Why headlines are the most important landing page element to split test

This is a follow-up to a previous post. So, if you decide to read further it means you’ve determined that you have enough visitors on your landing pages to justify your time split testing.

Image credit: personal-development-is-fun.com


So you’ve decided to take the leap and think split testing is worth your time. Ok, so where do you start?

We all know what to split test

Of course, you want to split test whatever will guide your traffic to your call-to-action. Most marketers like to make adjustments to the most important elements – like form length, headline, and call-to-action – because they have the most impact on whether your traffic will convert or not.

I’m here to tell you that headlines are THE MOST important element to split test, and thus, that is where you should start. The headline is the most important thing that you can split test because it is the first “gateway” that your readers have to pass through. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This means that you will lose more people at the headline than anywhere else on the page, so test the headline first.

Since it’s the first thing that your visitors will read, the headline of your landing page offers the biggest opportunity for improvements in conversion rate. Make it compelling, because you only have 0-8 seconds to make an impression on your visitors.

You still think headlines aren’t THAT important?

Have you heard the story about advertising legend David Ogilvy, who rewrote this famous headline for an automobile advertisement 104 times:

This is someone who clearly understood the power of headlines, and how the headline literally determined whether his content would get read.

Here another example. Adam Mordecai of Upworthy (formerly The Onion) says that he writes 25 headlines for every post:

Of course, writing a great headline doesn’t guarantee success, but the better your headline, the better your chances of getting your content read and your visitors taking action. The benefit conveyed in the headline still needs to be properly satisfied with your offer on the rest of your landing page.

Every marketer would love to see an increase in clicks or conversions and we know that headlines have a BIG impact in making this happen.  Still, many many many b2b marketers underestimate just how important headlines are and how they can make a difference in getting more eyes on your content.

Headlines are a big deal.

Why, again? Because it’s the first thing people will see. Not the text copy, not the form, not even the call to action.

So what’s the takeaway?

Headlines are the MOST important landing page element to split test because they are what compel visitors to click, or read, or share, or convert. So spend considerable time writing your headlines and split testing to improve them. Many marketers spend A LOT of time testing various elements of their landing pages (button colors are overrated), but then just put any old headline at the top without realizing that in doing so they might not be ensuring that they are actually persuading their visitors to convert.

Keep at it…

If you want to learn more about how to increase conversions with your landing pages, register for our webinar, How to Create and Optimize High-converting Landing Pages with Unbounce on March 6th, 2014 at 11:30AM.

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