Not A/B testing landing pages is like sending your traffic into a brick wall.
Tom Fishburne, marketoonist.com

“Why is our new digital advertising campaign not impacting sales?”

This is a question we’ve heard many times before, and it often has a simple answer: Your potential customers might be running into an unoptimized landing page.

It’s typical to be extra mindful of your paid spend. You’re probably scrutinizing every dollar. You want to ensure that if you continue to pump money into ad spend you’re receiving a return on your investment.

To maximize ROI, you need to lower conversion costs. To lower these costs, you need to deliver a strong landing page experience to your customers.

The Consequences of an Unoptimized Landing Page

An unoptimized landing page is like a brick wall—it stops a customer in their tracks, keeping them from continuing through the buying process. Instead of making the most of your site visitors, you lose them through an unoptimized funnel. As a result, your conversion suffers.

Many elements comprise an optimized landing page. Each one is critical for improving conversion rates. The numbers don’t lie:

  • A one-second delay in landing page load time can decrease conversions by 7%
  • Having multiple offers on your landing pages can decrease conversions by 266%

And this is only a small look at what unoptimized pages may cost you. After all, each potential customer that bounces results in loss of revenue and the added cost of a click-through.

Avoid the Brick Wall Landing Page Through A/B Testing

A landing page is often not a dedicated page for the purpose of lead capture. Instead, it’s the entry pages on your website determined by analytics to have the highest conversion potential. Optimizing your landing pages can help you increase conversion rates, thus increasing revenue. The best way to optimize is through A/B testing landing pages.

“A/B testing takes the guesswork out of landing pages. There are so many aspects to test, it’s imperative to understand what changes will ultimately drive more form fills. Changing the CTA button color could give you a 25% increase, while increasing the length of your body copy could decrease conversions by 33%. The only way to understand how to optimize the landing page experience with precision is through A/B testing.”

– Gregory Batchelor, VP of Marketing, AB Tasty

You must deliver what your current and potential customers want to drive acquisition and loyalty. A/B testing ensures you’re following your audience’s lead when it comes to creating landing pages that align with their needs.

Without data gained from testing, it’s impossible to understand the needs and desires of your audience.

A/B Testing Case Study: Insurance

To illustrate what a few tests can do for your revenue, let’s talk about Insurance Co*. This disruptive insurer discovered a landing page was underperforming, delivering a low conversion rate. They first turned to a website redesign to try and recoup. It didn’t work.

Enter our team at Cro Metrics. Through an iterative approach, we identified customer friction resulting from the standard landing page quote form. We needed to reduce the friction inside the quote funnel, particularly for paid traffic sources (ads). After changing the standard form to one with more of a conversational flow, we tested and found a 12% increase in conversions for all traffic.

To take it a step further, we used the data we gathered to replace all other standard quote forms on the website to conversational forms. As a result, we increased conversion by another 8%. By allowing these conversion lifts against sample numbers, we reduced CAC by 17%.

That’s not all. We also tested two different types of answer formats inside the form: dropdowns and yes/no buttons. We found that yes/no buttons resulted in an 8% increase in payments completed via the form.

A/B Testing Case Study: Grassroots Nonprofit

A/B testing improves revenue for all types of organizations, from retail companies to nonprofits. Grassroots Nonprofit* is a leading grassroots environmental organization. In late 2016, the organization watched as engagement began to drop and critical donations began to plateau.

Unfortunately, the previous year, the organization had to make some significant changes to its online donation forms to fit a new CRM platform. To add fuel to the fire, none of the newly-formatted pages were tested. They were flying blind.

At Cro Metrics, we deployed a variety of A/B tests to see what designs and messages garnered different responses from the organization’s supporters. In total, we completed 21 tests.

One eye-opening result came from giving donors the option to cover credit card processing fees. We added a button to the donation form, giving donors the option to opt-in to cover the fees. Using a painted door test (a test that enables us to gauge interest in new functionality), we didn’t charge the donors, but simply kept track of who was willing to cover the costs. 

Surprisingly, the majority of donors were willing to do so. This simple change would return more than $150,000 in additional yearly revenue.

Another result came from two tests aimed at increasing the number of donors who sign up to give recurring monthly donations during their first donation. We tried a simplified floating pop-up window, also known as a lightbox, which resulted in a 51% lift in monthly donation button clicks and an extra $20,000 in revenue. We also tested adding text and an opt-in inside the donation form for monthly gifts which resulted in a 207% increase in monthly donation conversions.

For Grassroots Nonprofit, these tests delivered sizable returns on investment—a projected annualized revenue increase of more than $2.5 million.

The examples above illustrate just how A/B testing can make or break your organization’s bottom line. What’s considered by many as something optional is actually critical to achieving a positive revenue stream.

The Right Way to A/B Test Your Landing Pages

Do you believe you’re already being led by data? If so, we have a question for you:

Are the changes you’re making to your landing pages resulting in a positive or negative impact?

If you can’t answer with utmost certainty, you’re not being rigorous enough with your testing. You must statistically prove and validate any change to ensure you’re maximizing your ROI. This includes implementing a cycle of iterative testing and tracking the right metrics to make indisputable conclusions.

Important: It’s Not About Your Competition

As a quick note, we want to underline this point: You can’t create successful landing pages by simply copying your competition. Your organization is unique with a different audience. What your competition’s audience reacts to might be different than what your audience will react to. 

Plus, there’s zero proof that what they’re doing actually works. If you see a landing page element you like on a competitor’s site, test it first.

What Landing Page Elements Should You Test?

Test everything. If you’re wondering where to start, consider some of these core landing page elements:

  • Offer: What’s the goal of your landing page? The offer is what you give the visitor in exchange, be it a free quote, a phone call or some form of digital download (or lead magnet). Testing can help pinpoint which offers result in increased conversions.
  • Navigation: Should you include navigation on your landing pages or avoid it? There are valid arguments for both. Testing is the only way to make the best decision for your audience.
  • Headline: Your headline is the first copy a visitor will see beyond your ad. A headline that your target audience finds engaging and captivating will result in higher conversions.
  • Messaging: Copy matters, especially on your landing page. Your landing page message should match your ad message. Otherwise, you’ll confuse your audience. There’s a specific message that will compel your audience to convert. Testing assists you in finding it.
  • Social proof and third-party validation signals: Your landing page should include some form of social proof, whether it be testimonials, product reviews, expert endorsements or something else. A/B testing will give you insight into which type of social proof works best for your audience.
  • Call to action: To convert a visitor, you need a compelling call to action. There are various elements inside the CTA that you can optimize, including the font color and style, copy, button options and position on the landing page.
  • Images: Will your landing page perform best with or without images? Do images that include people improve conversions? Do you need photos of your product on your landing page? These questions can only be answered through A/B testing.

The A/B Testing Process

The right A/B testing process is data-driven and customer-focused. It follows a specific cycle that enables you to gather true and informative insights from the data you gather. This cycle includes five critical steps.

1. Analyze Consumer Behavior

You can’t conduct blind tests of each element on your website. Instead, you must analyze consumer behavior to determine shortcomings. Consumer analytics can provide insight into where website page optimization is required. For landing pages, you’ll need to look for low conversion rates or high bounce rates.

2. Choose a Variable to Test

Be sure to look at various elements on those landing pages such as offers and contact forms. How many consumers engage with the contact form? How far do consumers scroll down the page? This data will directly pinpoint weak areas on the page. These weak areas are where you’ll want to start first.

After analyzing the elements, you may find a few that seem to be dragging your conversion rates down. Select the variable or element to test first. If you gather enough data, this should be an easy choice to make.

3. Design A (Control) & B (Variable) Testing Samples

Understanding your chosen variable, you’ll need to design the variable (B) page for testing. This may mean changing a headline, adding dropdowns to the contact form or something else entirely. The control page (A) must stay the same.

Before you publish the variable (B) page, it’s important to test both pages to ensure your test will work as expected. 

4. Run Your Test

Once the variable is ready to go, it’s time to publish and wait. In an A/B test, half of your page’s traffic will be shown the control, while the other half will be shown a variation. The consumers who visit your site will be shown one or the other at random.

Over time, you’ll begin to see differences inside your analytics tool. As visitors interact with each page, you’ll receive data about the changes you made.

5. Analyze Your Results

If there’s a statistical difference between the two pages, you’ll know what changes to make to improve. It’s critical to make these changes fast. If there’s a negative result, you’ll need to complete the test again, this time changing the variable.

Remember, your test must show a statistically significant difference between page A and page B. Just because page A might have a higher observed lift doesn’t mean page B won’t outperform it in the future (or vice versa). If there’s no statistical difference, keep testing.

The Landing Page Optimization Process Doesn’t Stop There

Once you receive a positive result and make the necessary changes, the optimization process isn’t over. There’s always room for improvement, especially as your audience’s needs and desires ebb and flow.

Iterate

As soon as you make progress, you must take what you learn and iterate or do it again and again. You must continuously test to ensure you’re on the right track.

Continuously Measure Success

You must also continuously measure your landing page’s success. Any drops will illustrate the need for further testing. On the other hand, successful changes will help you decide what you can do to improve other areas of your website for additional conversion rate improvement.

If there’s one thing you should walk away knowing today, it’s this: Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a living, breathing process—not a one and done process. Through continuous A/B testing, you can enhance your customer’s online experience to improve conversion rates and increase revenue.

Start Optimizing Your Landing Pages With Cro Metrics

Are your visitors hitting the unoptimized landing page wall? A few simple changes discovered through A/B testing can improve your conversion rate and increase your revenue. Subscribe to the Cro Metrics newsletter to receive landing page best practices and A/B testing ideas in your inbox each month.

*We take our clients’ confidentiality seriously. Company names have been changed.