I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions, myths and misunderstandings in my 7 years in digital marketing:

  • Did you know that Google actually punishes your organic ranking if you’re not spending as much on advertising?
  • We should increase all bids by 50% on Black Friday.
  • Our target market doesn’t use Bing.
  • We only get good leads when we’re in position one.

All of that pales in comparison to the preconceptions marketers have about website and landing page testing. Here are just a few of the most misleading things I’ve heard from clients over the years – maybe they’ll sound familiar to you, too.

“I heard about this one company that doubled their conversion rate by changing the color of a button.”

This is HIGHLY unlikely. As with ads, the bigger the change (primary message, headline, design) and the closer to the actual conversion (form fields, conversion event), the more likely the outcome will change significantly. As your optimization of these fundamentals gets you closer to your desired goal, test tweaks to smaller elements.

“My friend told me you should never have any way off the landing page.”

As with almost anything, this is worth testing, but exit links to the main website can lower bounce rate significantly. It’s a controversial topic, but many sources say lower bounce rates contribute to higher quality scores. For conversion actions with a longer consideration period and sales funnel, allowing the visitor to do more research can increase conversions.

“All I know is that you’re never supposed to link to your home page or have your whole site navigation up top.”

In many markets, particularly B2B, additional research on a company and its products is necessary before someone will commit to even a brief sales consultation. Your main website should make it just as easy for the prospect to convert, with obvious calls-to-action throughout. However, if it’s difficult for the user to convert in other places on the website, then you should limit the number of links leaving the landing page. We recommend having at least one link to the homepage.

“I read something somewhere that videos increase conversion rate by, like, 200%.”

You may sense a theme here, but the impact of any creative or design choice is going to be case-dependent. If it’s easy, it might be worth testing, but there is no silver bullet for landing page effectiveness.

As with almost everything in paid search marketing, success requires proper testing! Just make sure you have a hypothesis to test and a testing plan. Without those, you’re just guessing.