What Eyebrows and Websites Have in Common
Have you ever wondered why you have a small patch of thick, delicate hair above each of your eyes? What purpose does it serve? Some could argue it fearlessly defends your eyes from the hostile invasion of forehead sweat, or that it was a way for ancient cavemen to defend a saber-tooth kill with one threatening scowl (oh, the power of nonverbal communication).
Whatever the actual purpose, one thing is clear: This comparatively small facial feature is very significant to our daily lives, even if we don’t consciously think about it. And, there can be dramatic ramifications if removed.
Have you ever visualized someone you know without eyebrows? Take for instance the lovely Anne Hathaway (the actress, not Shakespeare’s wife). She is strikingly beautiful with eyebrows, but what happens if you remove them?
Anne Hathaway with eyebrows:
Anne Hathaway without eyebrows:
Wow, what a difference. But, removing this small element does not have a huge impact for just Anne; this seemingly innocuous change severely impacts everyone’s appearance.
Take our Director of Editorial Content, Daniel Burstein. A rather handsome guy, but what happens if you remove his eyebrows?
Daniel with eyebrows:
Daniel without eyebrows:
At this point, if you are still reading, you are probably wondering, “Why am I reading about eyebrows on an Internet marketing blog?” Good question, but I have an answer.
Eyebrows are a very small feature of a person’s face, but they make a huge impact on a person’s appearance when removed. In our A/B testing lab, we’ve found the same thing occurs on your website and landing pages. Making a seemingly small change to copy, layout, color, etc. can have a significant impact on conversion.
We tested a very small change in button copy for the MarketingExperiments blog, and achieved a 34% lift in conversion. The goal was to get more readers to comment on blog articles. All we did was change the button copy from “Submit Comment” (pretty standard) to “Join the Conversation.” That’s it! Small change — i.e., eyebrows — equaled a big result.
I’m sure when you scroll through video results on Google or YouTube you often decide which video to play because of the freeze frame image you initially see. Well, this was our speculation for a Research Partner that had a video demonstration of a product on its homepage. We simply changed the initial video image from a person’s face (yes, he had eyebrows) to an action shot of the product. Small change, big result — a 19.6% increase in video plays.
Even changing a page’s tone can lead to dramatic results (raised eyebrows vs. slanted eyebrows). In a test we conducted with HubSpot at the MarketingExperiments / MarketingSherpa Optimization Summit 2012, we did NOT change layout, images, call-to-action, benefit copy or form fields. We simply added the words “Limited-time offer” and “2 days only” in a few key locations. We added urgency to the offer. In fact, the change was so small that our scientist had serious doubts before we launched the test about our ability to validate. Well, we did validate at a 97% level of confidence, and achieved 6.8% more lead form completions.
Impacting your bottom line doesn’t require wide, sweeping changes to your website. If well thought out and with a meaningful research question, the smallest of changes can provide huge results.
We all know a nose job will significantly change a person’s appearance, but changes to the eyebrows will too. While creating a test plan, it’s important to include radical redesigns (and probably earlier in the sequence), but don’t discount the power of small changes.