Landing Page Testing: A Guide To Bring You To Speed

Landing Page Testing: A Guide To Bring You To Speed

Landing pages are akin to elevator pitches. 

A landing page, like an elevator pitch, gives a crisp introduction to your brand, the products or services you offer, and the problems that you solve. Also, they have a common goal–to convert the visitor into a customer. 

Just as a good elevator pitch takes multiple rounds of refinement, a landing page also benefits from continuous testing and optimization.

How to Test a Landing Page?

To begin with, it’s imperative to talk about the process of experimentation. Testing anything is typically better than testing nothing, but a structured program will bring predictability and long term gains to conversion rates, rather than ad-hoc wins here and there. 

A comprehensive landing page testing methodology would look something like the one below irrespective of what testing methodology, i.e., A/B, Multivariate, or Split, is used:

  • A set of data-driven hypotheses with clear prioritization.
  • Well-defined and important measurable conversion goals.
  • Proper testing tools with a variety of testing options.
  • Calculate the time and traffic required to run the tests.
  • Create variations of different test elements and document them.
  • Quality check and deploy tests.
  • Analyze test results and findings.
  • Deploy winning variations and discard the losing ones.
  • Document learnings from the tests 

Mature experimentation teams thoroughly analyze their test results across multiple segments to uncover instances where the losing variation outperforms the winner to extract more juice out of their testing and increase conversions.

Let’s get into some depth and analyze how landing page testing can help you achieve your focussed conversion goals.

Why is it Important to Test Your Landing Page?

We have created this infographic to easily explain why it is so important for your business to test your landing pages:

infographic on the importance of landing page testing

Types of Landing Page Testing

A/B Testing 

A/B Testing (also known as Split Testing) for landing pages is the most straightforward and most robust approach to compare two versions of a landing page. The changes between the two variants could be small (incremental) or big (radical) depending on the goals of the test. A/B tests help to zero in on elements and changes that impact a user’s behavior and continuously iterate towards the most effective version of the landing page.

As an example, a common use case for A/B Testing on Landing Pages is to swap web forms with chatbots. Most web forms are just repackaged versions of old paper forms. New age businesses are continually experimenting with chatbots to replace web forms to determine which among the two help increase conversion rates.

Img3 Conversational Page Example

Image source[1]

Multivariate Testing

Multivariate Testing (MVT) builds on the core mechanism of A/B testing to test for a higher number of variables on a web page as compared to A/B testing. As testing for multiple variations requires more traffic to reach statistical significance, multivariate tests are recommended for websites with high traffic.

Multivariate tests are a powerful weapon for landing pages that are seen by the maximum visitors on your website, such as those coming from search engines. Testing multiple elements such as hero image, headline, and website copy simultaneously becomes a child’s play with multivariate testing, as you don’t have to create separate versions of the same webpage for all possible combinations. Also, you can expedite the testing and optimization process.

Hyundai used MVT to achieve a 208% increase in the CTR from the landing page for one of their cars. Since Hyundai’s car landing pages had a lot of different elements (car headline, car visuals, description, testimonials, and others), an MVT helped understand which elements influenced a visitor’s decision to request a test drive or download a brochure.

Landing Page Testing in CMS

WordPress

Use this WordPress plugin[1] from VWO to test single elements on your landing pages or run split tests on the landing pages themselves. You can customize templates, track conversion rates, view session recordings, and heatmaps or even run multivariate tests in case you want to test several elements at once.

Hubspot

Hubspot has an integrated Content Management System (CMS) and Marketing Hub that manages all of your content in one place and allows you to run A/B tests on your landing pages.

illustration on what is landing page testing

Analyze Your Landing Page

For marketers, poor conversions on a well-thought and designed landing page are nothing but nightmarish. As a result of your involuntary reflexes, you pull your socks up and start swapping the images, improvising the page design, changing the color of the CTA button, and finally running an A/B test to see the results! But to your dismay, it does not impact your bottom line either. 

Well, it is time to ditch your guesswork out of your conversion rate optimization program and get in the shoes of your prospects and customers to gather the essential insights. You will find all your answers there.

Survey

A web survey allows you to understand your target audience and their motivations and desires easily. Understanding your audience’s motivations and desires can be great fodder for a thorough testing and optimization process. The first rule of surveys is to understand that you’re asking for a favor. To maximize the number of responses from surveys but you can use these tricks:

  • Reward or incentivize your audience: This might be something as simple as a free ebook or a gift voucher.
  • Respect your prospect’s time: Ask relevant questions to your customers that you know you’re going to use. For example, you don’t have to ask them their age, gender, or location, if you do not need that information. Keep the flow streamlined.
  • Ask open-ended questions: Allow yourself to be surprised by asking open-ended questions like, “What is that one big challenge you are facing in your marketing campaigns?” You may uncover pain points you didn’t know your target audience has.
a GIF of running VWO survey on one of VWO's blog posts

Heatmaps

When it comes to user behavior analysis in the world of online businesses, website heatmaps are a popular tool to visualize and understand visitor behavior data. You can utilize heat maps to identify the best-performing sections of your landing pages as per their visitor interaction, and the sections that are performing below-par and require to be changed.

Consider asking yourself the questions below to get the maximum insights out of your heatmap data and get to work:

  • Are the visitors looking at the important elements on the landing page, such as headline, unique value proposition, benefits, and CTA?
  • Are the visitors distracted by page elements that don’t push them towards the conversion funnel? 
  • Is your visitors’ attention straying as they’re not being provided with the information at the right place to complete the conversion?
an illustration of website heatmap

Session Recordings

Session recordings help you see how visitors on your website navigate through your landing page. These recordings capture clicks, taps, mouse movement, and scrolling across multiple pages on desktop and mobile devices. 

Analyzing session recordings helps you to empathize with your customers. It places you in the customer’s shoes as (s)he traverses your landing page and enables you to identify and mend gaps in your customer journey, to achieve a higher percentage of successful sessions.

a GIF of visitor recording on one of VWO's blog posts

Form Analytics

Forms are one of the most important if not the most important element of a landing page. Longer forms typically have higher bounce rates than shorter forms, but shortening forms isn’t enough. You need to realize what in your form is putting off your users. Why are the users struggling to complete the form and hence impacting the conversion on your landing page? Are you not empathizing enough? 

You can gather these insights using Form Analytics, which enables you to measure the visitors’ behavior on a web form such as interaction time, hesitation time, abandonment rate, etc.

an illustration of form analytics

Landing Page Testing Software

Before zeroing on the software for testing your landing pages, ensure that you can easily set up your tests without a need for a developer to do the job. You must pick the one that has a visual editor to make changes quickly, if and when required. Also, it should be well-equipped with a variety of quality templates that can be amended and be suitable for the scale of business and sector, for example, field-level data collection options, layout, and style. Having an integrated CMS and CRM in the software, along with account management that can be used by multiple users, will take you a long way in your testing experience journey. 

VWO

VWO is an all-in-one experience optimization platform that enables users to improve key business metrics by empowering them to easily discover visitor behavior, insights, test ideas, and engagement across their entire journey. The platform offers you an unlimited number of tests in addition to tools that can be utilized analyzing visitor data, understanding user behavior, and thus creating a repeatable and data-driven process for implementing ideas for improving your website conversion. 

Google Optimize

Google Optimize[2] is a free tool created by Google for conversion rate testing. This tool comes with an integrated Analytics and Tag Manager. It strongly relies on the goals and audience that you set in Google Analytics to give you precise results. As compared with VWO, it does not offer tools such as session recordings, heatmaps, survey, form analysis, and comes with a definite number of tests that you can run in a free trial.

Landing Page Testing Across Channels

It is important to keep in mind that testing landing pages across channels has a different set of heuristics and mental models behind conversion rate optimization. Writing about these differences warrants a dedicated article, but I’d like to help you with brief pointers:

Landing page testing for Google Adwords:

  • By its design, Google Adwords is keyword-centric, and keywords are further classified by intent – informational, navigational, or transactional[3]. Testing landing pages for an Adwords campaign entails optimizing for intent more than other variables. Teams should look to identify and categorize all information that supplements the intent and work towards offering it with credible UI and UX for better conversions.

The theoretical principles behind testing for Adwords still remain the same – A/B tests still run the same way, and split tests have the same functionality. Nothing changes other than the philosophy of optimizing for keyword intent. 

Landing page testing for Facebook:

Facebook, unlike Google, is geared for engagement dopamine. Users still use its search functionality but it’s not the go-to function for the social network. Successful Facebook advertisers need to execute two things well:

  • Ensure that the ad creative grabs eyeballs in a feed replete with cat videos, memes, and threads smacking of political jibes.
  • Ensure that the page they land on is a better experience than going back to Facebook (I know it is more complicated than that, but abstraction is key.)

Optimizing for landing pages meant for Facebook advertising is more complex than Google (because of dealing with cold traffic without intent). Still, there are a few proven ways to go about it:

Visually bold pages:

  • Grabbing attention off Facebook can happen because of many reasons, but if there is an underlying theme to driving clicks your way, it is this — Facebook is a visual medium and you ought to have visual flair to your creatives. And since marketers should maintain ad scent[4], landing pages need to be visual too. Go for bright colors that stand in contrast to Facebook’s white and blue.
a screenshot of the facebook post shared by IKEA

This ad by IKEA not only strikes minimalism but stands out because of the bright contrasting red and white color used with a straightforward, actionable ad copy.

Video-centric:

  • With 4 billion daily views, video consumption over Facebook[5] is taking off. Ensure that both your creative and landing pages feature videos so that you can maintain ad scent and grab attention.

What Elements on Landing Page Should You Test? 

For a successful landing page testing experience, you must test the following:

  • Headline of the Page: Headline that speaks to the target audience;
  • Sales Copy: Quick explanation of your offers/combos above the fold (i.e., visible without the average user having to scroll down)
  • Pricing Strategies: Must be clearly mentioned.
  • Call to Action Buttons: Focus on getting visitors to take one specific action: buy or sign-up button depending on your conversion goal.
  • Landing Page Image: Image of the product being offered.
  • Landing Page Video: Create a video in cohesion with your landing page’s goal to support it. Video marketing works.
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Highlight your USP, your value proposition. It should stand out on the landing page. 
  • Text font and Style: Readability of the text is vital for conversions from the landing pages. Anything less than 12px is hard to read.
  • Page Layout and Design: Remove any navigational links and maintain your brand by keeping the same color scheme as your main website.
  • Form: Make the form or checkout option prominent. A large number of fields increase friction, resulting in fewer people to fill out the form. 
  • Mobile Optimization: Keep your landing pages mobile-friendly.
  • Landing Page Load Time: Faster sites convert better.
  • Privacy Policy: You can load it in a pop-up window to keep people on the page.

Commonly Tested Landing Page KPIs and Metrics 

There are a ton of metrics that landing pages should be optimized for. Writing for these metrics in details warrants a unique article, but I’d like to mention a few metrics that can serve as a starting point for you:

Average time on page:

  • Though average time spent on a landing page is not a leading indicator to optimize for conversions, there is a significant bearing of time spent on conversions. For example, if you observe that average time spent on your page is less than 5 seconds, the immediate conclusion is that the page needs an overhaul around many factors – maybe its UI does not inspire trust or the messaging is awry. There are many ways to identify the missing pieces but the overarching theme is this – time-on-page is a proxy of willingness to convert and should be a key metric to look at.

Bounce rate:

  • With the proliferation of sophisticated metrics and dimensions to analyze, most old school metrics have faded away. Bounce rate, however, is still one of the oldest metrics that is still tracked fervently and has managed to stay relevant. A high bounce rate is an immediate worrying factor. Like low time on page, high bounce rates might have varying reasons (bad UI, missing information, uninspiring copy, no ad scent), and optimizers should keenly identify them. The following graphic from Instapage has some benchmark bounce rates for you to compare against:
infographic on the benchmark average for bounce rate for different websites

Form abandonment rate:

  • Almost all landing pages have a conversion zone for it. In most cases, it is a form that visitors are expected to fill. For eCommerce sites, it is an order placement form, while for B2B websites, it serves as a lead generation form. Content websites might startle you with a form to capture emails for notifying you when they publish new content. Whatever be the intent of the landing page, forms are a common binding thread. Optimizers should look to constantly evaluate their form friction areas and fix for more conversions. 
an example of form abandonment rate for a contact us form

A typical form funnel analytics dashboard

Mistakes to Avoid While Testing Your Landing Page:

A poorly written or poorly designed landing page can cost you conversions. To ensure you create a landing page that converts, avoid the following: 

  • Sending traffic from an ad to your homepage. 
  • Keeping the navigation menu
  • Keeping links to other parts of your sites. such as “About Us”
  • Keeping irrelevant pictures or images that don’t relate to the offer
  • Hard-to-read text
  • Keeping forms with unnecessary fields, such as “title” or “fax”
  • Keeping the “Clear fields” button
  • Keeping “Subscription” and “Read more” links.
  • Scrolling is better than clicking to another page; therefore, in case of space crunch, let the user scroll down and process your content. 

Conclusion

Remember that optimization is an iterative process. Frequently testing your landing page elements will surely give you a competitive edge over others in the industry. Not only will you have a lot of data to back up your decisions post the testing process, but you will be surprised to see the revelations these results would present to you. Test to find out.

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