Lifeproof Builds A Data-Driven Testing Culture From the Ground Up

Three types of testing wins that helped drive fast adoption of optimization
More Homepage Conversions
Projected Revenue Increase
Digital Operative
Optimizely Solutions Partner
  • Industry
  • Location
    Fort Collins, CO

Lifeproof its an electronics accessory company specializing in cases that protect smartphones and tablets from extreme conditions. Digital Operative is an Optimizely Solutions Partner, working closely with Lifeproof to build and implement testing strategy across their organization.

In early 2013, Lifeproof turned to Digital Operative to build out a cost-efficient conversion rate optimization (CRO) program. At the time, Lifeproof was using a testing platform built and operated in-house, but found that the homegrown solution was difficult to develop and lacked the functionality they needed to test quickly and frequently.

They wanted a way to scale their CRO offerings more efficiently. That’s why they started using Optimizely. “Optimizely has vastly improved the process by facilitating the test set-up, flexibility, analysis, and reporting,” explains Eric Hanser, Director of Digital Strategy and Planning at Digital Operative.

With Optimizely in place, Digital Operative introduced Lifeproof to three different types of testing wins. Each win helped solidify Lifeproof’s testing program and prove the value of optimization across the organization.


“In creating a culture of optimization with a brand, it is important to show value early on in the process to ensure buy-in from decision-makers,” says Eric. “In deciding what to test first on a site, utilizing data is key.”

While general best practice recommendations might seem like the easiest place to start, it can be more effective to analyze where there are specific problems or opportunities on the site. We call these opportunities the “low-hanging fruit” – quick, easy wins that produce major imporvements.

“One of the simplest tests we ran on Lifeproof’s site has had significant impact,” explains Eric. “The global navigation button read ‘Shop’ – but many people either didn’t notice it or did not understand where it would lead or what it meant.”

Digital Operative tested the original ‘Shop’ button against two variations – ‘Shop Now’ (focusing on the imperative nature of shopping and increasing the size of the button slightly) and ‘Store’ (a noun describing where the button would take site visitors).

Variations on the Lifeproof website primary call-to-action.

While seemingly a small change, they found that users were 12.8% more likely to click on the ‘Shop Now’ CTA than the original ‘Shop’ CTA. Those users also performed far better across other e-commerce metrics.

‘Shop Now’ equated to a 16% lift in monthly revenue projections.

The new Lifeproof homepage, updated with the winning call-to-action.


Not every test will result in revenue gains. Other intangible wins are also important.

The Digital Operative team ran an early test on Lifeproof’s calls-to-action. They tested the original CTAs (‘Buy Now’ and ‘Learn More’) against a few other variations including: ‘Purchase’ and ‘Explore’ (less direct options), ‘Choose Your Case’ and ‘Find Out More’ (more explanatory options), and ‘Get It Now’ and ‘Check It Out’ (more “on brand” options).

The original variation and the “on brand” variations performed equally well. Without worry of any drops in conversions or average order value, Digital Operative and Lifeproof were able to make a change that would strengthen both conversions and the overall site branding, which could have positive implications beyond the confines of the test.


Other successes come from testing proposed site changes before pushing them live.

“By simply making changes to the site without first testing, we run the risk of hurting site performance and not understanding what has contributed to that poorer performance until damage has already been done,” explains Eric.

In hopes of increasing purchases of Lifeproof’s Total Water Protection (TWP) feature, the team wanted to experiment by automatically pre-checking that upsell on the product page.

After only 5 days, it became clear that pre-checking TWP was causing more harm than good. Users who saw the pre-checked variation were actually more likely to remove the feature, resulting in a drop in overall conversion rates.

By testing this hypothesis before setting it live on the full site, Lifeproof was able to avoid making a costly long-term decision that would have led to a decrease in conversions.

Pre-checking Total Water Protection on the product page equated to an 11% decrease in monthly revenue projections.


After several months of regular testing with Optimizely, the culture at LifeProof has shifted dramatically. Lifeproof’s Analytics, Marketing, Design, UX, and Strategy teams are always on the lookout for information that could support possible site changes and optimizations.

“Both in regular status meetings and with on-the-fly site changes, the folks at Lifeproof almost always ask ‘can we test that?’,” says Eric. “Testing is used to validate requests to upper management and aesthetic design choices on a regular basis.”


Focus on Early Wins

To validate the decision to begin optimizing, focus on straightforward opportunities to run tests that have a good chance of demonstrating lift. In the first month, aim to have one winner to showcase to the rest of the organization and promote buy-in.

Tests can Help Choose not to Act

Sometimes, testing can help to ensure that there's not a missed opportunity in not taking action. Running an A/B test is a low-overhead way to try out new ideas, determine the impact, and then decide to build it. In the case of a neutral result, the decision to not build that idea becomes much easier.