Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Christmas period?
Yes, I am talking about those periods when some sites get almost 10 times more traffic compared to the rest of the year. According to Adobe’s insight, in 2021, customers spent $8.9B on Black Friday alone. Yet, many companies, when it comes down to CRO and A/B testing, don’t have any plan to do something differently for those periods. Here are some pointers that should help you strategize your CRO plan to tackle the next peak period:
- Your traffic during that time is not your regular traffic. They have got certain motivation which can push through the toughest barriers to get what they are looking for.
- Your discoverability tests, i.e., navigation, filter options, homepage promo (and winners from them) are more important during this period. You need to make sure that customers are finding the products relevant to them as soon and as quickly as possible.
- Land your returning visitors straight into where they left off on their last journey – here is a test idea, that can potentially work when it is peak time – for example, if someone was visiting Men’s suits section on their last visit but did not make a purchase, land them directly to the suits product listings page on their next visit even if they typed the homepage URL.
- Run automated promo banner tests. Many testing tools support MAB (Multi Armed Bandit tests) or automated personalisation campaigns. These are the perfect period to have multiple promotional banners and launch them all together with auto traffic allocation. That way, you will potentially get the most out of your promotions that will be relevant to the end users.
- Time is of the essence – the peak periods do not last long. Plan up-front as to what you will be doing and get them ready in time. We have noticed that some of our clients started the planning in October and we started developing campaigns from the beginning of November, making sure that everything is QA’d and ready to go on certain dates!
- Highlight social messages – how many people are viewing, adding to basket and completing purchases for individual products. This is the perfect time to be transparent and create urgency amongst the visitors to your site to complete purchase.
- Pause your regular tests. And by regular tests I mean the generic A/B tests you have been running to improve your website. During that period, the behaviour of your users are not regular. There is a concept called walking in the coal effect – where the users will do whatever they need to in order to get what they are looking for – and these are the times when we behave like this. The results you will see during that period will skew the original performance impacts of the variations of your regular A/B tests. You should either pause those tests or plan to complete them before the peak period starts.
Overall, experimentation does not necessarily need to be stopped. It is the type of testing that is important to consider when you are in the peak period. Try this and see the results yourself.