3 Marketers Went Head-To-Head, Here Are The Results

One month ago, we put three (brilliant) marketers to the test to see who could generate the highest lift of a customer’s live campaign in Unbounce, and identify a new audience with the help of Smart Traffic.

Nicholas Scalice, Adam Smartschan and Julien Level accepted this challenge with vigour, and Gareth Millward gave them the keys to the castle for a week to each create a new variant of the original landing page. Here’s a sneak peak of how each variant performed: (click to enlarge) :mag:

This battle royale (or O.K. Corral if you’re a country western fan) is known as So, You Think You Can Convert?, here’s how this most recent series unfolded:

Gareth Millward (@gforce01) is the Director of G Force Media Services in the UK, and when asked why he submitted his landing page to this contest he responded “because I’m always looking for ways to improve things”.

Gareth currently runs the marketing for Home Logic which offers home improvement services throughout England, specifically focussed on insulation. Thankfully, Home Logic offers an essential service in the UK which means business has been relatively uninterrupted during the pandemic. Shortly after Gareth’s page was selected, Nicholas, Adam, Julien and myself sat down with Gareth to learn about the Home Logic business, strategy, and possibilities.

Here are the high level details from Gareth’s landing page:

  • Traffic is currently coming from Google ads and Facebook
  • The primary CTA is to “Get A Quote”
  • The page was performing at a ~10% conversion rate
Click to see Gareth's original landing page

(Click to enlarge)

After our contenders had enough of their questions answered, it was time to get to work. They were each given 7 days to build a new variant and see who could generate the highest lift, and uncover a new audience with the help of Smart Traffic.

Uncover a new audience with the help of Smart Traffic, what?
What I mean by this is that Smart Traffic sends traffic to the variant that they’re most likely to convert on, based on specific attributes such as location, device type, and browser (full list of attributes here). If a variant receives a large amount of traffic, we can infer that Smart Traffic has identified that a particular audience is more likely to convert on that specific variant.

Here’s a glimpse into the metrics after 1 month:

(Note: Gareth sent more traffic to his variants over March, which (among other things) led to a decrease in the conversion rate but an increase in overall conversions compared to other months)

Each contender in this contest, in their own words, has written about their tactics, so I’ll pass the mic over to them :microphone:

Adam’s Tactics

We went in looking to create something akin to a traditional A/B/n variant. That means relatively light tweaks, primarily to the value proposition.

As a result, we stayed away from massive design changes. Instead, we tested a hypothesis that focusing on users’ wallets would resonate. And just like traditional A/B/n testing, we learned something: For a service like this, the benefit is everything. The advertising driving traffic is capturing prospects relatively far down the funnel. They’re sold on the concept of spray foam insulation, and don’t necessarily need a few extra pounds in their pocket to push them over the edge.

What did we learn? Simple: Test, test, test. You never truly know what’s in users’ brains until you roll out a variant. And that’s the beauty of a tool like Smart Traffic – you get real insights into visitor psychology, not just conversion rate boosts. Honing the messaging going forward is worth just as much, if not more, than juicing the CR.

Click to see Adam’s variant

(Click to enlarge)

Julien’s Tactics

I love challenges and participating in So, You Think You Can Convert (SYTYCC) 2021 was really exciting. After years of making landing pages and collecting leads for my clients, it was a good way to compare my experience to two seasoned experts, Adam and Nicholas.

THE PERFECT SITUATION

I entered the challenge with a lot of confidence:

  • Home Logic fit our type of client (B2C rather than B2B where lead gen uses different mechanics).
  • I had some experience in the insulation field as in France the government is offering help to renovate old houses for only 1€ (which has led to a lot of scams but that’s another subject).
  • I had perfected my landing page skills for a dozen of years, and I’ve been using Unbounce for almost 5 years now.

THE BUILD PROCESS

  1. I spent one hour on Home Logic’s website to synthesize and collect all the information that should be on the LP. (Logo, images, catchphrases, testimonials, etc).
  2. Take our best performing LP and adapt it to Home Logic (don’t reinvent the wheel each time).
  3. Improve the color scheme of the LP to make it more modern.
  4. Focus the campaign on the goal of the visitor: “Enjoy the perfect temperature. Stop choosing between too hot or too cold”. You have to give people what they want.
  5. I then spent some time on Shutterstock finding the hero shot that would suit best the message in 4.
  6. Clearly express the benefits of Home Logic.
  7. Humanize the testimonials.
  8. Add how we do it and who we are.
  9. Et voila! (as we, French people, really say).

THE MISTAKE

The day we had to publish our LP I was very excited to see what @Adam_Smartschan and @Nicholas had done. The moment I saw their great LP I had a moment of shock… I made the classic rookie mistake.

Gareth (@gforce01) from Home Logic is a marketing expert and he knows his product very well. When Adam, Nicholas and I shared our work, he reminded us of something very important: his conversion rate was at 10% on Google and 8% on Facebook, which for this kind of product is already excellent. However, instead of paying attention I wanted to boost my ego. I forgot the most important lesson I’ve learned over the years: If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. One of my biggest clients is still using the same landing page we designed for them 5 years ago. With time, we’ve made small improvements with some help from A/B testing in Unbounce and increased the conversation rate by small amounts each time.

Like I said, if the conversion rate remains high and your client is satisfied with the quality of leads, don’t try to “fix” it. Adam made the right decision to iterate from the current Home Logic LP, while Nicholas was a genius for keeping the style while redoing the structure of the LP. Ultimately, this competition will be a great example for Unbounce viewers as they will have three different ways of improving a landing page. The current performance of the variants varies depending on the traffic source but with the help of Smart Traffic, Gareth now has in his hands a great playground to test new and different things and to continue to increase his conversion rate. Thanks again to Gareth, Adam, Nicholas and the great @Jess who is the mastermind behind So, You Think You Can Convert.

Click to see Julien’s variant

(Click to enlarge)

Nicholas’ Tactics

When approaching this Unbounce landing page project, we initially conducted a conversion audit using our 10-point approach which included looking at:

  1. Message Clarity
  2. Offer Relevance
  3. Design and Affinity
  4. Social Influence
  5. Trust and Security
  6. Unique Advantage
  7. Call to Action
  8. Interaction
  9. Speed
  10. Display

Overall, the initial page and offer was pretty solid, and was obviously converting well already, but we did see some noticeable room for improvement, primarily on the design and functionality sides.

For example, the original landing page was:

  • Rather cluttered with limited spacing between elements
  • The trust icons were small
  • Too many shades of green color that does not match the Home Logic logo colors were present
  • The Trustpilot reviews had been mentioned many times on the page which seems like too much for such a short page
  • The ‘Grand Designs’ logo looked out of place
  • The phone number wasn’t a click-to-call button
  • The COVID-19 Safe Practice element wasn’t clickable to expand on some kind of safety message with more details
  • The benefits icons weren’t explanatory (no description below each one)
  • And the footer with Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy was out of place

Therefore, as we began our redesign, this is what we focused on to improve the chances of seeing a conversion lift:

  • Cleaned up the page significantly by adding a lot of spacing
  • Added a fading fixed header (via this Unbounce Community script) added to the page after the visitor scrolls past the header section
  • Phone number is now a click-to-call button
  • COVID-19 Safety Practices is an actual button that goes to a lightbox explaining the safety measures they are taking (copy taken from original website)
  • Moved form to lightbox to make the page cleaner
  • CTA button colors now match branding colors
  • Large greyscale trust logos are now right below the fold. We included a Trustpilot icon with clickthrough to reviews.
  • Added LogicFoam section to explain what it does. Included embedded video and it’s benefits with clear flat icons.
  • Grand Designs logo is now in a singular color
  • Added a new section with new testimonials and bolded the important parts of each quote. Repeated Trustpilot icon.
  • Added an image gallery of the foam to show visitors the quality work they do
  • Added in large trust logos from Energy Saving Trust and LABC
  • Modified CTA section near footer to repeat for free quote
  • Cleaned up the footer and centered Privacy Policy and Cookie Declaration

Before sharing our new variant with the client, we ran it through our internal quality assurance process, and our 3-point functionality test where we looked for any interaction, speed, or display issues.

Upon passing these checks, the page was set live as part of the Smart Traffic test with the other competing variants.

Click to see Nicholas’ variant

(Click to enlarge)


Gareth’s Client-Side Experience

I started using Unbounce around eight months ago. I wanted to quickly and easily create a landing page for our Home Logic Home Improvement products, while also allowing me to easily test different variants to make it the best it can be. Scraping as many conversions as possible can be crucial to business; so I am always looking for opportunities to test different things to improve conversion rate and customer quality.

When I saw the community post, “So, You Think You Can Convert!” I thought it could be interesting to see how others would approach the design and what they would do differently to improve the conversion rate. I hastily added my link to the post, and my initial thought was that “someone else will get picked”, but low and behold, a day later, I received the invitation email from Jess to participate.

Working with Julien, Adam, and Nicholas was a breath of fresh air because they understood the product straight away; after a simple Zoom call, they were ready to go, there were no pitfalls.

When the landing pages came back, I thought they were fantastic. While Adam cleaned up my initial design and added some features, Julien and Nicholas came back with totally different variants, and my reaction was WOW.

All the variants performed very well. I did think my conversion rate was relatively high at just over 10%. I think at one point early on, Julien’s had reached 14%. Later on in the month, we saw conversion rates drop slightly (we believe this was more to do with the ever-changing pandemic rules in the U.K; a few things happened in a few weeks, vaccine rollouts, children started back at school, our marketing was up and down).

All in all, we will leave the variants running with the Smart Traffic enabled. I enjoyed being a part of this, and I wish I could do it for every campaign product because they are true experts, and I will likely hit them up in the future! Also, thank-you Jess for your support through-out.


In Conclusion…

@julien_level’s variant won the highest CR% :trophy:, but it was an extremely close race. As anyone knows, 1 month is not an adequate amount of time to run a proper test. That said, in just 30 days @Adam_Smartschan @julien_level and @Nicholas’ contributions have generated a seriously significant increase in conversions – and that’s what this series is all about!

That’s a wrap for our latest series of So, You Think You Can Convert (SYTYCC). This is hands-down my favourite project to be a part of, and I’m honoured to be a fly on the wall as the real heroes put their time and effort into these campaigns. I’m so grateful to Gareth for being so open and for allowing us to work with him on this project, and to Adam, Nicholas, and Julien for flexing their marketing expertise and opening this window into how the pros get it done.

We’ll be launching the next round of SYTYCC in May 2021, so keep an eye out for that post because it could be you who gets selected!

10 Likes

This is nice Jess.
Thank you.

How can one be ‘selected’ for future rounds?

-v

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Great job!

This is such a great series, thanks for organizing Jess and for all the contenders, well done! So many good insights!

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So the experts lowered his conversion rate?
Was the original page in the test? If not, why not?
Sounds like the results were garbage.

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There are a few questions here but I’ll get to this one first!

@bliffy I can see how you might think that, however, it really comes down to traffic<>conversions. The amount of traffic heading to these variants increased (by quite a lot), and while there was a significant increase in conversions in the month of March, the ratio of traffic to conversions led to a lower overall conversion rate. Does that make sense? Let me know and I can get into a bit finer detail.

Good question @vramayrat! What we typically look for in these series is:

  1. Traffic – do you have enough visitors for Smart Traffic to be able to learn from?
  2. Brand – do you have enough assets to share amongst the folks building variants so that they have enough materials to work with?
  3. Room for improvement – do you have a landing page that can really be improved? We have some applicants who have 30+ conversion rates and at that point there’s not a lot to be done at that point.
  4. Openness – these contests require full access to your content, and you’re putting a lot of trust into the hands of the experts.
  5. Access to Smart Traffic, this is available on our 2017 and later price plans.

It’s not a concrete list but those are the top criteria that we consider when pages are submitted. I’d be happy to loop you in to the next one if you’d like, to make sure you don’t miss it? Let me know :slight_smile:

Lovin’ this engagement :fire:

-Jess

1 Like

The conversion rate decreased. Just by a bit, but still: it decreased. More traffic = more total conversions.
What exactly is the “improvement”? Great post, but no impact from testing and smart traffic.

You’re not wrong, the conversion rate did decrease, however the number of conversions has gone up. As you can see in the post, in one month this campaign went from 30 conversions to 125 conversions, with the help of Smart Traffic.

Overall, while it’s tempting to want to see a higher conversion rate — the real results are in the number of conversions. Especially considering that’s the number that turns into sales.

Firstly let me just say I love these LP competitions! I’m a big fan of seeing other marketers creations on Unbounce and I hope we see more soon.

Personally I’d have gone a different route with page design and content, but I think all 3 marketers did a great job stripping the page down and retuning it in their different styles.

It was a shame to see that the overall CR declined. Although we live in turbulent times, I think that the declining CR had more to do with the increased Google/ FB ad budgets during the test, thus pumping in a ton more traffic that wasn’t present in February.

Most experienced marketers know that if you suddenly up ad budgets to the point it nearly doubles the page visitors, there’s going to be a big increase in junk traffic too.

I feel bad for Nicholas, Adam and Julien. If the original LP had been entered into the test and ran alongside the 3 test variants, we’d have got a cleaner result and the benefits of their optimisations would have been more obvious.

Still great work guys!

2 Likes

I’m really glad you brought that up!! We did run these pages alongside the original variant! I didn’t include it in the screenshot in an effort to show how their particular variants performed. When I’m back on my laptop tomorrow I can include a more detailed breakdown of how they all stacked up.

Thanks for weighing in, Joe!

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Thank you Jess for this very interesting test.
But I am not used to with the 3 marketers in contest, who is who ?
I cannot measure which landing corresponds to which color
The marketers names are missing on the result graph

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in Julien’s variant I see a form with several steps and I’m very interested to know how we do them on unbounce :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’m a big user of multi-step forms. You can do this by making the form redirect to another URL where you have essentially duplicated your landing page. Just append the form data using the check box and then on the form on the second page, include the hidden fields with the names from those fields in step 1. That way you can pull all the data over!

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Hello @sephira !

I only use multi step form now as the CR is always better.

There are two multi step script:

The difference between them is that the second one allows you to have more than one field on each step.

3 Likes

This is fantastic. I loved reading this!

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What were the reasons behind such increase in pageviews? It went up over 80% from 10k to 18k in one month.

I’ll loop in @gforce01 to speak to that if he’s willing :slight_smile:

Our marketing campaigns drove more traffic due to higher budgets.

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I felt inspired by @joedigitool and @sephira

So I created a shiny new metrics overview to illustrate the performance of the new variants alongside the original (it’s in the full post as well) here ya go! Each variant is colour coded:

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