The eCommerce Marketing Podcast walks you through everything that goes into ecommerce marketing — from inbound marketing to paid advertising to conversions. Learn the strategies top marketing experts use to grow their businesses.
Marketing Strategies Revealed in this Episode:
Chris is a digital marketing entrepreneur, speaker, and neuromarketer who gets excited about helping businesses learn what their users want on their website, using psychology based testing and analytics. He started his Conversion Optimization agency Dayley Conversion in 2014, which he later merged with Disruptive Advertising, where he currently works as VP of site testing and optimization.
Welcome to the podcast Chris. Thank you so much for having me on I’m excited. Yeah, not a problem. Not a problem before we get started. I always like to find out a little bit about our my guest. I know today we’re going to be talking about something that’s kind of near and dear to your heart with what you’re doing at Disruptive Advertising which is a A/B Testing for e-commerce businesses. But before we get into that, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself your background and how you got started and how you got into what you’re doing today.
Yeah. So, you know you mentioned in my my bio that I started a company 2014. I was kind of an unlikely entrepreneur in the sense that I never set out to start a business. I got my first career job if you will doing sales for a company that did digital marketing. Specifically selling SEO search engine optimization and I just became fascinated with the idea that you know, you could influence Google search results.
All that kind of stuff is very exciting to me. So so I applied for an internal job and started doing SEO and you know, SEO is all about driving traffic to your site. And so one of the influential conversations I had that kind of changed my career path drastically. I sat down with for like my annual performance review with with our Executives and I was showing all these graphs that went up into the right.
You know, we’ve got we tripled our organic traffic in the last year all these really exciting things. Then the question was asked well so so we got all this traffic to our site. What does that actually mean? What why is that? Why is that awesome right which you know up until that point. No one had really challenged me.
It was like, oh of course traffic is a good thing. But once that question was asked was like, okay well, Let me let me prove that this had a bottom line impact and I became pretty discouraged as I started digging into my analytics. I realized that a lot of this traffic we were generating was not converting, you know, we had tripled our traffic but we did not triple our sales by a Longshot.
And so then I start going why why did that happen as I started asking around the company I was at to figure out like why is there traffic not converting? Nobody knew nobody could answer why this was happening. And and so by necessity I went to Google start figuring out. Well, what can you do if you’re getting traffic and it’s not converting and I discovered the concept of A/B Testing gotcha.
And so from there, you know, I ran my first test which had a huge impact in conversion rates. I tested a page that was like a templated design versus versus are really nice customized design for website. And this this kind of crappy looking templated design performed better and that’s and that’s just like.
Made me fall in love with this concept of testing because I go why did this work? Right why would this possibly work? And so he was just kind of all downhill from there. I got involved in the industry spent a few years building out some expertise around a/b testing and then ended up being starting my agency in 2014.
Okay, great. Great. Yeah, that’s awesome. And then I know of course as you indicated in your bio, you joined disruptive advertising or did they did they acquire your. Yeah, so we merged businesses. So constructive advertising was focused primarily on PPC and driving driving traffic to websites Google ads and Facebook ads, you know, I was focused on converting that traffic and in additionally started out as a conversation.
I actually came in to pitch disruptive. And said, hey look you should have all of your customers do a/b testing and I’ll fill it and we ended up just in a great conversation and realize there was so much overlap that we ended up merging companies. Okay, great. Great. Yeah, that’s awesome. And I’m sure it was a positive in opportunity for you there yet.
I took a look at disruptive advertising and what you guys do when you’ve got a lot going on. So I’m sure that’s worked. Well the relationship that you guys have. Now, you know for the listeners out there, of course you and I are familiar. We’ve been in the game quite a while. We’re familiar with conversion rate optimization A/B Testing, but for those listeners that aren’t familiar with what A/B Testing is, why don’t you kind of break it down kind of in layman’s terms?
What exactly is it? And how would it business use it? Yeah. So before I explain A/B Testing, I’ll tell you what most companies do so a lot of times I’ll ask companies. Have you do you know what A/B Testing is if you ever done a be testing before and almost always businesses will. Yes, and when I say well tell me about it.
Like what what A/B test did you run? Most companies will say? Oh, well, we did this big website redesign. We launched it on our site and we compared conversion rates after we launched to conversion rates before we launched. Okay and conversion rates went up God and that’s not an a/b test at all.
Right. That’s that’s a that’s a website line and right and the reason it’s not an a/b test and the reason that it’s not even reliable data. And you already know this but conversion rates on your website are changing all the time. There’s all kinds of things that are happening with your customers with your traffic with your marketing that is that is changing your conversion rates.
Like for example, we were just talking about how how the Carolinas got hit with the hurricane. Well, maybe I have a large customer base and the Carolinas and my conversion rates went way up this week. Because there’s a bunch of people that are stuck inside and some gymnasium at an elementary school and they have nothing else to do but shop online and so now they’re coming on they’re buying my products and I think it’s because I just launched a website last week, but it’s actually because of this hurricane has nothing to do with my website.
The idea of A/B Testing is primarily to solve this problem of well. How do I know? What affected my conversion rates isn’t my design or is it my traffic? So what an a/b test is is. You take your existing website with so we’ll just use the homepage as an example. I’m going to take the existing home page of my website and I’m going to create a duplicate of it.
And there’s a lot of tools that allow you to do this, but I’m going to create a copy of my homepage and then I’m going to change something on that homepage. Maybe I put a different hero Banner in it. I put a different selection of products on it or whatever and then I run I split traffic between both of those versions.
So I have my existing site, which is my a version and then I have my version with a different. Which is version be going to run traffic to both of them during the same period of time with the same traffic so that I can get a really true comparison and Baseline so I can say hey I had 50% of my traffic going to each version over the last week and my existing home page generated 50 sales and my new home page generated 70 sales.
So I had a whatever, you know, 40% increase in orders there. And so what this allows you to do again is it allows you to. Determine the impact of that one change with all other things being the same the time frame the traffic everything else is exactly the same so you can really understand the impact of changes on your site.
Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. I love that explanation that really kind of broke it down and simplified exactly what it is. Now. I know some of the listeners may be wondering you know who this is appropriate for, you know, a lot of the people out there are e-commerce businesses or e-commerce marketers and I wondering okay is this.
Appropriate for my business and I’ve I’ve done a lot of research and I’ve heard different schools of thought and maybe you can kind of help me put this to bed with a be testing. Does it make sense or is there like a baseline of website traffic that? A website should have for A/B Testing to even make sense.
Like this is website have to get a certain minimum amount of traffic for it even to really be worthwhile doing or does it does it matter you can you can you get some definitive results and metrics regardless, Woody? What’s your take on that? Yes, I mean my Approach is you should always be testing you should always have some kind of an a/b test running now.
If you get less than about ten thousand visitors per month to your site, it’s just going to take you a long time to get any kind of different of definitive result, which is fine. You still want to run a test, but you just need to understand that it’s going to take a while. And so you’re not going to have a really aggressive strategy in place.
You know, like I have some I have some friends and clients where you launch a test on your homepage and run it for two to three months and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that because you know, maybe your maybe you just launched your. Or maybe you’re working on scaling up your traffic or maybe it’s a seasonal e-commerce business, you know, and for example, we work with Scotts Miracle-Gro and we’re heading into not busy season form, right?
There’s nobody buying Miracle-Gro when it’s snowing and so but they still get a lot of traffic, you know, they still get a decent on traffic to their site and so it’s like well, let’s launch some tests and just realize that it’ll probably take longer. So yeah, that’s that’s how I usually break things down if you get more than 10,000 visitors to your site per month.
Then you really want to make sure that you’ve got a good site testing strategy in place because you can test on a monthly basis and not where the power of A/B Testing really comes in because A/B Testing is not just about it’s not like a one and done type of thing where it’s like, okay. Hey, we’re going to test this new design and if it works then great will use the new design.
If it doesn’t work, then we’ll use the old design A/B Testing is about constantly learning about your users and leveraging what you learn. To make sight better. So just for example, I used the homepage, you know, like a regular e-commerce homepage as an example. One of the things that most eCommerce sites do on their homepage is either list out a bunch of your products may be your most popular products or you list out a bunch of categories of your products, right?
Like if you sell more than one product you’re going to try to list them all out on your homepage one of the First Fundamental questions that. Like to ask with my with my clients is do you know what products should be on your homepage or how many you should have because every e-commerce site that I’ve worked with has at least one thing on every page of their site that is actually hurting conversion rates.
Okay. Wow, and so and so when you ask that first question, how many products should we have on our homepage or how many categories should we display? That’s a that’s a very simple question and you can’t. This you know, I ran a test on one of my clients home pages. We tested eight different versions of their homepage.
Just we just removed sections of products because we wanted to figure out does this section of products help does this section of product? So out of those eight different versions of their home page six of them? Increased revenue and so then you go. Okay. Well removing six of these different sections of products increases Revenue.
It’s not like you just launch that and then it’s like okay now our homepage is solid like this just leads you to another question, which is okay. Well, hey, obviously we have too many products on our homepage. Let’s remove these ones that we found her conversion rates. Now, let’s figure out well, what should we have?
They’re not be know that we have too many if we’re only going to show three products on our homepage which three products. We show we show our most expensive our least expensive our most popular. Maybe we should show the products that we’re that we get the highest margin on like, you know, I don’t know what but let’s figure out what’s going to resonate.
So that’s the idea behind testing is you want to you want to have each test should help you learn something about your audience that leads you to the next step of refining your website. I see I see. Yeah, that’s that’s pretty clear and it like you said it’s going to lead you somewhere. So we said earlier is really clear.
No matter what you really almost you really should always be testing. He said A/B Testing always be testing, right? Yeah, you know like the the ABCs of selling always be closing so two nice little punter acronym there, but it does make sense because. Once your results lead you to a certain direction you’re going to make some type of modification, but then you’ve got to see okay, once we’ve done this modification.
All right, what else can be done? Because you know, like you said it really is endless almost because there’s so many things that you can you can change so many things you can modify from call-to-action placements to like you said product listings on a homepage it just you know, it’s really endless.
So it really makes sense how you can. We analyze so many things on your website. Now. As far as A/B Testing is concerned you gave an example earlier of your hypothetical example of how sales improved for that one retail businesses website because of the hurricane people were stuck in a gym. They were doing a lot of online ordering to this particular company’s website and that brought up another point now that we’re you know in 2018 and we’re really just in the age of the mobile devices.
I know too many people that don’t have a mobile phone that has there’s a smartphone these days, but that would I would dare to say it’s got to be, you know, at least in the u.s. I mean the numbers are probably staggering but with respect to mobile devices, you know, how can any bit Ecommerce business use A/B Testing to to measure conversions with respect to to mobile devices?
And is that something that’s appropriate? Oh, yeah well and so you bring up a great point if you’re an e-commerce business. And out of all the e-commerce businesses that I’ve worked with the vast majority of e-commerce. Traffic is mobile. Okay, because most e-commerce visitors are going to be finding your products via social media either through a social add.
I mean, if you’re not advertising on Facebook and Instagram, you’re missing a huge opportunity, but so most people are going to find you either through social ads or through organic social posts, and those people are on their mobile devices people typically do not browse Facebook on their computer and so it’s like I think.
90% of Facebook interactions happen on mobile. So most of your traffic is going to be on mobile. So it is critical that you understand how should my sight be different on mobile because what most e-commerce companies are doing is whether you I mean whether you’re using Shopify or whether you’re using WordPress woocommerce Bigcommerce, whatever whatever kind of e-commerce solution you’re using.
There’s typically some kind of mobile responsiveness just built into your platform. Right? And so you build out your side on desktop. It just automatically shrinks down on mobile and it looks nice right but that is not a mobile-friendly site just because it looks nice on well does not mean good experience on mobile true.
Right? So I would searching for for some products the other day. I can’t I think it was for Labor Day. I was my wife and I were looking through like Labor Day sales on on mobile. There’s this one particular product that I was searching for an every site. I went to the site experience was so challenging to navigate on mobile.
I literally did not buy from most of these for most of these websites because it was such a frustrating mobile experience and that happens all the time where people will come on mobile they get frustrated and they leave or. They start feeling anxiety because it’s just taking longer than they would like to figure out and so the mobile experience is critical and most most clients that I have worked with when you compare mobile and desktop conversion rates, mobile version rates are usually half to even a fifth.
As high as desktops mobile conversion rates are much lower and that’s not because mobile users are unwilling to buy it’s typically because we’re not providing good mobile experiences. Wow, okay it is that make sense. Yeah, and so I highly recommend we’ve seen some of our greatest successes by Testing mobile experiences figuring out what should be different on our mobile site.
How can we make it easier to browse and maybe people want fewer products displayed on a mobile device? Maybe they want larger images. Maybe they want smaller images, you know, like I see companies will typically make some great assumption about mobile. They love big images. So let’s make sure all of our images are huge and then it’s ridiculous because your site load speeds are high and you have to scroll and scroll and scroll through these giant product images and it’s hard to compare a bunch of products or companies will air on the other side and they go.
Oh, well mobile users need to be able to compare all of my products on one screen. So let’s shrink everything down to this tiny minuscule photo that can’t even see and so anyways, those are some like fundamental questions that you need to figure out on mobile and. The biggest thing that I asked most e-commerce companies is do you know what is different about your mobile users?
Right? You don’t then you need to be testing if you do it’s probably because you are testing right right for sure. And as far as mobile is concerned. I mean, they’re actually Our Guest some other things that you would need to consider as well. I mean not only mobile transactions going to continue to increase there are actually some other variables that I just thought of I mean a lot of it does have to do with your demographic Millennials, of course.
Day and age. I mean, I don’t know too many Millennials these days that just don’t do all of their internet transactions on their on their smartphone. I need help thinking of relatives that I have cousins and you know, I don’t none of them really have a laptop everything is done on that smartphone.
And so that’s where all their internet activity is concerned and those the millennial demographic but you know, there are other demographics where the mobile experience maybe I’m not saying that it’s not going to be a lot of purchases done on mobile. Is what like let’s say I’ll give you an example.
Let’s say you’re an e-commerce company and you sell adult diapers. Don’t ask me why I thought of that but you sold old diapers. Obviously that particular Niche is going to be an older community and an older community the adoption rates on and the purchasing done on smartphones may not be as high as of course as those Millennials so.
You know, there’s things that like you said you you may not have to be as concerned about the mobile transactions and you can probably just look at your stats and see okay, how many on a monthly basis how many of these products are actually purchased from the mobile devices? So those are those are some factors but I.
As time moves on and I think it is it made it really is going to become less and less as far as transactions done on traditional, you know desktop computers and laptops. Oh, I think you still have to be mindful of the demographics though. Well, let me let me add something in there because you bring up a good point about demographics and.
The interesting thing is so statistics are showing that adoption rates among, you know among seniors is increasing dramatically. Okay, here’s here’s kind of an interesting thing that I have seen as I’ve been testing over the last few years is. Bolton the graphics are going to be on mobile devices.
So yeah, I mean again you brought up a good point. Look at how much of your traffic is mobile. But if you’re an e-commerce business, I would not be surprised if at least 60 percent or more of your traffic is mobile. So we’re coming to your site on a mobile device. They want to purchase on a mobile device if you provide a good enough experience and so here’s here’s something that’s interesting.
Because Millennials are a lot more tech savvy in general and this is just like a very generous generalized statement, but Millennials in general are more tech-savvy they are going to be a lot more wise to some of your marketing ploys. So you have to make sure that you have a really great straightforward side experience.
They don’t typically fall for a lot of when I say tricks. What I’m talking about is they’re not typically going to be manipulated by some like big. Flashing Banner or get really annoyed by that kind of stuff now seniors what I have seen in general get very easily distracted. So it you have something that pops up now like Millennials will typically not get very distracted.
They know what they’re there for. They’re going to ignore anything that you give them. That is not what they’re looking for. So if you have like a little slide up chat window, they’re going to immediately click out of it. And again in general, they’re not going to pay attention to it. Now seniors are a lot more likely to look at whatever it is that you have that that could potentially be distracting them.
Okay and respond to it and they’re also very easily frustrated. Okay. Nowhere is Millennials will typically dig and they’ll go past some of these frustrations seniors what I’ve seen in general. Are a lot more easily frustrated and they will leave because I just can’t figure this out. Right? It’s very easy for them to go.
I can’t figure this out. This is too complicated. You know, what I’m not going to do this thing. Right guys, that’s don’t you need to take those things into consideration and as your testing on your website when you understand your demographic you can say, okay. Well, let’s figure this out. Should we have this chat or shouldn’t we?
Well, what’s our demographic? Let’s run this test. Hey turns out our older demographic doesn’t like this chat feature. Tells us that they’re easily distracted. What else what we have on our site that is distracting people, right? So there’s just some interesting questions to consider. Yeah. Yeah.
That’s that’s interesting. I’m glad you really you mentioned that it’s there’s really a lot that you have to look at with regards to you know, not only the results of the testing that you’re doing. But yeah, I mean who’s visiting at your actual in customer and then, you know talked a lot about this before on other podcast, but really trying to identify.
Your customer Persona, who is that ideal customer? And what are the things that are going to make it easy for them to go through and execute that that’s sale. Now as far as you know, the conversion rates, of course, the ultimate goal with A/B Testing is going to be the most, you know, make modifications to your site to increase your conversion rate.
That’s really kind of the overall goal. What are some I know we talked a lot about some different things that you can do. But what are some final quick wins or quick? Things that action items that an e-commerce business can do to remedy these problems these conversion rate optimization problems that you’ve seen in your experience.
Yeah, so I’m going to I’m going to talk specifically to mobile because we’ve been talking about that a lot and some of the things that and again there’s there’s there is no guaranteed when when it comes to conversion optimization. There’s no thing that you can just do to immediately increase your conversion rates.
However, There are tests that you can run as long as you’re approaching it from a testing perspective. There are tests that you can run that almost always have an impact on conversion rates either positive or negative. Some of those tests are I mentioned one home page how many products should we have?
Try removing some of your products from your homepage and see what happens another test that’s very effective is testing what your homepage hero Banner should be. Typically e-commerce companies are using the hero Banner as a way to feature either your latest deals or to feature like your newest products, right like new rivals or whatever.
So I have seen a lot of success by changing that because people become so Banner blind to these sometimes and they’re so used to seeing your whatever you want to push on them featured in the hero Banner test something else in your hero Banner test. Whatever your most popular. Act is and just have it be a static homepage Banner test featuring instead of having a giant image.
Maybe just remove your hero Banner all together and see what happens another test that especially on mobile. I found to be effective is when you look at a product page, so like a product detail page on mobile. There’s a lot of scrolling that’s involved. And and so anything that you can do to make it easier as a user is scrolling on their mobile device to buy your.
Can be super helpful. So some things that I’ve seen be very effective as having a if you have like a some kind of a promotion that’s going on. That’s like 35% off all purchases today having some kind of a banner that is stuck to the top of your screen that Scrolls up and down with you because you know, if somebody has to scroll down to see that they might not ever see it or if the if it’s at the you know the top of the screen and then you scroll down and it’s gone.
Maybe they just ignored it when they saw another thing that can be really effective. Div is having some kind of a scrolling call to action button. So if you’re on like a product detail page having add to cart button that Scrolls up and down the screen or if you’re on the cart page having a checkout button that Scrolls up and down the screen with, you know, again, just some of these little things and I’m not saying that these things should be just implemented on your site.
These are things that e-commerce companies need to consider testing. Yeah, because. For every for every site that I have seen one of these things work for I have seen one or two sites where this is hurt conversions. Wow. So you want to test these things and figure out your audience your demographic do they respond to these types of changes do they like these or not?
But these are tests that if you run I can guarantee that you’ll see some kind of impact whether positive or negative and that will help you learn something about your audience. Okay? Great. Great. Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah. It just goes to show that there’s really no one-size-fits-all, you know, just because a particular little tactic is working for one particular e-commerce site doesn’t mean it’s going to work for yours and ultimately it’s going to go down to the you’ve got to test it.
You got to see if these things resonate with your audience because every website has a different set of people visiting so yeah, that’s very true. For sure. So yeah, I appreciate your information at that’s very invaluable. I always like to close things out Switching gears. Bit here a little off topic here, but I like to end up asking my guests.
What is one thing that our audience members would be surprised to know about you. Yeah. So we’ve spent a bunch of time talking about Mobile today. I actually about a year ago. I downgraded my from a from an iPhone to a flip phone. Wow, and it’s it was a it was initially. Bond just by my desire to get rid of my smartphone addiction.
Okay, and it’s become a real positive thing in my life. I you know, I spent so much time on my smartphone but you know my wife still on a smartphone. I still have my old iPhone 7 plus just sitting around the house, but because I no longer carry around a device that has. Data and email and all these other things that that distract I feel so much more present in interactions at work in conversations with my wife and my kids.
It’s just amazing how much of a distraction that had become my life and so it’s become a real positive thing and I’ll probably switch back to smartphone at some point here in the near future but breaking that smartphone addiction was a big deal for me. And so yeah, it’s been it’s been a fun experiment.
Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, that’s wow. I had never heard anyone do. I mean, I’ve seen some some older people my parents being one of them my mom actually just now I guess what here go just got an iPhone, but it herb and my father had been on flip phones for like ever yeah, absolutely. You know, normally you would think of people like that that are on flip phones, but wow, I mean you really write this it there is truly an addiction to these smartphones.
I mean no matter how Facebook and these Twitter guys and and all of these in Instagram. People that run these companies try to spin it. They specifically do things to make their apps addictive and unfortunately, it’s yeah it really I think it has had a negative effect on our society as a whole. So it’s I don’t know it’s a type of situation where at this point.
I think we’re probably too far into it for a big change to be made but you have to just I guess look at yourself individually and like yourself just you’ve looked into yourself. He said okay, then, you know, this is a problem. I’m going to go ahead and switch to a flip phone so I can kind of reset.
And um, yeah, I think everybody has to kind of look in themselves. So yeah, that’s that’s awesome. And I don’t know if that’s something I could do, but I don’t know. Maybe I’ll have to think about that. You’ve kind of got the gears turning in my head now, but awesome Chris we had like to force thank you for joining us here today on the e-commerce marketing podcast your Insight on an a/b testing for e-commerce business.
I think was going to be very valuable to all the listeners and if anybody wants to reach out to you or get in touch with you, how do they do it? So I actually put together because I get a lot of questions from people that want to start a be testing and they’re not exactly sure where to where to start.
So I put together a starter guide for people that are interested in what tools to use what tests may be to consider. And so people can the listeners can download that for free at disruptive advertising.com guide. Okay, and you can download that for free. There’s a box. You can check if you are interested in talking with myself or someone over here disruptive.
Otherwise, you can just leave that box unchecked and just get the Guide. Okay, that’s awesome. And I’ll be sure to include the link to that in the show notes. The disruptive advertising.com for / guide will be included in there. So anybody that wants to get that can just click on that and download that guy?
Okay. Awesome. Well, thanks again Chris for joining us. You know, you have a great rest of your day. Scare. You too. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. You need to get more feedback and reviews from your customers and improve your customer retention. We have made it easy to do all of this with our Advanced customer feedback software just visit get OS i.com forward slash feedback and sign up for a free trial today.
That’s get OS i.com forward slash feedback.
VP of Testing and Site Optimization, Disruptive Advertising
The eCommerce Marketing Podcast walks you through everything that goes into ecommerce marketing — from inbound marketing to paid advertising to conversions. Learn the strategies top marketing experts use to grow their businesses.
Marketing Strategies Revealed in this Episode: