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05/20/2015

How Optimizing Mobile & Online Channels Can Yield ROI

Mobile technology has touched and improved nearly every part of our lives, and businesses have responded by making mobile part of their plans, including hospitality companies. According to Hospitality Technology’s 2015 Lodging Technology Study, 39.5% of respondents said that building customer-facing mobile solutions is their top priority in 2015. 

Consumers have come to expect – and demand – a good mobile experience. For hospitality providers, the mobile experience must match the excellent customer service and experience guests encounter during stays. One way to make sure mobile and online experiences represent brands well and engage potential customers is to optimize them through testing and targeting.

Testing can determine where mobile web and app users are losing interest as well as what mobile users like and don’t like. Testing can also provide the in-depth data on how much time users spend on your mobile website or app, and where it can be improved. This knowledge helps companies deliver an enhanced mobile experience which in turn drives engagement, resulting in better conversions and revenue.

Web and mobile optimization solutions provider SiteSpect offers three tips to help hospitality executives understand how to utilize testing and targeting to make sure mobile initiatives yield maximum ROI.

Test a mobile site or mobile app before launch. Mobile optimization using A/B and multivariate testing has been proven to be one of the most effective and immediate experimentation methods to increase sales, enhance visitor engagement, and encourage content consumption.

Common methods for running controlled experiments range from simple A/B testing to sophisticated multivariate testing. In A/B testing, one or more new versions of a page or single element compete against the original (control) version. For example, two new versions of a headline might compete against the original headline. Multivariate testing, on the other hand, is like running many A/B tests concurrently, where there are multiple elements being tested at the same time.

For example, two alternate product images, plus two alternate headlines, plus two alternate product copy versions create a total of 27 possible combinations (including the original control versions).

Consider using multivariate testing in mobile experiences to learn how to better influence and persuade visitors to: Interact with your mobile brand, content, and functionality; Adopt mobile site features in order to get information on the go; Click-through to mobile ads and geo-aware offers, such as coupons; Register for mobile accounts; Download digital products such as ringtones, wallpapers, and apps; Increase AOV and revenue from mobile sites and apps.

Create mobile best practices. Understanding how each mobile site element influences the visitor experience is the essence of a “test-learn-repeat” process that hospitality marketers can use to prove or disprove the effectiveness of new ideas and continually improve their mobile experience to achieve — and exceed —marketing goals. Hospitality IT executives should consider optimizing mobile sites built using traditional, responsive, or adaptive design, or developed as a single page app or native application, in addition to every aspect of their traditional websites (front-end usability as well as back-end functionality).

Clearly defined goals, a strategic optimization plan, and the qualified personnel to execute the plan will ensure that mobile channels thrive and optimized sites and apps convert browsers to customers and keep them engaged.

Use targeting to deliver the best mobile experience. Testing a subset of existing, highly-trafficked content on a targeted mobile audience can provide a low-cost and low-risk stepping stone towards building a business case around making a deliberate investment in mobile optimization. Tests have proven that showing mobile users’ content that is specifically tailored for mobile devices improves user experience, makes the visit stickier and, ultimately, increases conversion rates.

With mobile targeting, marketers and analysts are able to test, measure and  deliver the mobile experience that is most effective for each mobile device category. These can include attributes such as: Device type, including tablets and smartphones; Mobile operating system; Screen dimensions and rotation support; Browser capabilities; Cellular network data speeds; Preferred markup language; Keyboard type.

Discover what works by testing elements of your mobile experience such as navigation, image size, image choice, specific words or phrases, placement, design, graphical elements, headlines, colors, variations in functionality, or dynamic content.

What is important to understand about mobile optimization is that it not only shows you which combination of elements your visitors prefer, but it reveals which individual elements influence visitor behavior versus those that do not. For example, did variations in the product image influence visitor behavior more, less, or the same as the copy?