8 Conversion Mistakes Your Site’s Making and How to Fix Them

How would you rate your site’s conversion rate? Pretty highly I’d bet. After all, if you’re reading this you’re likely something of a CRO nut. But if you’re completely honest with yourself, can you really say there’s no room for improvement? That you’ve made zero mistakes in optimizing your site for the highest possible conversions? […]

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8 Conversion Mistakes Your Site’s Making and How to Fix Them


Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: September 2015

As designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration, but, well, sometimes the best inspiration lies right in front of us. With that in mind, we embarked on a special creativity mission seven years ago: to provide you with inspiring and unique desktop wallpapers every month. Wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd and that are bound to fuel your ideas.

Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: September 2015

We are very thankful to all artists and designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing to this mission, who challenge their artistic abilities each month anew to keep the steady stream of wallpapers flowing. This post features their artwork for September 2015. Both versions with and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your desktop!

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: September 2015


We Hate Autoplay Too: 3 Experts on Landing Page Video Best Practices

Autoplay video seems to be growing in popularity, despite unanimously being seen as a real pain in the butt. We’ve all scrambled red-faced for the mute button at one time or another, and we know first-hand that it flat out annoying – and even embarrassing.

This guy’s not a fan of your autoplay videos. Image source.

But does that embarrassment translate to a dip in conversions on your landing page?

We asked three landing page video experts this question, along with other questions to help you make the most of your investment in a landing page video. Here’s the advice they shared.

Spoiler: the first five seconds of your video are more important than you may think.

What can video do that text can’t?

Let’s start at the beginning: why video?

We all know that many landing page visitors are skimmers, glancing over text and images to get a quick sense of your unique value proposition. Why would we ask our users to spend an additional minute or two watching a video?

Videos are the most powerful means of communication.

That’s from Maneesh Garg, Digital Marketing Manager at video production company Broadcast2World.

As he explained, when your users watch a video, they get so much more information than they would by simply reading text. They get:

  • A visual understanding of your product.
  • An emotional connection to your company through video components like color and music.
  • The opportunity to learn aurally—according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, 30 percent of the population understands and retains information better by listening than by reading.

There’s one more big benefit of using video on your landing page, and we’ll let Sarah Nochimowski, Marketing Manager at ecommerce video platform Treepodia, explain it:

Video acts as a stand-in for a real salesperson, filling the void created in the online world by disconnecting from a physical store. This results in sales conversion increases.

In other words:

Adding a video to your landing page is like adding a salesperson.
Click To Tweet

Take a look at this explainer video from Tapinfluence. It has a friendly, personable salesperson acting as your guide, along with a walkthrough that’ll give you a visual understanding of the product:

That’s what a landing page video can do that text can’t. Are you ready to learn more?

What is the ideal video length?

“We recommend 30-second videos,” Nochimowski told me.

She cited a statistic from The New York Times/Visible Measures that indicated 80 percent of users stop watching video after the first 10 seconds, and 44 percent stop watching after 60 seconds.

This basically means that it’s crucial to pack the first few seconds of the video with your critical messaging.

“The first five seconds are crucial enough for people to decide if they want to proceed further or not,” Garg went on to explain. “If you make the first five seconds of your video interesting, it’s very likely that most people will watch your video all the way to the end and take further action, which you want them to do through your call to action.”

Here’s an example of a landing page video that Broadcast2Video created for LockerGenie. Pay close attention to the first five seconds:

Not only do they hook you by describing a relatable pain point in great detail, but the five-second mark ends right as the cartoon man is running across the screen with an armful of laundry.

You want to know what’s going to happen to him, right? That’s audience investment — you’re curious about what’s going to happen next, and you are putting emotional stakes into this cartoon man’s journey.

Broadcast2Video and LockerGenie used the first five seconds of this video to relate to prospects and then build investment in the story to keep ‘em watching.

Should landing page videos autoplay?

Who among us hasn’t lunged for our headphone jack or mute button after opening a page that contains an unexpected autoplay video? Well, it turns out that neither of our experts recommend autoplay video as a way to drive conversion. Nochimowski explained:

This can be perceived as aggressive to the user.

Garg added, “I believe that anything which is pushed on users irritates them and make them suspicious about your product or service.”

What’s the best solution? Nochimowski suggests that “the best is to have a prominent play button displayed on the landing pages (above the fold, for example).”

Garg agrees, with a caveat:

Ultimately, the only way to decide if your video should play automatically is to A/B test two versions of your video landing page; one with an auto-play video and another that gives users control over landing page elements like video.

Conversion optimization blog ConversionXL suggests that Facebook and Twitter’s recent adoption of autoplay video might prime your users to be more accepting of autoplay.

Video production company Basetwo Media reminds us that Facebook and Twitter often use silent autoplay video (that is, the user sees the video play automatically but has to manually activate the sound), which is one more option for you to consider — and test!

Here’s one more video data point for you: Treepodia’s research states that adding a play icon to your video boosts video views by up to 100 percent. So if you decide against autoplay, make sure your prospects know they’re supposed to press play.

Is it better to use animation or live action?

In our experience, when used on landing pages, animated videos convert significantly higher than live-action videos,” Garg told me. “Animation is simply more conducive to helping your target audience understand your brand, product, or idea, which is why explainer videos are so successful.”

What can animation do that live action can’t? Garg explained that animation helps you communicate ideas with “simplicity and the right emotions.” He also notes that animation is often best for introducing users to a new, abstract topic.

Check out how user analytics company CrazyEgg uses simple animations and lighthearted emotional pull to explain how heatmaps work:

Does animation always outperform live-action?

As with autoplay video, you’ll never know until you test it.

As Nochimowski puts it:

We create animated videos but we also give our clients the option to upload full-production videos and let them be A/B tested one against the other. Results vary; sometimes the smallest detail can make the difference.

Don’t forget the hero shot

“When buying products, users want information about the product and how to use it. I believe it needs to be the most practical and useful as possible,” Nochimowski stated.

Unbounce’s Oli Gardner calls this the hero shot:

A visual representation of your offer that demonstrates how your product or service actually works so your prospects can picture themselves using it.

Here’s a video from Screenr that shows the hero shot in action:

After watching that video, you can picture yourself using Screenr, right? You can picture exactly how using it will help solve your screencasting woes. That’s why the hero shot works.

As Unbounce’s Oli Gardner put it:

Your hero shot should sell the hell out of your product. Make it clear & dominant.
Click To Tweet

Add video, increase conversion

If you aren’t yet sold on the idea of adding landing page video to your website, here’s one more fact for you, from Treepodia: according to an Adobe Digital Report, 61 percent of businesses indicate online video as their top sales converter.

So now you know why landing page video works and you have tips to help you craft an effective landing page video of your own.

Are you ready to start thinking about adding video to your landing pages? If not, it’s time to read this article again — or maybe we should have made it into a 30-second video!

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We Hate Autoplay Too: 3 Experts on Landing Page Video Best Practices

Ask your questions here for the optimization Ask Me Anything

Do you have a question about conversion or experience optimization?

This week, for the first time ever, WiderFunnel’s entire optimization team will answer your questions on this ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) thread. You have access to the most experienced conversion optimization and A/B testing team on the planet.

So, what do you want to know? Add your comment at the bottom of this post, to ask us anything about:

  • conversion optimization
  • experience optimization
  • landing page design
  • lead generation optimization
  • e-commerce optimization
  • affiliate revenue optimization
  • marketing principles
  • value proposition
  • branding
  • design for conversion
  • A/B testing
  • copywriting
  • mobile optimization

You can ask anything related to optimizing customer touchpoints, really.

We’ll post our answers and respond to your comments on Sept 4, 2015. So, add your questions below and get first in line to have your questions answered.

Here are the optimization experts who are monitoring the comments now:

Chris Goward - CEO

Alhan Keser - Director of optimization strategy

Claire Vignon - Senior converzion optimization strategist

Jules Skopp - Conversion optimization experience designer

Monica Hinch - VP of business development

Michael St Laurent - Conversion strategist

Nick So - Conversion strategist

Olivia Williams - Conversion manager

Tony Ta - Lead developer

So, ask away! Add your questions below.

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Ask your questions here for the optimization Ask Me Anything

Oops! Are You Applying The Right Advice To The WRONG Headlines?

Whether we’re discussing copy, conversions, landing pages, SEO, content marketing, etc., headlines nearly always come up as a crucial piece of the puzzle. But not all headlines are the same. The type of headline you use on a landing page isn’t the same as you would use for a blog article. The type of headline […]

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Oops! Are You Applying The Right Advice To The WRONG Headlines?

Web Development Reading List #101

What’s happening in the industry? What important techniques have emerged recently? What about new case studies, insights, techniques and tools? Our dear friend Anselm Hannemann is keeping track of everything in the web development reading list so you don’t have to. The reaction on the first post last week was quite overwhelming, so we moved from a bi-monthly frequency to a weekly frequency (for now). — Ed.

UI Mechanics of a Date Picker

Welcome back to the Web Development Reading List (WDRL) for this week. Instead of the previously announced biweekly schedule here on Smashing Magazine, I will post it in sync with the original WDRL; so, expect content to appear weekly here from now on.

The post Web Development Reading List #101 appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Web Development Reading List #101


The 7 Questions Every Online Customer Has & Why You Need To Know Them

Most people visit your site because they want something. Your ability to give them that something determines whether they take up your offer and your landing page converts. A while back, I talked about the importance of reading your customers’ minds to improve conversions, but you can go one better, by understanding not just their […]

The post The 7 Questions Every Online Customer Has & Why You Need To Know Them appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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The 7 Questions Every Online Customer Has & Why You Need To Know Them

How We Designed And Built Our First Apple Watch App

One sunny morning in the summer of 2014, I was sitting in a café having just finished an hour-long call with my remote team. Scheduling that call had been a messy exercise: we live in different time zones and it was hard to find a time that worked for everyone. I wanted to make dealing with time zone differences less painful.

How We Designed And Built Our First Apple Watch App

I had some free time on my hands, so I pulled my notebook out and started playing around with an iWatch app idea. Yeah, you read that right — 2014 and iWatch, before a watch had ever been announced.

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How We Designed And Built Our First Apple Watch App

An Ex-Google Employee on How to Get the Most from Your AdWords Account Manager

If you’re marketing your business with Google AdWords, chances are good that you receive 100 calls a week from people telling you how they can transform your business by managing your AdWords account.

You’ve probably received so many of these calls that you’ve thought about smashing your phone into a million pieces, flying to Tahiti and forgetting this whole advertising thing ever happened.


I’m going to let you in on a little secret. While the majority of these calls are not worth your time, you’re most likely screening one or two that will actually help you truly transform your business. The best part? These calls will cost you nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

This may be a good time to let you know that I was once the person responsible for making these crazy phone calls. As an Account Manager on the AdWords team at Google, I helped thousands of businesses better understand their digital advertising (for free). This post will highlight what to expect after getting in touch with your Google AdWords Account Manager, and the tips and tricks you can use to make the best use of your time with them.

Let’s dive in.

Is this really Google?

Hands down, the most common question I would get from advertisers was, “Is this really Google?” To be honest, it’s really the best first question you can ask. You wouldn’t randomly expose sensitive bank account information to a stranger on the phone, and you should be equally as careful with your AdWords account data

There are two really good ways for your Account Manager to prove they are who they say they are. The first way is to ask them to confirm your unique Customer ID (CID) number. You can find this number on the top right hand side of your AdWords dashboard.


The second way to confirm that your Account Manager actually works at Google is to have them send you an email from their corporate email account. All emails from Google employees will come from a “xyz123@google.com” email address.

Okay Google, how can you help me?

Now that you know the person you’re talking to actually works for Google, we can dig into the meat and potatoes of the phone call. A typical call with an Account Manager will last for a strict hour, no more and no less, and will cover three specific sections: review, build and optimize. Let’s dig a little deeper into these.

1. Review

Expect to spend the first 30 minutes of your call chatting about your business, your goals for AdWords and reviewing the existing data in your account.

The advertisers that get the most value out of these conversations all take a similar approach to this section of the call. Here are some things they all have in common:

  • They take notes: Make sure you take notes throughout the call. This will help you review the results from the changes you made during your next meeting.
  • They ask questions: Dig into why some campaigns are performing well and others are performing terribly. This will help spark ideas for the optimization section of the call.
  • They follow up later: Be sure to get your Manager’s contact information within the first five minutes of your conversation. Most people don’t take advantage of a follow-up call, but it is the best way to see the results from your optimization efforts.

It’s important to note that Google Account Managers work with advertisers at varying skill levels. This means they will try to get a feel for your savviness within the first few minutes of the call. The best way to avoid this little dance is to simply explain the improvements to your account you’re trying to achieve during the conversation.

Most Managers have good lie detectors, so don’t ask for advanced tools and beta access if you don’t know how to enable Sitelinks or adjust your mobile bids.

2. Optimize

Once your Manager has a good understanding of your business and what you’re trying to accomplish with AdWords, you can begin to work together to optimize your campaigns. This is the most valuable time you will spend with your Manager — I would highly recommend spending at least 20 minutes optimizing.

Your Manager will have some suggestions on what needs to be tweaked, so don’t freak out if you come to the conversation with little direction. If you want a little more control over the call, below is a cheat sheet of things you should have them walk you through. These areas, when optimized, will help you save money and see a better ROI over time.

  • Search Terms Report
  • Auction Insights Report
  • Bid Adjustment via Device
  • Bid Adjustment via Location
  • Bid Adjustment via Day of the Week
  • Keywords Page / Bid Optimization
  • Conversion Tracking
The location of the Search Terms and Auction Insights report.

Listen to the optimization suggestions your Manager gives you, but don’t take their word as gospel. Not all Managers are created equal, even at Google. I highly suggest asking as many questions as you can before making any change in your account.

Understand why they are making the suggestion and have them sell you on why it’s the best fit for your business.

3. Build

The dirty little secret most Managers won’t tell you upfront is that they can rebuild any of your campaigns from the ground up to help increase performance. For free. Take advantage of this! It’s a good use of the last five minutes of your call, and is basically risk-free if you follow the instructions below:

  • Select the worst-performing campaign in your account
  • Tell your Manager that you want them to re-build that campaign for you
  • Discuss potential new strategies with your Manager
  • Take notes to outline the proposed changes
  • Tell the Manager you do not want the campaign to go live without your approval

It will take a couple of days for your Manager to build your new campaign from scratch, so it’s important to schedule a time to follow up. Make sure you have them walk you through the changes made. If everything looks good, pause the original campaign and enable the new campaign.


Run the new campaign for a four week test or until you achieve statistical significance. Once the test is over, compare your baseline metrics with your old campaign and continue using the campaign with the best performance.

What about those betas?

The coolest perk to take advantage of during your conversation with your Account Manager is gaining access to AdWords beta testing programs before everyone else.

Betas are new AdWords features that are not available to the public and are tested with a very small number of advertisers.

Various ad extensions, Gmail ads, and others have gone through some version of the beta program.

There are a few boxes you need to check off to gain access to new betas:

  • Make sure you stay in contact with your Account Manager
  • Tell them you are interested in experimenting with new betas
  • Give them a reason why your business is a good fit for the specific beta you’re interested in exploring
  • Have a “healthy” test budget to spend on the beta

While there is no hard number that indicates a “healthy” test budget, $500-$1000 in spend per day should get you through the threshold. Also note that some betas have firm restrictions that you must meet to gain access, such as vertical limitations or a minimum spend required. Work with your Account Manager to ensure a mutually beneficial fit.

What if I don’t get a call from a Manager?

Although working with a dedicated Account Manager is beneficial for all the reasons mentioned above, you shouldn’t freak out if you don’t get a call from Google. At the end of the day, there aren’t enough Account Managers to cover the entire playing field of AdWords advertisers.

Good news is, you’re not totally out of luck. Google has a team of Managers that are responsible for handling inbound account inquiries, optimization requests and all of the other things mentioned in this post. You can contact them at 1-866-2Google, but be warned, wait times can creep into the 15-20 minute range during busy times of the day.

Let’s do this

Now that you have a clearer understanding of your relationship between your business, your ads and your Google support team, it’s time to get on the phone and start getting some of those burning questions answered. Remember, as your campaigns grow over time, you want to exhaust Google’s resources to optimize your ad dollars.

If you have stories to share about your AdWords Manager or have questions about advertising with Adwords, feel free to tee me up in the comments below!


An Ex-Google Employee on How to Get the Most from Your AdWords Account Manager

How to Reduce Landing Page Distractions and Increase Conversions

More options means a higher chance of converting, right? Stick an extra button here, make another offer there and your prospects are certain to find something they want on your landing page. Judging from the huge number of ‘busy’ landing pages I come across, I’d say it’s a belief that’s shared by a huge number […]

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How to Reduce Landing Page Distractions and Increase Conversions