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'Try demo' or 'Buy now': A/B testing finds which button increased clickthroughs by 47%

Posted in A/B Split Testing, Case Studies on October 18th, 2011

If you sell software online, chances are that your homepage would have one or two prominent call to action buttons. What these buttons say is surprisingly standard across different websites. Typically these buttons have one of the following messages: Learn More, Buy Now, See Plans & Pricing, Try Demo, etc. These buttons are one of the most important elements on homepage and what they say (and what they don’t say) can have material effect on software sales. Hence, it is very important to A/B test these buttons. As a bonus, these buttons are often the easiest elements to test.

A/B testing call to action buttons

One of our customers, Artsy Editor, decided to do A/B test buttons on their homepage. Artsy Editor is a premium WordPress WYSIWYG editor made for bloggers and developers. It provides faster ways to format, add links, upload media and scale images, so you can focus on writing the best content. Hundreds of writers rely on Artsy Editor everyday. Their homepage consists of a call to action sandwiched between a headline and some screenshots of the editor. They decided to A/B test that area and used Visual Website Optimizer for the same.

Variations tested

The goal of their homepage is to route more people to their demo and pricing page. Their hypothesis was that people want to see strong call-to-actions to try out demo and learn about our pricing before actually committing to purchase the product. So, they tested whether a single button can concentrate more clicks or having two buttons with different contrast can give people more options to click on. They also tested different phrases used in the buttons (revealing the price, mentioning the demo, etc.).

They A/B tested with 3 different combinations of buttons. 1) Try Demo & Buy Now for $19.99; 2) Try Demo for Free; 3) Try Demo for Free & Buy Now.

Their variation #1 with a single demo button had a 5% improvement in clickthrough to their demo and 47% improvement in clickthrough to their pricing page. The surprising result here is that even though there wasn’t any Buy Now button, the Try Demo button (indirectly) improved conversions to pricing page by 47%. Here’s how variation #1 looked like:

Variation #1: 47% increase in clickthroughs

Their variation #2 with two buttons (with the emphasis on demo button) had a 7% improvement in clickthrough to demo and 17% improvement in clickthrough to pricing page.

Variation #2: 17% increase in clickthroughs

Variation #3 had two buttons with the price written on the Buy Now button. Surprisingly, this variation had no real improvement in conversions.

Variation #3: no improvement in clickthroughs

Lessons learned from this A/B test

When we asked Artsy Editor about their biggest lesson learned from this A/B test, here is what they said:

One big lesson learned: for software product like us, the primary call-to-action should be the demo/trial, not the checkout/purchase. Because most of the visitors are first-time visitors and they want to focus on learning more about the product before making a purchase decision. If you push too hard at the beginning, they might feel distracted, uncomfortable and leave the site.

Regarding the tool they used, here is what they had to say:

We wouldn’t do anything similar without Visual Website Optimizer. Both creating the test and checking results are done in few clicks.

Artsy Editor say they will continue to test other pages and elements as well, especially pricing and checkout page. If you sell software online, make sure you also A/B test your call to action buttons. It can have dramatic impact on your sales and conversions, just like it did for Artsy Editor.

Paras Chopra

CEO and Founder of Wingify by the day, startups, marketing and analytics enthusiast by the afternoon, and a nihilist philosopher/writer by the evening!

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5 Comments

[...] ‘Try demo’ or ‘Buy now’: A/B testing finds which button increased clickthroughs by 47% Oct 18, 2011 03:25 pm In my new book — see preview on Facebook — I isolate five conversion signatures, one of which is right for your website. One is the Site as a Service signature, and the first conversion strategy is "Turn Visitors into Tryers." This case study bears out the importance of that strategy. SaaS sites have an advantage over ecommerce sites in that their visitors can try the product right there on site. Why not offer a trial? Find out the other strategies in a free video introducing the book's core concepts. Tags: demo buy testing button call to action read more   [...]

[...] ‘Try demo’ or ‘Buy now’: A/B testing finds which button increased clickthroughs by 47% [...]

[...] ‘Try demo’ or ‘Buy now’: A/B testing finds which button increased clickthroughs by 47% [...]

[...] trial” option? Will it decrease the paid signups? One previous case study answered which button increased clickthroughs by 47%: ‘Try demo’ or ‘Buy now’. This case study answers whether having both at the same time has any effect on sales and [...]

Rachel Reveley
December 17, 2012

I am getting more and more frustrated by sites that hide the pricing info on the basis that you might want to use the demo first. Personally I wont bother demoing something that is £100 a month more than my budget and usually check the price first.

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