For a company like Dun and Bradstreet, a website that delivers a great browsing experience is essential not just for its image, but it directly impacts its revenue. The company hosts data and information on businesses and it makes money by selling that information to analysts, sales and marketing professionals, and business intelligence experts. To increase the chances of that happening, Dun and Bradstreet employs a digital experience team whose sole job is top optimize its web properties for the easy discovery and purchase of the right data reports.
That’s no easy feat when you have to query a database of over 235 million global companies and 53 million professional contact names every time a site visitor comes looking for information. Trying to optimize the many different components of a site with such a complex backend system can be like turning an ocean liner around, and it presented a major challenge for the Dun and Bradstreet digital experience team.
Here’s how they approached it:
The company’s goals
Jeannine D’Allegro, Dun and Bradstreet’s global leader of digital properties, optimization and social media says the goal of her team was to make the company website a “premier digital exchange.” That meant getting more people to visit, and more importantly, stay engaged long enough to purchase data or reports from the company.
Much of the focus was on effectively engaging the large audience that visited Hoovers.com, a subsidiary of Dun and Bradstreet which provides business research. Approximately four million people visit Hoovers.com every month, with half of those visitors going to its Company Pages. These are individual listings which contain in-depth information and records on almost every company operating in the country.
The key challenge within the Company Pages was to make visitors aware of the other, more valuable information they could access in the form of data and reports for purchase. At the time, Dun and Bradstreet was using a homegrown platform that couldn’t handle the complexity of the task. “We had a huge opportunity with Company Pages, but it was very difficult to make changes to an experience that brings so much traffic,” says D’Allegro. “Because it was so complex, even doing a simple A/B test wasn’t possible.”
The first step in the process for Dun and Bradstreet was to deploy a platform that could handle experience optimization, and digital asset management across a large, complex network of website pages. The company settled on Adobe Experience Manager, along with Adobe Target for web optimization.
For a company that made its name providing data to its customers, it was no surprise that Dun and Bradstreet wanted to make more decisions about the site experience and optimization based on quantifiable analytics. The team added Adobe Analytics to its suite of digital experience products, giving it access to three core, integrated solutions in Adobe’s Digital Marketing Cloud.
The company’s approach to optimizing its web experience through multiple platforms was straightforward:
1) Use Adobe Analytics to gather data on how visitors were interacting with the site and identify areas of improvement.
Through Analytics, the experience team gathered insights on the type of people visiting the site, the content they tended to click on, how they navigated through the pages and what triggered high-level interactions. In addition, they were able to consolidate all the customer data from website interactions, chats, calls and web forms into a single source that could be accessed for testing and segmenting. “By the end of it, we had lots of data which told us what to do,” says Allegro. “The challenge was how to test those changes quantitatively so that we weren’t stuck making changes that were not necessarily validated.”
2) Based on the analytics data, create tests using Adobe Target to optimize the web content and layout
Dun and Bradstreet worked with digital consultants MECLabs to devise a series of A/B and multivariate tests which were planned out on a testing calendar. Through the tests, the team was able to figure out the best placement of links to reports, and even the colors and visuals that worked best for the site (in this case, they found that any shade between teal and blue was ideal.)
“Once we got the platform started, we were able to test small iterations, which gave us significant results,” says D’Allegro. “We saw wins within the first month, which carried on for a year, and we’re still leveraging those learnings today.”
Another interesting finding was that visitors preferred to see actual thumbnails of the reports they were clicking on rather than stock images of people or professionals sitting next to a computer or talking. “We learned to keep the design simple, and show people exactly what they were going to get when they clicked on something,” says Jacquelyn Kearns, SVP and global head of digital, operations, analytics and technology at Dun and Bradstreet.
3) Use Adobe Experience Manager to implement changes to the website experience based on the test results
In addition to using Experience Manager to easily tweak layouts, text and images on the fly, Dun and Bradstreet used the platform to manage its large reserve of proprietary content. This included whitepapers, infographics, podcasts and more. Content managers were now able to use tags and content taxonomy to track versions and eliminate the duplication of assets.
– D&B saw click-throughs from its Hoover’s homepage to other product and informational pages increase 25% to 200%.
– Homepage bounce rates were reduced by 21%.
– One of the most effective changes made using the platform was the placement of more text and visuals that clearly communicated to users how to sign up for a free trial and receive more information. As a result, lead generation activity from chat and phone calls doubled.
– Customer follow-up surveys all showed improved ratings for website experience.