Optimizing the online experience
An abstract from a Spektrix Insights report that focuses on optimizing the online experience. Spektrix is a Pioneer Sponsor of A New Adventure, AMA Conference 2022.
Global trends continue toward a greater use of digital devices for all financial transactions. We have reached the point where we see mobile phones dominate while the use of personal computers for online transactions begins to decline. To better understand just how critical online transactions have become and the devices used to make them, we explore key metrics on:
- Most utilized and effective channels for all transactions
- The devices visitors use to access our iframes
Key Findings: on transaction channels
60% of transactions were online in 2018, up from 53% in 2016 and 43% in 2014. This average rises to 82% for organizations doing particularly well in this area.
However, transactions made by phone or in person are on average 40% higher in value than those made online.
Key Findings: Google Analytics on online device usage
For online visits to our iframes, almost half (46%) of users are on mobile devices, while only 38% of visits are on personal computers.
When looking at the average rate of patrons converting from a visit to our iframe to a confirmed transaction, personal computers top the list at 28%; mobile conversion rates are only 16%.
At Supercool, we're seeing more and more organizations put accessibility at the forefront of their digital strategy. Focusing on an accessible code structure and clear design is a great foundation for building a website that everyone can access. But as technologies develop and audiences grow, we're seeing more organizations invest continually in their websites, keeping them up-to-date and developing new features that help their audiences.
Kate Mrocskowski, Head of Strategy, Supercool
E-commerce continues to increase as a proportion of spending across the economy, now representing 12% of all retail sales in the United States and 18% in Great Britain2.
Our data analysis suggests that the arts sector is ahead of the curve given the dominance of online transactions across the data set, with 60% of transactions occurring online.
Yet, despite online's dominance, person-to-person transactions are on average worth 40% more in revenue. This is likely due to in-person cultivation of major gifts and group sales, but the pattern also applies to everyday transactions.
The general term “online” can describe the use of any device, such as traditional personal computers, tablets, or mobile phones. When comparing the use of these devices, the performance of our data set is in line with all-industry trends, and the story is clear:
We have reached the point where mobile phones rule. Though dominant for browsing, mobile phones still lag behind personal computers for transaction conversion rates. This pattern – browsing on mobile phones but buying on personal computers – confirms consumers’ self-reported behavior. Yet, if organizations performing in the highest 10% for mobile phone conversion rates are any indication, mobile optimization will become more important in the future.
Making mobile make sense
Two organisations that are maximising mobile conversion rates describe what it takes to implement a device-first mindset.
Traverse, Edinburgh, UK
Scotland's new writing theater, the Traverse, champions creative talent by placing powerful and contemporary theater at the heart of cultural life. With two custom-built and versatile performance spaces, the Traverse's home in Edinburgh's city center holds an iconic status as the theatrical heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every August.
Responding to clear patron demand for a website that would work across all devices (the Traverse saw a 27% conversion rate on mobile phones in 2018, well above the average of 16%), the Traverse continues to reinvest in its digital profile and launched its new website in April 2019 with user experience at the heart of its design.
The site, built by Supercool, enables multiple browsing and search functions to allow patrons to easily find an event in a way that suits them. The layout responds dynamically to the device, ensuring a seamless experience across personal computer, tablet and mobile phone.
The new website also has a “guest” style checkout path, allowing patrons to continue with their purchases without needing to log in. To further respond to Fringe festival-goers’ specific needs, the site will switch to “Festival mode” in time for festival booking. This specific area of the site is designed to increase the visibility of the festival program while providing extra information and easy navigation of festival shows to a specific section of the Traverse’s audience. The Traverse team members now feel equipped to extend the same high level of service they offer in person in the theater to their digital interactions with their audiences.
The new user-focused site will allow Traverse to take its online marketing campaigns from efficient to intelligent, improving ticket sales and ROI.
Victoria Murray, Head of Communications
Cleveland Public Theatre, Ohio, USA
CPT’s mission is to “raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performance and life-changing education programs.” They are a professional nonprofit theater company that develops new, adventurous work and nurtures Northeastern Ohio artists — particularly those whose work is inventive, intelligent, and socially conscious. CPT’s acclaimed education programs engage youth and adults in creating new works that speak to contemporary issues and empower participants to work for positive change in the community.
CPT is the only organization in our data set seeing better conversion rates on mobile phones and tablets than on personal computers. They achieve this by keeping the purchase path simple and easy to navigate with clear calls to action, and employ an express checkout and dynamic sizing.
Since approaching the redevelopment of their website in 2015, mobile access (especially on phones and tablets) has been a high priority for the CPT team. As an organization that values inclusivity, their drive to make booking seamless for all patrons is central to their mission.
Before they began their website redevelopment, they were already seeing a high number of ticket purchases happening on mobiles or tablets, and CPT knew their patrons’ desire to book on these devices would only increase with time. With the support of their web developer, Go Media, the team tested relentlessly, recruiting staff members to try booking journeys across different devices, user personas and more.
The result is an ever improving, easy-to-navigate and attractive website that works just as well on a mobile phone as it does on a personal computer.
As Cleveland Public Theatre, we’re a theater for all, so looking at the customer experience for someone who has never been to a theater before was important.
Caitlin Lewins, Director of Audience Engagement and Media Relations
- Mobile has moved from simply one of many concerns to a key critical revenue channel. Organizations with exceptional mobile conversion rates describe being in partnership with their web agencies and investing time and resources in an iterative approach to design, with patrons at the center of all decisions. Does your organization’s approach prioritize a mobile revenue strategy?
- An approach like the one above might involve a new way of budgeting for web development – as a regular expense rather than a onetime investment every three to six years. Does your organization’s partnership with your web development agency allow flexibility in a rapidly changing online environment?
- Even as online sales account for 60% of all transactions, in-person and phone transactions are worth 40% more in revenue on average. Many organizations are making plans to increase the accessibility of these sorts of transactions online while others are staffing up development and sales teams to increase valuable human-to-human interactions where possible. What is your organization’s approach?
Industry Insight: Capacity Interactive
Capacity Interactive is a digital marketing consulting firm that partners with arts and cultural organizations across the United States and internationally. They help clients engage audiences, build community, and market smarter. Yosaif Cohain, Vice President, Analytics at CI, discusses the importance of investing in website optimization on a regular basis.
Having an optimized website that drives more conversions is an item atop any arts marketer's wish list. Website optimization is not a one-time task, but rather is an ongoing process centered around patrons and guided by data. The first half of website optimization is about infrastructure and requires having the right tools in place. The second half is in the organization’s mindset – that we must design for patrons above all others, that we will commit to learning and improving, and that we need a dedicated budget for continual website improvements.
Using a suite of free tools – customized Google Analytics solutions for quantifying website performance and learning about user behavior, Hotjar for gaining insights by polling users and watching screen recordings of their sessions, and Google Optimize for running A/B tests on the website – data creates the feedback loop we need to take action and improve the website in a repeated manner. This is website optimization.
For most organizations, the starting focus should be mobile optimization. Yet within mobile, many components can be addressed (e.g. landing pages, page load times, site navigation, the purchase path, etc.). Where does one begin? The answer lies in your data.