WiderFunnel Case Study

Web 2.0 Site Increases Subscribers by 45% with Conversion Rate Optimization

Rudder.com, launched July 2008, is a web 2.0 service that reduces the effort required to manage personal finances.

Traditionally, the personal finance management (PFM) space has been occupied by desktop and online software plagued with cluttered interfaces that require persistent effort and expense.

Rudder, on the other hand, simplifies PFM for the average user, and does so for free. Their free online system simplifies complex financial information and delivers emailed account snapshots and graphs to help users make better financial decisions.

The Business Need: A Maximized Signup Conversion Rate

Rudder’s business model relies on a fast build-up of users who get periodic updates of their finances delivered to their inbox.

Rudder.com enjoys a healthy volume of unique visitors coming to the site each month, from a combination of paid and organic sources. However, the conversion rate of this traffic was below expectations and, in order to meet its business objectives, management needed to quickly improve the conversion rate of the sales funnel.

As a result, rather than tweak the website and make opinion-based changes, management chose to make data-driven decisions by running statistically valid experiments.

The Challenges: Resource Constraints

Rudder management recognized that, in order to run statistically valid online experiments that would improve the conversion rates of web pages in their funnel, it faced considerable obstacles, such as:

  • No internal resources available with expertise in developing a sustainable experimentation strategy, meaningful hypotheses and creative variations that would measurably improve the conversion rate
  • Limited budget and high perceived risk of investing in additional A/B/n and Multivariate testing technology without first demonstrating the value of a Conversion Rate Optimization strategy

The Solution: Outsourced Conversion Rate Optimization

Rudder hired WiderFunnel Marketing, a Conversion Optimization and Analytics agency, to plan, develop and execute a Conversion Rate Optimization strategy.

A Conversion Rate Optimization strategy involves real-time controlled experiments where hypotheses are developed and tested with live web visitors (unaware they are being shown variations of a web page) and in rapid succession.

The Kaizen Method for Testing

WiderFunnel, using its proprietary Kaizen Method™ planning process, first took a macro view of all of the Rudder.com conversion funnel steps and delivered a plan identifying prioritized Funnel Experiment™ (FunEx™) opportunities.

The first FunEx selected for testing was the Home Page and WiderFunnel delivered a FunEx Map document which contained all details of the test. See Fig. 1 for the original home page design. The FunEx Map included:

  • A clear and measurable business objective: to increase the conversion rate of visitors to the Home Page who click to join and include their bank accounts’ information
  • A LIFT™ Model (Landing Page Influence Function for Tests™) Analysis of the page, which identified the shortcomings of the current web page and informed hypotheses for testing
  • Identified hypotheses to test:
    • Static layout with all features visible will lift conversions
    • New benefit headline will lift conversions
    • Larger Sign up button above the fold will lift conversions
    • Links to ‘Learn more’ pages will lift conversions
    • More prominent security message will lift conversions
    • More prominent compatibility with Mac Mail added will lift conversions
    • Thumbnail pop-ups tied to features will lift conversions
  • Test Variations with new graphic design and copy:
    • WiderFunnel created 3 separate Home Page Variations for the test
Rudder.com Home Page
Fig. 1: Original (Control) Home Page

Experimentation Technology: Google Website Optimizer (GWO)

  • Google’s free conversion optimization testing tool enables powerful A/B/n and Multivariate testing without complex installation requirements.
  • The technology cost for using Google Website Optimizer is $0.

Experiment Rounds

The new page design Variations were tested in two separate Experiment Rounds to evaluate the results on different traffic mixes and prove the effectiveness of the Conversion Optimization effectiveness before Rudder invested significantly in Pay-per-click advertising.

  • The first round of experimentation aimed at improving the conversion rate of natural and referral traffic coming to the site
  • The second round aimed at improving the conversion rate of a mix of natural, referral and paid Google AdWords traffic

The Results: Conversion Rate Lift Of 45.5%

All three test variations WiderFunnel developed outperformed the original (Control) page design.

Rudder.com’s new home page, shown in Fig. 2, now has a 45.5% better signup conversion rate than the original version.

Rudder.com Winning Test Page
Fig. 2: New Home Page with 45.5% higher conversion rate


“In our business, we never assume anything. By working with WiderFunnel, we are able to let web users speak for themselves and so we determine with statistical certainty what works with regards to converting the most web visitors into customers.

We knew we needed to test our web pages with real, live customers but without WiderFunnel we simply could not have executed the experiments. They brought to the table the full range of skills necessary, from experiment design to web design, copy, coding and more, and delivered superior results on time and on budget.”

Nikhil Roy
CEO, Rudder Inc.

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