The brief

Towards the start of the pandemic, one of the UK’s largest student accommodation providers approached the CRO team at Search Laboratory for help optimising the onsite user experience.


The goal was to increase the website’s existing conversion rate by optimising on-site performance.


increase in conversion rate YoY


increase in revenue per visitor YoY

Our research

At Search Laboratory, understanding the user is the foundation to our experimentation framework. We conducted a detailed investigation into the existing website performance to gather qualitative and quantitative insights. This allowed us to begin prioritising areas of the website requiring more immediate attention and scope out any areas of opportunity for experimentation.


To achieve this, we used Google Analytics 360 and Hotjar and built a client-specific prioritisation framework. Key insights from our research identified that visitors often had no direct reason to take action on that visit and we identified an opportunity to add persuasive information to product pages, encouraging visitors to convert.

Optimising the user experience

The processes we used to optimise the client’s website slot into three groups:


  • Helping the client merchandise the website more effectively
  • Running iterative experiments on the identified opportunities
  • Removing UX barriers by fixing bugs.






To merchandise the client’s site, we synced up with the client’s campaign planning and introduced a more effective mode of persuading visitors to take action.


One of the methods we used with significant effect was the introduction of urgency and more prominent display of the unique campaign proposition using Google Optimize 360.


We did this in two ways, the first was the introduction of a sitewide notification banner at the top of the site and the second was displaying the remaining amount of time before the campaign ended.


These changes significantly improved the performance of the website.


As part of our research, user testing helped reveal customer hesitation at particularly pivotal points on the journey to conversion. These insights contributed significantly to unlocking the winning experiments that led to successful increases in conversion.


During the experiment, our changes increased the number of visitors starting the booking process because we directly addressed the visitor’s concerns about making a booking.


We added three small badges detailing distinct features of each room, making it easy for viewers to understand what is included in the price.

Bug fixes

The last part of our research process identified areas within the booking process that were causing friction for each visitor. To uncover this, we conducted an in-depth analysis that required events to be set up that monitor different types of responses from the website. A bespoke report using Google Data Studio was created to track and watch how frequently events occurred.

(Report that tracked errors in the booking process)

The results

Implementing these changes to the client’s strategy led to significant improvements in performance across the board.


By merchandising the website more effectively, running experiments and fixing bugs found in the user experience, we significantly impacted the performance of the client’s website. We were able to exceed the client’s targets and provide several key insights they can now leverage moving forward.




increase in conversion rate YoY


increase in revenue per visitor YoY


experiment win rate (industry average is 14%)

“I’d happily recommend working with the CRO team at Search Laboratory. Excellent communication and flexibility have been vital to helping us achieve our ambitious targets, including increasing our conversion rate by 44%.”­­


Digital Content Manager, leading student accommodation provider

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