It’s not about making your buttons green, blue or red. It’s not about keeping the copy as short as possible. It’s not about having everything above the page fold.

It’s not about the latest ‘one weird tip to improve conversion’.
It’s about Context.

It’s easy to get caught up in case studies reading how ‘X colour was more effective‘ or ‘We improved form conversion by reducing the amount of inputs‘. In reality, the essential thing is context. One website may have found a colour more effective for conversion because it was constrast to their website colour theme. Likewise, the site that found form conversion went up when they reduced input fields, but at the cost of qualified leads.

Most importantly, it ultimately shouldn’t be about aesthetic context. Pretty colours and big CTA’s will only go so far if your copy is poor. It needs to be about understanding the intent of your typical users. You should be considering and answering questions like ‘What are our users trying to accomplish, and why?’ ‘Is our funnel clear for our users? Are they getting lost?‘ It needs to be about determining your users unique intents, desires and predisposed doubts, and adjusting accordingly.

One thing is for certain there is a high demand for PHP developers and a vast supply of skilled developers out there. 21% of developer jobs on the popular US site Craigslist were for PHP projects, and in 2011 PHP developers were found on a total of 18,950 LinkedIn profiles, compared to only 138 job listings for ruby on rails and only 720 rails developers found on LinkedIn.

It will not be until Rails has matured like a fine wine like PHP that it can be measured as a better, reliable programming language. It’s current support base, skill shortage and expense still poses somewhat of a risk to any new start-up thinking about developing in Ruby on Rails, in my humble opinion.

3 Real Cases of Improving Conversion Based on Context:

What’s Going to Happen with my Private Details?

Ever worked in an industry that suffers from stigma? People need confidence and conviction in a brand before handing over their personal details. If they have any concerns about you, they’ll be unlikely to convert.

For one of our clients in the professional finances industry, we determined that users were particularly concerned about the privacy of their details. We trialed drastic and subtle changes to copy, design and layout with negligible differences.

What Improved Conversion?

A clear presentation of the companies privacy policy and disclaimer in plain sight near our call to action. My assumption would be that it wouldn’t even matter what you wrote in the disclaimer – While our client’s privacy policy was genuine, it felt like the fact that is was being shown in broad daylight would suggest to users you have nothing to hide … a bit like McDonald’s nutritional/calorie information. The new version performed +5.85% better for lead enquiries.

More CTA’s ≠ More Leads

One of our clients operate in a fiercely competitive industry where even the slightest improvement in conversion makes a huge different to ROI. Similar to case one, there also may be factors of issues with trust.

While we generally introduce only one element at a time for A/B split testing, one element we did not consider at the time was the frequency of the CTA. We had three: One above the page fold, in the center of the content, and in the footer.

What Improved Conversion?

We trialed removing 2/3 of the in-content CTA’s above the page fold and in the center of the content. Conversions notably improved and we determined that user trust was being jeopardised by pushing our call to actions too aggressively. ‘Why does this company seem so desperate for me to contact them?’ ‘Is there something dodgy about this?’ In this context, allowing the user to read through the copy in peace and be presented with one solid CTA at the end resulted in an improvement in lead conversion. The new version below performed +6.30% better with 94.2% statistical confidence.

I Don’t Want to Call You

We found a case of catering to user intent from the real estate industry. On the website’s property listings, the control CTA was a button labelled ‘Call Agent’. We determined that ‘Calling’ may be too much of a time commitment for property browsers. Not everyone necessarily wanted to organise an inspection or speak to an agent at length – They might of simply had a casual enquiry they didn’t feel was worth bothering the agent about.

What Made the Difference?
Trialing the button label ‘Email Agent’ verse ‘Call Agent’ found a significant improvement in online enquiries. Not only did enquiries increase as users did not feel obliged to only enquire if they felt their enquiry was worthy enough, but the agent’s preferred receiving their leads via email. Would this work for every client? Not necessarily – Some industries and their users don’t have the time to email and sit around waiting for an indefinite response. They need immediate action and want to call. Likewise, there would be industries where sales staff would much prefer to immediately speak to prospective leads over the phone rather than email.
In this case however, it was a win-win. The results? A +19.01% improvement with 95% confidence.