I am one of the many people obsessed with increasing conversion rates. Were you to wake me up in the middle of the night with the word ‘conversion,’ I would probably respond with a long, haunting sigh, “…raaaates.”
That’s how much I’ve been possessed by the topic.
I’ve seen lots of unsuccessful attempts at increasing conversion rates based on conventional wisdom that isn’t necessarily backed up with data. Make your calls-to-action (CTAs) big! Change your layout! Make it scroll horizontally and design it in Adobe Flash! One funeral home changed all their colors to blacks, and it proved to be successful in increasing conversion rates: it is bound to work for you, even if you sell lollipops!
The lists are endless, and sometimes they are just empty promises. What you really need is data: tangible, real-life data which is related directly to you, your website and your customers’ needs.
Click tracking is one of the methods for gathering real data about what your website’s visitors do. It is a good start when optimizing your design and understanding how your customers behave and why.
What is Click Tracking?
By using a click tracking tool, you can see where your users place their cursor and press the mouse button, usually in the form of a convenient heat map. The studies are qualitative and allow you to have tons of participants.
You can learn a lot from these studies such as where people focus their clicks the most, whether they react to the buttons placed on the website, whether they navigate the website properly, is something distracting them and so on. You figure out the questions, and click tracking will provide the answers.
What are the benefits? First of all, the study is incredibly cheap – you don’t have to gather tons of participants in a lab and pay them; you can do it remotely and even without your users’ knowledge. Secondly, because the study is not overt, visitors on your site behave normally rather than exhibiting the unnatural behaviors inherent in those being observed. They simply react to visuals like they usually would because they are in their natural environment.
Armed with this knowledge, you are well on your way to optimizing your website’s design and increasing conversions.
ClickTale is one of the services offering click tracking, and one of their clients, The North Face, wanted to increase the conversion rate of their shopping cart, but their own tools had been inadequate in accomplishing that goal.
With the heat maps provided by ClickTale, The North Face saw that many users didn’t pay attention to the checkout button on the shopping cart page. Instead, they were focused on the promotional banner above the button, which invited everybody to become a rewards member.
While attracting more rewards members was one of the goals for The North Face, the placement of the banner resulted in the loss of potential conversions in the shopping cart.
In order to fix that problem, they ran an A/B test which tested a different position of the checkout button. The results were much better:
Optimal Energy & UsabilityTools
Optimal Energy – one of the largest price comparison systems for energy distributors in Europe – had a big takeaway from a study with click tracking service UsabilityTools.
Optimal Energy’s website had a slider with images that appeared to be clickable CTAs, containing words like ‘Start’; these images were only samples, however, so they were not clickable. Click tracking data showed that up to 24% of clicks on the website as a whole were on unclickable elements and about half of them on these false CTAs.
In order to solve this problem, Optimal Energy immediately made these elements clickable, leading the user to a submission form. Thanks to this change, the effectiveness of CTAs increased by 66.2%, and the conversion rate increased by 122.6%.
Click tracking provides actual, real data instead of relying on hunches or unfounded hypotheses. The success of optimization projects on one website doesn’t necessarily generalize to other websites because every company has a unique set of clients, so you need study the behaviors of your clients to inform design changes.
Sezgin Hergül is the marketing manager at UsabilityTools. He specializes in content marketing and website growth. Besides his love for marketing, he enjoys good design and music.
Image of mouse licensed through Creative Commons by Erin Kohlenberg & adapted for this post.