A journey into multivariate testing

One of the UK’s largest media companies uses Optimizely to streamline ‭‬their product roadmap, seeing a 100% uplift in page views
Optimizely case study with Trinity Mirror
  • Industry
    Media
  • Location
    United Kingdom

Trinity Mirror is one of the UK’s largest media companies, with an award-winning portfolio of newspapers, websites and digital products. Publishing over 100 regional newspapers as well as five national titles including Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, People, Sunday Mail and Daily Record, they collectively reach over 14 million people each week. In addition, their 32 regional and three national websites draw a digital audience of 73 million users each month, making their digital publications central to their media business.* Optimizely is a fundamental part of their strategy for keeping their digital publications at the forefront of the news media and to stand apart from the competition.

Saving time and resources

In the digital world where everyone can be a publisher these days, knowing where to invest your time and resources can be difficult. As the Head of the UX team, Grant Maskell is challenged to keep the organization focused on optimizing their sites efficiently and not wasting time and resources on things that aren’t going to be effective. Using Optimizely, Grant has helped the company shift their focus from a shotgun approach—trying things all over their sites and hoping something works out—to a focus on improving and building the things they know will have a positive impact on their revenue.

For example, one of the experiments they ran was on the articles on their section pages. Grant and team hypothesized that by layering articles over the top of section pages, instead of opening a new page, users would be more inclined to explore more of the site. This idea was initially met with skepticism from stakeholders who felt that it had either been tried before with no effect or that no other sites seemed to be doing it, so why should they? Using Optimizely, they ran a quick test and immediately saw a 100% uplift on section page views and a 60% uplift on article views. As a consequence, they adjusted their product roadmap and prioritized this update across their sites.

Broader impact on the business

“Optimizely has become very much a part of our daily lives and has had a huge impact on our overall business roadmap” Grant says. The company now puts an emphasis on testing advertisements to impact their commercial strategy (ad impressions, viewability), and testing the user experience to improve engagement (shares, time spent). Where they used to use a time intensive waterfall development process, they now use Optimizely to drive their more agile, MVT-based process, saving huge amounts of development time and resources, and allowing them to make better decisions as an organization. “What this means is that in the end we build only things that we had a very good confidence level in,” Grant says. Where they used to have time-consuming conversations about product decisions, they now make decisions based on the data and focus their time on building a better end product.

Optimizely has become very much a part of our daily lives and has had a huge impact on our overall business roadmap.

— Grant Maskell, Head of User Experience, Trinity Mirror Group PLC

Using data and insights from their testing over the last few years, Trinity Mirror has also been able to build up a clear picture of their customer base and to better understand user behavior across their websites. They now know how making changes on one page and can impact the whole journey of the user, which has ultimately impacted their topline and their business.