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SAScon 2012: Increasing Site Engagement

SAScon Conference 2012, Manchester – Day 2

SAScon 2012

Morgan McKeagney – IQ Content
Paul Rourke  – PRWD
Craig Sullivan – Belron International
Simon Williams – Carat

What is engagement and what can site creators do to encourage it?

  • Things they can put in place to ensure that people stick around for more than 30 seconds.
  • Different things to keep them interested – content to spark curiosity and encourage them to spend time
  • Taking steps to build momentum
  • Levels and nature of engagement needed is determined by KPIs
  • Engagement is only one metric: from this measurement alone you cannot gauge level of engagement or quality of user experience

Example 1: Ling’s Cars

  • From face value it looks like a cluttered and off-putting site.
  • The creator has opted for the ‘Marmite effect’ – and in fact this eCommerce site is incredibly successful.
  • An opposite of the classic ‘user friendly’ site – but it can be considered persuasive in its eccentricity.
  • It delivers a unique brand experience – engagement comes from the personality of the brand.
  • She has created a memorable experience – and despite first impressions – it works well in terms of service.
  • Metrics prove a 10 of out 10 rating on ‘visitor engagement’.

Example 2: MonkeyFish Marketing

  • Keywords and standard SEO elements are there but users are bombarded with content.
  • The huge phone number and ‘Talk with us Today’ call to action come across as a ‘hard sell’.
  • Although this critique comes from first impressions and not from a detailed analysis of metrics and customer base.

Example 3: SimplyBe

  • Prominence of search facility – Primary navigation promotes key messages (such as ‘free delivery) which falls in line with other eCommerce sites particularly in the fashion industry
  • Plus size clothing – SimplyBe are going through a transitional phase and making steps to incorporate social media
  • The added Facebook plug-in on the homepage has tripled the ‘likes’ (since they moved from a like button).
  • Morgan recommends some experimentation with various methods but not compromising the ‘real estate’ of the home page.
  • The ASOS site (as an example of another fashion eCommerce site) has stripped away a lot of choice. You either get drawn deeper into the site or you leave.
  • Reminder that if you change any element of your website you HAVE to test it.

Before you Begin….

  • Engagement is about emotion – “likeability” – what are the emotional triggers of the audience?
  • How can we create the experience and what techniques can we employ to get positive reactions from design/content etc..?
  • Customer research is a vital starting point – asking questions such as “what content do you want to see?”.
  • Taking heed of the “voice of the customer” and insights gleaned from research.
  • Website design can be too formulaic – doggedly sticking to a template without taking into consideration the customer’s needs and emotional triggers.
  • It is so important not to lose site of user base opinion.

Example 4: Quirk Marketing

  • Business message is not present on the homepage but navigation looks clear and simple.
  • The product has to be showcased to drive customer engagement.
  • Point made that this exercise (of critiquing various websites in this manner) is “terrible practice” or at the very least – an unfair assessment as we are not currently customers seeking any of the services offered on the sites.

Example 5: eConsultancy

  • Anyone who tells you “people don’t scroll down” they are wrong – this site works

Example 6: Contagious Magazine

  • So minimalist that you don’t know what it is about
  • Titles for news stories do not encourage you to click through – they do not tell you what the essence of the story is.

Questions and Answers:

Best Practice Techniques
  • You need to understand the business – its USPs and customer base.
  • Then you need to use the technology to bring these two elements together.
  • You must get clarity on both before you select the best mechanisms.
  • A lot of ‘best practice’ applies to shopping baskets, buying pages etc… not from the homepage design.
  • We should start thinking about mobile as our “primary entry for design” and then work from there (onto desktop).
  • Make transactions as simple as possible – “every other element is bespoke”.
  • Optimising for mobile is vital.

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