Note: This is part of a new series of posts I’m calling Conversion Teardowns, where I walk through how to optimize sites from various business types for conversions. I outline my process in the first one. To get updates of future ones, Click Here.
This week, we’re breaking down Dealficks, a movie ticket and concession deals site that honestly seems to be a pretty cool way to score movie tickets for cheap.
What they sell is pretty straightforward: tickets and food at a discount. But their site presents some interesting challenges and questions that would make for good test hypotheses:
- Do users want to search by location or by movie?
- They have display ads, is the revenue worth the distraction?
- Are testimonials relevant for this product?
- Are app store download CTAs important on the web version?
1. The Conversion Goal
We always start these teardowns by making sure we have crystal clear conversion goals. When you break down your own site, you should make sure this is clear because almost any business we’ve worked with says they have one goal
“We only want users to do this.”
But after you start walking through the site, other goals inevitably creep in…
Well, but we have this campaign we’re running, so we do want to promote this other random thing for a bit, and …
It’s okay to have more than one goal but make sure you intentionally think through them, so they’re out in the open.
Deaflicks wants to sell movie tickets and concessions; that’s pretty simple. For tracking, I’d make sure they’re using Google Analytics ecommerce integration (or equivalent), so you can measure everything in terms of dollars (not pageviews or something else, although those can be good microconversions).
In terms of conversion paths to that goal, from walking through the site, it’s the homepage route that is the key:
Homepage > Movie/Zipcode/Theater > Specific deal > Checkout
The variability is in how they get from the homepage to a specific deal page:
- What % search by zip code?
- What % type in a movie theater?
- What % click on a specific movie first?
I would create GA funnels to carefully analyze these routes. I’d even consider using a more advanced tool like Mixpanel to closely measure user behavior (how many convert, bounce, etc.) as a function of what route they take.
In addition to setting up the main goals of checkouts and purchases, Dealflicks can (and should) measure microconversion goals that will naturally fall right out of their multitude of conversion paths:
- User makes it to a specific movie page (shows some serious interest)
- Goal for using the search bar
- Goal for selecting a movie date they want to go (shows even mroe interest)
- Goal for selecting time
- Goal for signing up
There will be a lot more of these microconversion events that happen every day, week and month, so they’ll also serve as proxies for subsequent A/B tests in situations where the number of transactions may not be high enough to reach statistical significance.
2. Browser Testing
Once we have goal clarity, we can move on to conversion research.
As usual, for the purposes of this post, I walked through the site in a few major browsers using Browserstack.com (I’m not financially affiliated with them at all, but I use them and like them).
I didn’t do a “full” browser testing. So keep in mind more problems may exist. But these issues are low-hanging fruit that, when fixed, should yield some immediate conversion bumps.
Also, remember that full browser testing doesn’t mean that you test your site on every browser ever created. Instead, use Google Analytics to see what major browsers, operating systems, and browser versions users are on, and test on those. If other browsers represent a small fraction of your traffic, don’t waste time on them.
The ads cause all sorts of problems
On my browser (Chrome 47 on OSX Yosemite), the sidebar ad would often move into the main content and interfere with the primary search bar (yikes), depending on the size of my browser window. Just fixing this alone should help engage more users and get a conversion increase:
That’s a pretty big conversion killer.
- There is already a trust reduction from having ads at all
- This ad isn’t even loading full graphics; it’s just the text version
- It’s covering the main hero unit call to action!!
- The fact that the site looks broken will break a lot of users’ trust, and they won’t open their wallet.
3. User Research
After browser testing, we want to start digging into usability, and that starts with understanding how real users use the site.
There are a few tactics that I’d use for Dealflicks:
Using a tool like Hotjar, I’d watch dozens of screen recordings, page by page, to see how users are interacting with various elements. One key hypothesis, as you’ll see below, is that distraction is a serious issue. As is the unclear number of routes users could take. So, watching real users interact with your site will provide insight on where they’re getting stuck, what features they’re not using, what features they’re using more than you’d think, what routes they tend to take (this is a bit dubious with just a few recordings, but you may be able to suss out patterns).
Live User Feedback
I’d definitely use usertesting.com or anyone else because you’re selling movie tickets, so your audience isn’t that unique — everyone goes to the movies. So whoever you can find at usertesting will likely be an appropriate proxy for your actual users.
The advantage here is that you’ll get users’ actual verbal feedback on what is frustrating them as they use the site. You can also survey them aftewrards to get specific answers to questions.
On page Survey
As I mentioned in the first post, I’m a big fan of on page surveys. Because you can keep changing the survey until you have specific questions that reveal exactly how users think.
Here are some questions I’d ask using Qeryz (or equivalent):
- Did you find the movie you want?
- Would you tell your friends about dealflicks?
- Will you use Dealflicks again? (why?)
- Are you having trouble finding anything?
- Was the site easy to use?
- Were you happy with the discount?
4. Site Walkthrough
This is one of my favorite parts. Just to recap, after we have:
- Clarified goals
- Started measuring goals properly
- Identified browser issues (low hanging fruit)
- Conducted user research
Then we do a formal site walkthrough.
But I’m sort of lying because we’ll typically do a walkthrough at the very beginning. The reason I present this step after all of the above is because in this walkthrough, we’ll have so much more information:
- we know what users want
- We have early data based on the analytics
- we’ve identified some browser issues
My last caveat is that the order is not mission critical. If you do this at the beginning, it doesn’t matter. The key is that you do all of these “Conversion Research” steps. That way you can make informed hypotheses that are more likely to yield winning variations.
Here is my site walkthrough of Dealflicks (2 parts):
Here are the key items I bring up in the video:
- There are so many distractions by the main CTA. In fact, what is the main CTA?
- Do I click the video? Download the app? Start searching by zip code? Click the deals available right now? Or look at Hot Deals? So many options.
- The “Deals Available Right Now” does not display deals specific to the user’s location.
- Are the customer testimonials motivating the user to buy? I doubt it.
- Why, seriously, why are they not making an effort to capture user email address?
Are the Ads worth it?
Also those ads, really? Let’s look at some math to see when the ads would be worth it.
For every 100,000 visitors, let’s say 2% of them buy a movie package. It seems to be worth about $10. That’s $20,000. Now, assume you are getting $2.80 CPM (cost per 1000 impressions), that’s about $280. They have 2 ads, so about $500. If you got rid of the ads and increased conversions by 5%, that’s $1000 extra.
Get rid of those ads. Even if they don’t increase the conversion rate immediately, it shows a massive lack of professionalism, and you’ll see a decrease of users returning and referring their friends.
What’s funny is, some competitors seem to be doing the same thing, so there is some groupthink happening in this industry. For example, Flixter has ads:
And Fandango also seems to have ads:
But there are a couple of differences between these and Dealflicks:
- Flixter has one relevant ad (Hulu), and one retargeting ad from a site I had been to earlier (Smith & Noble). Not the best, but, at least, they stay in their proper place. The site seems overall a LOT less busy than Dealflicks, and the ads actually load their full graphics.
- Fandango’s ads are done in the most professional way, and they are relevant to movies.
For Dealflicks, I’m just seeing ads for things like Optimizely (A/B testing software we use for clients 45 times a day), Solar City (I visited their site recently), and others that have no relation to movies at all. Seeing non-relevant ads has a trademark scent of a site you can’t trust.
Ok, let’s move on to the other distractions. I think there should be a clear dilenation between how you can find deals on movies:
First, enter your zip code.
Then, Search by movie.
Those two categories make the most sense.
Finally, you can look for deals available right now, or download the app (this could be done via a link in the navbar and at the bottom of the homepage.)
Things you could get rid of:
No one cares how many locations are available across the country. I just care if it’s available where I am. How about enter your zip code and we’ll tell you if it’s available. Or just get rid of it. The main CTA is already asking for a zip code.
Logos of where you’ve been mentioned are fine, but they should be mentioned higher up, and there should be something about them. “As featured in…” This can replace customer testimonials. Dealflicks isn’t enterprise software or weight loss where you want to see if they can deliver on their promise. Everyone gets the value of cheap movie tickets, so just make it as easy as possible to buy cheap movie tickets.
The #1 thing they want users to do is to search for a movie in the search bar. But there’s so much going on around it that the focus is not clear. First why are there app download buttons right there? Is that the best place for them?
If you have users ready to search for products to buy, does it make sense for them to ask them to download your app right then? I would definitely try removing them and just asking people who have bought at least one thing from dealflicks to download the app via email follow-ups, on the thank you page, or somewhere later in the relationship.
What about email capture?!
I imagine a ton of visitors are checking out the site via some referral link, and then thinking:
Oh this seems neat, I should use it the next time I go to the movies…
And then they forget!
(I’ve literally done the same thing as I’ve been writing this case study).
If you can capture their email upon exit, you could send them emails once or twice a week on the latest movies, trailers, reviews, and stay top of mind.
Use an exit intent popup to get emails of deals coming up. Emailing people about future deals in their area is literally one of the most proven ways to grow an email list. Think about Groupon and Living Social. Yes, obviously their business models had long term issues, but their growth was amazing (and I don’t see any reason why cheap movie tickets would be any less valuable in 3, 5, or 10 years.) As tech reporter Patricio Robles pointed out:
“Groupon is perhaps one of the best examples of how an ‘old-school’ channel — email — can drive the growth of a business. A few short years ago, Groupon didn’t exist. Today, it’s a billion-dollar company, thanks in large part to email.”
Dealflicks clearly has the infrastructure to build a list via their “create deal alert button” so technically it shouldn’t be hard.
I don’t talk about this in the video (due to time). But try getting all the way to the credit card checkout step. There is a huge conversion barrier before checkout.
Dealflicks forces its customers to register for an account before they can make a purchase. This is a huge mistake. 26% of consumers will abandon an online purchase due to forced registration. Dealflicks could see a significant increase in sales by changing the checkout flow so that account registration comes up after the purchase.
Lastly, there is a massive opportunity to use personalization to make buying a movie ticket so much easier for the user. As I discuss in the video, the “Deals Available Right Now” section shows theaters that I’ve never heard of (and I’m guessing “West Melbourne” means Australia, when I’m checking this from San Jose, California).
What’s also interesting is that they’re not clickable. But they’re placed in a pretty valuable spot on the page.
If instead everything below the search bar was deals available at theaters in my city, that would make it fantastically easy for me to quickly grab some cheap movie theaters.
So with the above, if you were running conversions for Dealflicks, you should be able to come up with great variations to test:
- Fix ad placement
- Remove ads
- Remove app signups
- Allow easy guest checkout
- Simplify homepage with fewer testimonials, etc.
- Try geo-located clickable instant deals
- and many more…
What Other Businesses Do You Want Me to Breakdown?
I’ll be doing these conversion breakdowns for a while. Are there certain sites you want to see broken down in your niche? Let me know in the comments!