Monday, May 25, 2009

Small change with a huge impact

Recently I was involved in changing the layout of a website and measuring the impact of that change. We changed the Top navigation on this website and changed the color of a link to Red/Bold. It was a very minor change with respect to the whole website as the Top navigation menu only contributed to less than 5% of users engaging in the website. We wanted to make this change to enhance the Top navigation and entice more clicks on the edited link (Coupons). P.S. We leveraged Google Analytics to measure this change. Below is a screenshot of the previous Top Navigation menu:


After a week, I pulled the ‘Top Content’ report and filtered on the Top menu Coupons link. I was pleasantly shocked to notice the results. There was a 65% increase in User Engagement (Clicks) on the Top navigation Coupons link clearly due to changing the link color to Red. From the context of the website, this page amounts only to a small proportion of traffic but this change has paved the way for similar changes which can be replicated on others pages in the future. Below is a screenshot of the change we made on the Coupons link:


Immediately after noticing this change I sent a tweet in excitement: ‘Wow! Top menu navigation link text change resulted in over 60% increase in user clicks. Changed the font of the link to Red/Bold #ga #wa’. Surprisingly, I got a response from a Twitter user: ‘So funny. We also changed the nationalgeographic.com top nav to red/bold in Dec 07 for commerce promo. It stuck.’ The user mentioned that Nationalgeographic also made a similar change back on 2007 and they too noticed an increase in clicks on the button. Isn’t it coincidental?

Going forward we plan to replicate the same exercise on the Side menu. We will also be performing AB Tests on the Top navigation menu and compare it with newer menus. P.S. It is always a good practice to add a query string parameter in the URL. E.g. Add ‘menu=top’ (http://www.seattleindian.com/seattle/indian-restaurant-coupons.asp?menu=top) to distinguish this URL as a Top navigation link.

Hope you like this article. Please comment and let me know if you’ve done similar exercises and noticed a considerable impact.

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