Case Study

How Betfair Used Persuasion Principles To Increase CTR By 7%

7%
Click-through Rate
30 Betfair

Industry

Specialized Consumer Services

Location

London, UK

Capabilities Used

A/B Testing

About Betfair

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

Objective: Applying Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion to Improve Its Website

The Betfair marketing team was inspired by the 6 “keys of persuasion” posited by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The book, believed to be a must-read for marketers, identifies and describes the 6 persuasion principles: Reciprocity, Scarcity, Commitment & Consistency, Liking, Authority, and Social Proof.

The Betfair site attracted traffic through various paid channels such as PPC and Affiliates. The need was to increase registrations from their own website (including the mobile version). The company’s Facebook page had a large number of followers, but they were not being harnessed effectively.

In terms of Cialdini’s principles, Betfair realized that although it had the “social proof,” it was not utilizing it effectively to persuade prospects. The team wanted to modify its website so that it is could apply Cialdini’s principles of Social Proof, Reciprocity, and Scarcity to influence customers and prospects more effectively.

Solution: A/B Testing Assisted by VWO Tools Helped Establish Cialdini’s Principles Relevant to Betfair

Using VWO’s tools, Betfair decided to A/B test its main landing page. This is what control looked like:

The mobile offering on Betfair’s landing page contributed to the business value. But Betfair’s optimization team saw it more as a potential distraction that encouraged 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.

The team decided to test the hypothesis that replacing the mobile offering with a message that emphasizes one of Cialdini’s persuasion principles would have a positive impact on conversions and increase the click-through rate (CTR) to the registration page.

It took only a few clicks for the team to set up the test by using VWO’s WYSIWYG Editor. Three variations were made; in each, the mobile offering was replaced by content designed to reflect one of the three persuasion principles.

Reciprocity

Scarcity

Social Proof

You can see the comparison image to get an idea of the changes made:

Conclusion: 7% Uplift in CTR to “Start Registration”

The test results underscored the validity and power of Cialdini’s principles. The hypothesis proved to be right, as all 3 variations tested positive for both the goals of click-through rate and page engagement. However, only the results of the Social Proof variation were statistically significant. The Social Proof variation stood out as the clear winner of the test with 96% chance to beat the original. The Social Proof variation also outperformed other variations and beat the original with 4.18% for the Page Engagement goal.

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.”

Often, we ignore the value of the 6 principles, even though we see them in action all the time. For example:

  • Rushing to buy fad products. Remember Furby or Tamagotchi? If everyone is buying something, we think it is worth buying. That’s how social proof works on websites.
  • Would we not kill (hopefully, not literally!) to get our hands on one of those limited edition books? That’s the scarcity principle in action.
  • And of course, you know about the simple “give and take” philosophy. You cannot build relationships without reciprocity. Friendships, business partnerships…all these 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.

All this leads to an important takeaway—make sure that the focus of your landing page is spot on. To get the best results, you must decide one primary goal for your landing page.

Anything that doesn’t add value to that particular goal should be replaced with a more relevant element that can influence visitors’ decision and push these further into the conversion funnel. It worked for Betfair, and it can for you if done the right way.

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