Test Web Sites Often To Ensure Maximum Potential

Surprise quiz about tests: Are you continuously testing your web pages to make sure they are enjoying the best reaction from visiting consumers?

When it comes to websites – no matter the platform or device – looks count. It shouldn’t be forgotten amidst all the wiz bang apps and devices and that the way a web page appears on a computer, tablet or phone remains crucial. In fact, the recent experience of Alitalia, the Italian flag carrier, demonstrates the potential of testing web pages on an ongoing basis to see what works.

The carrier hired Webtrends, which has a solution called Webtrends Optimize that combines software and a team of consultants to test and retest pages to insure maximum bookings.

The result: Alitalia claims an increase in online bookings of more than 7% in three months Some background: Alitalia, with services online in 31 countries and in 14 languages, sees 5 million visitors to its page every month. The airline wanted to offer the best possible user experience with a simple online purchasing process – and Webtrends Optimize promised a testing and targeting solution that would enable deeper visitor engagement and improved conversion an revenue. Optimize combines a selection of test types that allow clients to identify and target their most valuable customer segments, and then target these specific segments with customized campaigns, offering real-time relevant content.



In a brief period, according to Nicola Arnese, vice president, e-commerce for Alitalia, the click-through conversions jumped 6%, a significant result with a base of 2000,000 visitors a day. Also, there was an increase of 500 online bookings over three weeks – a substantial revenue boost. 

Tracie Caroopen, a director at Webtrends, says that their tool works because it combines automatic software testing combined with the expertise of a team of consultants. 

“Say a page which has a heading and an image and a call to action,” says Caroopen, “We will test multiple variations of that page with different elements. There might be hundreds of variations – all tested on real people in real time. Many times web pages are based the egos of company management and this puts the decisions in the hands of audiences.”

Webtrends works with clients to come up with a test plan – what colors, font etc. and clients do sign off on the plan. They might work on the landing page, the booking page or other pages. Different pages might be used to different target markets. Minor changes can result in big results. 

Drilling deeper, page testing might depend on previous behavior – e.g., a Google search of flights from Rome to Barcelona. It’s very much an ongoing process – with special offers thrown in to test those possibilities. 

“If you want to stay ahead of your competition and maximize your investments on your web and mobile site,” says Caroopen, “you are losing money if you are not doing testing. This is consumer-led decision making.” And, yes, testing is available on mobile sites.

With costs being watched closely, spending on this kind of tool might seem expensive – but of course fairly immediate returns would justify it.

Obviously, there are other products out there but this is an example of how one operator looked to testing myriad graphics on real-time consumers to come up with optimal look. And that look will change with the demographic, the season – and with time.

So, as with everything else in the digital age, the testing, monitoring and updating never stops.

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