Optimizing the Thank You page using Web Analytics

Summary: Post-transaction optimization is a task of moving the visitor among a new planned path, which is beyond the acceptance of Site Exit being an acceptable result!

There is an end to every funnel and this is probably the last place you would think about optimization, because the conversion just happened, so why waste the time?

However; I am most sure you agree, as a consumer yourself, that this is not an unimportant page at all – and unless you have the utmost trust in the brand you just did business with, you are consuming this page quite seriously. The following is unfairly presented as the normal “Thank You” page, which hold little information beyond the actual “Thank You”. (Tableau software is actually super cool, so don’t be fooled)

Leaving the above picture aside for a second, I believe that you should really think of the “Thank You” page as an opportunity to re-engage with a already highly engaged visitor. This is simply a great location to provide cross-sells and cross-promotions. Either as aggressive as tempting the visitor back into your store or by less aggressive tactics such as having them sign up for a next-time-buy coupon, tell a friend or perhaps have them participate in a survey.

This is also a great place to inform the visitor about anything important in regards to their current situation; so information such as basic company contacts, upcoming sales promotions, user groups and forums for their product.

And finally, this is the page to reassure the visitor that everything is in order, you did indeed receive their information, you understood it and are crystal clear about the next coming steps, including what they should expect next from you. This including such information as expected delivery date, should this be a physical product. Links to tracking services or help pages in regards to the process from now on forward.

Making sure you remove or at least ease any post-transaction nervousness. Because for the visitor, this is not just a Web Analytics conversion!

If you go look at amazon.com, as presented next, it becomes obvious that they definitely incorporate the thinking behind my points above (and a whole lot more, I am most sure) in their “Thank You” page. Pay attention to the links to the right.


n.b. this screen shot cost me $51 to create, so please pause and enjoy for a second ;-)

This is not a conclusion that amazon.com is doing everything correctly, by far, but a great indication and reminder of somebody else who is taking the post-conversion process and optimization opportunity serious.

I understand why you and or your company might just assume that the visitor leaves after the thank you page, simply because that’s what most of your data are telling you.

I believe, which is what excites me the most about this optimization opportunity, that for the most parts, the “Thank You” page is almost an empty canvas – and with that in mind you can use some of my suggestions from earlier or come up with an even better idea for this page. I also believe that this is a rare opportunity (that might actually still be open for optimization in your organization) and I am hard to find other pages that, when optimization is debated are this open, and most importantly have as little risk and friction applied to them.

Now comes the question of how we actually measure this page. For me this is a pretty straight forward split between those who do indeed exit, and those who do not. Go create a simple funnel, and it doesn’t really matter much how it looks, as long as we have the conversion which we want to examine included. I created a two step funnel; from a step of adding in your billing information and then onto the step of actually buying the product.

The optimization opportunity tend to be highest on those that exit all together, but that is not how I suggest you go sell it. I believe there is value in you presenting a fact about how many actually stay on the site.

So let’s go examine those 2073 who converted to a sale in the given period, as presented in the following picture (I cut the picture short, in case you wonder what happened to the last part):

A Path analysis that shows us the expected high direct Site Exit rate at approximately 57%, but what about those 43% that did not exit the site, what are they doing, and how can we serve them better?

Your task is twofold when optimizing this page:

  • Decrease the total site exit abandonment rate
  • Move staying visitors across a planned path

Remember that the planned path may not be within the current session; you might actually want to optimize this page for such metrics as more Returning Visitors.

Conclusion

There is a set of honest elements that you need to incorporate on your “Thank You” pages, which reassures the visitor about anything important in regards to their current situation and furthermore reassures the visitor that everything is in order. BUT post-transaction optimization is a task of moving beyond these obvious chores and take the visitor among a new planned path which is beyond the acceptance of Site Exit being an acceptable result!

This commentary came out of my Yahoo! Web Analytics Book writings; Chapter 12 – Form analysis and optimization.

If you want to read more about this subject, the following is a great article as well: Every Touch Point Matters: Optimizing the Thank You Page

Update: Kenneth Eriksen and Frank Malina applied two very valuable comments that I suggest you take note of:

a) Don’t just think of the Thank You page as the last page in an e-commerce funnel, this might as well be a log-out page or something similar that creates a seemingly natural stop.

b) Make sure that your Thank You page is not indexed in Search Engines through a proper robots.txt file. First of all, this page holds no value as a landing page and it will screw up your campaign reporting.

Cheers :-)
Dennis

  • http://www.tableausoftware.com/blog Elissa Fink

    Dennis, thanks for using us as the example – as you point out, our thank you page is in fact pretty typical or normal. Funny thing is we’ve actually been starting to plan to change our thank you pages. So your post is not only good insight but also good timing! Stay tuned…

    Elissa Fink
    VP Marketing
    Tableau Software
    http://www.tableausoftware.com

  • http://visualrevenue.com/blog Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hey Elisa,

    Thank you for reading, ..and do let me know if you guys (girls) are in NY, so I can get a personal 1:1 DEMO of Tableau.

    Cheers :-)
    dennis

  • http://rock-your-boat.blogspot.com Deric Loh

    Hi Dennis,

    Great point highlighted. Many are just assuming once a customer or prospect lands onto the Thank You page, the conversion is completed and successful, the journey ends there with a full stop. It would definitely benefit a customer or prospect by reassuring their choice is a correct move with the entity and it is during this time they are more willing to listen and learn what the entity has to offer or share with them. A very important post and ongoing customer touch point to build up from and way too costly to ignore. Thanks for sharing the $51 screen shoot from Amazon, great insights and learnings. :)

    Cheers,
    Deric Loh

  • http://gotanalytics.blogspot.com Chris G

    This is a really nice writeup of a “small” analysis with big implications.

    And, Dennis, forget the 1:1 demo of Tableau. Just buy it! Tableau rocks. (I’m not an employee, just a user)

  • http://www.thelostagency.com David

    great point, its one that I have being trying to get across to some clients who are looking at a/b testing options.

    I agree that they are already engaged and will be someone that should be atleast encouraged to signup to your newsletter with a simple text box with a submit button.

    Since a number of companies are moving to individual thank you pages, it is possible to customise it, so that if they booked for next course, why not try and sell them a book which would match great with the topic…

  • http://www.viget.com/engage Josh

    Good post! I’m hoping to run this very test soon — just need the client sign off = )

  • http://visualrevenue.com/blog Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hey Chris G.

    Yes. Perhaps I should just take it for a run. I actually think we have a set of licensees here at Y!

    Hey David,

    I believe you are so right, when you say, please… just add a simple newsletter submit button. Most optimization suggestions do not have to be rocket science

    Hey Josh,

    There is always that little part of actually having the customer sign the bloody contract. :-)

    Cheers :-)
    Dennis

  • Predrag Nikolic

    Hi Dennis,

    Really good post I was just trying to figure out the best ways to re-direct converted visitors back to site sections.
    Smartly customized Thank You page is a valuable input and not to forget the amazon.com screen shot :-)))

    Take care

  • http://visualrevenue.com/blog Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hey Predrag,

    Really good to hear from you! I trust all is well?
    (AND thank you for recognizing my $51 investment.. he he)

    I think you summarized it well in: “Smartly customized Thank You pages”

    cheers :-)
    Dennis

  • http://www.baranyi-eriksen.com Kenneth Eriksen

    Hi Dennis,

    I can tell you there are analog pages to “the thank you page” that need to get the same attention as you suggest. I’m working in Norways biggest bank (DnB NOR), and our online banking application is our killer application. We have a “log out page”; users get there when they are finished with their payments and stuff.

    It seems like many users have a more open mind towards selling points when they’re finished with their neccecary chores. Although the “log out page” has a very high exit rate (and thus looks uninteresting at first glance), the effect on the users that we actually connect with seems to convert much more here, than on any other space we have available.

    As a consequence this page is now one of our Top 5 focus pages, and is included in approx 20% of the paths leading to a sale or a lead.

  • http://visualrevenue.com/blog Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hey Kenneth

    This is an excellent point and anybody reading this should take note of exactly this! That there is indeed a number of pages with very similar feats as the thank you page.

    Great input!

    Cheers
    d. :-)

  • http://www.tableausoftware.com/blog Elissa Fink

    Hi Dennis,

    Will likely be in DC around March 9-11. Any chance you’ll in that area around then? If not, I may squeeze a day up in NYC on that same trip (depends a little on how long my husband can manage the family without me!).

    Let me know if you’re around.

    Best,
    Elissa

  • http://vizualbod.com Frank Malina

    You should also include on your thank you page a robots noindex meta tag to make sure you don’t get your marketing reporting badly flawed. More at :http://vizualbod.com/articles/keep-robots-away-from-your-thank-you-pages/

  • http://www.ekommerse.nl Patrick

    Nice article and definitely an interesting thought. I never quite realised it, but the thank you page indeed is quite important, as the visitor is so engaged with the company in this stage.

    Recently I read an article in Dutch which talked about including a social sharing button on the thank you page. Also a great idea to do something useful with your buying visitors on the thank you page.

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