A/B Testing Between Free and Paid Signups: Sometimes Free is Better
Scanitto Pro is an easy-to-use, one-click scanning software that makes it hassle-free for professionals to convert hard and soft copies into PDFs. And for this, the company offers a free trial download and a paid version of the software.
The Business Need
Quite simple actually – the business need is to increase paid subscriptions and downloads of Scanitto Pro.
This was an exploratory test. The Scanitto team wanted to track the change in visitor behavior if the “Buy Now” button is removed from the Scanitto Pro landing page. They thought that it would be easier to convince people to buy the product if they could make them try it first. So instead of presenting an option to buy the software, they went for a soft-sell approach where they pushed free trials.
Moving on, this is the Control Page Scanitto started out with:
Interestingly, one of our previous software customers too tested their Try Demo and Buy Now buttons to arrive at the same conclusion after A/B testing their call-to-action (CTA) buttons. They decided that for software companies like them, it is usually best to treat trial/demo as the primary CTA, instead of insisting on the direct purchase approach when their visitors are not ready to buy it yet.
After the “Buy now” button was removed, this is how Scanitto Pro’s Variation page looked like:
Most of us are often of the opinion that the more closely a call-to-action button relates to the bottomline of the company, the higher it should rank on your priority list. But if you think about it now, the business model of the company can play a huge role in deciding your primary call to action button.
Removing the “Buy Now” button increased free downloads of Scanitto Pro by 29.75% with 97% statistical confidence. Here is a quick glimpse for you to compare the two versions and see the change that was made:
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Discussing the two CTAs Approach
The trend of placing two call-to-action (CTA) buttons together is catching on with a lot many websites, like Wufoo, Transmission Apps and many others. Another of our software customers also tested two CTA buttons on their landing page some time back. And while their paid signups didn’t decrease, adding the trial button with the paid signup button increased their trial signups by 158%.
But like it is evident from our current case study, placing two CTAs together may not always work. The idea behind placing two call-to-action buttons simultaneously is that if visitors are not yet ready to take action with the primary call-to-action, the secondary CTA can still pique their interest and spur them to know more about the product/service. And these prospective customers are expected to convert after they clearly know the details of the product.
But what many site owners fail to realize is that by providing visitors a choice of two buttons, they are making their customers think. This approach completely contradicts the website usability basic which suggest that you should not make your visitors think or wonder too much. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Crug is an interesting book that discusses the same topic of how you can reduce the thinking effort for site visitors to increase conversion rates of your website.
So when prospects need more information about the offer before they are ready to take action, it’s probably a good idea to stick to single CTA approach like Scanitto did.
The Twist to the Single CTA Approach
One twist to this single CTA approach is when your only call-to-action is not directly related to the bottomline of the company, as it is in this case study. Now in this case, Scanitto must analyze many other factors before they make this change (of removing the “Buy Now” button) permanent on their website. Relying only on their current A/B test report can hurt their revenue if they choose to ignore other factors.
They must calculate thoroughly to see the direct impact of this change on their bottomline. And this calculation should not be confined to only the data for conversions from free download to the paid version of the software. Factors, like lifetime value of the customer and average order value should also be calculated to see the overall impact on the revenue. An informed decision should then be made to see if it seems justified to remove the buy button from the landing page.
And again, this is just one test. There is a lot that Scanitto can still test on their landing page.
Tests that Scanitto Can Try
1) Changing the button copy to make it more specific should make for a good A/B test. Just the word “Download” seems too vague right now. Maybe changing it to something like, “Scanitto Pro Free Download!” or “Get started with Scanning” should be A/B tested.
2) A/B testing videos on a landing page often have interesting results. Adding a brief explainer video about the software should help Scanitto’s visitors to understand the ease of use of the software in an instant and improve their conversion rates.
Do you think Scanitto should try test ideas suggested above? Do you have any other A/B testing ideas for them? Share it all with us in the comments section and we’ll pass it to them.