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It’s easy to overlook the value of copywriting in web design as there are so many other factors to take into account, many of which have a more obvious impact on the user experience.

But as a writer I’m obviously keen to highlight the impact that good copywriting can have on conversions and revenue.

As such I’ve rounded up several case studies which show that even small tweaks to copywriting can have a big impact on conversions, particularly on calls-to-action.

For more information on this topic, read our blog post on 11 useful examples of copywriting for product recommendations or book yourself onto our online copywriting training course...

Schuh increased basket adds by 17%

In the example that initially inspired this post, Schuh found that altering its product page CTA from ‘Buy now’ to ‘Add to bag’ led to a 17% increase in adds.

Schuh’s deputy head of ecommerce Stuart Mcmillan said:

My hypothesis is that the control [‘Buy now’] induced a feeling of loss aversion, where the treatment [‘Add to bag’] deferred this later in the journey.

Two words in a subject line cause 23% boost in open rates

In this example from ContentVerve the words ‘Hell yeah’ led to a 23.88% increase in email opens.

An A/B test was setup to monitor the impact of adding those two words to the email subject line, with the two variations being:

  • How to find long-tail keywords on the fly
  • Hell Yeah – How to find long-tail keywords on the fly

The latter achieved the far higher open rate, with the theory being that interjections such as ‘hell yeah’ or ‘check it out’ are an effective way of capturing the reader’s attention in a crowded inbox.

One word increased conversions on MatchOffice by 14.79%

Real Estate portal MatchOffice.com ran an A/B test to find the best wording for the CTA on its product pages.

In this instance, the product pages give details of available office space but users are required to click the CTA in order to request additional information on pricing via email.

The two variations included in the A/B test were:

  • Order information and prices
  • Get information and prices

The latter variation achieved a 14.79% increase in conversion to a statistical confidence of 95%. The same test on the company’s Danish site yielded a 38.26% boost in conversions.

But why the big increase? It’s a simple case of promoting the benefits of taking an action.

The man behind the case study, Michael Lykke Aagaard, said that the word ‘Order’ emphasises what you have to do instead of what you’re going to get. In contrast, ‘Get’ conveys value as it emphasises what you’re going to receive rather than what you have to do to get it.

Wording change causes 39% fall in conversions

The power of the word ‘get’ should not be overstated, however, as this case study shows that context is equally as important as the words that are used.

Student website WriteWork setup a test that pitted the control CTA against a new treatment:

  • Control: Read full essay now
  • Treatment: Get instant access now

In this case the treatment caused a massive 39.03% drop in conversions. The conclusion is that the new CTA only conveyed value, whereas the control sample conveyed both value and relevance.

Specificity and personal touch lead to 8% increase in conversions

The final case study comes from Roader Studios, which tested the wording on a CTA that was designed to get people to opt-in to a new campaign.

The initiative was called ‘Famous in Five’ and the aim was to show people that they could make a name for themselves in their industry in just five days if they took part in Roader Studios' new challenge.

A targeted email campaign directed potential candidates to the landing page, which displayed a CTA that said: ‘Click here to continue reading’.

However the campaign team felt that conversions would increase if the CTA was more specific and hard-hitting, so a challenger page was created with a new button that read: ‘Make me famous’.

The test ran for two weeks and the challenger beat the Original by 8.39%.

The author of the case study suggests that the increase in conversions is due to the fact that the wording is more specific, but also the addition of a strong personalised appeal with the use of the word 'me'. 

David Moth

Published 7 January, 2014 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1682 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

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Michał Kowalski, SEO at Pierwszywgoogle.pl

This is cool stuff, and unfortunately lot of shops don't use this simply rules. Every specialist in e-commerce and SEO specialist have lot of job to do ;)

over 2 years ago

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Julia Spano

Your article exemplifies the technology that Persado has created to expose the power of language within the realm of marketing. Persado's technology applies math and big data to the universe of language possibilities (millions for any given campaign) to hone in on the critical components of marketing language that elicit the highest engagement. Once the words and phrases are identified for a campaign, a Persado engineered message is delivered to the client. In essence, the chaotic, intuition-based, generation of marketing content is being replaced by data and math infused marketing language.

Proprietary research has shown that there is upwards of 900% difference between the best and worst performing marketing message... meaning that there is significant money being left on the table if we do not realize the true power of language on human psyche and behavior.

over 2 years ago

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Roger L

Thanks David

I develop Joomla eCommerce websites and have often wondered about whether to use Buy Now or Add to Cart. I have tended towards Add to Cart mainly because my gut tells me that it feels like less of a commitment to the client.

Your blog has given me a lot of great information. Thank you.

over 2 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@Roger, no problem, glad it was useful.

over 2 years ago

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Phil Moore

Very interesting article, thank you.

What would be of real interest as a follow on article would be some guidance as to how practically perform split tests e.g. recomendations on what tools to use etc

over 2 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@Phil, that is an excellent idea for a post. I know you can do it in Google Analytics, but I shall investigate further.

over 2 years ago

Ali Moghadam

Ali Moghadam, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

A thousand times yes!

I've been saying this for ages, minor changes to copy can make the world of difference. And not just on CTAs.

Font formatting, type set, spacing and placement impact it too. Where eyes land, where fingers tap (on mobile devices) and where cursors hover all need to be taken into consideration.

Event tracking in Google Analytics can help suss out where things need to change - tracking hovers, scroll level and loads more, too many to list!

over 2 years ago

L.M.L. Beerthuyzen

L.M.L. Beerthuyzen, CEO at 1972

Good that your are pinpointing the need for testing your (landing)pages. However A/b testing on content isn't a simple trick:

- it depends on your traffic and conversions
- when you haven't enough conversions, you can't test tiny differences, or can't test at all
- A/b test cases are always good for inspiration, however from my experience I know that just 'blind' copy these examples to you website, won't help your conversions. Each website needs a different approach for optimization.

For testing you have tools: for instance Optimizely or VWO, you can also use Google Tag manager to test. You need your Google Analytics for analysing your tests.

10 months ago

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