Not All Conversions are Created Equal

Tim Ferris posted a Google Website Optimizer Case Study the other day showing how data-based design tweaks at Gyminee (now Daily Burn) helped them increase conversions by 20% and then another 16% on top of that.  The post presents a really nice example of how simple it is to use free tools along with good landing page design principles to generate improvements in site goal performance.  That said, I’d add a couple of things to round out the article:

  1. The performance improvement was measured in number of free trial sign-ups.  There is nothing wrong with that if Daily Burn has free sign ups as a key goal.  However, it is worth noting that the improvements in free sign-ups may have had the opposite effect on conversions to paid accounts.  One reason for this is that by reducing the possible actions on the page to one (sign up for a free trial) in the second set of changes, Daily Burn may be seeing an increase in sign-ups from tire kickers who just want to see what the ap looks like.  In the past visitors could click the ‘tour’ button to do this; now they have to go via the free trial route.   If the requirement to sign up also puts some other potential purchasers off before they get a chance to see the product, the net effect of the change may be to decrease the proportion of free trialers that go on to paid subscriptions.  One of the sites I read presented an example of exactly this issue a few weeks back; I think it was Marketing Experiments but now I can’t find the article (doh). [Update: here is a different example with a similar finding ]
  2. Here is a link to the Paradox of Choice concept Tim mentioned.  I’m not so sure the original Gyminee page was overwhelming people with choice (causing choice paralysis) as much as providing too much of an opportunity to get distracted before clicking on the sign-up button.  Ultimately it doesn’t matter; the effect of the modification was positive whatever the underlying reason for the change in behaviour!
  3. Tim didn’t specify the ‘conversion marketing best practices’  behind the design changes tested in the second half of the post.  Going by the screenshots presented, these included the use of testimonials (social proof), awards (authority), and specificity (specific facts are more persuasive).  Feel free to posts others if you spot them…

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