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Tips & Tricks for Building Your Experimentation Program

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Founded in 1912, OneMain Financial is the largest personal loans provider in the United States. Contributing to the company’s longevity is a drive for continuous reinvention and innovation: OneMain Financial stays relevant to its market by making holistic business decisions around its product and marketing strategy. The company provides personalized, best-in-class service at their 1,600+ branches, as well as through their internet lending division, iLoan, which gives customers the ability to complete the loan process entirely online.

As a company that has served customers for over a century, OneMain Financial is navigating a number of challenges as it reinvents its organization to remain a market leader. The company competes against fellow financial services firms, a vertical that routinely pays the highest industry-wide customer acquisition costs, to reach and engage a broad-base of consumers. OneMain Financial needs to make sure that the company is running its most efficient and effective market campaigns—ones that deliver data and insights back to the organization for product and marketing teams to harvest for strategic decisions.

Here’s how OneMain Financial uses website experimentation to build a simpler lead generation process and stronger customer experience.

Mapping each experiment to a central, overarching business goal

OneMain Financial prioritizes email capture rates as one of the most important lead generation success metrics. This KPI maps to the company’s core objective of increasing loan applications and to the business’s long-term goal of creating more tailored customer experiences.

“Email addresses are a key component to establishing a unique visitor identity,” explains Eric Barba, VP of Digital Marketing and Analytics at OneMain Financial. “Using email addresses, we can retarget visitors beyond email and cookie abandonment.. That email address becomes a conduit for additional touchpoints that we can map to, while also fulfilling a greater need to tracking performance back to a single user.”

This testing process has helped bring One Main Financial back to high double-digit growth mode in terms of personal loan applicants.

“Our vision as a business has always been to create one-to-one, personal relationships with every potential customer,” explains Barba. “Based on the email addresses we collect, we move closer to creating a 360-degree customer profile.”

Through continued experimentation, OneMain Financial has increased completion rates for its loan application funnel. “We broadened our retargeting campaigns and got more incremental loan applications as a result, says Barba. “It was a double-positive.”

Experiments that yield actionable decisions

At the heart of OneMain Financial’s testing program is a commitment to building strong connections with potential loan applicants. As financial services operations become more digital, relationship-building can be a challenge: how can consumers rest assured that their confidential and private information is in good hands?

Answering this question means paying attention to the subtleties in messaging, design, and other elements that help build trust with potential loan applicants who are navigating an extremely important personal decision. Barba and his team began testing language around email collection in the loan application process.

The experimentation path that One Main Financial followed involved sequential tests—including ones that failed to find improvements—to get closer to language that would increase email capture rates. The company tested three different types of messaging and the positioning of the email field in the loan application flow.

They tested calling the email field “personal information,” which lost in comparison to other variants. Eventually, OneMain Financial found a winner in “account information.” Application completion rates for the test increased by 200 basis points. Email capture rates increased by 29%. During the experimentation period, OneMain Financial added another 1,000 emails to their re-targeting efforts. 

“The results were a tremendous benefit for us,” says Barba. “By capturing the email information from our applicants earlier, we’re not only able to do more sophisticated retargeting on funnel adandoners, but make the entire signup process more seamless.”

This approach has created a simplified account creation process—OneMain Financial’s marketing team only needs to ask for an email address once. Password creation is a natural and easy to follow next step.

“By capturing email addresses as ‘account information,’ we can pass that information through as the customer’s username and only prompt him or her to create a password for account access (increased sign-ups and reduction in forgotten username). The extensions that the email has into other areas of our business is an even bigger win that just the increase conversion and capture rates.”

Striving towards a clear vision for the future

To build processes of continuous improvement, OneMain Financial uses testing data to expand its experimentation program.

“We’re rolling out this same testing structure to other areas of our business,” says Barba. “Next, we’re going to run tests on our pre-qualified flow, so that we can improve the efficiency of our lead funnel.”

The company’s testing culture can grow with the business, helping the financial services leader move more quickly and gain a competitive advantage in an already-crowded market—OneMain Financial can focus on introducing products and experiences that prioritize their customers’ needs and concerns when exploring new business initiatives.  

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