12 must-read CRO case studies to inspire your next campaign

Kobe and Jordan. LeBron and Magic. Embiid and Shaq—the greats have always learned from other greats.

It makes sense:

Building on the knowledge, techniques, and strategies of folks who’ve already been there and done that is a great way to get results.

Every business needs sales to survive. When it comes to your online marketing game, high conversion rates are key to making those sales.

Whether you’re on the right track or need to up your sales game, studying and learning from what other businesses have done to achieve success is a slam dunk.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. What is CRO and how can it improve your sales and marketing?
  2. 12 real CRO case studies from top brands
  3. How to run an effective CRO initiative

In this post, we’ve rounded up 12 CRO case studies to help you understand what’s worked for other businesses and adapt their strategies to fit your unique needs.

We’ll cover:

  • Challenges faced by marketers and businesses like you
  • Actionable tips for overcoming these challenges
  • The results they achieved
  • Tools you can use to help you gain massive marketing ROI

Ready? Let’s get started.

What is CRO and how can it improve your sales and marketing?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a big deal for marketers everywhere. It’s continuously improving and enhancing a website or landing page’s ability to convert visitors into leads or customers.

In other words, CRO is how you figure out what’s working on a page and what you can do to improve overall performance.

But beyond increasing sales and leads, CRO has many other benefits for your sales and marketing efforts. That’s because CRO takes a data-driven approach, letting you track, measure, and report on a vast amount of verified information.

For example, our Conversion Benchmark Report found a median conversion rate across all industries of 4.3%—a great reference point.

But we also found other deep insights, like how paid search traffic for SaaS companies doesn’t convert anywhere close to the rate of traffic from email campaigns:

Average conversion rate by traffic channel

This is the sort of detail that conversion rate optimization helps you uncover. 

If you worked in the SaaS space, you’d know that paid ads may not be the strongest driver. Instead, you could divert more of your marketing energies into email campaigns that get the results you’re after.  

12 real CRO case studies from top brands

Use these success stories as inspiration for your next CRO test. The case studies below cover plenty of types of A/B tests, CRO experiments, and more.

1. Going: Doubling conversion rates with strategic A/B testing 

Going is a small yet scrappy company dedicated to helping travelers see more of the world for less. Signing up for Going gives access to an alert service that tells travelers when awesome flight deals are available at their local airport. But how do you get this service into the hands of the people who’ll get the most out of it?

The challenge: Drive conversion rates for premium services

A key part of Going’s business model is giving users a taste of what the service offers. There are two free ways to try out their service:

  • Sign up for a free plan with limited features
  • Sign up for a free, two-week trial of a premium paid plan. 

The company had a hunch that users would love the premium plan if they saw its value for themselves—and be more likely to sign up after the trial. That meant it was time to start CRO testing to see what messaging would work.

The solution: A/B testing CTAs to refine messaging and offers

A/B testing is a great way to test messaging, letting page copy variations compete to win clicks and attention. Going set up an A/B test of their own, creating page variants in Unbounce’s landing page builder to see what messaging worked best. 

They tried two CTA variants: 

  • “Sign up for free” focused on the free service tier
  • “Trial for free” focused on the premium service tier
Animated GIF showing the two CTAs that were a/b tested by Going.com

As results came in, the Going team dug into the data to determine which option performed better and would have the greatest impact on their conversion rate. 

The results: Triple-digit conversion rate growth 

The shorter CTA won big, with a 104% month-over-month increase in premium trial start rates. The findings from this simple A/B test let Going boost its paid channel conversion rate, which is now higher than organic channels—a huge win for the company. 

A/B testing is one of the simplest forms of CRO testing, but it’s an amazing way to test messages in the wild to see what resonates best with the audience. This enables strategic, data-driven decisions that maximize marketing ROI. 

2. World of Wonder: Boosting conversions for RuPaul’s Drag Race by 20% with AI 

World of Wonder is the production company behind the hit series RuPaul’s Drag Race, as well as RuPaul’s DragCon and the Drag Defense Fund, in partnership with the ACLU. This team is busy making awesome stuff, so there’s not always time for them to tackle CRO initiatives. 

The challenge: Boost conversion rate without slowing production

World of Wonder wanted to improve bounce rates and conversion rates on their existing landing pages, but with one catch—they had limited time and resources to put into their optimization efforts. 

Through its marketing efforts, the company wanted to create buzz and excitement for live events, drive streaming service sign-ups, and improve brand awareness. However, manual optimization resources were in short supply, making it harder to analyze the ideas and data needed for effective CRO testing.

The solution: Implementing AI tools to tailor marketing strategies effectively

Enter AI optimization tools. These tools evaluate visitor behavior, preferences, and engagement patterns by assessing historical conversion data, letting users dynamically personalize content elements based on these characteristics. 

Because they used Unbounce’s AI conversion optimization tools, spinning up variants for rapid A/B testing was as easy as pressing a button. These tools automated what would otherwise be a tedious, time-consuming process, allowing the team to move forward with important projects without getting caught in the weeds of intense CRO detail.

The results: 20% more conversions across all landing pages

Across the board, whether for event registration, brand awareness plays, or streaming service sign-ups, World of Wonder had a 19.7% increase in conversion lift across all pages where they employed AI optimization. 

For comparison, the average conversion rate for media and entertainment pages is around 7.9%:

Average conversion rates by industry

Digging into the numbers for each page, it’s even more impressive: 

  • Conversion rate on DragCon UK event leads rose from 12.7% to 31.9% 
  • Overall conversion rate of 54.1% for a Las Vegas live show
  • Streaming service conversion rate grew to 29.7%

Best of all, this was accomplished with minimal effort from the World of Wonder staff. AI marketing tools are a great way to support or build on existing work, freeing up more time to focus on what really needs your attention. 

3. New Balance Chicago: Enhancing in-store sales through digital marketing 

Most marketers’ big conversion goal is getting customers to buy online. That’s not the case with New Balance Chicago, where ecommerce traffic doesn’t always translate into in-person business. They needed a way to get feet through their doors (and into some rad shoes). 

The challenge: Drive IRL sales with digital tactics

Because New Balance Chicago stores are owned and operated as family businesses, they don’t have the marketing budget or ecommerce integration of their parent company. 

Online sales only generate a small portion of profits, so retailers’ primary goal is to get people through the door to make an in-person purchase. But how do you use digital tactics to generate in-store traffic?

The solution: Mobile landing pages, targeted ads, and the power of automation

New Balance Chicago teamed up with Matchnode, a marketing agency, and dove into the challenge. Matchnode started with a Facebook ad campaign but had the ads drive clicks to custom, mobile-responsive landing pages built with Unbounce. 

Those landing pages used the national New Balance website as a starting point for offline conversion optimization. They used the familiar design but focused on Chicago store locations, offers, and exclusive in-store benefits. These landing pages let them capture email addresses and segment their audience while automating the delivery of highly personalized offers.  

The results: 200% more in-store sales

New Balance Chicago grew their email list by over 10% within two months. Reminder emails encouraging leads to claim their discounts had open rates 5-10% higher than their regular promotion emails.

New Balance Chicago Conversion rate optimization case study

That’s not all—by optimizing Facebook ad spend for landing pages, the Matchnode team reduced those costs by 50%. With ad clicks sending people to dedicated landing pages, New Balance Chicago saw 200% more in sales compared to past campaigns. 

4. Broomberg: Boosting leads with strategic use of pop-ups 

Pop-ups can be controversial for marketers and customers alike. Still, when executed well, they can deliver incredible results. Just ask Broomberg, a home cleaning and maintenance service. 

The challenge: Make a marketing splash without breaking the bank

Beyond home cleaning services, Broomberg offers painting and maintenance services. But more services mean more competition. Running paid ads can get expensive fast, especially when all your competitors are chasing bottom-funnel keywords that are more likely to convert. 

So, how do you stay budget-conscious while ensuring maximum impact?

The solution: Focus on customer intent and tailor content

Instead of bidding on the same bottom-funnel PPC keywords everyone else was, Broomberg took a different approach: creating really good top-funnel content. 

The sales cycle can be long for services like home painting or floor restoration. Customers spend a ton of time researching what they want and need before deciding. 

In three months, their top-of-funnel, informational blog posts pulled in 41% of the traffic that PPC brought in on key topics. That’s free traffic—no need for PPC. 

Converting that traffic into leads and sales was trickier. Broomberg incorporated contact forms into the posts, but they didn’t capture too many leads. 

After some heat map testing, they realized visitors were so interested in reading the blogs that they didn’t notice the forms. 

That’s when they decided to try a simple pop-up offer, triggered after a user spent 100 seconds on the page—close to the average time their users spent on-page. All a user had to do was share their phone number. 

Broomberg CRO case study with popups

The results: 72% increase in blog leads

The results were impressive: In two months, Broomberg saw a 72% increase in total relevant blog leads from pop-ups. 

That’s not all—pop-up leads also accounted for:

  • 27% of total leads in painting services
  • 23% of total leads in flooring restoration

Boosting Broomberg’s conversion rate meant thinking outside the box and taking a different approach to a common problem. They drove incredible success by focusing on adding value for their customers and zeroing in on user experience. Maybe pop-ups aren’t so controversial after all.

5. Kareo Marketing: Optimizing conversions with in-house landing pages

DoctorBase, now part of the Kareo Marketing platform, lets patients communicate directly with doctors online. Only one problem: after overcoming huge hurdles to work in the medical industry, they had limited resources to market to and recruit doctors and patients. 

The challenge: Getting leads to convert without changing existing landing pages 

Because their developers were hyper-focused on the mission-critical product, the company’s marketing team was stuck driving (impressive) traffic to landing pages they couldn’t alter themselves. As a result, conversions were low, and marketing effectiveness suffered. 

Kareo Marketing needed a way to tweak landing pages and fine-tune messaging, offers, and targeting to boost the conversion rate and keep things running. 

The solution: Building and testing landing pages in-house with Unbounce

Kareo Marketing’s obvious solution was to turn to Unbounce for help with their landing page headaches. Unbounce let them rapidly create the LPs they needed without removing developer resources from the core product. 

The team rebuilt their doctor sign-up forms in minutes to replace the old forms and started diverting leads there. They built what they needed in-house, within their marketing department—no developers required. 

With the tools in place, they shifted their focus to conversion rate optimization and ran a few A/B tests to see what they’d learn. The results were a revelation.

The results: Fewer form fields led to $1.56 million growth in yearly revenue

The most immediate change was that the new form had an impressive 31% conversion rate. But the tests were eye-opening: they had too many fields in their new doctor sign-up forms. 

By cutting the number of fields, Kareo Marketing was able to increase the number of new physicians by 30%. It’s remarkable that one simple A/B test over the number of form fields increased yearly revenue by $1.56 million and improved marketing ROI by 40%.

Removing those friction points led to impressive results—and all it took was implementing tools anyone on the marketing team could use. 

6. Campaign Monitor: Converting abandoners into leads with pop-ups 

Campaign Monitor’s email marketing tools make it easier for businesses to connect with their audience with intuitive insights and automation. Learn how they transformed hundreds of abandoning visitors into leads in one month. 

The challenge: Increase conversion rate without needing new resources 

Campaign Monitor wanted to increase customer sign-ups but looked to leverage their existing content. The goal was to drive conversions by optimizing existing content, especially on the most-exited pages.

The solution: Focus on user intent and deliver targeted content via pop-up

The marketers at Campaign Monitor decided to use pop-ups to promote key pieces of content, particularly a high-performing guide to email marketing. They turned to Unbounce’s customizable building tools to quickly create compelling messages around this existing resource. 

They understood that this piece was most likely to appeal to their visitors in the research and discovery phase who weren’t ready to sign up yet but were still interested in learning more. This kept users in the funnel longer and, thus, more likely to sign up. 

Campaign Monitor CRO case study

The results: 10.8% conversion rate on pop-up content

The results were remarkable. By targeting exit intent, Campaign Monitor’s top-performing pop-up achieved a 10.8% conversion rate, capturing 271 new leads in one month. 

Those are users that would have otherwise bounced, too. The best part? This was all accomplished without any new content. Promoting content you’ve already made is an overlooked way to generate traffic and leads while maintaining impressive marketing ROI. 

7. School of Rock: Increasing conversions with optimized PPC campaigns 

With over 160 franchise locations worldwide, music educators School of Rock wanted to drive student enrollment through marketing and advertising efforts. After a poor experience with a specialized PPC agency, they turned to the agency RevUnit for help.  

The challenge: Increase conversions, decrease cost of acquisition

Everyone wants a better conversion rate at a lower acquisition cost. Still, for School of Rock and RevUnit, it was non-negotiable. PPC spending was on overdrive, with plenty of room for ROI improvement. After all, advertising for 160 locations worldwide adds up quickly. 

When RevUnit came in, they audited existing campaigns and identified common mistakes and inconsistencies throughout:

  • Slow-loading pages that negatively affected user experience
  • Long lead forms that added friction
  • Information-dense copy that didn’t tell a compelling story
  • Poor matching between ad and landing page copy
  • Frustrating tracking issues 

They knew addressing these problems would generate better results—but they didn’t want to implement sweeping changes to 160 pages without testing first.

The solution: Testing templates and optimizing PPC experience and performance 

The RevUnit team set about building a template landing page with Unbounce. They quickly established the shortest path to conversion while highlighting strong, clear copy that delivered the information visitors needed without overloading them. 

They used this template as a pilot for School of Rock’s landing pages—and it generated a 75% increase in average weekly conversions and a 50% decrease in cost per conversion

Talk about great results! The next steps were to roll this template out to drive similar results across more than 160 other landing pages. Even with the right conversion formula, that’s a ton of work. 

Instead, RevUnit used dynamic text replacement to match ads with the right landing page based on visitor location and the keywords they were searching for. 

The results: Optimized and automated PPC campaigns for worldwide franchises

By using dynamic content, RevUnit and School of Rock were able to rapidly update and roll out pages, ensuring users were sent to the relevant location for relevant content. What’s more, they could route leads to each franchise automatically. 

As for results? 

School of Rock’s monthly conversions increased by 250%, five times what they had before CRO testing. Even better, the cost per conversion dropped by 82%, representing a huge improvement in ad spend ROI. 

The takeaways here are that a data-driven approach to optimizing landing pages will always beat throwing more money at a problem. What’s more, thinking outside the box and focusing on automation and efficiency in your process can help you uncover massive wins for your own CRO testing. 

Landing pages with PPC

8. Indochino: Maximizing ad spend with creative landing pages 

Indochino, the world’s largest made-to-measure apparel company, innovated its industry to massive success. Decidedly non-traditional, they wanted to rethink their advertising approach. 

The challenge: Better landing pages, more personalization, and fast-paced promotions

The company had the resources to enable big ad budgets, but they knew money alone wouldn’t guarantee success. Indochino understood the need for a compelling, engaging landing page to guide visitors to convert. Still, they simply didn’t have it plotted out. 

With the opening of new showrooms, they needed to get location-specific content in front of customers quickly, but they had limited development resources to do so. 

Finally, partner promotions and events highlighted the need for fast, agile landing page creation. When setting up time-sensitive events, you need things up and running fast. 

The solution: Lean into creativity for tailor-made landing pages

Like other brands, Indochino was running Facebook ads, but they knew they needed to drive them to something more than a blog or specific webpage. 

Instead of the traditional above-the-fold offer and benefit, supporting copy to argue why, and a handy form to claim an offer, they focused on an editorial-style article discussing the value of a tailored suit. 

Indochino CRO case study

It was a unique way of guiding users to convert: focus on value and information first, expanding the pitch into an experience that felt as customized as their product. 

Unbounce’s landing page tools let them build pages quickly without leaning on overtaxed development teams. What’s more, they were able to create all the location-specific material they needed within their marketing team, all at a speed and scale that meant they could take on more time-sensitive offers and partnerships. 

The results: Ads and landing pages that fit perfectly 

In just nine months, Indochino earned over 800 new showroom bookings, sold 40 made-to-measure suits, and generated over 750 newsletter sign-ups

They did it all with tailored content and advertising. There are so many ways to get creative with landing pages to help you meet your goals—you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish when you zig instead of zag. 

9. Thinkific: Accelerating SaaS growth with extensive use of landing pages 

SaaS company Thinkific provides software for creating and selling online courses. It saw explosive growth over a few years–quickly moving from startup to industry leader. With fast-paced growth comes the need to scale marketing efforts equally. 

The challenge: Fast growth requires agile marketing tactics

Company growth is about staying nimble and moving quickly, especially for SaaS businesses. The market and strategies always change, and every growth stage brings new challenges. 

For Thinkific, this meant keeping the top of the marketing funnel full and running campaigns almost nonstop. 

But even with that intense demand, they needed to be able to track results effectively to ensure they were using their resources efficiently.  

The solution:

Using Unbounce, Thinkific published over 700 landing pages in under two years, testing and refining different tactics to target various customer segments. 

Thinkific Conversion rate optimization success story

This extensive use of landing pages let them accelerate growth while tailoring their messaging to each initiative and need. 

The results: 150,000 conversions from 700 landing pages

Those 700 landing pages have driven more than 150,000 conversions—and that’s not all. 

In just over two weeks, the company drove 600 new customers to sign up for Thinkific Pro, doubling traffic and conversion rates from the previous year—a massive success for a single campaign!

They’ve also seen a 50% conversion rate on webinar landing pages, with a recent online summit boasting 10,000 registrants and participants. 

Thinkific hasn’t stopped moving, testing, and iterating ideas, all made possible with easy-to-use and easier-to-create landing pages.

10. Hotjar: Generating trial sign-ups through effective use of pop-ups

Hotjar’s marketing technology is widely known and widely used—their website heatmaps and behavior analytics mean they understand what people are looking at, why they’re drawn to it, and what you can do to reach them. They put their insights to work when it was time to generate more trial sign-ups. 

The challenge: Boost conversion rates without annoying visitors

When assessing ways to reach out to their customers, Hotjar understood that how you do so is as important as when and where. They wanted to make sure that their efforts to increase conversions wouldn’t annoy or deter any visitors. 

The solution: The right pop-up at the right time to the right audience

Focusing on the pricing page, Hotjar chose to implement a single, simple pop-up. The pop-up offered visitors an ebook resource in exchange for their name and email—no extra form fields to worry about.

Hotjar conversion rate optimization success story

What’s more, the pop-up would only appear to first-time page visitors who were about to exit. The key was that Hotjar didn’t want it to seem like they were badgering users who were only in the research phase of the buying process. 

But that was just one way they optimized their approach to conversions—visitors who submitted the pop-up form received an email with their ebook and an exclusive 30-day free subscription to Hotjar’s top-shelf product. 

The results: 70 new leads a month and a 3.05% conversion rate

HotJar generated 403 leads in just three weeks and converted 3% into new trial sign-ups. They estimate they get around 70 new leads a month from this pop-up alone. Those results put them above the average for business software conversions: 

Average conversion rates by industries

Experimenting with pop-ups was a new addition to Hotjar’s lead generation strategy, an effort to nurture new leads from various channels and keep them coming back. It shows that popups can see incredible success when implemented thoughtfully and strategically.

11. Later: Achieving 100k+ leads with gated content and landing pages 

Like other high-growth SaaS businesses, social media marketing platform Later needed to maintain a steady flow of leads for the top of their sales funnel. They knew they had amazing content and marketing materials—but getting them to work to their benefit was another matter.  

The challenge: Generate 100,000+ leads to nurture platform growth

100,000 leads is a big number and a big goal. The good news was that Later’s blog alone was regularly generating over a million visitors—but how do you transform visitors into leads? 

With a small creative team and limited development resources, they thought it would be an uphill battle—until they got in touch with Unbounce.  

The solution: Incentivize user subscriptions with high-value gated content

Later’s approach was to test out what would happen if they pointed blog traffic towards landing pages that shared awesome content, like exclusive webinars and ebooks. 

Later CRO case study

The pages gated the content behind a simple contact form. This form allowed Later to gather information on their audience to better understand them, in turn letting them build more tailored marketing efforts. 

The focus was on delivering high-value, useful content that their readers wanted. Building landing pages around these offers was easy because they already had so much in place, highlighting what a reader would get out of the resource in question. 

The results: Benchmark-busting conversion rates and thousands of new leads

With their landing pages, Later was able to drive over 100,000 new leads thanks to landing pages with an average conversion rate of 60%

That’s a staggeringly high number, considering the benchmark median for SaaS conversions is a modest 3.0% (and across all industries, 4.6%). 

The takeaway? Leveraging exclusive content that your audience wants pays off big time. Being able to steadily generate valuable content and gate it behind a simple landing page is an amazing way to start generating leads

12. Taylor Made Marketing: Leveraging AI for home improvement conversions 

The traditional approach to building and testing landing pages is to build a few, A/B test them over weeks or months, and then implement the results from the best-performing page. Simply rinse and repeat. 

It’s a tried-and-true approach, but Taylor Made Marketing understood that, like CRO testing stresses, just because it works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. 

The challenge: 10x conversion rates for the home improvement industry 

The traditional approach to CRO simply wasn’t going to cut it for a business with clients throughout the United States. It was slow and tedious, and the increases they achieved were minimal. 

Taylor Made Marketing understood they needed a way to get a leg up and deliver results that would matter to their clients. 

The solution: AI-enhanced conversion rate optimization

Using AI tools and technology allowed Taylor Made Marketing to test multiple pages simultaneously—in some cases, up to 12 running at once—to see which converted the highest. 

Because AI removes the tedious, manual analysis and isolation, Taylor Made Marketing could quickly see what messages, layouts, and tactics worked best. They did this with Smart Traffic, which uses machine learning to detect traffic patterns and automatically route visitors to the page they’re most likely to convert on. 

The results: Consistent 35% conversion rates for client landing pages

You read that right—Taylor Made Marketing now regularly drives 35% conversion rates in the home improvement sector. 

Taylor Made Marketing agency CRO case study

By comparison, the average is a modest 3-5%

The lesson here?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to CRO. You need to consistently test to figure out what works best. Leveraging new technologies that streamline the tedious stuff is a great way to improve your conversion rate optimization efforts. 

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How to run an effective CRO initiative

You’ve got the inspiration—now it’s time to start running CRO initiatives of your own.

No matter where you start with conversion rate optimization, there are a few factors you should keep in mind:

Data-driven decision-making is key

CRO is inherently data-driven. That’s a good thing.

No matter what your assumptions may be going into CRO, you’ll learn a lot about the effect your marketing efforts have, which may mean changing tactics.

Focus on following the data and letting it guide your decisions. The data doesn’t lie, so you can confidently enhance and improve your marketing efforts.

Keep experimenting, keep testing

Once you’ve got results, great! But don’t rest on your laurels. It’s important to keep testing and experimenting with ways to enhance and improve your conversion rate to ensure you’re getting the most out of your efforts. The marketing world is always changing; continuous testing and experimentation are the best ways to stay up to speed.

Focus on user experience

One of the biggest themes through these case studies is how important user experience is to conversions. It’s incredibly easy to lose a visitor’s interest—make sure you’re always considering the person on the other side of the screen.

Choose the right tools for the job

We get it—CRO can be daunting. You’re building landing pages, refining ad performance, and tracking a ton of data all at once. Making sure you’ve got the right tools is key to your success.

That’s where Unbounce comes in. 

We’re here to help you build incredible landing pages, fast, with tools designed to make it easier than ever to tweak, test, and optimize to get the results you need.

Ready to get started?

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