HSBC online journey optimisation

A/B testing increased ‘application starts’ by 29%

All types of businesses look at the UK HSBC business website. From start-ups to the occasional multinational.

On the website we divvied those businesses into five segments and gave each a ‘segment landing page’. Each page showcased relevant products, services and business advice.

Thing is we were trying to show too much stuff. And red hyperlinked text and fussy imagery made them look like a jumble sale.

We reckoned visitors looked at the pages, got a migraine and went elsewhere.

Here's how we tackled it.

We set up analytics dashboards so had core product journey MI.

With figures to hand I got going on the segment landing pages. The numbers showed high bounce rates and pinging between segments. Not enough people were progressing to product pages and sales were suffering.

A great question to ask when things are a jumble is ‘What is the purpose of this page?’

I put forward a hierarchy of purpose for the segment landing page:

  • Make getting to business bank accounts (the top sellers) the most obvious action on the page
  • Enable users to easily find other core products
  • Present a limited set of supporting messages

In practice this meant simplifying, including:

  • Removing inline text links in the ‘hero’ area
  • Cutting words and making the key call to action an obvious button
  • Replacing twin ‘product’ and ‘business need’ navigation with just core product links, reducing link numbers by 60%

All sounds pretty obvious, eh?

Once we agreed test objectives I put a couple of high fidelity design variants together for us to chew on. I had to stay pretty close to the original layout as it'd take an aeon to develop a whole new template. 

I got the designs into A/B testing along with the default, using Maxymiser, our testing partner.

A variant took the lead. When there was enough confidence we just ran that against default.

With the test over I worked with our CMS team to  implement the template tweaks so we could roll it out to the other segment landing pages.

Those figures again: With the new, more simple page, arrivals at product pages increased by a third and application starts went up 29%.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, ‘So what?’ I agree that A/B and multivariate testing should be part of everyday practice. This was for a bank. Persuading the bank to let us do testing took a year.

With testing in full swing I also optimised our paid search / aggregator landing pages and bank account product pages.