Using Psychology in A/B Landing Page Testing

By — 11.05.12

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A/B landing page testing is one of the best tools in a retailer’s arsenal. Even a small change in conversion rate can lead to big impacts on the bottom line.

However, it can be a challenge to develop new landing pages for testing. An arbitrary change in color or font might yield better results, but it can just as easily lead to poor performance. If you want to make new landing pages that have the best potential for success, it pays to think like your customers.

The Power of Psychology

A great place to start is with the field that studies how we think—psychology! With a bit of adaptation, the insights from many psychological studies can be used to help you craft your landing pages.

For instance, psychologists from Columbia and Stanford published a paper where they discovered that when it came to choice, “More is less.” Their study discovered that if grocery shoppers are presented with twenty-four flavors of jam, they are ten times less likely to make a purchase than if they make their selection from only six choices.

In other words, when presented with a dizzying array of options, many people will walk away rather than sorting through all their choices.

The flipside: present people with fewer options and you increase the chances that they make a choice.

Retail Results

The discovery that “More is less” has clear implications for online retail. Adlucent manages the Adwords PPC account for a major pet supplies retailer. One of their top products is K9 Advantix, a flea and tick medication.

We decided to apply the implications of “more is less” by running a test comparing their default K9 Advantix landing page (which showed all the different variations of K9 Advantix) with a test page (which only showed the top selling variation.)

The results were striking.

Conversion rate increased 233%, average order value increased 40%, and the average revenue per click increased 366%. When presented with fewer options, shoppers not only converted more often, but they spent more money.

Clearly, the psychologists are on to something.

Psychology in Practice

It’s easy to put the “More is less” principle in practice for your own site.

Develop a streamlined version of your top landing pages that offers your best choices instead of all choices, and run an A/B test to see how they perform. It’s an easy win, and might lead to some significant performance gains.

But don’t stop there. At Adlucent, we have a philosophy of “Better every day”, which means that we commit to never stop learning and growing. Nothing thrives in a vacuum, so we surround ourselves with influences that make it easy to learn and grow.

That means that if you want to be “Better every day” at applying psychology to your landing page tests, plug in to the world of new ideas. Subscribe to a psychology magazine, or spend an afternoon in the bookstore looking through the psychology books. Feed your growth with a steady stream of new ideas.

Commit to “Better every day” and you will soon discover new ideas that will drive new success. It only takes a little spark to make a big fire, and it only takes a small idea for you to make a big impact.

Of course, ideas make a bigger impact when they’re shared. So take a moment to write your thoughts in the comments below. What are your thoughts on applying psychology to landing page tests? And what is your response to the idea of “Better every day?”

Daniel Wendler is an account manager at Adlucent. If you get excited about new ideas, positive company culture or improv theater, you and he will probably get along. Connect with him on Google+ or at DanielWendler.com.

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