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Landing Page Testing with Offline Conversions using Website Optimizer

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 4/29/2009 10:21:00 AM

This is a guest post from David Booth at WebShare, a Website Optimizer Authorized Consultant. In addition, David is one of our Google Website Optimizer Seminar Leaders.

Can you use Website Optimizer to test your landing pages if your conversion occurs offline?

We know Website Optimizer is great when the conversion happens online, but what if your goal is an offline conversion, such as getting the phone to ring? Conversions are defined with JavaScript that has to be executed by a browser, so testing with a tool like GWO may sound like an impossible task – but it’s not.

Pacific Hills Treatment Centers was able to achieve a 40% lift in phone leads via their top landing page by using Website Optimizer, and this post will show you how they did it.

The Offline Lead Generation Dilemma

Tod Cunningham, VP of Business Development of PacHills found himself in a familiar position. “I was discussing how to get a better conversion rate out of my landing pages with my AdWords rep, and when she mentioned conversion testing my first response was, ‘That’s not going to work for me, my conversion doesn't happen on my site.’”

As is the case with many lead-gen sites like PacHills, a conversation with a real, live, human being is much more likely to turn a visitor into a customer, and is often necessary during the sales cycle.

With our help, an A/B test was created and run to test three alternate variations of a top paid search landing page. The goal of this page was not to get an online form submission or get a visitor through a shopping cart, but to get visitors to pick up the phone and call.

How to Test Offline Conversions

So how do you run a test with a phone call as your conversion? This can be done by using Website Optimizer alongside just about any of the widely available phone tracking solutions out there.

1. The first step is like any other test – after consulting your web analytics to determine the best candidate for the test page and experiment type, it’s time to create the variations. Ask yourself what changes you’d like to make and why you believe those changes will have a positive impact on conversions, and let that guide your variation design. In this experiment, WebShare’s design team helped facilitate this process and created three different alternatives to the original landing page. The original and winning pages are pictured below:

Click to see a larger image

2. Now it’s time to set up the phone tracking. All we really need to do is place a special phone number on each of our test pages that will tell us which of our different pages originated the call. In this case, ClickPath was used to automate this by assigning and tracking calls from phone numbers (or banks of numbers) dedicated to each specific landing page.

3. Next, set up the test in Google Website Optimizer. This example is of the A/B variety, where the original was defined along with three variations. You could do this as a Multivariate test as well.

4. After validating the alternate pages and previewing the variations in the preview tool, launch the experiment.

5. Patiently let the experiment run and collect your data.

Running the Analysis

At this point you’ll have Google Website Optimizer splitting traffic, recording unique visitors, and handling all your cookies to ensure that repeat visitors continue to see the same variation. Your phone tracking application will be recording the phone calls (conversions) that result from each of your variations, and you now have all the data necessary for your analysis.

Because Website Optimizer displays the data it’s recording, you can run the statistics yourself at any time using any tool you’re comfortable with. A simplified set of free conversion marketing tools is available on WebShare’s site to help you get the results you need. Here’s how:

1. From Website Optimizer, you’ll get the visitors data in your experiment report:

2. Your phone tracking software will provide your conversion data:

3. Next, plug these values into a tool (like this one) that will do the number crunching for you:

4. The last step is to run the numbers to get a report:

Start Answering Those Phones!

This particular experiment found a clear winner – a winner that boosted the likelihood of a visitor calling PacHills by over 40%.

According to Tod at PacHills, “This has opened up doors that we had thought were closed to us. You can bet next time you’re on our site, we’ll be testing on you!”

If you’re in a situation where a call is your conversion, then we hope this post will give you the tools to start testing and getting your phones ringing off the hook!


Steve said...

Nice post. Good to see a real life GWO case study that can be applied to other businesses.


Unknown said...

What url do you set the GWO "conversion page" to? Do you place the conversion page code on a page, validate it even though you are not going to use it? (Or do an offline validation?)

Trevor Claiborne said...

Hi Anthony,

Since you're not using GWO to count the conversions in this case, it's probably easiest to do an offline validation with a dummy conversion page. Just create an html page with nothing bug the conversion script on it, and upload that to GWO.

Alternatively, you could have GWO count another conversion that you were interested in and compare the performance in that metric with the phone calls received.

Joko Susilo said...

Great post how to test our landing page with GWO. Salam ACTION!

Liyal Blog said...

can u please give a link to a video to see how this can be done???

Trevor Claiborne said...

Hi Liyal,

We don't have a video demonstrating this, but we do have many other videos on our YouTube channel,

Unknown said...

if you are looking to emulate such call tracking in the UK you can use a service such as

Anonymous said...

I visited PAcific Hills from a google search of its name and was surprised to see the original design, not the "wimnner" design dispayed. Why would they not stick with the one that gave the 40% boost?

Trevor Claiborne said...

It's possible that they are running another test. They might also only use the winning page on a specific landing page and not their homepage.

Anonymous said...

Where are you placing the Click Path number/url on the page?

Steve Wild said...

I have had this dream for a while now, and wondered how to do it as it's been anoying me that I can never truley measure the phone calls a site generates. this looks fantastic I will be off to test and play with it and let you know how I get on, Big thanks!!

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