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Tourism BC increased online marketing engagement

A 44% lift in visitor engagement

Last updated: June 10, 2013

Tourism BC
Business: Consumer Services
Sector: Travel & Tourism
Optimized conversion: Content Marketing Optimization for Secondary Registration
Test: A/B/n Tests
Website: www.hellobc.com

The Client: Tourism BC

Tourism British Columbia is responsible for the continued growth and development of the province’s $13.4 billion tourism industry. Its website, HelloBC.com, represents 130+ communities and over 6,000 tourism businesses. It is also the first touch point for hundreds of thousands of local and international travelers visiting the province each year.

The Business Need

Research conducted by Tourism BC found a direct correlation between website content and user engagement on HelloBC.com. As visitors engaged with more website content, their likelihood of planning a trip to the province increased. With content readily available, Tourism BC needed a way to get more prospective travelers engaged.

The Challenges

For Tourism BC, brand equity is not a problem. Home to one of the most livable cities in the world, a natural landscape unlike any other in North America, and venue to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the organization knew that the opportunity to capitalize on tourism dollars was now.

With the internet playing a major factor in a prospective tourist’s decision-making process, Tourism BC wanted to ensure that these visitors were accelerated down the path of booking their vacations in the province. This started with the free travel guide, which could be downloaded by registering on HelloBC.com.

While registrations to download the guide were fairly high, the organization realized that they were losing opportunities for further engagement with website content deeper in the site as most visitors exited after downloading.

Tourism BC knew that re-engaging those visitors with website content would increase the probability of bookings, however they needed a strategic methodology to get visitors re-engaged post-download.

The Solution

Tourism BC knew that implementing new ideas onto the travel guide landing page and hoping for the best was not the way to approach this challenge. They knew that interest in the province was at an all-time high and leaving this opportunity to chance was not an option.

Having worked with WiderFunnel previously to optimize their landing pages, Tourism BC knew that they could be trusted to provide an end-to-end conversion optimization strategy that would produce the highest possible conversion rates. Past experience gave them the confidence that WiderFunnel would deliver what they needed in order to achieve their strategic objectives.

Tourism BC
Fig. 1: Original (Control) Page

WiderFunnel began with an in-depth discovery and planning phase to develop a Kaizen Plan, which produces a strategy for conversion optimization across all web properties and landing pages. By analyzing website statistics and performing heuristic analyses the WiderFunnel conversion strategy team identified and prioritized optimization opportunities, one of which was the testing of an often overlooked step in the conversion funnel – the thank you page.

Using its proprietary LIFT™ Model, WiderFunnel analyzed the HelloBC.com thank you pages (shown in Figure 1) and identified a number of opportunities for improvement, specifically for information clarity and call-to-action prominence. The WiderFunnel strategists recommended a multi-step approach to conversion optimization testing, starting with one test to identify the best general page layout, then a second test to perform isolate individual hypotheses and continue improvement.

Test 1: Establishing a Baseline for Success

WiderFunnel developed several page layout and design hypotheses using the original as a control page to compare each variations results against. Each variation’s goal was to engage visitors on the ‘Thank You’ page after downloading the travel guide inviting them to view more content deeper in the HelloBC.com website.

Tourism BC
Fig. 2: Round 1 winning page

Because of the relatively low traffic of thank you pages, WiderFunnel created dramatically different page variations to be tested against the original control page. Even though the strategists had many possible hypotheses to test, testing too many variations would have lengthened the test duration.

The strategists dug into WiderFunnel’s central database of test results to identify past results with situations similar to that of Tourism BC’s in order to find layout approaches that had a high likelihood of improving conversions.
The winning variation, shown in Fig. 2, resulted in a 22% lift in visitor engagement compared to the control page.

Test 2: Making Refinements

Using insights gathered from the first test, including findings from a heatmap analysis, WiderFunnel generated new hypotheses that they integrated into new test variations, which were implemented in an A/B/n test against the winning variation of the initial test.

Tourism BC heatmap
Fig. 3: Click heatmap of winning page

Variation A: “Interactive Map” – was developed to test the main hypothesis that a clickable map of British Columbia would entice thank you page visitors to continue their exploration of the province by accessing more website pages.

Variation B: “Catalogue” – tested the main hypothesis that highly visual and informative representations of BC’s key regions and cities would appeal to page visitors and draw them back into the website.

Variation B was found to increase visitor engagement by a further 18% on top the 22% lift realized during the first test round.

The Result: A 44% Lift in Visitor Engagement

Cumulatively, the 2 testing rounds resulted is a 44% gain in visitor engagement. Furthermore, the insights provided from the tests revealed more opportunities to engage visitors on ‘Thank You’ pages. This has allowed Tourism BC to dramatically reduce exit rates as well as increase downstream engagement on HelloBC.com

The Conversion Optimization Services Company

WiderFunnel provides full service tests including: planning, web analytics, copywriting, design and development. You get more leads and sales from the same website traffic.

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