186.9 Million Visits to Unbounce Landing Pages Converted at 3.57% | Hacker Noon

June 22nd 2020

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Imagine you’re an ecommerce business using landing pages to sell sweaters for miniature pigs. Recently, you’ve done a round of A/B testing—adding a little more oink to your calls to action, let’s say—and tweaked your social ad targeting to reach the hardcore piggy people on Instagram

After all your optimization efforts, your landing pages now convert at 3.57%

But actually…even if it’s a big improvement against your personal baseline, how do you know you should stop there? How do you know that your hard-earned conversion rate is worth celebrating? Heck, how would you even know if a 30% conversion rate is any good for pages in your industry? (Maybe everyone’s getting a fat return off of pig sweaters but you.)

It’s hard to be confident in the numbers when you don’t know how everybody else is doing. Doubt settles in. Maybe you’re missing out on reaching your conversion potential without even knowing it.

Well, we feel your pain. That’s why, at Unbounce, we’re on a continuing mission to answer the big question for you. It’s the one we hear time and again from our customers:

“What’s a good, bad, or average conversion rate for my landing pages?” 

That’s where industry benchmarks come in. Benchmarks can energize your digital marketing strategy in three big ways:

They’re a form of competitive intelligence. They help you identify gaps between your performance and what the rest of your industry considers to be a good conversion rate. Our benchmarks reveal data-supported best practices, and you’ll waste less time and traffic testing unproven optimizations that our machine learning analysis shows don’t necessarily work. They help you build a culture of continuous improvement in your organization. It’s harder for your marketing team to be happy with “just okay” if they’re seeing something to strive for.

Sure, some folks like to pooh-pooh industry benchmarking—“Why should I care how other marketers are converting? Why don’t I just focus on how I’m doing?”—but they’re your best window into what success really looks like. Going forward blindly, when you could have both eyes on the prize, is just silly.

Oh, and these benchmarks were generated with help from an honest-to-goodness AI crunching millions of conversions, so the results are far more reliable than the anecdotal best practices often found online. As part of the Unbounce Conversion Intelligence™ approach to digital marketing, these machine-derived insights help you pair your hard-earned expertise with AI to create the highest-converting campaigns of your career.

Introducing the 2020 Conversion Benchmark Report

This year’s Conversion Benchmark Report uses machine learning to assist our data team in analyzing 186.9 million visits to 34,132 Unbounce-built landing pages. In terms of sample size, we analyzed more visits to these pages than the populations of Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, Laos, and Ireland combined. 

But what kind of info does the report contain? For one thing, you’ll find median conversion rates broken down to 16 key industries. In many cases, we’ve got wide enough sample sizes to sort them into subcategories too, so you can see how your brother’s pest control service measures up against your sister’s HVAC company. (Or how your uncle’s cybersecurity software converts against your great aunt’s cloud accounting platform.)

Why do we report on median instead of average (mean)? Our goal is to provide you with a realistic picture of where you stand, so this year’s report lists median conversion rates as our measure of central tendency instead of the mean. We found this reduces the impact of outliers (like pages that convert five times better than the rest) on the final benchmarks.

If you still don’t see yourself represented, though, compare your conversion rates to industries with similar audiences and conversion goals. While we don’t actually recommend comparisons between very unrelated industries (except for fun), let your judgment be your guide. 

Going beyond the benchmarks

How do I best communicate with my target audience? 

In copywriting circles, the received wisdom is that clarity comes above all else. If you’re looking to put up the fewest hurdles possible between audience and offer, it can make sense to keep your vocabulary basic and your sentences tight and untangled.

Our data, however, complicates this equation. Is simple always better? Nope. It turns out that different industries tend to convert more often at different reading levels (and some see weaker relationships between conversion rates and readability than others). 

There are even cases in which it’s good to sound sophisticated. B2B companies offering lead-gen consulting or instruction, for instance, appear to benefit from more challenging language. We see a drop in conversion rates as pages become easier to understand. (Frankly, that’s not what we expected.)

What’s the perf word length for my landing pages?

While it’s true that shorter pages tend to convert better, many industries have sweet spots that break the rule—which means, if you’re going to create a long-form landing page, you should go this long. This is especially true in the wild territories beyond 200 words, where unexpected correlations between length and conversion rate have led many a marketer astray.

Depending on your offer and industry, you may find that you need to use more words to get your point across, but graphs like the one above can let you know what’s ideal. For family services, that’s 300-500 words (if you can’t get it shorter than 150 words). For other industries, it can be more or less. Whatever the case, creating variants based on our findings can definitely be a good candidate for A/B testing.

What emotions might relate to better conversion rates?

You likely know in your gut that people’s feelings can impact their decision to buy, but which ones actually drive conversions on your landing pages? To find out, we ran an ML-powered sentiment analysis that looked at emotion-associated words that might relate to healthy conversion rates—and which might even be slowing you down. 

(Spoiler: using trust words isn’t always advisable. “Trust us.”)

When it comes to SaaS conversions, for instance, it turns out that language that conveys anticipation (words like gradual, highest, improve, and launch) sometimes correlates with better conversion rates. Or, to put it another way: as we find more of these words, we also often tend to see better conversion performance.

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