The Client: SAP
SAP is the market and technology leader in business management software, solutions, services for improving business processes, and the world’s largest business software company.
The Business Need
Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising is one of SAP’s primary lead generation tactics driving traffic to the site.
Within this tactic, Christine Mykota, Director, Business Analytics Marketing, North American Ecosystem Group had a software trial download landing page that was underperforming relative to her other pages and was depressing the targeted lead-generation rate. Mykota believed best practices for landing page optimization were not being applied and that SAP needed a conversion rate optimization strategy to improve their PPC results.
With a limited PPC budget, the option to buy more traffic was not available, so SAP management decided to test a conversion rate optimization approach. Mykota knew that optimizing the conversion rate is one of the fastest and highest ROI ways for marketers to increase leads and sales.
Mykota had to clear four major hurdles before proceeding with the deployment of the strategy:
- She needed to convince senior management of the potential return on investment when asking for a budget increase to perform the test. Conversion optimization was a relatively new strategy for SAP, so senior management was rightfully skeptical – and had high expectations for a conversion improvement to be considered a success.
- 2. SAP has a well-known brand and works to continually strengthen it through brand standards. The website and landing pages have stringent design guidelines, limiting layout and creative changes that may be valuable to test. Corporate website design standards placed tough guidelines on layout and design, which limited testing flexibility. Examples of branding limitations included:
- Pages had to include a standard, corporate banner at the top, which took up valuable page space
- Pages could only employ a two- or three-column design, with standard widths for each column
- Only certain fonts and font sizes could be used
- Design elements had to stay within an approved brand color palette
- Images could only come from an approved list
- Buttons must use approved colors and sizes
- New product launches called for tight timelines if testing and experimentation were to deliver improved conversion rates.
- Mykota lacked internal resources to develop and execute Conversion Rate Optimization experiments. With neither the tools nor the experienced person-power in place, she needed to scope a solution that would deliver conversion rate lift on time and on budget.
SAP hired WiderFunnel to run experiments on the SAP Crystal Reports® trial download page. That desktop report-generating software is a relatively low-cost, high volume product, and they targeted a 20%-25% increase in conversions to justify the investment in the test.
WiderFunnel, using its proprietary Kaizen Method™ planning process, first took a macro view of all of the conversion funnel steps, target audience and branding guidelines. In the case of SAP, the brand guidelines were particularly important, and WiderFunnel examined them to discover which page elements they could change or were off limits. The resulting Kaizen Plan prioritized the company’s testing opportunities and showed how landing page changes would influence trial software download conversion rates.
Then, for each landing page experiment, WiderFunnel followed the 7-step conversion testing process:
Step #1. LIFT Analysis of the landing page
The graphic standards forced the team to think creatively about new designs that could improve conversion rates. WiderFunnel evaluated page elements according to their LIFT Model™, which evaluates the original page based on criteria known to influence a prospect’s actions, including:
- Value proposition
- Relevance to the traffic source
- Clarity of the presentation
The LIFT Analysis of the landing page performed by WiderFunnel’s conversion strategists identified the conversion problems.
Step #2. Develop hypotheses for changes that could influence conversions
The strategists converted those LIFT analysis points into hypotheses that could be tested with SAPs live landing pages in a controlled A/B split test with multiple challenger variations. An important part of the hypothesis development is to identify which hypotheses to combine into challenger variations and which to isolate.
Step #3. Create the test design document
WiderFunnel’s strategists consolidated the hypotheses into two proposed challenger variations. They created a test design document to present the test structure, LIFT Analysis and wireframes for the challenger pages.
Step #4. Create page variations with alternative copy and layout
Once Mykota and the SAP team had approved the test plan, WiderFunnel applied conversion design and copywriting to the two challenger wireframes.
Variation A: Stronger call-to-action
The WiderFunnel team’s first landing page variation employed changes intended to reduce distractions and emphasize the call-to-action. In certain instances, they had to receive special approval from the corporate branding team for ideas that pushed the envelope of SAP’s design standards.
The challenger page layout included significant changes:
- Working within the corporate design standards, the team employed a two-column design, but changed the position of the narrower column from right to left. This move allowed them to place the product hero shot on the left, where it would improve the eyeflow by leading prospects directly to the headline in the center of the page.
- Although they wanted to try an alternative image, the team decided that change would violate brand design standards. Instead, they received approval to enlarge the existing image.
- Added a caption link below the image took visitors to the trial download registration page.
- WiderFunnel wrote a new headline that reinforced the message used on the search ad that brought visitors to the landing page.
- WiderFunnel consolidated and reorganized the information links to reduce distraction from the trial download call-to-action. Links for customer support, developer resources, training, and additional information about the product were moved to the bottom of the page, below the primary call-to-action.
- WiderFunnel also moved a box containing links to facilitate immediate product purchases, either online, through the telephone or through a reseller. That box was moved from the upper right of the page to the left side, just below the product hero shot.
- WiderFunnel added a large, orange download button (affectionately known as “BOB”: big-orange-button). The existing page’s call to action was a text link inviting visitors to download a trial. WiderFunnel believed that design was too small to attract visitors’ attention, and wanted to use a large, orange “Download Now” button.
- The proposed button was larger than allowed in the design standards, however, with a color that pushed the limits of the approved palette. So, Mykota had to push for the change with the brand marketing team. The brand marketing team approved the orange button.
Variation B: Integrated registration form
Both the control landing page and Variation A required prospects to click through to a separate registration form to complete the software trial download. This challenger tested the hypothesis that removing that extra step would improve conversions.
The headline, graphics and layout of Variation B remained the same as in Variation A. But instead of a large orange button on the top of the page, the team added the registration form just below the headline and a brief product description.
The company’s standard registration form had more than a dozen fields for prospects to fill out – along with several qualifying questions they had to answer so WiderFunnel initially designed a shorter registration form with only the important form fields – to no avail.
The brand marketing team denied their request to swap the existing form for a new one. As Mykota said, “So many folks use that form, there was no way we could change it in our timeframe.”
Step #5. Technical installation
For this test, WiderFunnel developed html standalone landing pages to be tested against the control. The test was set up so that:
- Traffic was randomly and evenly divided between the three versions of the landing page
- Each visitor was cookied and only shown the same page variation regardless of how many times they returned to visit the website
- WiderFunnel tracked conversion rates for each challenger page and the control
- Only completed software trial downloads were counted as conversions
Step #6. Data collection
The controlled experiment was launched and run with the new page challengers tested against the control using live PPC search traffic. The test ran for 17 days until statistically significant results at a 95% confident level were attained.
Step #7. Results analysis
The test produced a clear winner, and helped achieve an even bigger lift than Mykota had targeted:
- Variation A, with the large, orange button, boosted conversions 32.5% over the control page.
- Variation B, despite maintaining the long form, also delivered a 17% conversion lift over the control page.
The Result: 32.5% Lead Generation Conversion Rate Lift!
Even better, the test achieved a 154% return on investment, convincing Mykota’s previously skeptical boss. “Now she’s a champion within the organization to look at landing page testing and to do more of it.”
Based on the test results, Mykota’s team implemented similar design changes to other landing pages. In six weeks, they were able to achieve a 26% lift in conversion rates across all landing pages.
Now she’s confident she can work with the brand marketing team on further tests that allow for flexibility within design standards – as long as the data can demonstrate an improvement.
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