Increasing Conversions Using Google Website Optimizer Ross | March 4th, 2009

Earlier this year, Jason Fried of 37signals shared in the Signal v. Noise blog results from an experiment with the signup page for one of their products, Highrise.  Prior to reading Jason’s post, I hadn’t heard about Google Website Optimizer. Thanks to Jason, Google Website Optimizer has helped crowdSPRING to optimize numerous pages to increase conversions.

Google Website Optimizer is a free tool that helps you test and increase your site’s conversion rates. You can test variations of text, images, and other content. It’s not perfect, but it’s easy to use and provides a very compelling way to test and increase conversions.

We’ve used the Website Optimizer for numerous tests on our site, including the home page, our “how it works page”, and on certain other pages to test specific elements. If you wonder whether the effort is worth it – it absolutely is.

Let me illustrate by showing you how crowdSPRING optimizes to increase conversions. On our “Post a Project” page, we let the buyer set the price for their project. We’ve set minimums in every category (example: $200 for logo design in standard projects and a higher price for stationery design).

When buyers post projects, they often wonder how much to pay. To help them set a fair price, we do two things on our “Post a Project” page. First, we include a short factual statement that helps buyers understand the average level of participation when the award is less than $300, compared to the average level of participation when the award is more than $300 (the amounts in this example are for logo projects).

Text Comparing Participation below and above $300

Second, we try to visually help buyers understand whether the amount they’ve entered is LOW, AVERAGE, BEST, etc. To increase conversions, we try to find ways to show buyers why they should offer awards higher than $300 in logo projects.

At the moment, we are testing two different approaches. In the first approach, we are using color bars to signal to the buyer whether their award is reasonable. A buyer who enters the minimum amount in their project ($200 for a logo, for example), sees a red color bar with the text “VERY LOW”.

Color Bars - Low

Color Bars – Very Low

A buyer who sets a higher award amount ($1000 for a standard logo project, for example), sees a blue color bar with the text “BEST”. We have color variations and different messages in between those two examples.

Color Bars - Best

Color Bars – Best

We’ve been using “color bars” for a while, but have wondered whether we can improve in this area. So, we are testing a different approach at the moment – a speedometer to communicate the same information, as you can see in the two examples below.

Speedometer - Very Low

Speedometer – Very Low

Speedometer - Best

Speedometer – Best

What did we learn?

We are not finished with this particular test, so we don’t have final results yet. We are seeing some conversion differences between the “color bars” and “speedometer”. Would you expect to see a difference? Why? Can you suggest another combination that we should try that could help us to increase conversions?

Need something designed? Name your price. Pick from 110+ entries. Love it or your money back.

Like our blog? You’ll freaking love our Twitter updates. Oh, and you’ll dig our Facebook page too.

  • marckohlbrugge

    I think a speedometer better shows the ability to “improve” the award. A banner basically just says “wrong” or “good”, but a speedometer says “room for improvement” and might trigger the buyer to up the award.

    An even better way might be to provide a slider for the award money (instead of the current text field). When sliding the scroller (in increments of let’s say $25) the “estimated number of entries” updates as well. This way the buyer really FEELS the impact of a higher award instead of just KNOWING it.

    You’d basically have one slider for both the award money and the estimated number of entries.

    Of course this all based on the assumption a buyer really is looking for “more entries”. I’m not so sure if there’s a real difference between 40 and 75 entries though. “Estimated number of designers working on your project” would be more meaningful to me. I don’t care much for the amount of entries, I’m looking for diversity. And diversity is more about the number of designers than it is about the number of entries I think.

  • marckohlbrugge

    I bet a lot of designers when browsing the projects order the list by award. The projects with the highest awards on top.

    I noticed some buyers making use of this by adding a couple of extra bucks on top of their award (e.g. $504) to get above the rest. It’s pretty clever, and perhaps something you could use as well. You could say “add $50 extra and your projects will be moved 4 places to the top when projects a browsed and sorted by awards”. Obviously you should come up with a better text explaining it, perhaps even a simple infographic.

  • Sinnick

    The speedometer seems to clash with the general style of the site and while the flat bar is appropriate (stylistically speaking) it doesn’t put the price into context…it’s just saying “this is bad”. I liked marckohlbrugge’s suggestion of a slider bar/bar graph. It allows for the style to be preserved, while providing the point of reference inherent to something like a speedometer.

  • http://www.crowdspring.com Ross

    marckohlbrugge – Good thoughts about the speedometer. We had those same thoughts when we decided to try it. I really do like your concept of a slider. It’s a neat way to accomplish what we want to do. We might try it as part of our testing.

    The number of creatives vs. number of entries is an interesting comparison. I’m not sure yet where I fall on that question…have to think.

    Clever too the extra $$ for browsing. I am not sure we can anticipate this, though, since projects are constantly posted and so we couldn’t really guarantee any spot. But clever thinking…

    Sinnick – you’re right that the speedometer is a bit different. As many of you saw when we tested some variations on our home page, we’re willing to depart a bit from the design for testing purposes, but once we get some baseline results, we try hard to focus on what truly works. For example, after numerous tests, the only change we ultimately made to the homepage (in this round of testing) was to replace a blue button with pink and rename it from “how it works” to “what you get”.

  • http://www.crowdspring.com Ross

    marckohlbrugge – Good thoughts about the speedometer. We had those same thoughts when we decided to try it. I really do like your concept of a slider. It’s a neat way to accomplish what we want to do. We might try it as part of our testing.

    The number of creatives vs. number of entries is an interesting comparison. I’m not sure yet where I fall on that question…have to think.

    Clever too the extra $$ for browsing. I am not sure we can anticipate this, though, since projects are constantly posted and so we couldn’t really guarantee any spot. But clever thinking…

    Sinnick – you’re right that the speedometer is a bit different. As many of you saw when we tested some variations on our home page, we’re willing to depart a bit from the design for testing purposes, but once we get some baseline results, we try hard to focus on what truly works. For example, after numerous tests, the only change we ultimately made to the homepage (in this round of testing) was to replace a blue button with pink and rename it from “how it works” to “what you get”.

  • danielc

    Here is a simple idea to encourage buyers to be a little less thrifty: Allow creatives not just to order, but to also filter for price (both “at least X” and “up to X”) when browsing for projects. Buyers could then see a histogram of how creatives are filtering.

    It turns out that this would be a useful time saver for creatives as well!

  • Jace

    I would use statistics, the color bars and sliders are arbitrary values that mean nothing to the buyer. Because you guys get a percentage of the prize amount of course a higher bid is “Best” but it doesn’t directly imply that the buyer is getting their monies worth. I would do a little ajax thingy that does a calculation on the entered amount and displays the average number of entries for a project of that type and value and then maybe a call to action for “upping your prize amount to XXX would result in XX more entries”. They don’t even have to be dynamic, but it’d tell the buyer that you’re that you’re suggesting amounts on their behalf, not yours (not trying to be negative but you ARE a for profit company so any recommendations you give are colored by default).

  • Jace

    I would use statistics, the color bars and sliders are arbitrary values that mean nothing to the buyer. Because you guys get a percentage of the prize amount of course a higher bid is “Best” but it doesn’t directly imply that the buyer is getting their monies worth. I would do a little ajax thingy that does a calculation on the entered amount and displays the average number of entries for a project of that type and value and then maybe a call to action for “upping your prize amount to XXX would result in XX more entries”. They don’t even have to be dynamic, but it’d tell the buyer that you’re that you’re suggesting amounts on their behalf, not yours (not trying to be negative but you ARE a for profit company so any recommendations you give are colored by default).

  • http://www.crowdspring.com Ross

    danielc – interesting suggestion. I don’t know that the histograph will be easy to digest for most buyers, but we’re going to think a bit about this because you’ve suggested a behavioral approach that’s worth exploring to see how we could present information to buyers to help them.

    Jace – We’ve debated internally the use of such statistics. Quantity doesn’t equal quality, and once you get beyond a certain number of entries, it’s not clear that a buyer would appreciate the difference if they never posted a project on crowdSPRING. Remember that typically, a buyer might see 1, 2 or 3 designs. Telling them, for example, that for $300 they’ll get 30 but for $500 they’ll get 45 designs is meaningful to some people, but a bit out of context (in our view). Our goal is to provide contextual advice that’s easy to understand so that a buyer truly gets why setting higher awards ultimately helps them. That’s a tall challenge, but we have some more ideas up our sleeves.

  • http://www.crowdspring.com Ross

    danielc – interesting suggestion. I don’t know that the histograph will be easy to digest for most buyers, but we’re going to think a bit about this because you’ve suggested a behavioral approach that’s worth exploring to see how we could present information to buyers to help them.

    Jace – We’ve debated internally the use of such statistics. Quantity doesn’t equal quality, and once you get beyond a certain number of entries, it’s not clear that a buyer would appreciate the difference if they never posted a project on crowdSPRING. Remember that typically, a buyer might see 1, 2 or 3 designs. Telling them, for example, that for $300 they’ll get 30 but for $500 they’ll get 45 designs is meaningful to some people, but a bit out of context (in our view). Our goal is to provide contextual advice that’s easy to understand so that a buyer truly gets why setting higher awards ultimately helps them. That’s a tall challenge, but we have some more ideas up our sleeves.

  • whyohmee

    Out of the two ideas I think the bar is a more fitting with the site layout. But…., I don’t see the point of either of them. When the buyer sets 200$ he knows its low when he sets 1000$ he knows it’s good.

    If we wanted to really help the buyer we could give him statistics. Actual values. What is the response being like for projects that have set the value for 300$ in the past week, in the past 4weeks. How is the respond growth during the course of the project. What are the trends?. how the response is depending on the time. Maybe a links to some recent completed projects that have set that price under that category. what have the stats being if they added +10$.

    Is it possible to come up with a stat page, an analyzing tool? The data should already be there. SO it would be a query on the time period and price range with project numbers of the last five project ID’s . Just a thought :o)

  • Pingback: Can Social Media Can Help My Company? — crowdSPRING Blog

  • Pingback: ???????????????crowdspring???????? | ???????...

  • Pingback: ??? » Blog Archive » ????????????????

  • Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Increasing Conversions Using Google Website Optimizer — crowdSPRING Blog [crowdspring.com] on Topsy.com

  • Pingback: 10 Awesome Online Tools Your Small Business Should Be Using — crowdSPRING Blog

  • Pingback: 10 Awesome Online Tools Your Small Business Should Be Using - partytow for all

  • Pingback: ?????????????????????crowdspring???????? - SocialBeta

  • Pingback: Startup and Small Business Marketing: Website Optimization Mistakes « crowdSPRING Blog

  • Pingback: Website Traffic or Conversions: Which Is More Important? « crowdSPRING Blog

Hey, it's crowdSPRING!

Tens of thousands of the world's best and most successful entrepreneurs, businesses, agencies and nonprofits rely on crowdSPRING for affordable and risk-free custom logo design, web design, a new company name or other writing and design services. More than 162,000 designers and writers work on crowdSPRING. We create designs and names people love. 100% guaranteed.

Get Blog Updates

Free E-Books

12 Question Interviews with cS designers.
Get it »

Contracts for designers who hate contracts.
Get it »

Contracts for software developers who hate contracts. Get it »

More in Small business (385 of 471 articles)

/** chartbeat **/