended a summit featuring MECLABS’ Managing Director, Flint McGlaughlin, has most likely heard him say, “Clarity trumps persuasion.” I want to take that one step further and say that there is a great feat in providing enough clarity to trump a wrong perception.

Earlier in my career at MECLABS, I spent time as the Lead Generation Specialist. In that role, our task was to generate sales-ready leads for our partners.

During that time, I was assigned to one of our more difficult partners — a global provider of outsourced investment management services.

My job was to speak with C-level decision makers of non-profit organizations and schedule meetings with one of our partner’s regional directors.

These meetings had one purpose: Communicate the distinguishable benefits of the firm and its outsourcing model to these decision makers. The problem was these DM’s didn’t want to talk to me.

The decision makers were well aware, as was our partner, that switching an investment management provider was an extremely long and involved process, and more often than not, the organization I was speaking with was happy with the status-quo and did not want to consider an alternative approach.

Their perception was that we were looking to force the organization to switch their investment model after the meeting. This wasn’t the case. Finally, after many rebuttals that weren’t resonating, we started to change our approach and messaging.

Read more…

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Categories: Lead Generation Tags: , , ,

John Tackett

What a 173% Increase in Clickthrough Can Teach You About Subscribers

October 16th, 2014

At MarketingExperiments, we define friction in a conversion process as a psychological resistance to a given element in a sales process.

If you’ve ever waited in a long line at a theme park in July, that’s friction personified. It’s the hot and sweaty agony that makes a customer ask themselves, “Why am I doing this?”

I should also add that not all friction is avoidable, but a large concentration of it can be reduced through a little testing and optimization.

In today’s post, I wanted to share with you a recent experiment to identify and reduce friction, which you can enjoy with no lines or waiting.

Before we dive in, let’s review the background notes and give the experiment a little perspective and context.

 

Background: A large news publication.

Goal: To increase clickthrough rate.

Primary Research Question: Which landing page will generate the most clicks?

Approach: A/B multifactorial

 

Side-by-side

Here are the pages in the experiment together.

 

During a preliminary analysis of the control, the MECLABS research team hypothesized the control page’s long-form layout style was impacting performance.

As you can see, the bullet points help organize the copy, but their sheer number creates a wall of text.

For the treatment, the team organized those bullets into a tabbed navigation, allowing the customer to click on what is relevant to them in an effort to help guide the conversation toward a subscription.

They also removed the video and added a second call-to-action.

How did the treatment stack up?

Read more…

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Categories: Practical Application Tags:

Josh Wilson

Landing Page Optimization: Leveraging perception to tip the value scale (Part 2)

October 13th, 2014

Last week, I wrote about the importance of considering the value exchange scale in your marketing campaigns. I explained how increasing the perceived value of a product to your consumer can transform something as simple as a rock found in your backyard into the must-have toy sensation of the season — the Pet Rock.

This week, I’m going to share some more tactics to use this scale to impact your marketing efforts, but I must warn you, things are going to get a little deeper. I recommend reading last week’s article before you proceed.

Just to recap, Value Force is what your consumer thinks your product is worth, while Cost Force is the price that you, the marketer, salesperson or company, are charging for the same product.

When, in the mind of your consumer, Cost weighs more than Value, the prospect will say “no” to your offer. However, when the Value of your product weighs more than its Cost, you may receive the coveted “yes.”

Sounds simple, right? Let’s take another look at the value exchange scale: 

 

We’re going to assume that for this hypothetical marketing case, both Value and Cost are weighted equally. Given this scenario, how can we affect the scale without directly adding to or subtracting from the Value Force or the Cost Force? It may help to think a little bit out of the box for this one. Let’s ask some “what if” questions:

What if the triangle moves to the left, like in the picture below?

 

Read more…

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