Landing page optimization is all about testing and tweaking - sometimes making huge changes and sometimes the smallest details.
But what happens when you run out of optimization hypotheses?
You go to the closest “landing page case studies” article and get inspired.
But do you know why those variables actually had an effect on the page’s conversions?
This article will not only give you five awesome case studies to inspire you, but give you the how and why as well - so you learn something from all this reading.
Let’s check out 5 landing page design case studies:
Case Study #1: BettingExpert Adds Value
Betting Expert is an online sports betting site, looking to increase sign-ups on their landing page.
Result: A 31.54% increase in page conversions
One word: value.
Entry form optimization is a huge part of maximizing your landing page’s performance. Optimizing your form based on the right amount of info boxes, the color copy and the CTA design all make for a complicated process.
Entry forms are also one of the most important places for you to show value. There are a million examples of other brands finding conversion increases with simple CTA changes, and all of these are based around the simple landing page optimization rule of thumb: make engagement about your possible customer, and make it worth it.
Betting Expert changed their CTA to be lead-focused, telling them what they got, rather than what to do.
I actually included this best practice in my article “Landing Pages: How to Sell Without Selling”, so check it out for more subtle hints that can improve conversions.
Case Study #2: Vendio Slims down the Process
Ecommerce host Vendio was concerned that their entry form was decreasing landing page conversions. Let’s take a look at their test…
Result: A 60% increase in visitor signups.
This is an interesting case, given that the “sign up now” CTA button simply opened a pop-up that held the entry form. However, it appears that (at least for Vendio) removing the, admittedly, not particularly visually appealing, entry form increased the amount of landing page visitors who were interested in signing up.
What removing the entry form also did is allowed for larger images, a larger USP and a more central CTA button - all small details that can make the conversion difference.
What I think:
I’d hazard that moving the entry form to the right side (instead of having it on the left) would also have increased conversions, maybe even by as much as having the popup did. Studies show that people view your landing page in an “F” shape (top left to right, then down and left). Seeing the entry form first would have increased bounce rates on this page, whereas having it on the right side, after communicating value, would have increased conversions.
Case Study #3: WikiJob Includes Customer Testimonials
Interview-prep website WikiJob was having great success with people using their free tools but was struggling for paid conversions. Let’s check out what they did to their landing page to encourage sales.
Result: The variation page achieved a 34.0% improvement over the original
It’s all about the trust factor. Recent Edelman data shows that the most trusted source of information is fast becoming a “person like yourself”, over even a sector expert:
Customer testimonials give evidence that the value you’re communicating on your landing page is legitimate value. They show that other people have engaged with your business and found success.
WikiJob, especially, will have found success with customer testimonials. Any business whose target market is predominantly millennials absolutely must have customer testimonials or reviews in some form. The internet generation is used to online reviews, rating systems and trusting reviews for every consumer decision they make. A page targeting that demographic without a customer testimonial will struggle to convert their landing page traffic.
Case Study #4: BagServant Includes a Trust Symbol
Ecommerce site BagServant, devoted to showcasing lesser-known designers as well as big name brands online, had recently won an impressive sector award. Let’s see how including that award symbol improved their landing page conversion rates.
Results: A 72.05% improvement
This is a great example of a small design change having a huge influence on a business’ success. Showing off a sector-based award is a great way (especially for lesser-known businesses) to improve conversions.
The name Jacqueline Gold (in Britain, primarily) has a large influence within the fashion industry. This kind of effect can be carried into other sectors with other large brand names.
This is the value of a trust or authority symbol. Like a customer testimonial, trust symbols show your landing page traffic that someone (ideally a recognizable brand name) champions your business with either their patronage, a quote, or an award.
Even if someone hasn’t heard of your business, knowing that a recognizable business trusts you (or, in this case, a recognizable celebrity businesswoman) will increase your landing page conversion rates.
Case Study #5: Underwater Audio Keeps Flow in Mind
Waterproof headphone developer “Underwater Audio” had recently updated their landing page and was confused by a lack of improvement in their conversion rate. They made a small formatting change and were surprised by the results. Let’s take a look at their test…
Result: 35.6% Online Conversion Increase
As I mentioned above, many sources, including Nielsen, have found that the human eye naturally follows an “F” shape when we view a page (either hardcopy or online). We shouldn’t be particularly surprised as this is also how we read: left to right, top to bottom.
The results found by Underwater Audio stem from two factors, that naturally followed “F” shape and also the error of covering their product with text - obscuring the look of something that people wear (never a good idea).
The original design had web traffic focusing on the CTA before they saw the customer testimonial, resulting in a low conversion rate. The boost in conversions comes from the page communicating enough value in a visitor-friendly way.
Remember, it’s not always about having value on the page, but having it in the right places.
These five case studies are representative of a thousand more - each indicating the importance of testing and tweaking your business’ pages for an effective landing page optimization that brings conversions to you.
Remember that even when you’re satisfied with your conversion rates, there’s always room for improvement, and the smallest changes on your landing page design can mean thousands of dollars in increased revenue for you and your business.
By James Scherer
As marketers and designers we love reading about great results that other companies are achieving with their landing pages. There are a million blog posts with data on the latest design trends and techniques. Often companies will showcase ways to guarantee a lift in conversions with case studies designed to open our eyes to the secrets of conversion rate optimization!
Well, if a good marketer stays informed and well-read, then a brilliant marketer thinks for themselves. Case studies are useful, but only if you take the right information from them. Here’s some advice on how to approach them.
Case Studies Are Not Copy-Paste Solutions
When I broke my foot in college, there were a lot of people who offered advice and stories about their broken bones. Some of them told me that I’d be on my feet again in two weeks, others said that it would be hurting forever. 95% the advice was not helpful for actually healing my foot. The truth is that every injury and recovery is different. Building landing pages is the same way.
If you’re running a cloud storage company and you read a case study about MailChimp’s amazing new landing page, you can’t assume that you’ll get the same results by copying their ideas. Even two different companies in the same industry will have different clientele with different needs and different opinions. Blindly mimicking another company without understanding that principle will waste your time and your precious traffic.
If you want a second opinion, Michael Aagaard wrote a great post that explains how case studies should be used as inspiration and not absolute truth.
Learning Conversion Rate Optimization Principles From Case Studies
When you look at a case study, rather than just copying the technique you want to understand the reason why it worked. Visual Website Optimizer often posts great case studies, so let’s use this one as an example.
This client offers truck driving lessons and wanted to get more sign ups from their website. What was the test? Replacing the stock photo image with a picture of a real student.
This page saw a 161% lift in conversions just from changing the photo. Some people might read this and think: I need to be changing my photos and then I’ll see a huge jump in conversions! This is not what you should do.
VWO does a great job of breaking down exactly why this variant won. What’s really going on is that we tend to ignore stock photos without even thinking about it. The second image, meanwhile, shows the company logo on a real truck, which solidifies the idea that they are a real company. Plus, there’s a real guy in it, which makes the user much more likely to think “Hey, that could be me.”
Understanding the psychology and principles behind the lift will help you apply those ideas to your site. Does your imagery make you look credible and established? Is there any element or image that makes your landing page look generic or spammy? You can create smart tests by weeding out similar points of friction on your landing page.
Let’s Look at Another Example
Optimizely did a test with the company Black and Decker. They wanted to test just the CTA text on their eCommerce sites. The question was whether “Buy Now” or “Shop Now” would convert better. Optimizely predicted that “Shop Now” would convert better because it was less committal and therefore less intimidating.
As my grandma often says to me… WRONGO.
Using “Buy Now” performed substantially better.
What’s the wrong conclusion to make from this case study? That “Buy Now” is the best CTA to use for any eCommerce site.
The truth is, different products and different price points are going to affect how the user reacts. What if this site was selling a luxury yacht instead of drills? There will probably be a lot more thought and comparison shopping going into the process, and telling the user to Buy Now isn’t likely to change that.
So what’s the conversion rate optimization principle we should learn?
Your landing page acts like a marriage proposal. You’re asking the customer to convert, but asking too early won’t do you any good and could hurt your chances later. It’s your job to determine where you’re finding your prospects on the conversion funnel and give them the experience they need.
This is not what you want.
Black and Decker found that they didn’t need to talk about shopping for drills, but rather say “Look, I’m the drill for you and I want you to go ahead and buy me.” Their users were ready for a marriage proposal! Test your landing page’s content and language to see what level of commitment your prospects are ready for.
Now it’s Your Turn
Now, I said that reading case studies will improve your landing pages, but only when you read them correctly. Rather than copying the methods that other successful marketers and designers are using, examine the reasons for their success and think critically about how you can use the underlying psychology for yourself. You’ll only get the results you’re looking for with the unique application of general principles.
In general, be skeptical of any case study that says “Do this and you’ll get more conversions!” The real world is more complicated. In any test you run, whether it’s for landing pages, headlines, ads, or copywriting, make sure you have a reason why you’re testing a specific thing. Doing something because you saw another company doing it isn’t good enough! If you understand the psychology behind successful testing, you’ll be able to run more effective tests that improve results a lot more over time. Sometimes you’ll be wrong and the results will surprise you, but at least you’ll be starting from a stronger foundation.
Do you have any favorite case studies? Tell me what principles you’ve learned in the comments below!