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WEBINAR REVIEW Brilliant web optimisation: How increased subscriptions by 28%

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Using web optimisation to deliver a significant boost to the bottom line was the subject of a recent Internet Retailing webinar, in association with ClickTale. Over the course of the hour-long event, Jonny Steel, director of business development at ClickTale, Carola York, managing director at Jellyfish Publishing, and Vassilis Toutouropoulos, senior conversion optimisation manager at Jellyfish Publishing, shared their experiences of how they used and learned from in-page analytics to drive both conversions and revenues.

The webinar Using web optimisation to deliver a significant boost to the bottom line webinar opened with a direct question. Have you increased the conversion rate on your website over the last 12 months? Of those webinar participants who responded, 0% said yes, by more than 100%, 6% said they had, by 50-99%, 75% said they had by 1-49% and 19% said not at all. One aim of the webinar, said opening speaker Jonny Steel, business development director at ClickTale, was to share ideas that would help participants move their conversion up a level.

In-page analytics

Steel started by explaining the difference between web analytics, and Clicktale’s in-page analytics. While web analytics, he said, measure the moves from one page to another, in-page analytics measure every keystroke, mouse move and scroll within the page itself. That information can be used to see what visitors are doing on the website, with sessions recorded for replaying afterwards to give insights into how people used the website in order to understand factors that may, for example, have caused them to leave the site. The results are shown through heatmaps that reflect mouse movements, clicks, and attention, while also analysing movement around links.

That’s important, said Steel, for the current era of agile online marketing, built on speed and accurate insights. “Agile online marketing requires for site changes to be based on true to life observations of your customers’ behaviour.”

Online optimisation cycle

Introducing the online optimisation cycle, developed from observation of how people best optimise their websites, Steel explains that it starts by monitoring KPIs through technologies such as web analytics in order to understand existing conversion rates. By then visualizing user behaviour, retailers can develop ideas about what could be improved, before moving to A/B testing. Analysing results can show how changes might help before site changes are made.

By putting this into practice, said Steel, online marketing moves from an art to a science. “It is no longer based on guesswork, the highest paid individual’s opinion,” he said. “You no longer say I think this is what my customers are doing or would like. Everything is based on observation, hypothesis and testing.”

In-page analytics in practice: Jellyfish Publishing

Guest speaker Carola York, managing director of Jellyfish, introduced her company as a specialist in PPC, SEO, social, analytics and optimisation. It generally works on behalf of clients, but its Jellyfish Publishing arm runs its own magazine subscription site,, which lists more than 700 magazines and attracts browsers considering buying a magazine subscription for themselves or as a gift. “It’s crucial that the site is fully optimised so that it makes it easy for [visitors] to search, to navigate and more importantly for us, that the potential conversions are maximized so we’re getting the maximum number of sales and revenue out of the site,” said York.

Showing ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of the home page, York explained how she briefed her optimisation team to improve the home page with the aims of increasing exposure for sale offers, improving search and making navigation easier.

Vassilis Toutouropoulos, senior conversion optimisation manager at Jellyfish Publishing, then explained how the optimisation team carried out the brief, using ClickTale to monitor user behaviour through mouse activity and click heatmaps. Attention and scroll-reach statistics were analysed to find weaknesses in the usability, and pinpoint conversion-sensitive areas that could be improved. During the course of the webinar he showed the initial and subsequent heat maps that were generated, and how they were used, along with Google Analytics, to analyse user activity on the site.

As a result

Findings included users’ high level of interest in the search box, and that because there were few prominent links to ‘corporate’ pages, users looking to be reassured about the authenticity of the site were scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

The team designed four new variations of the home page to test, all optimized for better navigation. These were tested for conversion rates against the original using Google Content experiments.

As a result of the tests, the team abandoned navigation on the left hand side of the page and instead, concentrated on the top of the page, while including a more prominent and highly-filtered search feature in the centre of the page. After the changes, found that clicks and hovers on the top bar were more evenly spread, and that clicks across the page were more uniformly spread above the first fold. The final page also showed a 0.65% lift in conversion compared to the original, while heatmapping also showed that the final page, “does exactly what we wanted,” said Toutouropoulos, increasing search and navigability.

The results predicted a 28% increase in the number of subscriptions that could be achieved directly from landings on the homepage. Some months later, said Carola York, concluding the case study presentation, the winning variation can still be seen on “That winning variation became our default home page and it still is,” she said, “though further optimisation has taken place. The results of the test have been phenomenal and really helpful for our business.”

Questions from the Q&A session at the end of the webinar ranged from whether heatmaps could distinguish between the behaviour of new and existing users, the filters that can be put in place when using them to what further optimisation now planned and whether Jellyfish found the heatmap results surprising.

To hear the webinar for yourself, to view the accompanying slides, see the heatmaps and hear the question and answer session, visit the Clicktale webinar page or visit the Internet Retailing webinar page for details of more events.

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