Monday October 26, 2020

Strata³’s unique digital approach drives real-world business impact

10th October, 2020
Sarah Gleeson, Digital Performance Principal; Louise Ryan, Digital Performance Principal and Tiago Almeida, Head of Analytics; Strata3’s Digital Performance Team

Digital change agency Strata³ helps companies create and optimise commercially effective digital products and channels – and it’s getting noticed, writes Sarah Gleeson, principal with the company’s digital performance team

Real business and measurable impact is what e-tailers, e-commerce companies and digitally focused brands need today – and especially during Covid. At Strata3, the dedicated digital performance team helps clients increase online sales or lower costs – not based on assumptions, but through a structured process involving research and data-led experiments which in turn creates fact-based insights and recommendations.

Strata3’s approach improves conversion rates through optimisation (CRO) – a process of learning why online visitors behave the way that they do. That knowledge helps to identify opportunities to improve user’s online experiences, which in turn produce measurable impact for online companies, both B2C and B2B.

Strata3’s digital performance team already has a track record of commercial success for clients such as An Post, Fáilte Ireland, Lily O’Brien’s, Irish Life Health and Irish Rail, and demand for these services is growing rapidly. “When we show prospective clients the impact and savings and the immediately obvious ROI, they ask when we can start to engage – and it’s usually a request to start yesterday,” says Louise Ryan, Strata3 performance principal.

Testament to the fast growth in Strata3’s digital performance practice is the annual number of experiments the team is running, which is now heading towards hundreds. For example, the team performed numerous experiments on Lily O’Brien’s website over the last three years that resulted in a 32 per cent average yearly growth in online revenue.

“Strata3 have worked with Lily O’Brien’s since 2016 on growing revenue via our e-commerce channel. The team has a strong focus on conversion and revenue generation, with a customer-centric approach,” says Jessica Morris, Lily O’Brien’s web sales manager. “Their practical, data-driven ideas have resulted in extremely positive ongoing year-on-year growth for Lily O’Brien’s via our digital channel.”

Brands’ digital products may be beautiful, but they need to perform commercially

Does this story sound familiar? You worked closely with an agency redesigning and launching your new digital product, such as a site and/or app. You spoke proudly about it across social media and in the press. But it’s been a few months, and you don’t see a significant change in revenue from sales or leads generated. Having a beautiful digital asset is essential to represent your brand well, but having a thriving digital commercial channel is more important to business success.

Spending money to bring customers to your site is only half the battle

You decide your new website needs more traffic, so you invest heavily in online advertising and SEO. You see uplifts in visitors to the site and a slight increase in conversions – perhaps this has unlocked the potential growth you were expecting? Spending on PPC and SEO to bring extra traffic to a site that doesn’t put users first is like adding water to a leaky bucket. Unless you fix the leaks, that water you’ve bought goes to waste.

Leverage existing insights to boost online sales

To drive the right kind of growth online, strike a balance between your acquisition and conversion strategies. Divert some of your spend in acquiring traffic into an ‘on site’ optimisation program to convert more visitors.

Say two in every 100 visitors to your site currently convert to a sale. Is that 2 per cent conversion enough? Insight into your commercial KPIs is needed to create a bespoke optimisation strategy. As a rule of thumb, you’re aiming for at least 3-5 per cent for a basic e-commerce site; with lead generation, it depends on the industry, but around 3-6 per cent is standard.

However, given the current context, we’ve seen e-commerce conversion rates double in some cases over the past six months.

It’s not easy to get consumers to purchase online with confidence in the world of complex products such as insurance, loans and credit cards – you may get 1-3 per cent conversion. However, within a year of the new site launch, Strata3’s digital performance team helped Irish Life Health achieve double-digit growth in sales online.

What patterns of behaviour can we observe with the other 98 visitors to your site to understand why they didn’t make a purchase? Can we see common drop-offs on a landing page or particular step of a form? Can we see patterns of behaviour with the two who did convert? Do we have demographic data on them, and how can we leverage that knowledge to make site improvements?

Question what you think you know. Listen for the answers

“We never guess those answers,” says Tiago Almeida, Strata3’s head of analytics. “By digging deep into user analytics and getting real user feedback to pinpoint problem areas, we identify opportunities to solve these issues. Instead of assuming we know the answer to a conversion problem, we test several ways to solve it on the live site with real users (a process known as A/B testing), using tools such as Google Optimize.

“We learn from every test, even the failures, and build up an in-depth understanding of customer behaviour over time. This knowledge not only helps improve your existing website but can help inform future product development too.”

As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

Optimisation never ends. Build it into your culture

One of the biggest mistakes Strata3 sees businesses make is in thinking that once they launch a digital product, it’s complete. In a world where your business is ever-evolving and/or disrupted and there’s a rapid pace of change within the digital landscape, there’s always room for improvement.

Strata3’s digital performance team is currently working together with Fáilte Ireland to foster a culture of performance optimisation and data-driven decision-making. For example, the team ran usability testing with visitors and industry partners before launching a new site, to evaluate the effectiveness of the user experience and identify opportunities for experimentation.

A rigorous, iterative process of optimisation continues with Plans include adding personalisation to improve the relevance of visitor experiences and other improvements to meet ambitious performance goals around growing visitor engagement and referrals to industry partners.

Our digital performance philosophy is to create real and measurable business impact. Our case work proves that we are serious about this. We are about to embark on a large expansion of the team to meet the latent demand for our differentiated services both in Ireland and overseas. Overall, our message and method is really cutting through because the proof points come early and often. It’s an exciting time for the firm.

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