I think I need to eat my hat, or at least nibble on it a little.
I've never been a supporter of animation effects on website home pages. My personal point of view is that they take way too long to look at and they get in my way when all I want to do is quickly browse a website. Because of my expertise in online marketing, I know that home page animations are designed to sell you something, and I don't want to be sold to. I'd rather have a link to click.
I don't like to report on anything in my Daily Golden Nuggets unless the results I've found are reproducible on at least 10 different jewelry store websites from around the country or world. Suffice it to say I have enough data to provide a recommendation now, which is:
HOME PAGE ANIMATIONS ARE FANTASTIC!
Sorry for getting carried away there.... Here are my actual findings for jewelry websites with home page animations:
1. It doesn't matter how many images you have in the animation; users will watch the entire rotation at least once. The results I'm seeing are people landing on the home page and lingering there for 2 minutes, and as much as 15 minutes.
2. Websites with close up photos of jewelry have a higher average time on page than websites that use standardized advertising layouts provided by the designer, i.e. you should not use the same ads that consumers see in a magazine; instead you should use photos that are close up and show an amazing amount of detail.
3. Having an animation does not seem to have an effect on the Bounce Rate. Users are staying to watch the animation and still bouncing without digging into the site. However, what I do see is that there is a higher bounce rate when the animation is smaller than full width of the site while at the same time there is a lot of text on the home page.
The typical jewelry website without an animation has an average time on page of less than 50 seconds and a bounce rate average of 54%.
With these findings I have to recommend that every jewelry website home page be redesigned without a lot of written words, and be replaced with larger fading animations of beautiful jewelry.
Here are some guidelines:
1. Photos must be close up shots of *in focus* jewelry.
2. Avoid using large designer logos in the photo.
3. Avoid using more than a few words in the photo, I recommend no typed words at all.
4. Always link the photo to another page deeper inside the site. Users intuitively know to click on things to get more information--link to a product detail page.
5. Solid background colors seem to work best.
6. Make the photos appear the full width of your website design and be fully visible above the fold of the website.
Once you implement the animation on your home page you should see an immediate decrease in your bounce rate and an increase in the average time on page. After that you just need to convert those visitors into buyers.