Leading up to the launch of a global business technology site in December, Hybrid has rebranded Tech Wire Asia with a redesign focused on delivering better engagement. According to James Craven, the managing director of Hybrid, Tech Wire Asia has been a strong success in terms of audience growth and ad revenues.
Campaign Asia-Pacific caught up with Chris Cammann, the chief digital officer of Hybrid, to understand the business case for the re-brand and its foreseen impact.
Why did you change the user interface?
The previous site design enabled us to reach 1.5 million monthly unique visitors but information density was high. We wanted a less newsy, more contemporary design. But design is more than how it looks—it’s how it works. I think we created a design with more content but less clutter. Less traditional sub-navigation and more access to a range of trending topics.
How has the user experience been changed?
Initial data tells us that our readers are more engaged. Immediately there has been a 20 percent drop in our previous bounce rates. The average time on site has increased by over 40 percent. Pages per session have increased by 24 percent. It’s only been a few days but these are the most immediate, obvious wins.
How did your team determine the winning new UI?
We come up with plans internally as well as collaborating with third parties to ensure we don’t get carried away with our own views. Our process starts with looking closely at reader data and site journeys. We do a brand audit with our team, clients and readers, assess opinions, and build a new brand story and work on logos simultaneously. From there we move to web design and UX testing. You’ve got to own your vision but we’re big on third-party perspective. We worked with Rachael Brandley and Neil Stanhope at Underscore in London as well as Martyn Kelly UX Consultants based in Cardiff. I recommend their work highly.
What were the choices you had and the A/B testing process?
The overarching key performance indicator (KPI) for us is reader engagement. That means low bounce rates, high time-on-article, navigation to multiple articles as well as strong share activity. We tested different page designs and selected the versions that performed best. We spent most of our time on the article pages because that’s where most of our traffic is.
What site stat improvements do you project?
By the end of 2018, we believe we will have 4 million unique visitors to Tech Wire Asia each month. Moreover, we are working towards each reader spending at least five minutes per visit on the site. There are many other micro-targets for traffic but when we reach these a lot of the other will have fallen into place.
What site stats improvements did Tech Wire Asia actually experience on the day of launch?
We worked hard on the pages for our sponsored content because this is how we get our clients their ROI. We launched a new campaign for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Their first story was shared over 2,000 times in the first 24 hours of their campaign. In terms of the Tech Wire social media accounts, within 48 hours we’d had over 1,000 extra Twitter followers, 4,500 extra Facebook followers and #TechWireAsiaRebrand was trending at #2 in Malaysia ahead of #Trump.
How have your clients and partners reacted to the change?
Our advertisers are technology companies who are trying to reach the IT and business decision-makers of high-growth businesses across Asia—companies like SAP, Sage, Exact and HP. We’ve had a very warm response from many of them to the new designs. The real feedback will come as we deliver the campaign results back to them from the new site. Good design for us means that it is working to increase the digital footprint of our clients, increasing their brand and increasing the understanding of their products. The early client data is incredibly positive and I think we are taking things in a new direction with branded content and client ROI.
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