One of the most significant contributors to boosting website conversions is user experience. For the most part, it depends on responsiveness, loading speeds, page optimization, and varied design elements. However, these improvements can take a lot of effort to implement, and not all of them hold the potential of drastically improving sales.
Most entrepreneurs should be looking for small, easy fixes that will bring in big rewards. According to the now oft-quoted 80/20 marketing principle, 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. Understanding the principle is now basically table-stakes for entrepreneurs, but it can still be easily forgotten. Remembering this principle leads us to the conclusion that identifying your top performers holds far more potential than wasting time, energy, and moola on everything else.
And what better way to get comprehensive, scalable, and evidence-driven data than to use paid ads? Facebook and Google Ads campaigns can do far more than just widen your reach. In truth, they’re powerful analytical tools. Because you can create identical ads that drive traffic to different variations of a landing page, paid ads allow you to test elements on your landing page to improve the page over time.
So, if you’re ready to maximize your ROI, boost conversions, and build up a website that will perform well even without paid advertising, consider the possibility of using paid ads to enhance user experience.Quick Hack: Ads can be used to drive traffic to split tested landing pages, providing actionable data for optimizations that couldn't otherwise be obtained organically. Click To Tweet
Why Paid Ads For Split Testing
Everyone wants free traffic from organic Google rankings, social media, and/or an email list. But those channels take a while to build. Running paid ads allows any business to generate traffic and collect valuable data for optimizing your website for user experience and conversions.
Let’s say you aim to rank for a particular keyword “best gadgets for gizmos.” Before investing in link building for organic rankings, it might be helpful to optimize your page using paid ads. You can run split-tests and A/B tests with your Google or Facebook Ads campaign to nail down the best performing headline, layout, image, call to action button, etc. It’s much more difficult to split organic traffic to two different landing page variations. So by first doing some testing using paid ads, you can be more confident that when you invest in SEO, your page will be more likely to convert.
In all of my years of working in SEO, it still boggles my mind how much effort entrepreneurs will pour into ranking for the perfect keyword, and yet not give a second thought to how it converts.
Learning, Data, Optimization
Digital advertising enables you to learn about your audience and improve how you market to them. But you need to collect data to make this happen, and the more data you can get, the better off you’ll be. So making sure your Google Analytics account (or my fave, Clicky) is optimized and running as planned is essential. It will allow you to track multiple metrics for both current and future landing page versions.
Try to gather as much knowledge about website interactions as possible with tools like heat maps. Furthermore, make sure you’re tracking exactly where your visitors are coming from, how long they’re staying on each page, what they click on the most, and what percent of them converts.
Once you have access to that info, you’ll want to start making some changes.
First of all, you’ll want to apply the 80/20 principle to your existing design. Remove all elements that are performing poorly. Eliminate distractions, and make sure that your landing pages are focused on converting. This will mean going through all copy, as well as removing any CTA that does not support your main objective.
A/B Testing to Improve Conversions
Once you’ve created a pared-down version of your landing pages, it’s time to do some A/B testing. Basically, what you’ll do is create two versions of your landing pages, measuring their performance against one another.
One thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference between A/B testing and split testing. The former compares two versions of the same page where only a single element differs. Split testing, on the other hand, compares two distinctive designs.
When aiming to improve user experience, the main idea is to test website elements one by one. Every time you get a winning variation, you get to move on to the next design change. With the increase in website traffic resulting from your paid ads campaigns, you’re likely to see an acceleration in the time it takes to collect data. This is one of the main advantages of using CPC data to improve user experience.
Elements to Test
In theory, there is no limit to the landing page elements you could compare against each other. However, based on the most successful website UX tips, you’ll want to focus on things you can easily change, without having to spend time and money on a complete redesign.
Headlines and copy
Probably the simplest change you can make on any website is going to be that which deals with text. Wording, however, should not be underestimated, as it has a significant impact on how people interact with your pages.
Experience has shown that simple short copy drives conversions, especially when targeting a general audience. Furthermore, readability depends on the layouts you use, as well as text placement, so try to avoid big chunks of text.
As an example of how a company could use A/B testing to boost conversions, take a look at this landing page by eachnight.
While attractive at first glance, the hero section does not state the purpose of the page, thus risking high bounce rates and low conversions. To improve, the company should test alternative headlines and copy versions. They should aim to see which result in longer on-page times and higher clickthrough rates. It would also be advisable to test different versions of the header image, checking whether a simpler illustration may yield better results.
Another consideration to make is going to be the placement of key elements on your landing pages. Ultimately, you will want to make sure that those sections and buttons that have the highest chance of converting occupy the most prominent positions.
For example, if you look at the homepage of inventory management company inFlow, you’ll notice that the copy is well-written. However, the three main sections could potentially compete for visitors’ attention.
A good idea for A/B testing would be to place the middle part of the page in the hero section, with its powerful headline and compelling CTA button. The other two elements should be positioned further down the page.
Another thing to note on this page is that, although they are mentioned, the main features of the app aren’t ideally represented. Something a bit more user-friendly, such as this benefits section by Xoom, could be a better way to go to a SaaS company. These alterations are worth testing, as they may prove to be effective ways to inspire app downloads.
When it comes to web design that inspires conversions, CTA buttons play a huge role. As they’re the main “instruction” given to users, it’s essential that they’re convincing, well-placed, as well as that they have the right appearance. In fact, the potential that they hold is so big, that research goes even so far as to test the best colors for CTA buttons based on the niche they’re serving.
This makes calls to action the ideal candidate for A/B testing. Companies aiming to boost sales should try to see whether certain variations could improve landing page performance, or whether their current designs are sufficiently well-made.
Future Kind is a good example of a website that includes all the right elements. The company’s homepage features striking imagery and plenty of social proof, as well as displays of their top selling products. However, it also uses the same CTA button over and over again. By using paid ads to A/B test, these buttons could be perfected so that they serve website visitors in a better way.
The colors used, for instance, are well-chosen, but the wording is not. “Learn More,” though potentially efficient, isn’t used in the best way possible. Considering that it directs users to a product page, perhaps a variation of “Shop Now” would result in a lower CTR but higher overall sales.
Paid ads certainly can be a powerful tool for boosting website traffic, but also conversions. Considering their potential for long-term growth, it becomes clear that they’re even more effective at providing valuable information when looked at from a different angle. By using A/B testing methods, companies can use paid ads to perfect different aspects of their landing pages, improving user experience, and, thus, the chances of making a sale or conversion.