There is a pernicious idea that refuses to vanish from creative departments at all types of agencies, businesses, and organizations. It’s the myth that data-driven creative leads to uninspired, mediocre designs, and that creative people can’t make sense of numbers. Instead, the effective use of data to drive creative strategy and execution leads to more relevant, meaningful designs and messages. In fact, research has found relevancy forms the foundation of whether classic marketing techniques like surprise or humor have a positive or negative influence on an audience. The performance of creative is influenced by measurable factors like relevance, involvement and engagement, and overall attitude. Ignoring the data that helps inform our understanding of these factors would be a huge wasted opportunity.
But the key caveat to the above is that data can only improve creative strategy when it’s used effectively. If you’re a designer, copywriter, or other creative working on a website redesign or within a testing team, you should be meeting with analysts regularly. Once the goal of the page is identified, you should be taking the data they report and rolling it into concepts. And analysts should make sure useful data is communicated to the creative team.
This can be complicated, admittedly. But by starting with these five questions, your creative team can start making sense of important data, leading to more relevant, effective concepts.
1. How Frequently Do Visitors Return?
This question can answered by taking a ratio of new and returning visitors. This number is important because it provides an indication of how familiar visitors are with a brand and a web experience.
How to interpret: Returning visitors learn how to use a website, and learning can help users get around even the most confounding interface problems. Returning visitors that convert could indicate high brand affinity or a long decision journey, depending on the answer to the next question.
2. How Many Times Do Users Visit Before Converting?
Taking an average number of visits per conversion. This can be compared to the conversion rate, which is typically calculated as the number of conversions divided by the number of visitors.
How to interpret: A higher number of visits per conversion may indicate that the consumer undergoes a long journey before making a purchase decision. These visitors will be looking for differentiating information and, ultimately, a trigger that increases motivation to convert.
3. How Many Pages Are Viewed Per Visit?
The number of pages viewed during each visit or session provides a basic indication of user behavior. The implication of this metric varies depending on the site and business.
How to interpret: When users view more pages per visit it tends to imply browsing behavior characteristic of the consideration phase of the consumer decision journey. It could also be a sign, however, that the navigation is confusing or essential information is fragmented, forcing visitors to bounce around trying to find what they need.
4. How Long Do Visitors Spend on a Page?
Time on page is one of the simplest and most basic measures of engagement captured by web analytics platforms. It’s also somewhat unreliable. It’s easy to imagine a scenario, for example, in which a page is left open as a visitor goes to make a sandwich. Still, it provides a basic indication of either the engagement with the content or the difficulty of using the page.
How to interpret: When a visitor spends more time on a page it is often interpreted as a sign the content of the page is more engaging. This is generally a good thing. However, the same number could also imply poor usability that requires a long time to decipher. Determining which is more likely often requires a look at the total path a user takes.
5. Where Are Visitors Coming From? Where Are They Going?
Understanding the browsing path is critical to developing an experience that is relevant to users. A user entering the site on the page in question, for example, implies different needs than a visitor moving from a product category page to a product description page.
How to interpret: Visitors entering a site may need to be introduced to a site and a brand. Those moving up and down between levels of the taxonomy repeatedly are most likely browsing. When visitors are moving steadily down the funnel, they are likely on a path to purchase.
By asking these five simple questions, data-shy creatives and data-driven analysts can initiate a meaningful conversation that, hopefully, leads to more specific and in-depth questions—and more effective test concepts, too.
Brooks Bell helps top brands profit from A/B testing, through end-to-end testing, personalization, and optimization services. We work with clients to effectively leverage data, creating a better understanding of customer segments and leading to more relevant digital customer experiences while maximizing ROI for optimization programs. Find out more about our services.