5 Case Studies That Killed Conversion Best Practices

Mar 2014

Posted by: Category:Internet Marketing


Lots of talks about landing page optimization around the web, but we think we made it significantly impressive. Yes, our last blog post on Landing page optimization was a great hit & it happened us to write another post on the same with some twists in it. Our readers looked greatly interested in learning more about landing page optimization, so we are here with few more strong insights on landing page optimization with A/B Case Studies. However, this time it’s meant to challenge your guts rather than proving them right!

In this post, you will find some A/B testing case studies that worked exactly opposite to what seems more promising otherwise!

Case Study #1: When A Good Design Means Bad Conversion Rate

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the trend while maintaining the same conversion rate. In following case study featured at Visual Web Optimizer, redesigning the landing page, for tuning with trends, resulted in poor conversions rather than the better one.

The Case:

Uncommon Knowledge, a self help & personal development organization, was about to launch a new product, for which it needed to spread the word of mouth about its expertise. To accomplish their goal of increasing their outreach, they offered three free videos about trauma treatment, for which users had to enter their email and name in form.

The Treatment:

Here below is the actual page i.e. the control which was quite old-fashioned however sufficiently detailed page about their offering.

5 Case Studies That Killed Conversion Best Practices

Uncommon Knowledge prior version

And below is the redesigned page i.e. test which was quite sophisticated and modern design.

Uncommon Knowledge AB testing case study

Uncommon Knowledge AB testing redesigned version

In redesign, a simplistic urban-design web page was created which contained less details and address the privacy issues for users stating that users could opt out the newsletter anytime.

The Output:

To the surprise of the testers, the old landing page beat the sleek and fancy redesign by 19.55% with 99.99% statistical significance.

The Verdict:

When the testers analyzed audience demographics, they came to know that most of the visitors for Uncommon Knowledge were older than 45. The reason of this modern redesign being poor at conversion was clear. The older age people usually don’t have much to do with modern designs. The older version was quite old fashioned but it gave more clear idea about their offerings and product which tended to raise their interest more than the newer one! This case makes it clear that sometimes understanding your audience is of much more significance rather then embarking on modern design trends and herd mentality, which may not work well all the times.

Read full case study at:



Case Study #2: When Smaller Product Images Converts More

While it can be beneficial to do off-the-track designs, especially in e-commerce websites, sometimes, it is much better to walk with conventions.

The Case:

SmartWool sells socks & clothing online and wanted to redesign their category pages for which they hired experts at Blue Acorn . However, they already had a beautiful website, they needed it redesigned in the way that it looked unique and aesthetically pleasing. The SmartWool team in collaboration with Blue Acorn got a new beautiful design for category page as it was huge traffic driver for their website meaning that they could see results from test much quickly.

The Treatment:

From two variants of their design, one was displaying product images in varying sizes breaking upp the repetitions of images aligned in equal size rows while another used repetitive image attributes that enabled better eye tracking when scanning a number of products.

AB testing Variants Of Smartwool category page

A/B Variants Of Smartwool category page

The Output:

However the first variant was aesthetically more pleasant than the other one, the second traditional design outperformed it! Despite its more ordinary aesthetic, the variation category B yielded 17.1% increase in revenue per visitor with statistical significance of 95%, after testing 25,000 visitors.

The Verdict:

Making a product image bigger may lead to more clicks on the product, but that doesn’t always guarantee checkout. In this case, making images bigger turned into added friction as bigger images drown users to the pages that might not be their exact choice for purchase however it got more clicks. While smaller images with repetitive use clarified their mind for purchase which increased the conversion.

Read full case study at:

http://blog.optimizely.com/2014/01/02/smartwool-ecommerce-ab-testing-case-study/   Case


Study #3: When Left Gets More Love

Usually we see add to cart buttons on right sidebar of e-commerce websites as it’s believed to get more conversions but in the following case, breaking tradition proved to be of a great significance for the conversion.

The Case:

BabyAge.com wants to experiment the change in conversion in accordance to Neilson’s study stating that left part of webpage is viewed more by users than the right portion. The study typically stated that ”web users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of the page and 30% viewing the right half.”

View probability distribution for AB case Study

Neilson’s graph showing View probability distribution

The Treatment:

While 99.9% online stores (including Amazon.com) place their add to cart buttons on right side of their webpage, BabyAge.com decided to try out putting the button on left side. However, there was no clear goal in doing this, it was more of an experiment by them.

Babyage.com screenshot for AB case study

Babyage.com screenshot displaying add-to-cart buttons on left

The Output:

Proving the conventional approach of putting add to cart buttons on right completely wrong, this experiment increased conversions for BabyAge.com by 16.7% which was quite significant!

The Verdict:

Sometimes, hypothesis, or even proved beliefs may not work as good as the tweaky experiments. You never know. So always experiment before you execute. After all, it’s your audience, not you who are going to buy the products.

Read full case study at:



Case Study #4: When Below-The-Fold CTA Outperforms Above-The-Fold

Most of experts have said and even proven that placing important content and call-to-actions above the fold can help significantly to increase conversions compared to the same below-the-fold. However, this case study proved it wrong confirming that there is no rule of thumb in conversion.

The Case:

Michael Aagaard at Content Verve wanted to challenge the best practice “Always put the Call-To-Action above the fold”

The Treatment:

In his test, Michael Aagaard created two different variants of the same webpage, one with above the fold call-to-action and another with below-the-fold call-to-action. The sample size was 100 conversions (conversions not visits), the statistical confidence level was 98%, and the standard error was <1%.

Below and above the fold AB Case study

AB Testing Casestudy for CTA Below & above the fold

The Output:

Yes of course, best practices may prove wrong, but what if it’s 3X wrong? In this case study, to the great surprise of tester, the result was that the treatment outperformed the control by 304%, and the answer to the research question was “The treatment (CTA below the fold) performed better than the control (CTA above the fold).”

The Verdict:

However, best practices provided by industry experts are correct in most of the cases, stay open to experiments. It is always better to try out different variants of your webpage instead of going with the best practices. Get to know first what works best with your audience and your product.

Read full case study at:



Case Study #5: When Emphasizing Security Is Harmful To Conversion

Sometimes what your guts tell you can be even more harmful than random tweak in your landing page. Following case study by Bradley Spencer will surely surprise you if you are a marketer who loves to follow his guts for achieving magnificent conversion results.

The Case:

Visual Website Optimizer  allows you to split-test different versions of a page and see which one does best.  Bradley Spencer develops website from scratch and helps his client to achieve exceptional conversions. As part of his conversion optimization efforts, he decided to carry out A/B testing for two different variants of webpage for his client iCouponBlog.

The Treatment:

In this case study Bradley Spencer created two different version of page, one with big green “secure” image on right sidebar and another without it. Variant A- Page with secure image

I Coupen blog AB case study- variant 1

Icouponblog AB Testing blog with secure image

Variant B- Page without secure image

I Coupen blog AB case study- variant 2

Icouponblog AB Testing blog without secure image

The Output:

VisualWebOptimizer provided 50% users with one version and other 50% with another version. At the end of the experiment, to the big surprise of Bradley Spencer, the variant without the “secure” image got 400% more conversions in just 3 days.

The Verdict:

Sometimes common sense may not work much well for conversions. If you are designing a landing page, A/B testing is just inevitable for “the better one” & another thing, simple tweaks in one or two small elements (you never know which) can make a big difference in conversion.

Read full case study at:



All in all, apart from content copy and landing page design, there are many other factors in landing page conversion optimization which can immensely benefit conversion over your website, you never know which. so if you are unable to do it yourself, better to hire experts. It will cost you much less than the amount of conversions you would loss without it!

3 thoughts on “5 Case Studies That Killed Conversion Best Practices

  1. Hellen Arriola

    For success of any business marketing policy plays an important role.Visitors who come to buy that e-book may stay to see what other products you have for sale. So you should also include other products in A/B testing.


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