4 Simple Steps for Measuring & Improving Non-Transactional Web Pages
Conversion optimization is a tried and tested method for driving better outcomes on websites and apps. But what if the purpose of any given web page isn’t necessarily to convert a user? Do you have pages on your website or app that, while not designed to convert, are still vitally important? If so, how can you optimize them when you don’t have a conversion metric to refer to?
In my several years with the Decibel customer success team, it’s become apparent that the industry-leading enterprises we’ve worked alongside need ways to quantify and improve these non-transactional pages – especially in instances where traditional metrics aren’t practical.
While supporting clients like PlayStation, News UK Times & Sunday Times, and Nationwide, I’ve worked through this use case quite often with teams looking to polish pages for customer support, online resources, and much more. And in those efforts, I’ve found there are a few surefire ways to effectively and accurately gauge experiences on these types of pages and optimize them for success.
To summarize my findings, I’ve laid out four steps you and your team can follow to best measure and improve non-transactional pages.
1. Identify the true goal of the page
If there’s one thing I’ve learned very quickly while supporting clients, it’s that it’s virtually impossible to measure the success of a web page without a clear and well-established goal for that page. While pages for account sign-ups, demo requests, and online checkout come with obvious and tangible conversion-based goals, those non-transactional pages can prove a bit trickier.
First thing’s first, you need to establish the specific purpose of that page. Whether they realize it or not, users arrive at a page with an objective, and it’s your responsibility to help them see it through. So, to successfully determine a page goal, you can answer these questions:
- What motivated the user to visit the page?
- How does the page satisfy that motivation?
By getting into the minds of users, you’ll really be able to understand and identify the key purpose of any given web page. For some added direction with setting a page goal, I’ve listed a few common non-transactional page goals I’ve supported enterprises with along the way:
- Support customer requests and questions
- Summarize account services and management
- Offer experience customization and personalization
- Share and detail related topical news
- Educate users with written or visual content
- Connect users with an online community
- Provide useful online tools and resources
Now that you’ve selected a page goal, next you’ll need to find a reliable way to track and measure it.
2. Assign related experience-based metrics to the intended page goal
There’s a seemingly never-ending list of metrics to measure in the digital experience industry, so which one’s the right metric for measuring your non-transactional page(s)?
Working with various brands to solve this very dilemma, I’ve found the best success often comes from tracking user behaviors and experience-based metrics to evaluate these non-transactional pages – data traditional tools don’t track. And at Decibel, this is our specialty.
With a whole suite of experience-based metrics behind Decibel’s Digital Experience Score (DXS), you can automatically analyze and quantify every online experience as it relates to engagement, frustration, navigation, plus technical and form experiences. And these behavioral insights will reveal exactly how well a page achieves its goal.
So, if you’re tracking an article’s success then measuring its Engagement Score, which tracks reading behaviors like scroll depth and focus time, will help you determine just how well the content captures user interest. Whereas if you’re looking at an account dashboard page, then tracking its Navigation Score will help you determine usability via behaviors like click and scroll hesitation or focus changes.
Once you’ve pinned down the most suitable metrics to measure your specific page goals, you’ll need to determine a standard for page success.
3. Establish benchmarks for those assigned metrics
No matter the metric you’ve landed on, you’ll want to establish benchmarks to know where you’re at and where you want to be. Without a clear benchmark, it’d be like running in a race with no official starting point or finish line.
But before you determine benchmarks, it’d be wise to decide whether these benchmarks will apply to a single page or all similar style pages. For instance, do you only care about engagement on a newer page of online content, or has it become a priority across every content-focused page on your site?
Now to benchmark properly, I’d recommend tracking your metrics in a few different ways:
- Determine current performance as a baseline
- Track weekly and monthly rolling averages
- Set incremental goals to strive towards
One caveat to keep in mind: if you already know certain pages are performing well or poorly, be sure to account for those differences when establishing the series of benchmarks for each page. This will help you measure progress appropriately for each respective page.
With your performance benchmarks set, you’ll be primed to track how well your web page or pages meet goals.
4. Pinpoint opportunities to improve on those benchmarks
With your goals, metrics, and benchmarks in place, there’s only one box left to check: optimization. Web page optimization hinges on your ability to find, fix, and improve the poor experiences impacting your metrics and undermining your page goal.
But what’s the best way to find those opportunities? The best successes I see with enterprise clients take place when they can identify underperforming metrics and properly use digital tools like session repay and heatmaps to help form test ideations.
With session replay you’re able to watch back user sessions revealing actual instances of friction hurting page performance. Meanwhile, heatmaps aggregate and visualize every user behavior on that page to easily locate frustration or lack of engagement.
And enterprises using these tools via Decibel actually get the added bonus of integrated experience issue alerts, prioritization reports, and segmentation to discover issues in real-time and zero-in on those areas with precision.
Let’s say you’re seeing Frustration Scores rise week over week on your website’s customer support page. It’s time to investigate.
With the automatic alerting and surfacing of experience issues, you can review heatmaps showing spikes in frustrated behaviors – like multi-clicks and bird’s nests – on a support chat button. Turning to session replay, you can playback related user sessions and discover these frustrations are a result of the button’s broken link. Finally, you can address the issue and keep your page goal and metrics on track.
After making the right optimizations, metrics will reflect experience improvements surpassing benchmarks, and your page will meet user expectations.
Discover the Process Leading Enterprises Use to Nail Website and App Optimization
All in all, finding areas to optimize your non-transactional page will feel like a breeze with the right steps, metrics, and tools in place. But if you want to master optimization across your entire website, I typically see clients I support excel with a simple, effective, and repeatable process in place.
And with more consumers moving online to shop, manage finances, order takeout and more, the digital experiences you provide – on both websites and apps – will become a major differentiator. This shift will put your optimization process and strategy to the test. Are you and your team perfectly prepared for that challenge?
To ensure your approach to digital optimization is bulletproof, download The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Digital Experiences for Enteprises and deliver nearly perfect experiences for every user.