5 Great Conversion Rate Case Studies

CRO, as you may already know, is a powerful tool for maximising the returns on your online marketing spend.  It would be short sighted to plough budget into your SEO, PPC, or email marketing, for example, if you’re not focusing on what’s happening once your would-be customers actually reach your site.

However, it requires some investment - this could be time to manage CRO projects, paying for tools, design time for new page variations, development time to set up tests, and potentially the cost of deeper reaching changes to the way that your business operates.  Justifying this additional budget can be difficult for relatively new and unknown marketing techniques, so I’ve picked out some examples below that could be used to illustrate the benefits of CRO to senior management or your clients.

1. Basecamp Homepage

http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2431-basecamp-home-page-redesign

Talking about relevant features and particularly their benefits to the user is a widely observed CRO technique.  In this frequently referenced example, the Basecamp homepage was redesigned to communicate those features and benefits more explicitly.  Simple A/B testing tracking clicks through to the sign-up page showed a 14%improvement for the new version.

2. You Should Follow Me On Twitter Here

http://www.dustincurtis.com/you_should_follow_me_on_twitter.html

This example from Dustin Curtis’ blog is one of the simplest case studies in conversion rates - it could be used to illustrate the general concept to those unfamiliar with CRO.  Click-through data showed that even just playing with the text used to promote your Twitter profile can have a significant effect, increasing clicks by 173%.

3. How we made $1 million for SEOmoz

http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com/seomoz-case-study/

This example outlines the process of understanding existing customers, free trial subscribers, and customers who have cancelled their subscriptions, amongst other things, and using the information gathered to create a looooong landing page that addresses the key findings.  There are some interesting insights in this fairly comprehensive post, as well as an annotated version of the winning landing page.

4. Four hour work week book title

http://weijiblog.com/2010/10/64-the-4-hour-workweek-escape-9-5-live-anywhere-and-join-the-new-rich/

This example shows that some of the ideas behind CRO and split testing can be applied to more than just websites.  Author Tim Ferriss used Google AdWords to test click through rates for 6 different titles for his book after Wal-Mart vetoed his original title.  In addition, he tested different book covers by planting variations in the new non-fiction section of a branch of Borders, observing reactions over a coffee.

5. Human Photos Double Your Conversion Rate

http://thinkvitamin.com/design/human-photos-double-your-conversion-rate/

Using Visual Website Optimiser, Think Vitamin ran 2 tests to guage the effect of using human photos to improve conversion rates.  In the second test, for example, using a photo of a person rather than a telephone icon on a contact page increased the conversion rate by 48%.

Bonus: ABtests.com

If you want to find a case study that’s really relevant to your business, browse the hundreds of examples available from www.abtests.com.

You can filter by category such as these:

Or perhaps even try some advanced searches such as this: site:www.abtests.com intitle:seo

Double Bonus: Publishing results as a link building tactic

The Basecamp example’s blog post has 41 linking root domains.  The SEOmoz example on Conversion Rate Experts has 105 (or make that 106 once I’ve published this post).  If you get interesting insights from your split testing, why not blog about it?  Backlink analysis on some of the examples above should give you plenty of link targets.

Hope this post gives you some inspiration - let me know in the comments (or on Twitter) if you have any thoughts or further examples.

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2 Comments

  1. Hey there-

    Love your blog. I actually tested the 'human photos' and posted my results on the ABtests site:

    http://www.abtests.com/test/168001/homepage-for-wordpress-consulting-and-seo

    My results showed a 28.1% conversion rate improvement. While it's no 100% improvement, 28.1% is huge!

    Best,
    Brad Spencer

    reply >
  2. Thanks this is really useful! Just wanted to let you know that the link to #5's example isn't working.

    reply >

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