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Close to my home there is a filling station, and as with all well placed services it’s close to the motorway. Although it’s one of the most expensive places to fill up, it continues to gain business. Having noticed its expense, I’ve tried to avoid it where I can, but often fall victim to the allure of the convenience. Just before a long journey home, I know it’s a handy way to fill up.
As such I’ll often pay for the privilege.
Make it easier and you win.
A few years back, they upgraded the pumps to handle debit card transactions without the need to enter their shop to pay. This decision, to me at the time, seemed like a slightly strange one, considering that the store itself is likely a profitable part of the business, and as motorists entered the shop to pay, inevitably they would pick up impulse buys and goods as they passed through.
In my naivety – I overlooked the fact the the sales of fuel is probably the most profitable for this particular business. The more consumers they manage to get through the pumps without a queue, the better. Queues at filling stations are generally speaking the reason why we drive further down the road without making a purchase. Removing that barrier, increases sales, and makes financial sense.
Increased throughput for this business gives it the competitive edge.
Make it quicker and you win.
When Google introduced ‘Instant’ last year and every time they push the speed agenda I’m reminded of this same business lesson.
Why on earth would Google, who rely on advertising clicks for revenue, want to take 2-5 seconds off their users searches? Surely the more time someone stays on Google, the more revenue they would generate?
The answer to this particular business puzzle surely lies in the internal research that Google have conducted on this matter. An independent report released by Marin Software on the impact of Google Instant highlights this perfectly. Engagement has increased, and click volumes went up by a massive 5.6% across all searches, all because Google made things quicker.
“….During this same period, click volumes went up by 5.6%. Given what we know about Click-Through Rates, it is diicult to ascribe a 5.6% increase in clicks to a 3% rise in explicit core searches. The implication here is that users are probably responding to interim ads while they’re still typing or reining search queries. In other words, our analysis suggests that users are now more engaged with the search page and search results. This change in user behavior is a direct consequence of how Google Instant has changed a user’s search experience…”
They made it quicker, and their business benefited directly.
You are measuring the wrong metrics.
Take a look at any business on the web that relies on advertising for its revenue. Typically when flicking through their media packs, you’ll see them touting metrics such as ‘pageviews’ and ‘time on site’ – the longer the better, and the more pageviews the better it seems!
With an emphasis on increasing these being at the centre of their online strategy overall, these guys are missing the point.
Does this mean that users were actually enjoying their time on that site? No. It’s just as likely that the exact opposite may be true.
Instead of focusing all of their efforts on improving the user experience which will encourage repeat visits, and increase the stickiness of site overall, pageview chasing instead of satisfying users has become the new scourge of the web.
It’s our job as developers to make the user journey on the information superhighway a smooth one, so strip out the roadblocks and let them get on their way.
I promise if you do, they’ll be back to fill their tanks again and again.