How did we manage to raise conv.rate by over 400% through the new website of the Sofia Opera and Ballet?
We accept working for an institution such as the Sofia Opera and Ballet as an honor and privilege. As a task with which we can contribute to the development of the cultural sphere in the country and which gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in magic. And the opportunity to tell more people about it turns the work into pure pleasure!
Before reaching the dignified building on Vrabcha Street, most of the people passed through the opera’s website. As a digital agency, we saw many things that could be optimized in it, but in the meantime we reported a significant number of users who visited it regularly – read, were interested, searched for news and information, looked forward to the new program, and online sales had their considerable share among the common ones.
Where did we start?
However, we strongly believed that by improving the site, we would make the experience better, the magic of the opera more accessible, and make more people want to get acquainted with it.
We started with a clear goal – to increase ticket purchases online by improving the speed of the site and the ticket purchase process. At the same time, we planned to focus on the visual part of the site – the face it has in front of users.
The opera has wonderful photos and videos of its performances, which were lost on the previous site and which we believed that put in better focus, will present the art more impactfully. In addition, the purchase of a ticket was hidden behind quite a few cumbersome clicks, and the calendar for the upcoming season – difficult to access.
Given that the site was built a long time ago, it was not intended to use analytical tools with which we can manage our campaigns and analyze user behavior more effectively . The main points we set out to work on were:
- Website speed
- Improving the user experience of the site
- Easy access to the calendar for choosing a show, easy viewing of performances
- Easy and intuitive process of buying a ticket
- Add the ability to quickly order
- Structure and order of information
- Stylization and improvement of the visual presentation of information in order to show and bring the user closer to the “magic” of opera and art.
We made a basic analysis of the then current website of the opera – with functionalities related systems, information and history accumulated over the years in it to understand what is important for the team and their users, what we have as resources and think about how we can we use.
In more detail and consistently:
- We organized meetings with the opera team to specify what the problems are in the current system and how it works.
- We used our knowledge of user behavior on the site and specified the places where we would work, in order to improve the user experience of the site and facilitate the way of purchase.
- We conducted detailed research on websites of opera and cultural institutions around the world in order to find examples, good practices and models that are applicable to our needs and from which we can borrow / adapt.
- We have set basic concepts for quality UX – both for desktop and mobile devices.
- And last but not least – something that we ran in parallel, as it takes a lot of time in terms of resources and conversations – we specified the project infrastructure in the middle of other systems with which the site works in an integrated way.
After months of work on the design and back-end of the site, connecting it to other systems, testing and transferring information, we were ready to go.
And the main things we put as an emphasis and innovation in the new system were:
- Introduce the ability to quickly order and facilitate the process of buying a ticket by adding a “buy a ticket” button in more relevant places. This fulfilled our goal of directing the consumer to the action we want to perform easily – to buy a ticket.
- Quick and easy access to the calendar – with the ability to search by season, specific show, genre or period – in order to cover every user need and profile.
- Clean and beautiful design with a focus on the captivating photos and videos that the Sofia Opera and Ballet has, with a clear description of the performances and presentation of the artists.
We launched the site at a specific time, when the stage of the Sofia Opera and Ballet, among others, was not open. This period of less activity gave us the freedom and time to do things in the right order and to be more prepared next season on Vrabcha Street.
To compare the performance of the new platform with the old one, we had to wait longer until the stages were open, and so, months later, we already had enough observations to draw the following conclusions.
We considered the same period of 43 days of active season within a month and a half from 2020 against 2019 (period considered: 14.06-25.07.2020 / 14.04-25.05.2019).
And during this time we reported:
more users of the site
more new users
more user sessions on the site
more average pages viewed, and the number for desktop devices is over 60%
more clicks on "Buy a ticket" - yes, we have the button in more places, but that's the goal 🙂
Total decline in the bounce rate of over 5%, on desktop over 25%, which indicates a better performance of the new site.
Increase mobile traffic by over 50% with over 30% more page views per session.
And all this with just under 40% less spent budget for advertising in the digital environment.
But not only that – the better structure of the site allowed us to make better use of analytical tools for analyzing historical data, with which to optimize our campaigns and pursue better results.
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