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1-800-DENTIST pairs consumers with dentists in their area through online sign-ups, using a nationwide network of thousands of dental professionals. Upon entering their site, visitors input personal information in a five-step flow to match them with the best local dentist.

Challenge:

1-800-DENTIST is no stranger to A/B testing. Last year, their product team used Optimizely to improve their sign-up flow, ultimately learning that breaking the flow into five separate pages led more visitors to convert.

“We don’t want consumers to have to think too hard and we want them to be invested in the process. With 5 steps, when they get to the last step, they’re already invested.” — Elliot Kharkats, Web Analytics & Testing Manager, 1-800-DENTIST

With the five-step flow, however, the team noticed another challenge. Conversions increased but drop off rates on the first step of the funnel—which asked for ZIP code, dental need, and insurance/payment information—also increased significantly.

The product team had to find a way to optimize this important user flow while still collecting all vital information.

Hypothesis:

Knowing that users become more invested as they click through the signup funnel, the team hypothesized that making the first step as simple as possible would decrease drop off rate and lead to more successful sign-ups further down the funnel.

The Test:

To test the hypothesis, the team considered how to best simplify the first step without losing valuable data collection. Since all dentist matches depend on location, ZIP code was the most logical input to lead off with. Then, the team moved the two other fields — insurance and dental need — to pages later in the funnel, ensuring they would still be able to collect each piece of information.

The original variation of the 1-800-DENTIST funnel included three form fields on the homepage: ZIP code, dental need, and insurance/payment method.

The original variation of the 1-800-DENTIST funnel included three form fields on the homepage: ZIP code, dental need, and insurance/payment method.

Winning Variation

The winning variation moved dental need and insurance/payment method to pages later in the funnel. Only the ZIP code form field remained on the homepage.

To measure the success of each variation, the product team set up two types of goals: Pageview goals and click goals. Views of the “Thank You” page where users landed after submitting their final information was used as a macro-goal to track overall conversions. Several micro-goals — like clicks on each button in the funnel — tracked pageviews throughout each step to discover what made users bounce in the first place.

Results:

In less than a week, the team found that shortening the first step of the checkout funnel increased conversions by 23.3%

Shortening the first step of the checkout funnel increased conversions by 23.3%.

Shortening the first step of the checkout funnel increased conversions by 23.3%.

The Takeaway:

  • Test your information collection process. Site visitors’ behaviors may change as they travel down the funnel. 1-800-DENTIST found that limiting inputs during the first step of the sign-up process and moving them to steps later in the funnel ultimately helped more users reach their end goal.

  • Consider micro- vs. macro-goals. Defining clear goals can set you up for future testing success. The ability to identify and measure their primary business goal — “Thank you” pageviews — while using micro-goals to understanding where users dropped out in the funnel, helped 1-800-DENTIST maximize revenue and shape hypotheses for future tests.

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