You might be a busy marketer who is limited in time and wonder if you should spend more time writing copy or designing the landing page visually.
It can be difficult to design a landing page. It can be difficult if this is not your field of expertise. Because design is a key factor in landing page performance, many marketers struggle for hours, days or even weeks.
Design is important, but how important? Is it important enough to have a significant impact on your conversion rate? How does design compare to other key factors such as copy?
These are the questions Unbounce asked itself. We’re all about conversion intelligence. Combining marketing expertise with machine-learning, you can make informed decisions based upon the most current data and get the best conversion rate.
Our data team was able to determine how design and copy affect conversion rates on landing pages.
What did we learn? Design is not as important as you might think.
How did we get our data?
Before we get into the results let’s talk about the data used and how we did our research.
Unbounce is fortunate to have landing page data that spans more than a decade, with billions of conversions. We examined 36,928 English-language page variants that were active between March 2019 and March 2020 for our design analysis.
To predict conversion rates, we took screenshots of the landing pages and used various image-based learning algorithms. We extracted the content from each landing page to evaluate its copy. To predict conversion rates, we trained a machine learning model (or, for a little nerdy a deep-learning-based natural language modeling).
We combined the results from the most successful image- and copy-based predictive models to create a new model that compares the relative importance of design and copy on landing page conversion rates. This was done across all 36,928 pages of our dataset. We then averaged the contributions to determine the “relative significance of design” as well as the “relativeimportance of copy.”
Editor’s Note: All values quoted in this article are based on a 10% holdout set.
What does design have to do with copy?
It turns out that design is not as important or as worth focusing on as you might think. The relative importance of copy was twice that of design, according to our results.
This result may not hold across industries. There are industries that place more importance on design.
Nope. It doesn’t look right.
This is how it works: We divided our pages into 16 industries and plotted their results. The graph above illustrates the importance of copy in the overall model prediction. The median does not fall below 65-70%, as can be seen in the chart. This shows that in all industries, copy has twice as much influence to convert than design (which ranks at 30-35%).
Do you want to improve your digital marketing skillset? These resources will help you learn the essential strategies and tips for design and copywriting.
Conversion Intelligence: What is it?
Strategy for Landing Page: The Complete Guide
7 Principles of Conversion Centered Design
2021 Conversion Benchmark report
This research is being expanded by Smart Builder
Our data was analyzed using the entire page and not each attribute. It would be interesting to explore design further–based upon each visual element—-to give you more design insight. We’re excited to announce that Smart Builder is now available.
Smart Builder will give us new data that will allow us to tell you which aspects of your page design are most popular with each segment of traffic. This will enable you to optimize your pages for specific audiences. These insights will allow you to create new variants and activate Smart Traffic to maximize the conversion potential of each visitor. Pretty neat, huh?
This is conversion intelligence at its best. Smart Builder allows you to quickly create the right page and section components for your industry, audience and campaign goals. It also offers AI insights and recommendations that will help you launch more conversion-oriented landing pages.
Remember that design matters, but copy is key
Let’s go back to the original question. How much attention should design and copy be given when building landing pages?
Although our analysis shows that design is not the primary driver of page performance, we aren’t saying that design doesn’t matter. Your conversion rate will improve if your page is well designed, but not as much as it might seem. Smart Builder allows you to create pages that are easy to design and our dynamic layouts will do the rest.
We recommend that you focus on improving your copy to attract the right audience to increase your conversions.
We hear you. Smart Copy, our new AI-powered content generator, can provide a lot of high-converting suggestions based upon your industry and type of content. You can then take it one step further and incorporate a few changes to your landing pages to allow Smart Traffic to direct your customers to which variant is most likely to convert.
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