Data Post October 8, 2009 - Forced vs Unforced Registration Test
Website Data for October 1 - October 7, 2009
We are testing 2 nearly duplicate websites to find out whether we collect more leads by forcing users to register or not. For more information about our "Test," please visit our previous blog post here.
For this reporting period, we have posted our raw data first and our comments second. Please note: these numbers represent total unique visitors on each website for the Oct 1 - 7 timeframe, but the contact form submissions reported below only represent those that first registered on a website during this time. For example: IDX users who registered prior to October 1st, and requested a showing during this timeframe, were not counted in this data.
| Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com (Unforced)||BarkerHedges.com (Forced) |
| Unique Visitors||752||1084|
| Avg Pages Viewed per Visitor||15.6||11.1|
| Avg Time on Site per Visitor||10 minutes 47.1 seconds||6 minutes 56.1 seconds|
| Bounce Rate||27%||40%|
|IDX Registrations||8||43 |
| Showing Request Forms||4||3 |
| Property Inquiry Forms||4||3 |
| Other Misc Forms||1||0 |
| Call In from Website||0||1 |
| Bad Information Given||0|
The first thing we did was compute the Conversion Rate for each website. This conversion rate is the percentage of Unique Visitors who convert to a Lead. For purposes of this computation, we don't care what the lead type is (IDX, Showing Request, Contact Form, etc.), we only care that the lead gave valid contact information. So we took the total number of leads, less the ones who gave bad information, to arrive at a net lead total for the week. For Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com, the conversion rate was 2.26% (17 net leads ÷ 752 unique visitors). For BarkerHedges.com, the conversion rate was 4.52% (49 net leads ÷ 1084 unique visitors). If we only based our analysis on this ratio, we would conclude that a Forced Registration website is twice as likely to produce a lead as an Unforced site and the test could end this week. But, since we have some data, let's dig a little deeper.
The other numbers represent more specific information about what the website user did or didn't do while on our websites. First, let's look at the average pages viewed per visitor. Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com did better by 4.5 pages per visitor. This is likely attributed to the fact that the user is able to view multiple properties without having to register - i.e. give us their email address. Second, users on Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com spend nearly 11 minutes on the website, while BarkerHedges.com users spend about 7 minutes. This could be a result of the user leaving the site when he/she is asked to register. Third, it is no surprise that the bounce rate is higher for BarkerHedges.com than for Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com...this makes sense in light of the lower page views and shorter time on the site for BarkerHedges.com.
Let's turn our attention to the type of leads generated by each website over the past 7 days. There are 2 ways of looking at leads: those that will purchase a home "someday" and those that will purchase a home "today." Showing requests and property inquiries are Leads most likely to purchase a home today. And IDX registrations are those Leads more likely to purchase "someday."
Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com produced 8 property inquiry and showing request leads during the past 7 days. This means that Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com has a 1.06% conversion rate (8 leads ÷ 752 unique visitors) for users who take action and request a showing or inquire about a property. BarkerHedges.com has a .55% conversion rate (6 leads ÷ 1084 unique visitors) for users who request a showing or inquire about a property during this same time. We are starting to see the beginning of a trend. BarkerHedges.com had an overall conversion rate for all lead types that was exactly double that of Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com, BUT, the number reverse when we look only at the leads that will purchase "today." In this category, Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com was better by almost exactly double!
Hmmm. We can't resist extrapolating the data. By doing so, we could conclude that if BarkerHedges.com performed as well as Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com - at least for showing requests and property inquiries - we would have experienced roughly 11 showing requests or property inquiries over these 7 days (1084 unique visitors x 1.06%). I know, the converse is also true: if Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com were to force users to register, we would have experienced about 22 additional IDX registrations (currently 1.06% of the unique visitors register as IDX users on Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com and 3.97% of BarkerHedges.com users register as IDX users).Conclusion:
There are literally 100's of ways to interpret and analyze this data and many theories will be tested in the coming weeks and months. Our goal, when this test it finished, is to have a clearer understanding of where we are going and the best way to get there!