The brief


At the beginning of the pandemic, one of the UK’s largest student housing providers approached the CRO team at Search Laboratory to help in optimizing the onsite user experience. The goal was to increase the website’s existing conversion rate by optimizing 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 prioritizing 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, planning to build a client-specific prioritization framework. Through our research, we identified that visitors often had no clear reason to take action on that visit, and we identified an opportunity to add persuasive information to product pages that encourage visitors to convert.

Optimizing the user experience


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


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







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

One of our more successful strategies was introducing urgency and a more prominent display of the unique campaign proposition using Google Optimize 360.

We did this in two ways. First, we introduced a sitewide notification banner at the top of the webpage. And then, in that banner we displayed 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 custom report using Google Looker Studio was created to track and watch how frequently these events occurred.

Two graphs showing unique page views and unique event errors for a client of Search Laboratory digital marketing agency.

(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 hampering the user experience, we significantly impacted the performance of the client’s website. We were able to exceed the client’s targets and provide 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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