How do you quadruple a site’s traffic in less than 8 months?
Through smart design, partnered with some savvy
front-end development decisions
Move the technology forward a decade to increase traffic
MovieTimes.com had last received a major design update around 2006 and was in need of a serious overhaul if it were to remain competitive.
Demographics & Use
Before the redesign, the average MovieTimes user skewed older (around 50+) and utilized the site primarily for informational purposes, rarely purchasing tickets during their visits or clicking on any relevant advertisements.
In early 2016 when I was approached, the directives to drive the site forward were clear:
- Boost traffic and attract new advertisers
- Lengthen the time users spent on the site and increase the average number of pages visits, and
- Differentiate the site design from major competitors to encourage user loyalty and direct sales
Here's what we did to get there:
In order soak up more of the market share and to compete with major competitors' (Fandango and others) considerable resources, we had to rely on smart, effective technology-driven solutions. We employed an SEO strategy that helped us capture the long tail with new, enriched site content, raised our popularity in specialized local searches for movie tickets and increased the site's overall popularity.
You are definitely on a small screen.
You are definitely on a medium screen.
You are definitely on a large screen.
UI and UX:
Indicators of trust and quality
The most apparent change to the site was how the site looks and behaves. Today's sophisticated users expect professional visual design as well as a flawless, bug-free experience. Meeting these expectations is essential in cultivating their confidence and habitual use of a website.
The Growing Mobile Audience
As our audience began to grow with our successful redesign, we noticed that more than 60% of organic searches by our users came from mobile devices, specifically Smartphone users. While we had already incorporated responsive design in the MovieTimes reboot, our approach hadn’t necessarily been mobile-first. Now, with the numbers showing the greatest growth among mobile users, we knew we had to make all pages look remarkable on mobile screens, with enhancements available on the desktop site.
Intuitive and modern visual design patterns convey predictability, fluidity, and dependability; and ultimately garner trust from users during their visit. While redesigning MovieTimes, we strove to provide a frictionless ticket purchasing, given our constraints. Through partnership with MovieTickets.com, we were able to condense the experience for most users down to two clicks from discovery to purchase.
Visually speaking, the overall design of MovieTimes had to be simplified to allow for content to pop. Vibrant movie posters, film stills, press images, and videos are center stage as the surrounding design elements are only seen when needed. You could say the best design of this site is the design you don't see.
Connecting mobile users to content faster
Accelerated Mobile Pages &
Facebook Instant Articles
Just as we were rolling out our mobile redesign, fast loading pages like Google-backed Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Facebook's Instant Article's were becoming popular and guaranteed higher placement in search and feed rankings. We jumped at the opportunity to follow their guides and build MovieTimes AMPs and Instant Articles. Adopting these fast-loading pages not only boosted our rankings overall, they also primed us to better compete with much older sites.
“You could say the best design of this site is the design you don't see.”
In order to attract more premium advertisers, we optimized the location of current ad slots and created more premium, integrated ad opportunities. Page takeovers, section buyouts, and custom integrated backgrounds were just a few of the new avenues available to new advertisers.
Accessible and Easily Navigable on Every Page
Due to the nature of the site, the homepage is rarely the Landing page. Because of our long tail seo strategy, we anticipated that it was more likely for users to first land on specialized pages like movie detail pages, movie showtime pages, theater overview pages, and studio profiles. The homepage was still important, but would not be as crucial to the first-time visitor likely coming from a Google/Yahoo search or a Facebook post.
In the end, the new changes have resulted in:
Better Traffic Flow
SEO Ranking Improvement
Easier showtime- and movie-making decisions
Josh was an invaluable partner in strategizing and recommending solutuons to carry Movie Times forward. Not only does he provide stellar design work, but his coding expertise helps him enact his designs out in a way that the development team loved.