Readability and Positive Emotions Improve Landing Page Performance Finds Unbounce Report

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Landing page traffic increased across all major industries, according to the report.

The competition in the marketing landscape has increased over the last few years. Despite the previous year being undesirable for most organizations and marketers, the competition for clicks and sales did not die. Successful businesses have been continuously looking to leverage data and optimize their campaigns to gain more sales. While certain marketing initiatives worked, especially in the backdrop of the pandemic, some of them did not bring the desired results.

According to Unbounce’s 2021 Conversion Benchmark ReportOpens a new window , while negativity drove many clicks and content consumption in the media, marketing campaigns that used the tactics did not do well. In fact, increased use of negative emotional language coincided with lower conversions across several industries.

Unbounce’s study analyzed 264 million page visits and more than 33 million conversions across over 44,000 landing pages using artificial intelligence (AI) and created the conversion benchmark report. The report provides insights into 16 industries, including education, ecommerce, SaaS, home improvement, fitness, travel, and real estate. It looks at how factors, such as sentiment, emotions, and complexity of language, influenced conversions.

The following are a few key findings from the report.

Also read: Top 20 Landing Page Design Examples for 2020

1. Traffic Increased Across All Industries During Pandemic

To understand how the pandemic affected digital marketing, Unbounce collected two sets of traffic data: between August to November in 2019 and between August to November in 2020. According to the analysis, the overall traffic increased in 2020 across almost all industries. Only events and leisure (-29.9%) and business services (-3.1%) saw a fall in traffic compared to the same period in 2019. The fitness and nutrition industry witnessed the highest increase in traffic (121.4%), followed by medical services (93%). Real estate saw a 21.7% increase in traffic.

When it came to the landing page traffic, it was seen that traffic was up for everyone despite cutbacks in marketing budgets in some industries. This shows that even industries with cutbacks in digital marketing had higher median engagement from online visitors. Having said that, not all marketers within the same industry saw a boost in their landing page traffic. Adaptability made a considerable difference between high-performing and low-performing marketers in the industry. More prepared marketers hardly noticed the pandemic’s effect while their ill-prepared competitors felt the pain.

Also read: What Is Landing Page Optimization? Definition, Best Practices, Case Studies, and Examples

2. Catering and Restaurants Had Highest Median Conversion Rates

This year’s report moved away from the mean (average) approach. Instead, it used median conversion rate benchmarks for the industries. This was primarily because the median is less affected by outliers than the mean.

According to the report, overall, catering and restaurants (9.8%), media and entertainment (7.9%), and finance and insurance (6.2%) had the highest median conversion rates. Agencies (2.4%), real estate (2.6%), and SaaS (3.0%) had the lowest conversion rates. When we look at click-through rates and form-fills, catering, and restaurants (21.2%), legal (19%), and fitness & nutrition had the highest clicks. However, media and entertainment (11.3%), catering and restaurants (6.0%), and finance and insurance (5.8%) had the highest form-fills.

Conversion rates (Click and Form)

Source: Unbounce Benchmark ReportOpens a new window

Having said that, companies in each industry can improve and optimize their landing pages. For example, restaurants and catering companies can enhance their page performance by adding words related to joy and trust and avoiding some sentiments. Also, landing pages for this industry convert best when the word count is less than 300. Similarly, for SaaS companies, readability improves conversions. They can also experiment with certain emotional words to boost conversions.

3. Fear-Based Language Led To Fewer Conversions

The study analyzed the concentration of words related to the eight basic emotions (fear, anger, trust, anticipation, surprise, joy, disgust, and sadness) and two basic sentiments (negative and positive) on different landing pages across industries. The study discovered that most industries had increased the number of words associated with negative emotions and sentiments in 2020 compared to the previous year. It was also found that for most industries, as the negative words increased, the conversions decreased.

For example, in ecommerce, marketers significantly increased their use of emotional language, especially considered negative — anger (+8.9%), disgust (+29.1%), and sadness (+8.1%). The increase in negative language led to a significant decrease in conversions. Similarly, the page performance in the fitness and nutrition industry, which had the highest levels of language associated with disgust and anger, declined with more negative emotions.

However, interestingly, the use of positive language in the education industry was associated with a fall in conversions. It was found that words relating to joy and anticipation often correlated with lower page performance. An increase in negative emotional words led to improved conversions.

Also read: Top 10 Landing Page Creation Tools for 2020

Key Takeaway

The analysis of landing pages across 16 industries shows that the traffic undoubtedly increased despite digital marketing cutbacks in few industries. However, despite increased traffic, language played a crucial role in conversions. This is because the more the words associated with negative emotions were used, the lower the conversions became, except for the education industry. Further, language complexity, too, played an important role in page performance. Hence, experimenting with words associated with positive emotions, such as joy and trust, and improving readability can significantly boost landing page conversions.