UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 797 March 2, 2012

Landing Page Optimization for More Profitable Experiences

Designing for findability, usability, and brand reinforcement are basic requirements of web experience design. But the purpose of a website is not just to be found and admired. It's to generate leads, sales, and revenue.

By using a conversion rate optimization process that tests UX and persuasion hypotheses, you can create pages that are proven to generate more revenue. Results like that get positive attention from upper management and the C-suite.

Let’s look at an example of how this works.

Conversion Rate Optimization for PlanetAmex.com

When PlanetAmex.com, an exclusive business-class travel booking service, needed to improve their sales from their paid search landing pages, they knew the standard experience redesign process wouldn’t be enough. They needed to be sure that a new landing page design would deliver more sales, not just look better or have a pleasant user experience.

The home page of PlanetAmex.com receives thousands of visitors per month and 91% of them are new. The site attracts a high quality audience: people in the top 2% of households who are looking for first class and business class flights.

A high bounce rate on their old landing page was hurting sales

Their visitors weren’t spending enough time on the site to make a favorable impression, let alone an immediate purchase. Even though their traffic was high quality, their bounce rate was very high.

Something about the landing page experience was repelling many of the visitors and their opportunity to sell to these potential customers evaporated with every bounce.

AmEx Landing Page

What would they need to do to persuade a greater percentage of people to stay, click, and get a quote or call to book right away?

Ask any dozen UX professionals, web designers, or marketers what should be improved on this page, and you’ll get a dozen (or more) opinions. But the business owners couldn’t take the risk of just putting up a new page based on opinions. They needed to know for sure that they would get better results with their new page.

The Solution: Conversion Optimization

The only way to know for sure is to run statistically valid tests of new user experiences, design, and copywriting variations. By running controlled A/B split tests on the live site, company management can get real data from live visitors and know with certainty which page variation would maximize sales.

The most simplified version of the conversion optimization process shows three steps:

Analyze Hypothesize Test

Step 1 – Analyze

There are a number of frameworks you could use to guide you in analyzing a landing page experience. WiderFunnel provides a popular framework for conversion rate optimization called the LIFT Model™ (which stands for “Landing page Influence Function for Tests”), shown below.

LIFT Model

You can use this as a guide for analyzing page experiences from the perspective of the visitor.

Step 2 – Hypothesize

The UX and persuasion problems you’ll identify using a framework like the LIFT Model can be flipped into hypotheses, which can then be tested.

For example, if you believe there’s a clarity problem with the copywriting hiding the main benefits of the service within blocks of copy, a hypothesis could say: "Adding clear benefits in bullet point format will increase the booking conversion rate." A hypothesis like this is something you can go and test in a controlled experiment, which leads us to step 3.

Step 3 – Test

When the PlanetAmex.com management asked us to improve their landing page conversion rate, I knew we needed to test dramatically different page variations. We did just that by designing several new pages that we tested alongside the original “control” page.

In just a few days, we discovered that one of the pages lifted conversions through their most valuable channel, phone calls, by 48%!

Here’s the winning page design:

AmEx Winning Page Design

You can use a conversion optimization on all of your website projects to ensure the changes you recommend lead to real business results. You will look like a hero and, importantly, your boss, client or project sponsor will too!


Learn More

Here are resources to learn more about conversion optimization:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

User Profile

Chris Goward founded WiderFunnel, the conversion optimization agency, with the belief that digital agencies should prove their value. He’s developed conversion rate optimization programs for clients like Google, Electronic Arts, SAP, and Shutterfly. His new conversion optimization book, "You Should Test That," redefines CRO and shows how to create dramatic business improvements.

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Comments

34
21

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Testing is an iterative process and consistency throughout the site is an important consideration. If the header and navigation had been redesigned in this test, the experience throughout the other pages would have been inconsistent and likely reduced conversions, even if the initial design was an improvement.

This test isolated the body content area. Whether or not you like the look of the new page, it works!

It can certainly still be improved through more testing, and this first iteration for this page has given the company a significant sales boost to justify the strategy.

Some of these comments are a good reason to test in themselves. Opinions are meaningless!

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Interesting article, but I agree with the other comments. Even after optimization the site still looks like a spam site. I guess the lesson to be learned is that optimization doesn't happen with one redesign, but by testing and redesigning it again till you got it right.

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I agree with other comments: it looks like a good D.E.M. Layout.... Not a website

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I agree with the other comments even if the second / optimized example is better than the original: If I landed on any of the two pages more or less intentionally, my first impression would be "spam", "phishing site" or at least "crappy, unusable advertising not relevant for me". Based on my first impression, I would kill the browser window instantly and continue my online journey to elsewhere. In my eyes, the page is way too busy and screams "advertising". The art of seducing users / customers often involves understating your intents at the first glance.

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Interesting, but a perfect example of benchmarking a crappy landing page for A/B testing. Wonder if the site actually attracts "high quality audience" or just the intermediaries.

This only proves that some amount of conversion can be achieved without tasteful execution. But I am sure a LOT can still be optimized from a persuasion and conversion angle.

25
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This one of them Joke articles aye... where the camera's!

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I agree with Dan, it's better but still horrible.
This is one of worst user experience designs you can get.
I understand design needs to work for the brand, sales and users.
But this page doesnt even give you a pleasurable brand experience.
There's nothing luxury about this design, except the little header on top.
Overall this actually feels very cheap.
It's fantastic this page delivers conversion results, but when the competition copies this format you're just one of the brands.

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this looks slightly better. but still completely crap.