Oli Gardner

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In this 56-page ebook, Oli Gardner shows you how to apply the Conversion-Centered Design principles to build high-converting marketing campaigns.

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Conversion-Centered Design

Principle #1 - Attention

Squirrels are jerks. They are bad for conversion. They're the bright, shiny objects that make dogs run in the wrong direction, and what made me write this wholly unimportant sentence that you’re reading right now.

This is what’s happening to you right now: You’re experiencing diversion, or misdirection. My rambling has diminished your ability to comprehend what my point is and as a result, you’re increasingly likely to stop reading and bugger off to a place that’s less demanding of your brain cells.

This is the impact that a poor Attention Ratio has on your landing page’s performance.

“What’s Attention Ratio?” you ask. Good question my friend. And here’s the answer:

Attention Ratio

Attention Ratio is the ratio of the number of things you can do on a given page to the number of things you should do.

When talking about marketing campaigns, you should only have a single goal (or you’re doing it wrong), and thus the Attention Ratio should be 1:1.

Your homepage could have an Attention Ratio of 10:1, or 20:1 or 150:1. The worst I've seen was 183:1, and I wanted to take a long walk off a short pier when I saw it.

When you are running a marketing campaign, you have three choices when selecting the destination of your campaign traffic: your homepage (HP), an internal site page (IP) or a dedicated landing page (LP).

It’s easy to see that as we progress from HP to IP to LP, the number of distractions – actions that can be taken – moves from what can be 100:1 down to 1:1.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the difference between your homepage and a landing page to illustrate good and bad Attention Ratio.

homepage Ratio

Homepage Attention Ratio 57:1

The wireframe to the right is based on the Virgin Mobile USA homepage — it has 57 links. If you're promoting the campaign highlighted in red, then not only would it be hard to find amidst all the clutter (the Attention Ratio is 57:1), but also you risk losing your prospects to the back button or another of your promos — both of which results in a failed campaign.

What’s wrong with them clicking another promo? 
Surely a sale is a sale.

NO. If they don’t interact with the campaign you’re promoting, your AdWords statistics will reflect a failure.

Landin Page Ratio

Landing Page Attention Ratio 1:1

Next, take a look at the landing page to the right. It’s very clear that there is only one thing to do here — the Attention Ratio is a perfect 1:1. Accordingly, the purpose of the page is much more clear.

Case study 1: Removing page navigation

In a case study from the VWO blog, a homepage with navigation was tested against a landing page with no navigation. 
The Attention Ratio dropped from 15:1 to 3:1 and the result was a 100% increase in conversions.

Case study 1 image

Variant A

Homepage with navigation

Case study 2 image

Variant B (+100%)

Homepage with no navigation

Case study 2: Removing links and social share buttons

Unbounce ran its own A/B test for an ebook download landing page:

Case study 2a image

Variant A

Landing page with outgoing links and social share buttons.

(Though a much better location for them would be the confirmation page — who would share an ebook before reading it?)

Case study 2b image

Variant B

Landing page with links removed.

The Attention Ratio test is 10:1 vs. 1:1. The result? Variant B resulted in 31% more ebook downloads.

The exceptions to a 1:1 Attention Ratio


1. Multiple links/buttons with the same goal

On long landing pages, you should repeat your call to action throughout the page so it’s there to trigger action based on the different content being read. You can even use different CTA copy on each button to see which encourages the click. This is okay as long as each button has the exact same campaign goal.

Have a look at this A/B test for my Landing Page Conversion Course landing page:

The first page has an Attention Ratio of 1:1. The second, with an Attention Ratio of 12:1, outperformed the original version by 15%, as shown in the test results below.

Exceptions conversion Course
CTA Conference Image

2. When using anchor links in navigation

Consider the landing page to the right from Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference:

Notice how there is a navigation bar at the top of the page with six links (an Attention Ratio of 7:1)? Surely that breaks the Attention Ratio principle? Not in this instance, because each link simply scrolls you down to the appropriate section of the page. They aren’t “leaks” that take you elsewhere.

Email Campaign

Attention Ratio in email campaigns

Now that you understand Attention Ratio, consider what happens when you’re running an email campaign and sending an email to someone on your list.

The example on the right isn’t a landing page — it’s an email newsletter. The Attention Ratio is 86:1, which means it’s incredibly unlikely that someone will complete the action you want them to take.

And if you consider the context within which the email is read — Gmail for example — the attention ratio shoots up to 130:1 due to the extra distractions of the Gmail interface.

Not to mention that you’re fighting with a multi-tab browser environment, with notifications from Twitter, Facebook and your prospect’s mother.

This is why it’s imperative that we adhere as closely as possible to the perfect 1:1 ratio — whether on a landing page or in an email.

What does the data say?

At Unbounce we have a massive amount of data mined from our customers’ landing pages. The chart below shows how the number of links present impacts the conversion rate for a sample of 20,000 active lead gen landing pages:

Conversion Rate vs Number of Links

With the average number of links sitting at 4.39, it appears that a large number of businesses could increase conversion rates by testing the removal of links.

As you can see, adding more links progressively decreases the conversion rate of a page.

It's important to note, however, that these are statistical averages. What this means is that the data is suggesting there could be a positive impact on conversion rates if you remove some distracting links. The way we should be leveraging this type of data is to consider it an insight that can inform a hypothesis for an A/B test.

But wait! While decreasing the number of links on your page may boost your conversion rate, you will want to leave links to privacy policies — they are instrumental to making your page feel trustworthy and aren’t often clicked.

Dealing with Attention doesn’t stop there though — limiting actions to one is only the start. Once you’ve done that, you also need to understand how to use design to focus your visitor’s Attention.

Let me introduce Attention-Driven Design.

Add Attention Driven Ebook

Attention-Driven Design

If a shallow attention span is the enemy, then Attention-Driven Design is the hero of our story, battling against a sea of bright shiny objects. Attention-Driven Design is a set of 23 design principles that help reduce visual complexity and enhance 
the ease of comprehension.

Maximize Conversions Using the Principles of Conversion-Centered Design

In this step-by-step framework, Oli Gardner will show you how to leverage the seven principles of Conversion-Centered Design to create delightful, 
high-converting marketing campaigns.