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on Conversion Rate Optimization

Trying to make the most of our tool, at Visual Website Optimizer, we are always looking for ways to improve the conversion rate of our website. Regular interaction with customers, blog readers and conversion optimization experts gives us additional insights on A/B testing and better understanding of what may or may not work.

Visual Website Optimizer Logo

From some of the most interesting tests like the fixed chicklet that increased CTR to our careers page by 149% to this case study, we’ve grown a lot with you guys. One specific instance I would like to bring to your attention here is the discussion we had on the blog post, 3 ways to increase conversions using heatmaps.

In that post, we invited readers to share their opinions on two test hypotheses we were mulling for the VWO homepage. The heatmaps/clickmaps revealed that visitors on our website are clicking the top right Free Trial button three times more than our primary call to action button, which is placed in the center of the page.

Visual Website Optimizer homepage

This had long been a mystery for us until we realized that the login or settings buttons on the top right of the header is almost a norm on the web (think about Gmail, Facebook, they are all the same!). At least that’s what we finally concluded is the reason why clicks on the top right Free Trial button (let’s call it our secondary CTA) is higher than those on our primary CTA. You may want to run a similar test on your landing page – try putting your primary call to action button on the top right and see how it goes.

The secondary CTA button was surrounded by many links. It was an important concern for us that these surrounding links are distracting potential customers and holding back free trial signup rates.

To make sure that links around our secondary CTA are not distracting potential customers, we presented two potential hypotheses that we had in my mind and asked readers for their opinions. Since some constraints didn’t allow us to conduct more than one test at a time, we wanted to know which test should first be tried by us.

In this discussion, a very interesting point was mentioned by one of our blog readers. Gregg (of conversion rate optimization agency, Sq1) suggested that we should emphasize our heatmaps feature in the value proposition to make it more impactful. This is exactly what he said:

“Agencies looking at your tool may have smaller clients who cannot afford Test & Target or WebTrends. So their clients tests may not be 3 day tests, they may be tests that take 30 days to prove out with just one test variations. In all cases, especially these, the LAST thing you want to do is plan tests with flat or losing results.

The reason I chose VWO is because you offered heatmaps.

I would suggest testing a landing page that really plays up the fact that you’re getting a testing tool coupled with heatmaps.

My first test with VWO was flat. But the heat maps actually sparked an idea for a second test by showing me users were clicking on content that did nothing. So we’re making that content active.

Okay, my recommendation below. (I’m not a copywriter, so you’ve been warned) Try changing your Value Proposition to:

“Visualize Your Visitors Clicks and Run Smarter A/B Tests – Simple A/B Testing Coupled with Built-In Actionable Heatmaps”

This is a true “Only” statement. Meaning you guys are the only testing tool within your price range (optimizly and convert) who offer heatmaps.

Your customers tests will perform better because you’re given a window into how visitors will engage with all variations and the control of your landing page.

This could also be coupled with images of heatmaps and examples of how you can apply action after seeing a heatmap.”

This was not the first time that a customer has pointed out that they chose Visual Website Optimizer because of our in-built heatmaps/clickmaps feature. We hear this often from customers since the launch of our heatmaps feature in 2010; still it never occurred to us to use it as the value proposition on our homepage until we read this comment.

Yes, so it was this comment that sparked a test and this case study. Moving forward with this, here is the Control Page we start out with:

Visual Website Optimizer control

We changed our main headline and the subheading to bring visitor’s attention to our USP, i.e combining heatmaps/clickmaps feature with A/B testing in our tool.

Although a small change, words can sometimes change the entire perspective of how things are seen by people. And who can know it better than us? Here is one of our case studies where changing two words increased conversion rate by 28%.

Visual Website Optimizer variation

We were especially very excited about this test. It seemed so obvious that we were missing out a great opportunity. Since heatmaps/clickmaps show precisely where visitors of a site are clicking, many times they provide basis for potential hypotheses and also reveal great insights about visitor behavior.

So, considering that the power of A/B testing increases manifold with heatmaps/clickmaps, we were quite confident about the chances of the Variation (given below) to beat the Control. To be honest, we were thinking, what will be the percentage improvement?

Apart from tracking signups, we also analysed visitor behaviour on our site, so we tracked revenue, visits to pricing page, features page, and signup page.


Contrary to our expectations, there was no significant change in our signups and revenue. They almost remained unchanged, however the interesting thing is, the variation page performed well in increasing the overall curiosity about the product.

Visits to our Pricing Page particularly saw a percentage improvement of 9.6% with 98% statistical confidence, which was tested on more than 4000 visitors. Visits to other pages that were tracked also saw some improvement; however statistical confidence weren’t achieved for them when the test was paused.

Maybe people thought that the addition of the new in-built heatmaps/clickmaps feature may have led to increase in prices of Visual Website Optimizer. Or, maybe to some of them, the perceived value of the tool now seemed higher than before.

Either way, visits to the pricing page increased but the sign ups remained the same. This makes us zero in on the pricing page as the next focus of our test series. It is clear that this page in the conversion funnel is where a good majority of our visitors are dropping off. To correct this downturn, we now want to test a few hypotheses to optimize this page for higher conversions.

It’s Time for Your Opinion

The tests we are thinking for our Pricing Page are:

1.  I think making call to action buttons text more specific should increase the click through rate from the pricing page. Maybe we can address anxiety-related concerns through CTA text (like, many people might think that sign up is a long process and they will come back to it later when they have more time). To sort this out, let’s say for the free trial plan’s button text on the pricing page, we can use the text “30-day free trial” and below it we can add “Sign up takes 10 seconds”? So people would know that signup is not a long winding form and won’t take much of their time. Similarly, we can try different button text for other plans as well.

2. Heatmaps/clickmaps test for our pricing page revealed “View Larger Plans” as the most clicked button. So, adding the contact number or providing a “request a call” option, instead of the plain “Contact Us” for bigger plans might make us more approachable and improve conversions.

Which one of these two ideas do you prefer? And why? Please share your opinions with us in the comments section. If you have any other hypothesis to suggest, would love to hear that too.


(6) Comments

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  1. I think the time to signup option will perform the best (#1). But I would not focus on just the signup taking 10 seconds but the whole process of signup to rollout taking X number of minutes.

    When I signed up the big question I had was how long is this going to take to get setup so I can see results. I didn’t really care about signup taking a long time. That never takes more than 30 seconds.

    But implementation can take hours. Mentioning that it takes 5 minutes to implement or something to alleviate that concern would go much further in my experience that just the time to signup.

    Nobody signs up for the sake of signing up. They signup because they want to see results. Let them know how long that might take….because it is very easy to setup.

  2. This is very insightful! It seems like informing people about the heatmap technology actually caused a lift in their perceived value of the product.

    This also tells us that once you sell them on the idea of heatmaps with testing their thought process shifts from “how does it work?” to “how much does it cost?”. I think this piece of information can be leveraged and executed in multiple ways. Below are some ideas…

    1. You could try listing pricing details on the home page, potentially under the value proposition area. You could also try changing the call to action on the home page to “see our plan pricing.”

    2. You could list more specific pricing details on your Free 30 Day Trial page. Since we know users are interested in price, it may help to manage their expectations on the free trial page by saying “after 30 days you can pick one of the following plans.” I’m assuming most visitors don’t want to try something until they know how much it will cost if they end up loving the product.

    3. I think this is a huge opportunity, keep the scent trail strong from the homepage onto the pricing page. I see your pricing page much like a review cart page or checkout page on an ecommerce site. As we all know with ecommerce sites it’s best to keep displaying the product or the product’s value proposition all the way to the end of the checkout experience. Right now when users hit your pricing page they don’t see anything related to your value proposition stated at the top of the page. Which means the scent they followed from your homepage is now lost on the pricing page. Looking at competitors for testing tools and heatmap tools you’ll see they do a great job at keeping the scent of their value proposition strong on their pricing pages. In this case for you guys it would be stating the following at the top of the pricing page, A/B Testing with In-Built Heatmaps. In addition to the value proposition copy you could test adding additional copy to help them by reminding them of the top features and benefits of your product in short bullet points. You could also try moving the client’s logos above the pricing plans to re-enforce the legitimacy of your product and increase the perceived value more. You could add testimonials from customers who talk about the value of heatmaps with their testing. You could try adding screenshots of heatmaps on the pricing page as well to take the tangible idea of heatmaps and make it real on the page. I’m sure there are even more ideas you could test.

  3. Hey Smriti,

    I think your second idea around larger plan sizes sounds a better thing to look in to. I’d recommend looking at conversions from a revenue point of view as well instead of clicks and what-not.

    I’d like to suggest a couple of other ideas related to larger plans though.

    If ‘Larger plans’ is the most clicked maybe show the larger plans first. You might get less sign-ups but they’re likely to be worth more.

    If this page responsive you could display more plans at once for those with larger monitors, like us design professionals who have resolutions 1440 pixels wide and above (which would easily allow at least one more column without getting messy).

    Possibly remove ‘Contact us’ until the user hits ‘View larger plans’ as there are actually three other plans you can purchase without needing to contact you guys. Currently it is misleading.

    My other big idea is make the features listed clickable! A lot of people might not know what ‘geo-targeting’ or ‘All standard features’ is for example, they should be able to click on it to get more info.

    Hope that helps!

  4. Version #1, giving the amount of time looks better. It is always convincing when you see exactly how much time will sth take you. However, I agree with JJ Hendricks point, that the sole activity o signing up never takes too much time so maybe the focus on time should be places somewhere else? How much time does it take to install the A/B testing split? How much time does it take to generate a heatmap? These might be the questions users are more interested in.

  5. I think test #1 will yield the most insightful results, for now. While the second one certainly has potential to effect change (given that it attracts such a high percentage of the page’s visitors), testing changes to your CTA seems to have greater potential to influence other aspects of the site – by giving you ideas to test on other CTAs.

    Surrounding your CTAs with Reasons to Believe (relieving anxiety points) can work on buttons other than your pricing page. So, if you find that your site visitors respond well to it on this page, that success will give you the inspiration and motivation for your next (hopefully wildly successful) test, whereas test #2 is less likely to spawn other related ideas.

    tl;dr – #1 seems like the most bang for your buck because any success might be replicable.

  6. @JJ, that’s an interesting point. I’m taking note of it. Maybe adding something, like “It takes only 10 minutes to start a test” should work?

    @Gregg, thank you so much for your ideas. Here’s my take on them:

    #1 Instead of changing the primary call to action, I think it makes more sense if we add “See our pricing plans” as our secondary CTA? Having pricing plans page as our main CTA can make the homepage look too sale-sy. Plus, we wouldn’t want to risk reducing our number of free signups from the homepage to divert attention to a page which is not converting well right now.

    And even if we test pricing plans as main or secondary CTA, this would only increase visits to the pricing page (if at all). But the problem we want to address right now is how to reduce drop offs on the pricing page. And it remains unresolved with this idea. Still, we can think this over and use it for some future test maybe.

    #2 Showing prices when visitors are proceeding with their free trial might increase their anxiety, in the sense that if they think prices are higher, they might just change their mind and don’t even proceed with their free trial. And this is not what we want.

    Giving people real time experience for free for what they can expect from our tool is like an opportunity for us to prove how powerful our tool is. The cost may seem higher to some but once they have tried our tool and understood its value for their business, they will less likely be bothered by the prices. And will instead be more concerned about the gains that they make from the tool.

    #3 I agree with a lot many points here, and especially like the idea of carrying forward the scent of the homepage and reinforcing our value proposition on the pricing page as well. A small hitch we might face in trying out some of the ideas suggested by you here is, we do not want the page to look too cluttered. We want to retain the minimalist feel of the site. But again, we have to find a middle ground between aesthetics and results of the design. I think these ideas should help us derive at some hypotheses.

    In fact, it just occurred to me that since Sidhharth tested this new heatmaps headline and also wrote the previous post that led us to this case study, it would be interesting to have his take on the matter as well. Sidhharth, what do you have to say about this?

    @Adam – You brought up some amazing points. Appreciate the thought you’ve put into this. I think it would be interesting to see how things work out if we display larger plans first, especially considering the F-style reading pattern on the web. And I have to agree, ‘contact us’ seems misleading right now, though it never caught our attention before. 🙂

    Making features clickable is something we’re considering already.

    @Anna – Yes, even I agree with JJ. Adding how much time it will take to start a test makes more sense, however just FYI, heatmaps are generated in real time and you can view it the moment first click is made on the page. But I do get the drift. Hopefully, we should be able to use it as our hypothesis for the test.

    @Ramsay – Yes, both the ideas cater to two different dimensions of the page. I can see majority in favor of idea #1. Let’s see how it goes. Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. 🙂

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