This website works best with JavaScript enabled. Learn how to enable JavaScript.

VWO Blog

A Blog Around Everything Conversion Optimization And Beyond

Never miss an update from VWO

A value for this field is required.

See How Betfair Used Persuasion Principles to Increase Conversions by 7%

The limited-choice days of consumers are long gone. Just a few clicks and you can have retailers lined up at your doorstep to deliver the product or offer the service you want.

Such intense competition is probably the reason phrases like, “persuasion tactics” are reiterated by people all around. But those who know how to put these theoretical “tactics” into practice the right way are the real winners of the game. Our current case study also talks about one such winner.

Betfair claims to be the world’s leading online betting exchange platform. Their business model is to allow bettors to set odds among themselves, which eliminates the need to have a traditional bookie. The site also offers a range of sports betting products, like poker and casino games, and much more.

Business Need

Attracting traffic through various paid channels, like PPC and Affiliate, the business need is to increase registrations from their website.

Test Background

The team was inspired by the six keys of persuasion that are discussed in great detail by Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The book is believed to be a must read for marketers and talks about the six persuasion principles: Reciprocity, Scarcity, Commitment & Consistency, Liking, Authority, and Social Proof.

This made the Betfair team realize that even though they have a really good following on their Facebook page, they are not harnessing its power to their advantage.

But they didn’t want to stop at social proof only. They tried to tap the power of some other persuasion principles too for their main landing page. They wanted to see how each variation of Social Proof, Reciprocity, and Scarcity principle perform against their Control.

This was their main landing page or the Control page for the test:

BetFair Control Page

Test Hypothesis

The display of mobile offering on Betfair’s landing page contributed to their business value. But their optimization team saw it more as a potential distraction that might be encouraging channel hopping when their aim was to keep visitors focused on the registration journey.

They also had their doubts if the mobile offering had any impact on conversions from this landing page.

Finally, the test hypothesis was that replacing the mobile offering with a message that emphasizes a persuasion principle should have greater impact on conversions and increase the clickthrough rate (CTR) to the registration page.

It took only a few clicks for them to set up this test using Visual Website Optimizer’s WYSIWYG Editor.

Here are the three variations that were made, each of which replaced the mobile offering with a persuasion principle:


BetFair Reciprocity Variation


BetFair Scarcity Variation

Social Proof:

BetFair Social Proof Variation

Goals Tracked


The hypothesis proved to be right for all variations as they tested positive for both the goals, however statistical significance was only achieved for the variation that emphasized Social Proof. This made clear that the power of Cialdini’s principles is something no marketer should underplay.

The Social Proof variation stood out as the clear winner of the test with 96% chance to beat the original. And here’s what Betfair had to say about the results:

Winning experience drove a 7% uplift in CTR to start Registration which at that step of the funnel and with the large numbers we get at that level makes a significant impact.

This may seem like a small win but when you have a high traffic volume site like Betfair, this can easily interpret to hundreds of additional leads per day. Unfortunately, the team is reluctant about sharing the exact numbers publicly, so we won’t be able to share the site data or revenue figures.

You can see the comparison image for a quick glimpse of the change that was made:

BetFair Comparison Image

It’s also worth noting that the Social Proof variation also outperformed other variations and beat the original with 4.18% for the Page Engagement goal.

It’s too often that we ignore the value of these basic principles because they have almost become second nature to us.

  • We would run to buy fad products. Remember Furby? Tamegachi crazes? We assume that if everyone is buying it, it should be fine. That’s how social proof works on websites!
  • We would almost kill (not literally!) to get our hands on those limited book editions. That’s scarcity playing its part, by the way.
  • And of course, you know about the simple “give and take” philosophy. You cannot build relationships without reciprocity. Friendships, business partnerships, they all depend on it. Offer some value to your potential customers, maybe in the form of valuable ebooks, reports, blog posts, or videos; and then expect them to buy from you. Try asking for a favor from a stranger some day and you’ll know how difficult it is to convince people to do a small thing, when you have done nothing for them first.

Another takeaway point here is to make sure that the focus of your landing page is spot on. You must decide one primary goal for your landing page to get the best results. Anything that doesn’t add value to that particular goal should be replaced with some other more relevant element that can influence visitors’ decision and push them further into the conversion funnel, like Betfair did.

Your Turn

Have you ever tried any of these persuasion principles on your landing page? What were the results? Share it with me in comments section.

Comments (6)

Leave a Comment
  1. Interesting to see this post as I have just completed a series on my blog specifically about the six principles of persuasion. You should check it out.

    I would like to share my views on this test. I am not surprised that the social proof variation was the winner out of the three provided as I believe the reciprocity and scarcity principles have not be well executed. The social proof version could be further improved by adding more of a personal face to it, maybe get a customer to write a short testimonial and post their picture next to it!

    The reciprocity principle does not highlight what you have done for the visitor to require reciprocation, could you not show tips for today’s events and offer them the chance to bet now.

    The scarcity principle works around the threat of availability. Maybe they could show events that are about to start so you need to sign-up and bet NOW if you do not want to miss out on that potential big win!

    Just my thoughts… I would be happy to suggest alternative tests.

  2. What a great test idea, running a few of the 6 well-known persuasion principles against each other!

    They don’t have to be exclusive though and could be reworded rather than concluding social proof is more powerful than other elements.

    Mobile and their apps present options for marketers to clutter offerings. The mobile app should be presented to existing customers, not on the home page, who actually use the service. Also, have a mobile/tablet notification about availability of their app if you’re browsing on such a device.

  3. Thanks David, Josh – you both make good comments and useful feedback.
    This was one of the very first tests we did after deploying VWO on our landing page. Going from test ideation (reading article) to test being executed and live was an hour!
    Admittedly some of the asset alternatives (reciprocity and scarcity) may seem to have been a little ‘under cooked’ but was a great example of a test going live that relatively delivered without needing huge amounts of dev resource and provided a solid learning platform to build on.

  4. I think you have lots of great opportunities for optimizing this page as your industry is very much about reward and avoiding risk.

    If you can focus your page on the reward and help reduce peoples friction to the potential loss then you will get great results.

    I think you might do well by employing the ‘scarcity’ principle on your free bet offer.. Can you offer this as a ‘limited time offer’.

    Also, I would consider changing the ‘Sports Betting’ title at the top of the page and try adding a value-proposition style headline there instead.

    Hope that helps. It would be great to hear about how you get on in future tests and the results you get.

  5. Great ideas, guys!

    @David, I loved your idea of adding the value-proposition. This is definitely a good testing idea for Betfair.

    @Josh – Yes, here social proof worked well for Betfair. But any smart marketer would know that this doesn’t mean that social proof would always work better than other persuasion principles. It’s all about your unique visitor set and how these principles are implemented.

    Liked your perception on value of mobile app to existing users rather than new users. Please keep them coming!

    @Matt – We would love to hear about your test results if you plan to go ahead with any of these ideas.

    @Glen – Thanks for sharing the video! 🙂

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Contact Us / Login