Website Testing Wins: Is Brevity the Soul of Conversion?

By ​Peter Borden

August 14, 2012

Earlier in the summer, I filled you in on the big test win Monetate racked up by adding a red arrow to the landing page design for our educational resources downloads.

Another idea we've been playing around with is simplifying the content on the landing page, á lá the excellent theory advanced by Monetate Strategic Success Director Jerry Moyer. The dogma in direct marketing has always been that long copy works best for persuading people to take action. But since time has become a precious commodity, we wanted to see if giving our visitors (like you!) less copy to read on the landing page helped or hurt their ability to make a decision to download the promoted resource.

Using one of our most popular content marketing assets, "The Top 10 Testing, Targeting and Optimization Best Practices" eBook, we developed a landing page test variation (shown below) that features minimal copy. As you can see, minimal means just a headline based on the promoted resource's title and a call-to-action that directs traffic (generated from emails, paid search ads, paid display ads, SEO, and on-site content) to the download form.

Contrast this test version with our control landing page (below), a copy-rich approach that uses the same headline and call-to-action text, supplemented by messaging that reinforces the main benefit of the eBook and shares a few of the key takeaways in case visitors need more detail to see how this resource might apply to their conversion challenges.

Judging by the results of this A/B test, visitors don't want this extra information. The test variation boosted conversion by 21%, delivering a conversion rate of 38.99%. This outcome suggests that by the time our audience clicks through from our inbound marketing efforts, they have already decided they want the resource; anything on the landing page that doesn't help them access the download lowers conversion.

What's also interesting is how this type of test affected conversion versus the addition of the red arrow to our landing page, which drove a 22.2% conversion rate. Since the offer here is for an information-based item, it's no surprise that copy is a key element in the conversion process. But the copy test outperformed the graphics-oriented test nearly 2:1, making a strong case for marketers who generate leads via content downloads to add copy length to their list of ideas to test.

Peter Borden is a former marketing strategist at Monetate and was responsible for PPC and email marketing strategy. Peter's also an expert on the psychology of persuasion, influence, and conversion as well as an active iOS developer.

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