What to Do When A/B Testing No Longer Yields Results

Why aren’t people completing your lead gen form or buying?

If you’ve been optimizing your landing pages and experimenting with marketing offers, but see flat or minimal gains, it might be time to talk to your audience and get inside their heads.

There are several different ways to figure out why your landing page is repelling your prospects or how to pivot your strategy.

Here are 5 ideas:

1. Watch users react to your landing page

Recruit people who match your target audience and are currently in the market for whatever you’re offering. Next, observe how they behave on your landing page after they click from a…

  • Email promotion
  • Display ad
  • Paid search ad

Ask your research participant to think aloud while they interact and read the information on the ad and landing page.

Ask follow-up questions, such as:

  • Does the website meet your expectations based on what you saw in the ad?
  • Do you trust this company? Why or why not?
  • What this page is promoting?
  • Is there any information here that is confusing or missing?
  • Do the fields in the form make sense?

Repeat this process with competitor ads and corresponding landing pages.

2. Talk to leads/customers to find out why they completed your form or purchased

Recruit people who recently completed your lead gen form or purchased your widget. By recently, I mean in the past few seconds (or few hours at most) — you want the experience to be super fresh in their mind.

Interview research participants individually, and have them describe to you…

  • What triggered their visit to your website that day (e.g., ad, search)
  • What problem they’re trying to solve
  • What other solutions they’ve researched or considered
  • Who they trust or what trust cues they look for
  • Why they completed your lead gen form or purchased
  • If they received what they wanted from your organization
  • If they visited any competitors, and what those experiences were like

3. Survey leads/customers to learn who they are & what they need

Talking one-on-one with your prospects will give you deep insights into their needs, perceptions, and behaviors. Supplement your qualitative research with a survey to validate and size these insights.

If you use multiple marketing channels, it might be useful to find out if there are any differences between each audience. For example, you might discover Facebook ads are driving a significantly older audience than your paid search channel, or they are at a different point in the sales funnel.

Use the survey to ask leads/customers to rank trust indicators or offers.

4. Follow prospects around while they shop

Recruit people who match your target audience and are currently in the market for what you’re offering. Next, ask them to document their research or shopping activities into a digital diary over a period of time (e.g., one weekend, several weeks).

Alternatively, there are tools you can have research participants download to their phones or computers that automatically record the websites they visit.

*In both cases, you will capture observations that may or may not include the specific landing page(s) in question due to the organic nature of a diary study. However, the findings will likely still help inform how to improve your landing page experience.

5. Ask leads/customers to rate concepts

Recruit recent leads, customers, and/or target audience, and then have them give feedback about your landing page ideas:

  • Which headlines are most compelling
  • Which trust indicators are most compelling
  • Which marketing offers are most compelling
  • Which types of information or formats are most useful
  • Which videos or photography are most compelling

You could have participants rate each concept individually, rank all concepts from best to worst, or choose the best among all concepts. Concepts can be written descriptions, sketches, or fleshed out designs.

Depending on which research methodology you choose (focus group, survey, interview), also try to find out WHY they’re attracted or repelled to each concept.

In summary

A/B testing is a great way to generate incremental revenue or leads, but talking to and observing your target audience can help you leapfrog to even bigger gains.

Related Articles

How to Conduct Concept Tests Quickly + Cheaply
The Pros + Cons of Using Google Docs for Diary Studies
28 User Research Methods

Author: Kristine Remer

Kristine Remer is an independent UX researcher & strategist in Minneapolis. Connect on Twitter @kristineremer