For Crédit Agricole Italia Banking Group, a user experience lab leads to more mortgage customers

May 2018

With a distinctive positioning built around the customer, Crédit Agricole is a neighbourhood banking group that covers all segments of the market. A multi-channel offer gives people the means to access services whenever and however they want, and includes an innovative digitally integrated wealth advice service. Not surprisingly in light of its customer-centric view, the bank ranks user experience high on its list of priorities.

About Crédit Agricole

Retail bank

52 million customers across 49 countries


Generate leads for mortgage products

Improve mobile user experience


Conducted user experience lab with Google

Implemented 20 website enhancements


Website conversion rate on mobile increased by 183% year over year

Mobile cost per lead decreased by 49% on brand keywords and by 57% on generic keywords

Volume of mobile leads from AdWords increased by 767% year over year

With mortgages one of its core products, Crédit Agricole Italia Banking Group launched to generate new mortgage contracts. Crédit Agricole Italia Banking Group collects leads from the website and then connects with prospects through an internal contact centre. From there, prospects are sent into the bank’s branches so the mortgage contract can be completed using a traditional offline process.

With a goal of improving the ability of to generate leads, Crédit Agricole Italia Banking Group kicked off a project with Google focusing on mobile user experience improvements. “We were aware we had to improve the performance of our website, especially with mobile playing a crucial role in our traffic sources – 68% in 2017”, explains Chief of Digital Transformation Milko Hascher. “But we did not know where to start, lacking resources, tools and time.”

“Working together on this project has led to a considerable increase in the mobile conversion rate.”

- Milko Hascher, Chief of Digital Transformation, Crédit Agricole Italia Banking Group

With help from Google, Crédit Agricole Italia Banking Group conducted a user experience lab, analysing the website and generating a list of 45 ideas to test. Crédit Agricole Italia Banking Group then categorised all of the ideas by priority, potential impact on website performance and required effort. “It was a good way to set up the work because in this way it was very simple for us to select which ideas to develop first”, Milko says. Together both teams kept track of all ongoing actions, their impact and results.

In order to increase transparency and security on their digital properties, the main hypotheses they tested were:

  • implementing a new invisible ReCaptcha in the online application form
  • switching from http to https
  • making sure users saw more than one quotation in the product listing page
  • making sure users could see the entire form above the fold 
  • showing a numerical keyboard for numerical fields

In all, Crédit Agricole Italia Banking Group went on to implement 20 ideas for website improvements based on Google’s suggestions, then monitored them over a period of one year. Using Google Analytics 360 and Data Studio to conduct their analysis, they focused particularly on bounce rate, length of visit, website conversion rate and cost per lead from advertising campaigns.

“We evaluated the conversion funnel of the website, starting from the page with the listing of our products and ending with the generation of the lead”, Milko says. “Taking into consideration only mobile traffic, we increased the conversion rate by 183% year over year.”

Focusing only on the nine-step lead application form, the team discovered that the increase in the conversion rate on that page was 95%. A one-step lead application form on the website meanwhile saw a 13% increase in conversion rate, a 16% increase in time spent on the page and a 7.5% decrease in bounce rate.

Site performance improvements are only half the story of Crédit Agricole Italia’s success though; the bank also reduced the cost per lead of its advertising acquisition campaigns. On Google AdWords, it achieved a decrease of 49% in mobile cost per lead in brand keyword campaigns and a decrease of 57% on generic keywords. The volume of mobile leads generated by AdWords increased by 767% year over year.

Internally, the outcomes have had a profound effect. “The main impact has been in a new appreciation of mobile and understanding its importance for us in our campaign and in our customer journey”, Milko says. “Thanks to the impressive results of the user experience lab, we were able to make other teams – such as communications, IT and marketing – understand the importance of these activities and the positive impact they can have on the business. This helped us to get the green light from our IT and security division to use A/B testing tools such as Google Optimize. Moreover, the direct impact of reducing of the cost per lead helped us obtain a higher advertising budget. Today 65% of our advertising investments with Google are on mobile.”

For Crédit Agricole Italia Banking Group, giving the user a better experience adds up to better returns for the business.  “Conversion rate and user experience optimisation activities really helped us in achieving our goals”, Milko affirms. “Improving the conversion rate of our website allows us to increase the volume of leads generated and to reduce the cost per lead of our online advertising campaigns across search, display and email marketing, and in the end to generate more mortgages with the same budget.”

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