Websites are an important extension of a brand. They serve as a "living” communication tool used to convey information, entice action and showcase products. In 2014, there were several articles and mentions about the “long click” - Create Your Next Customer included (see: The Long Click-An Important Measure for Communicators.) The short of the long is we all want to retain the attention of our visitors, provide relevant content that encourages further interaction with the site, and of course decrease our bounce rates.
At UBM Tech, the Game Group has a website dedicated to exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities for the Game Developers Conference® Events and our award winning online products Gamasutra and Vault. The web analytics and metrics were telling us we had a problem. While the contact and home page were pulling in good numbers (averaging for the year 16,626) the complete site (all 200+ pages) averaged a total of 119,573 views, 42,079 monthly unique visitors and an average bounce rate of 59.2%. We knew the navigation was a challenge, clients were getting frustrated, and frequently the sales team would have to walk clients through the site to help them find what they were looking for. Furthermore, we were lacking video, press releases highlighting our sponsors, and blogs posts calling out exhibitors.
Bottom line we were not putting our customers first. The Game Group used marketing research and insight to revamp the site, better serve our advertisers, exhibitors, sponsors and elevate the Game Network brand.
In the start of 2014, I decided it was time to take on the task of upgrading the archaic site 'Join the Game Network'. The look and feel was old, the navigation daunting and functionally something to be desired, not to mention the lengthy URL. Yet it was the "go to" site for posting sponsorship opportunities, floor plans, event statistics, and everything Game Group Sales related. There had to be another solution.
Together, Marketing and Sales went to work creating a new online sales enablement tool, the UBM Game Network. We wanted this site to embody the Game Group, from Events to Online to Education and Recruitment. We wanted the look and feel to actually tie the different properties (Events, Online, Education and Recruitment) together and still feel part of the overarching Game Developers Conference® brand. Needless to say this was no easy task.
We first tackled this by identifying all the things we didn't like about the existing site and the complaints we heard, that was easy; but then we had to think of the ways we wanted the new site to function and present the endless amounts of options for all the properties, that was the hard part. On top of which we knew we needed and wanted a Game Network brand overhaul, and thus had to pool all our individual visions together to lend some sort of creative direction for the new look and feel. Lastly, we had to take our agreed collection of ideas, wish lists, and functionality desires to the Creative Team, the Web Team and the Dev Team and get them all to buy into this project. With a great deal of persuasion, determination, a bit of sugary bribery, and maybe some groveling, in January of 2014 we kicked of the development of UBM Game Network.
Phase 1—Branding Overhaul. It was essential to collaborate with the design team who exceeded expectations in creating a beautiful new look and feel for Game Network and all the properties. Thanks to filling out a detailed creative brief, the Creative Team nailed what we wanted the face of Game Network to be, from font to color to new logo.
Phase 2—Wireframes. The beast of the project was deciding on the wireframes and the ways in which to present hundreds of pages of content across 4 different properties. The key to this success was taking a feast of information and breaking it down to bite size digestible pieces. In addition it was critical that we address what our backend needs would be as well, since this site is a real time tool updated by my Marketing team and continually adapted to the needs of the Sales Team, Sponsors and Exhibitors.
Phase 3—Content. Vetting a 12 year-old site is no easy feat. Together, the VP of Sales and I tackled the content of the site, updating, deleting, expanding and shrinking, data diving & researching etc. being sure to capture what is of value to our Advertisers, Exhibitors and Sponsors.
Phase 4—Web Design and Web Dev. Bringing a year's worth of work to life is truly thanks to our web designers and developers. This incredible team of people pulled off what we thought at times would be impossible. They took our vision and brought it to life. They took our strong point of view, edits, UAT comments and made something beautiful AND functional.
And so without further ado, I am proud to announce the new UBM Game Network site is live! Yes, this will be my legacy to the Game Group www.ubmgamenetwork.com