At a recent higher education marketing and enrollment conference, we decided to put marketers to the test. We asked every marketer we spoke with to guess which of these two landing page designs has a higher conversion rate. About eight hours into the three-day event, it became clear that the answer wasn’t obvious to the experts.
Now, of the two landing pages above, one converted 122% higher than the other. We expected this drastic difference to be somewhat clear in the designs, but that’s not what happened. A whopping 39% of the marketers we asked selected the losing landing page.
The results? The page on the left is the winner.
That means more than 1 in 3 digital marketing professionals, with all of their years of experience and knowledge of best practices, could not identify a winning landing page by viewing it alone. How often does this happen in real-world scenarios?
The truth is, it’s very difficult to predict conversion with the naked eye. It’s difficult for marketers to be consistently accurate in their selection, and it’s even difficult for a small sample of the actual target audience. Research shows that people in surveys and focus groups can share what they like, but are remarkably bad at predicting whether they’d convert higher with larger exposure.
Why is this? Because we are not our target audience. And even a few members of our target audience do not represent the entirety of who we’re trying to reach.There is no better way to predict conversion performance than to go directly to those who will make be making the decision whether or not to convert, themselves. But how do you, as a marketer, make the call on which page designs to push live without actually testing the pages in the real world?
The answer: equip yourself with the right tools. There are several ways to survey your audience, gather opinions, and test conversion. It’s critical to understand the limitations of each. For example focus groups will give you insight on your audience but are notably poor at predicting conversion, and A/B testing will tell you conversion (sometimes) but requires live testing and won’t tell you why.
You may want to gain audience insight and accurate conversion predictions before you push a page live, which you can do through through WEVO, an artificial intelligence platform that leverages crowdsourcing and machine learning to surface target audience insights and predict conversion. If you’re interested in taking the guesswork out of your conversion optimization, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, see how Bentley University and Kaplan Education increased their conversion with WEVO.
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