The Guardian claims it has increased subscriber conversion rates on its dating website by 46 percent after using Optimizely’s testing platform.

Optimizely aims to provide businesses with data on how their website is performing. It does this through a process known as A/B testing that involves directing traffic to different versions of the same site and comparing success rates. 

The Guardian first started using Optimizely’s A/B testing in 2012 in a bid to increase its online readership.

Guardian project manager Kerstin Exner said: “We are very much driven by data and not individual opinions. This is one of the reasons website testing has become an important discipline for us, in an effort to make the website better.”

Today, the media organisation, the world’s third most popular online newspaper with more than six million weekly readers, is primarily using Optimizely for its dating website, SoulMates, which had 170,000 members in 2011. 

As a dating site, Soulmates’ primary goal is to convert visitors into paying subscribers. 

A large chunk of Soulmates' traffic comes from ads placed on The Guardian's news pages. While these ads perform well in terms of overall click-throughs, The Guardian noticed that the majority of these visitors were not converting into subscribers and wanted to learn what site changes would drive more visitors to subscribe to Soulmates’ dating services.

The King's Cross-headquartered firm aimed to gather useful insights through a combination of qualitative data from user research and quantitative data from Optimizely's A/B testing.

The newspaper hypothesised that showing more information upfront, like a wider variety of profiles and more facts about existing users, would increase subscriptions. 

Using Optimizely, The Guardian tried two different landing page website designs to see which one was the most successful. 

Exner was concerned that when users arrived on the landing page they only saw one person's profile so she decided to test a version of the page featuring several profiles to see if it influenced the number of people clicking through and subscribing. 

Results showed that the new version of the website improved subscriber conversions by 46 percent. 

“The test helped us realise that the homepage experience was very generic. It doesn’t know what age or gender a visitor is looking for and was not providing a personalised experience that would motivate an individual visitor to subscribe.”

Optimizely was founded two and a half years ago and now boasts of 6,000 paying customers. 

“We’ve created a product in which a non-technical person can click point and make changes to a website on-the-fly,” European GM, Matt Althauser, told Techworld.

The company launched a mobile version of its software on Friday so that Optimizely subscribers can run tests and check performance on the go. 

Those wishing to use the service pay from £12 per month.