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ABN AMRO wanted to increase its share of the fiercely competitive Dutch market for online banking products by driving more customers from product landing pages to the online application process for Internet savings accounts and credit products. Initially, ABN AMRO hoped to achieve a respectable 10 percent increase in the volume of customers who progressed from the landing page to the application page for Internet savings products.
However, the bank was facing a Dutch online banking market that was already technologically savvy, and an Internet savings market that featured a broad range of look-alike products. ABN AMRO wanted to differentiate itself and its website.
Prior to engaging Accenture, ABN AMRO’s Internet marketing and Web design team had delivered an Internet Savings landing page that was visually appealing. While the bank had done some simple testing to compare the impact of several page elements, it lacked the software, people or processes to execute sophisticated multivariate testing (MVT). Committed to innovation through the adoption of new and effective technologies, ABN AMRO sought to improve its testing methodology by harnessing the power of MVT.
Accenture was able to help ABN AMRO systematically and simultaneously test hundreds of combinations of page elements to determine which were most effective at driving conversions. ABN AMRO chose Accenture because Accenture Digital Optimization (ADO) is the market-leading multivariate testing technology. The aim was to discover the landing page that best met customer needs—welcoming, informative and user friendly.
In November 2007, Accenture conducted a workshop with ABN AMRO to introduce the Accenture Digital Optimization engine and determine the experiment design, hypotheses and creative elements to be tested.
ADO is based on the science of choice modeling, which won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2000. It uses a “full factorial” design approach to test all possible combinations of Web page elements and can achieve robust and granular test results more quickly than other multivariate testing approaches.
ADO can also detect the inter-relationships or interactions between page elements; for example, the combination of an image and a call-to-action button. Positive interactions can produce improvements in conversion rates that are greater than any uplift achieved by only considering each element in isolation.
The ADO multivariate test on the bank’s Internet Savings landing page went live in May 2008 and ran for four weeks. When the test went live, ADO started allocating one of a possible 648 page variations to each unique visitor that arrived to the Internet Savings home page (visitors who returned to the page during the test would see the same version of the page each time).
In total, seven page elements or “attributes” were tested during the experiment to determine the optimal variation for each. However, to determine the overall optimal page, ADO considered how each attribute performed in combination with the other attributes to detect any possible interactions. The test uncovered multiple significant interactions among the attributes and revealed, among other insights, the critical importance of showing a prominent call-to-action “above the fold,” meaning visitors to the page could see it immediately.
The goal of the test was to find a single optimal page that provided the highest rate of conversion. While such tests do not normally discover the most effective page variation until the end of the experiment, after less than a week ABN AMRO noticed sharp spikes in conversions that could only be attributable to visitors seeing new, more effective versions of the landing page.
After the experiment was complete, analysis of response rates revealed that ABN AMRO’s original page had the weakest performance of all the 648 variations tested. Conversion rates therefore improved significantly from the moment that customers saw other versions of the page.
The most effective page of all was one the bank would never have thought to implement without multivariate testing. In fact, when Accenture presented our final report, the bank’s lead Web designer was surprised at the counterintuitive results—the winning page broke orthodox design rules.
The experiment revealed that constructing Web pages according to assumptions, opinions, rules of graphic design or results of simple A/B tests does not guarantee customer response. Only through Accenture Digital Optimization could ABN AMRO have tested so many page variations simultaneously and identified the page that maximized customer conversion rates.
Accenture High Performance Business research has shown that the ability to deliver a customer experience consistently aligned around customer needs and intentions has a significant impact on a company’s ability to create customer loyalty and win new customers. In a time of economic uncertainty—when customer confidence is low and customer behavior increasingly difficult to predict—mastering this ability is more important than ever.
Accenture Digital Optimization produced a landing page that increased conversion rates by 290 percent. This is 30 times the uplift that ABN AMRO had originally hoped to achieve. Subsequently, ABN AMRO engaged Accenture to conduct similar tests on its mortgage and loan product landing pages, and improved conversions to completed applications by 21 percent and 36 percent, respectively.
Accenture Digital Optimization delivered these dramatic improvements by helping ABN AMRO discover and focus on the experiences that met customer needs and intentions. Customers endorsed the experimental results by voting with their clicks to entrust their savings to ABN AMRO. As a result, ABN AMRO advanced on its journey to high performance.
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