Marketers, rejoice. Unbounce just released its 2020 Landing Page Conversion Benchmark report—a goldmine of high-level insights that reveal the secret sauce for conversion rate optimization (CRO) across different industries.
Let’s get one thing straight—the report is quite extensive.
I took the liberty of extracting the insights for SaaS companies and agencies and compressing everything into a compact guide.
If you’re a SaaS marketer or a digital marketing agency owner/employee, keep reading.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- What the 2020 Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report is all about
- Key takeaways for the SaaS industry
- Key takeaways for agencies
Let’s dive right in.
What is the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report?
The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report 2020 is a comprehensive analysis of the conversion potential of landing pages across 16 different industries. The purpose of this report is to show businesses how they fare against their competitors within their respective industries and take out any guesswork from the equation.
Using machine learning analysis, the folks at Unbounce studied over 186 million visits and 19 million conversions on 34 thousand landing pages.
Good God… that’s a lot! You just can’t replicate this stuff.
The industries that were used for this analysis include:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Business services
- Finance and Insurance
- eCommerce sites
- Events and Leisure
- Real Estate
- Medical Practitioners
- Catering and Restaurants
- Family Support
- Fitness and Nutrition
- Media and Entertainment
- Home improvement
In case you’re wondering—yes, the total number of landing pages varied from industry to industry.
Here’s a visualization of the percentage of web pages that were analyzed by industry:
How was the Report Created?
It took months, a lot of machine learning, and (I’m assuming) hundreds of cups of coffees to generate this report. The data for this 2020 report was gathered between October 2018 and October 2019, analyzed with love, and then transformed into the badass report we see today.
The shortlisted landing pages were matched to those 16 industries from the North American Industry Classification System and the Global Industry Classification Standard.
To deliver accurate results, the marketers at Unbounce took the following steps:
- Filtered out categories, such as political landing pages, sweepstakes, etc. that would have skewed the data.
- Excluded industries and subcategories with less than 400 landing pages.
- Filtered out categories with no conversions or less than 500 website visitors.
I’m not going to bore you with the scientific methods used for this analysis, but if you’re a stats nerd, you can check out their analysis methodology.
The Report at a Glance
Before I dive into the key findings and takeaways for SaaS and agencies, here’s a quick snapshot of the conversion rates by industries:
Additionally, here are some interesting findings that provide a quick overview of the entire report:
- The average/mean conversion rate across all industries was 9.7%.
- The top performers (in the top 25th percentile) had a median conversion rate of 25%.
- Lead generation/Form-type landing pages were the most common (62.6% of the total pages analyzed).
- Medical practitioners use fear-related words (we’ve all been diagnosed with cancer by a Google search result at least once in our lives), finance folks strive to appear more trustworthy (because it’s YMYL, baby), whereas legal practitioners try to invoke anger.
- For most industries, click-through landing pages (standard landing pages with CTAs/hypertext that usually lead to a purchase/conversion page) worked remarkably well.
- In terms of word count, the Fitness and Nutrition industry takes the cake (pun intended), whereas Media and Entertainment pages used the fewest words.
Do the figures provide anything of value on their own?
Unless you go knee-deep into the specifics of your industry (such as what type of words to use, which sentiment to stick to, what type of landing pages to use, etc.), those numbers really don’t do much.
At this point—if you’re a SaaS business owner/marketer or an internet marketing/CRO agency person, keep reading. If you don’t tick any of those boxes, I suggest heading over to the original report to go over the key findings for your industry.
SaaS Folks—Here’s Everything You Need to Know
SaaS landing pages made up 10% of the total landing pages that were analyzed for this report.
But what were the key findings for this industry?
Is it ample social proof in the form of testimonials and case studies? Could it be the positioning of the CTA buttons that drives website conversions?
Or is the overall website design and the quality of popups that matter most to your target audience?
While all of those factors are critical starting points, they don’t specifically apply to SaaS (and not the focus of this report).
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the key findings and some actionable tips that you can apply to your conversion rate optimization strategy today.
Key Findings for SaaS
Here are all of the key findings for SaaS marketers—compiled into a single list:
- Compared to the median for all industries (3.3%), the conversion rate for SaaS was 10% lower (2.9% to be exact).
- As per the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES), the copy on SaaS landing pages was more difficult to read than all other industries (no surprise there).
- The conversion rate for landing pages for the Apps and Devices subcategory was the highest (5.1%), whereas Data and Infrastructure had the lowest score (2%).
- Landing pages with copy that was easier to read had better conversion rates than those with harder-to-read copy.
- Click-through landing pages performed the best in SaaS, clocking a number of conversions 1.7 times more than other types.
- Conversion rates decreased as the word-count increased.
- Landing pages for Business Software were found to be 15% “wordier” than others.
- Sentiment analysis revealed that landing pages for the Cybersecurity subcategory used 127% more “angrier” words than others.
That’s a lot to process, so let’s take a look at what it all means.
Key Conversion Rate Optimization Takeaways for SaaS
Here are the key takeaways for SaaS marketers to improve their CRO processes and increase conversions:
1. Strive for Easy-to-Read Copy
As mentioned earlier, easy-to-read copy tends to convert better in SaaS.
Here is a visualization that shows how easier-to-read copy can be attributed to higher conversion rates:
Remember when I mentioned how landing pages for Apps and Devices had the highest conversions?
Apparently, all of the landing pages for this subcategory had the easiest-to-read copy.
Considering everything, strive to keep your copy simple wherever possible.
Here are some quick, actionable tips that can help in this area:
- Run your copy on the Hemingway Editor to see where it stands in terms of “difficulty.” You can also analyze your copywriting skills with the Yoast on-page SEO plugin if you’re on WordPress.
- Use adverbs sparingly and try to use as much active voice as possible.
- This can be a bit challenging for SaaS, but avoid using jargon. This won’t intimidate your visitors and will drive them to take the desired action (such as initiating a checkout or filling out a form).
- Avoid writing complex sentences.
Keep it simple, folks.
2. Longer Copy = Fewer Conversions
Another key takeaway for SaaS marketers is to keep the copy on their product pages concise.
Shorter copy performs better in terms of conversions. Copy with less than 100 words converts the best.
Let’s look at some quick tips to make your copy shorter:
- Write with the “Power of One” principle in mind. What this means is that your copy should address one core concept, problem, emotion, or story.
- If a sentence doesn’t add value, remove it. A great way to do that is a quick “So What?” test. Put yourself in the shoes of your prospect and read the sentence out loud. If a voice inside your head says, “so what?” replace it with better substance or remove it altogether.
3. Deliver an “Anticipatory” Feeling
The last key takeaway message is to invoke an emotion of “anticipation” in your copy.
According to the report, anticipatory words in your copy can boost your chances of conversions.
But what in the world are “anticipation words?”
The awesome folks at Unbounce were kind enough to share a list.
Here are a few:
The goal is to excite your customers and prospects so that they look forward to how you can solve their problem(s) or your next update.
Agencies—This is for You
Agencies made up only 2% of the total landing pages used for the analysis in the conversion benchmark report 2020. Let’s have a look at what they can learn from it to improve their CRO strategies.
Key Findings for Agencies
Compared to SaaS, there weren’t many key findings for agencies.
Here’s a complete list:
- The median conversion rate for agency landing pages was found to be 1.7%.
- Click-through agency landing pages, despite bringing in the highest conversions (4%) when compared to other types, were used less-frequently than forms.
- Only 2% of the landing pages promoted agencies directly.
That’s pretty much it.
Key Conversion Rate Optimization Takeaways for Agencies
Considering the findings above, here are some quick, actionable tips to boost your conversions:
1. Use Forms Only When Necessary
Forms were the most commonly used type of landing pages when it came to agencies (68.9% of the pages analyzed in this category were forms).
However, they don’t perform as well as click-through landing pages.
For that reason, use forms only when it’s necessary. For other pages, use click-through CTAs at the top of your marketing funnel (instead of using a form).
2. Check Out the Key Findings for Your Clients
I know. This isn’t very useful, but it is what it is—there’s not much industry-specific advice to give here.
What you should do from here is explore the rest of the report, see the conversion data for the industries of your clients, and equip yourself with the insights needed to create better online marketing strategies for them.
Using the data gathered from the report, you can:
- Set realistic conversion goals for your clients
- Convince your prospects to follow the best conversion optimization practices in their respective industries
- Create better copy and conversion funnels for your clients
With all of that information at your disposal, go crazy and set your conversion optimization process up for success.
However, keep in mind that the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark report 2020 features data collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This could mean that the findings for some of the more “hands-on” industries (such as Catering and Restaurants, Travel, etc.) are no longer applicable.
Furthermore, the figures shared in this report might not always be true. What works for one business may not necessarily affect your bottom line.
A final piece of advice would be to run A/B testing/split testing/multivariate testing (where you analyze different versions of the same landing page). You can also use heat maps and other conversion rate optimization tools to track micro-conversions. Additionally, you should focus on improving user experience (a tool like Optimizely can help with that).
From there, keep an eye on your Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic, and try experimenting with animated explainer videos to see if they drive more conversions.