Let’s face it: a lot of landing page optimization is guesswork.
Educated guesswork, sure. You know the best practices—copy and design techniques that, by and large, get more of your visitors to convert. And you know your customers. Looking at the results of past campaigns, you’ve got a pretty good sense of what will (and won’t) resonate with your audience. Like a hardboiled detective who’s about to accuse the police chief of having been dirty from the start, you’ve “got a hunch.”
That’s supposed to be where A/B testing comes in, right? You can create landing page variants and see which performs better to validate your hunches. The problem is A/B testing takes an either-or approach to optimization, aiming to find the one page that’ll appeal to as many people as possible. Not all visitors are the same, though, and even your highest-converting variant won’t click for everyone.
That means a lot of your hunches—optimizations that are probably great for some of your visitors, but not enough of ’em—get canned.
We first revealed our AI-powered conversion tool Smart Traffic at CTAConf 2019, where Unbounce co-founder Carl Schmidt made the case for using artificial intelligence to direct visitors to the landing page that’s most likely to convert. That means marketers can follow all of their hunches, using them to create relevant variants for different types of visitors. Rather than either-or, Smart Traffic is either-and… and-and-and-and.
We’ve already told you how Smart Traffic works. Now that hundreds of Unbounce customers are using it, we want to tell you about some of the marketers already optimizing their landing pages with AI.
ConstructConnect: Experimenting with Colors & Imagery
Meet ConstructConnect, a project management tool for contractors and manufacturers that helps them win more bids and grow their businesses. ConstructConnect has only been using Unbounce for a few months, and Smart Traffic was one of the big reasons they gave the platform a go.
We checked in with Tim LaBarge, Marketing Director of Campaigns, and Steven Keyser, ConstructConnect’s Inbound Marketing Director, to see how Smart Traffic is working for them. As Steven explains, they were both eager to take the feature for a spin:
Smart Traffic made sense from the first minute we heard about it. And that’s really why we bought into Unbounce. If you looked at our account, you’d go, “Gosh, these guys hardly put anything in here for four or five months.” That’s because we were waiting for Smart Traffic.
ConstructConnect had only built a handful of landing pages with Unbounce before using Smart Traffic. Tim was running an email promo that pointed recipients at the page below, prompting them to sign up for a demo:
When Smart Traffic launched, this page was converting an impressive 17% of all visitors. Tim was eager to see if Unbounce’s AI could push that number even higher, so he got working on some variants. And since the page had already been running for a little while, he could compare the results to his existing conversion rate.
For the first variant, Tim experimented with the page imagery. He replaced the background image and swapped the color overlay from blue to orange.
I wanted to test whether color and imagery have any effect on how captivating or engaging the page is. Everything else is the same as the original.
Next, Tim wanted to try different messaging. He created two more variants—one in each of the new visuals—and changed the page headline from a statement (“Get Access to Private Projects in Your Area”) to a question (“How Many Private Projects Are Bidding in Your Area?”).
Then he turned on Smart Traffic.
It wasn’t long (only about 50 visits) before Smart Traffic started “learning” and ConstructConnect got results. Two of the three variants immediately started converting between 23 and 24%—about 7% higher than before. The third variant slightly underperformed at 14%, so Smart Traffic started routing more visitors to the higher-converting pages automatically.
Not only that, but optimized traffic meant that the original page started seeing more conversions, too.
That was really cool to see. It wasn’t just the variants contributing to a higher conversion rate. Smart Traffic actually helped increase the conversion rate of the control page as well.
One month later, Smart Traffic had created an overall conversion rate lift of more than 35%. That’s translated into a ton of valuable leads for the ConstructConnect crew.
Smart Traffic added about 150 form fills in this [demo] campaign. We’ve got some duplicates, but that’s probably 125 more leads going through to our sales team. That’s significant.
Now that they’ve had a chance to take Smart Traffic for a spin, Tim and Steven plan to use it in all of their campaigns going forward. That includes rebuilding a number of high-traffic landing pages (we’re talkin’ thousands of visitors) in Unbounce so they can take advantage of the feature.
To have an effective A/B test, you need to go slow—just crazy small steps. With Smart Traffic, you can just create a totally different page.
That means ConstructConnect can optimize their pages faster than ever. And since Smart Traffic is constantly re-assessing which visitors are converting where, there’s no need to pick a champion.
Dooly: Using Variants to Target Different Benefits
Next up is Dooly, a CRM automation tool for Salesforce. Though it’s only been around a few years, Dooly has quickly become a must-have for tons of sales teams around the world.
Mark Jung, Dooly’s Head of Marketing, explained the tool’s popularity:
Dooly makes updating Salesforce fast and easy, saving reps up to 20 hours of CRM busy work every month so that they can sell smarter.
Lots of Dooly users discover the tool on their own, then refer it to coworkers at their company. One user becomes two, then four. Before long, the whole sales team is using it.
The viral nature of the product inspired Dooly to create its referral program. It’s super simple: the company assigns each user a unique referral link that they can share with their network. When someone signs up for Dooly using that link (or within 90 days of being cookied), the referrer gets 20% of the revenue—forever, uncapped.
Mark and his team created the promo campaign for the referral program in Unbounce. The plan was to send an email to their customer list, directing them to a landing page that explained how the program worked. But the question came: what messaging would best convince users to participate?
Mark found there were two main motivations for referrals. One was the financial incentive, obviously. (Speaking of which, wanna try Dooly? Lemme grab my referral link.) The second was about helping other people escape the time-suck of plugging data into their CRM.
While an A/B test of the landing page would’ve let Mark figure out which messaging generally resonated better with his whole audience, he knew that highlighting the right incentive for different visitors would help him convert better overall. So, he decided to try Smart Traffic.
For me, Smart Traffic made sense out of the gate. I’ve used Unbounce for years, so I’m used to building page variants, running tests. It’s kind of a natural stepping stone.
Mark built two page variants, with the messaging of each targeting a particular motivation.
One was mostly about the financial benefit: “Refer, earn 20%.” But we’ve also seen a lot of positive mentions in the community about the emotional benefit of Dooly—the pain it saves them every day.
The messaging in the second variant was more about helping your friends stop their CRM suffering. That’s translated really well for our audience.
When Mark turned on Smart Traffic, he saw results almost immediately.
We had about a 30% lift in conversion rate from Smart Traffic on day one. We’ve also had a ton of conversions that didn’t necessarily convert on the Unbounce page but went to the referrals page in the product. So we’re looking at close to 45 or 50% conversion rate on the campaign.
Of the roughly 100 visitors who hit the landing page on the first day, almost 30 clicked through to get their referral code. Compared with the results Mark would’ve had in a standard split test, about 5 of those conversions are attributable to Smart Traffic.
Since then, Smart Traffic has continued to provide an overall lift of more than 10%. And remember: the virality of the tool means any single new user could win Dooly an entire organization.
Get Better Results Faster with AI-Powered Optimization
Smart Traffic isn’t a replacement for A/B testing. Instead, think of it as another tool in your arsenal. But when you want to deliver the best conversion experience for each visitor (rather than your average visitor), there’s really no comparison.
With Smart Traffic, I can test more things. Just the speed at which the tool is able to start adapting and sending people to different pages, and how quickly you see real gains—more form fills, more leads going through to sales—is impressive.
Start converting on more of your hunches. Build some landing page variants (using these tips), turn on Smart Traffic, and let AI do the rest.