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How to Use Human Curiosity to Pique Interest and Improve CTR

One of the biggest problems facing digital marketers is getting the attention of prospects through more traditional online marketing channels like display advertising and other forms of PPC. Banner blindness is a very real problem and is getting worse by the day, but there is hope!

To solve this problem you’re going to have to get creative and use different aspects of human nature to your advantage. One thing a lot of us don’t take into account is how curious most people are, if you put something puzzling or slightly off in front of a prospect they’re much more likely to both pay attention and respond to your marketing efforts.

Remember: you don’t have to explain everything about your product or service in your marketing – focus on improving CTR and let your landing page do the heavy lifting. Too many marketers try to cram their entire sales pitch into a tiny ad when listing the main benefit and your value proposition is all that’s necessary.

We’ve been testing some new retargeting strategies for CrazyEgg to bring back in lost customers that didn’t convert. One of the more promising retargeting channels we are currently testing heavily and seeing great ROI with is Facebook ads. If you aren’t familiar with Facebook ad optimization take note that the image in your ad is almost always going to have the largest impact (good or bad) on your CTR and overall ad effectiveness. We’ve tested a lot of images to see what really works best for driving clicks and bringing back in those lost prospects and the results have been interesting to say the least.

So what does all this have to do with human nature and curiosity? Well this ad is one of our top performers:


Most digital marketers would say that we should use a picture of a heatmap or showcase the software in some way to maximize performance. We tested all that and this ad image out performed almost every other variation in both clicks AND conversions. Remember that this is a retargeting campaign so the people seeing this ad have been to the CrazyEgg website and have seen the guy in the ad somewhere even if they can’t remember exactly where. If you look at your Facebook news feed you’ll notice that there aren’t many ads with strange images like this one so it really stands out among the rest and actually has a chance of being seen by lost prospects instead of just being looked over.

I wanted to take this a step further and see what we can really do to improve this campaign. I knew the fact the guy in the ad is “peaking” over the bottom would grab prospects attention and ultimately drive clicks, so how can I take this concept a step further?

Next we took the above image and tried adding different borders, colors, layovers and all kinds of different elements to the image to see if we could improve the CTR at all.

What we’re the results? The following ad saw a 300% increase in CTR and the only change to the image was the addition of the little scroll bar to the right hand side of the “CrazyEgg guy” in the image. The scroll wheel combined with “the guy” peaking above the bottom of the image proved to be something that drove curiosity and ultimately a much better CTR.


Not only did we see a 300% lift in CTR but our average CPC decreased from $0.86 to $0.66 for a 23% decrease in advertising fees. When your ad spend is in the thousands per week these kind of optimizations can make or break paid marketing efforts and give you some wiggle room for profitability.

The big takeaway here is to use human nature to your advantage – test lots of images and see what really captures your prospects attention. Once you find some images or ad copy that are working well test a new set of variables like we did in the above experiment to take your paid marketing to the next level.

Hidden Conversion Killers: Page Load Times

We all know that ineffective page elements like a bad call to action, incorrect color usage, and long forms can ruin conversions on your landing page, but what about the factors you can’t visually see? When optimizing your sales funnel for sticking points you have to pay attention to some hidden conversion killers that can potentially kill your conversion rate. These factors can easily be the difference between a profitable campaign and a money hemorrhaging marketing nightmare.

The first hidden conversion killer I want to address is page load times. This is something few usability and conversion experts actually spend time on (even though they know it’s important) so pay attention and make changes where appropriate!



Optimizing Page Load Times for Conversion


I can’t say it enough: page load time is huge. Internet users are getting more impatient by the day and if they can’t find what they’re looking for immediately – yes IMMEDIATELY – they will leave your website and go straight to a competitor. If your website takes longer than a few seconds to load it doesn’t matter how optimized your landing page is for conversions, you’re going to lose a big chunk of your traffic before they can even see what you’re all about.

Fortunately for us Google analytics is pretty telling as far as how fast your website is. You can easily find out how fast your website is loading for all visitors in your Google Analytics profile by going to Content > Site Speeds > Overview




Here are a couple great examples of site speed problem areas:



This particular client had a couple days in a row of ridiculously long load times – way longer than it takes for most users to leave the page and find an alternative. I called the clients web host and asked if anything happened on that day that might have caused the load times – it turns out they were upgrading the server so there was some weirdness for a couple days. Without checking Google analytics I would have never known about this. Now in the future if we do any site upgrades I know that we should pause any paid marketing efforts because the traffic will likely be wasted.


Another great thing about the site speed report in Google Analytics is the device and browser segmentation. Your website might load great on desktop computers but does it load fast on different browsers and mobile devices?

It looks like this clients website has some trouble loading on Android devices and Safari web browsers. The average load time for these are far higher than the rest and indicates some sort of problem with the page rendering on those particular browsers and devices. This could be due to any number of things and will likely take some trial and error to figure out what’s going on. Try minimizing heavy elements like javascript, flash, and interactive design. I also recommend optimizing all of your images and having a [good] developer go over your landing pages with a fine-tooth comb to make it as light as possible. If you’re using full resolution HD photos all over your page of course it’s going to take a long time to load!

Don’t make the classic mistake of thinking “it loads fine for me so it should load fine for everyone else.” I’ve had clients with websites that load lightning fast for them (and myself) but some users in various parts of the world we’re experiencing load times over 10-20 seconds. That’s an eternity in Internet time. The truth is that nobody will wait around that long, I don’t care how cool your product or service is.

If you notice that your page speed load times are inconsistent in different areas of the world or country look into getting a content discovery network (CDN). Basically a CDN lets you strategically place the large and hard to load files on servers around the world instead of everything being centralized in one place. With a CDN no user should ever be across the world from where your content is being loaded and load times should improve dramatically across the board.

If you’re having trouble trying to figure out what’s causing your site to load slowly there’s one more Google Analytics report you can make use of: Speed Suggestions. To access the Speed Suggestions report go to Content > Site Speed > Speed Suggestions. 


The way the report works is pretty straightforward – you’re given a list of URLs and blue hyperlinks to the right with the number of problems found on that page. This is definitely worth looking through even if your site is decently fast – sometimes optimizing a bloated javascript file or large image can make all the difference. (and Google kinda knows what they’re talking about…)




A couple notes on this report:


  • You can select either Desktop or Mobile segments for optimization from the top right – USE THIS FEATURE!
  • The left hand side will list all of the different potential problems and reasons for slow load times – have your developer work down this list as much as possible to ensure there are absolutely no problems with your page.
  • The blue “Measure Sitespeed” button will create a report that gives you an idea of just how much faster these optimizations will make. This is useful if any of the outstanding items are difficult to implement and you need to decide whether it’s worth the effort/time/hassle/money to fix.



Take advantage of the Site Speed reports in Google analytics and fix any problem areas on your website/landing pages. This is easily one of the most prominent hidden conversion killers but can be easily fixed.

2 Conversion Conference Chicago Sessions I Can’t Miss

Conversion Conference (#convconf) is only 8 short days away and I couldn’t be more amped to attend this year. The speaker lineup is stacked and the session topics go far deeper than most conferences I’ve attended – this is going to be awesome. While I plan on attending as many sessions as possible there are 2 in particular I can’t wait for because the speakers have had a profound impact on my life and career in this field.

So who are they?


Jeremy Schoemaker (A.K.A. Shoemoney)

[hr] Even though Jeremy has no clue who I am his blog and writings have made a huge impact on my life and career. I’ve been following Jeremy’s Internet marketing blog since I was a clueless 16 year old in high school trying to figure this whole Internet business thing out. Jeremy’s blog without a doubt helped keep me motivated and inspired for a lot of different reasons.

Seeing Jeremy hold a check for over $100,000 from Google was a real eye opener for me – it was basically the point where I realized I can do this type of work as a career and build something real; not just a fly-by-night business.

If you aren’t familiar with Jeremy’s story, I highly recommend reading his about page – his story in inspiring to say the least and resonates very closely with mine. We both had a turning point where we realized we can do a whole lot better and turned things around with a ton of self-education and hard work. The other reason I’ve always been a fan of Jeremy is that he’s not afraid to be himself on any of his public outlets (blog, social media, interviews, etc.) – too many people working online hide their personality in fear of losing clients or jobs. I feel like if I had played it safe like most people I’d be at least a year behind where I am now; being overly cautious and calculated has not proven to be an effective business strategy for me.

Aside from the inspiration to keep moving forward Jeremy’s content has always been actionable and backed with real world experience and methodical testing. That’s exactly why I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about converting one time visitors into customers, I know this session alone will be worth the trip to Chicago. If this ever makes it way to you Jeremy, thank you for everything you’ve done – you’ve helped a lot more people than you realize.


Tim Ash

[hr] I’m such a nerd about conversion rate optimization that Tim Ash is like the George Clooney of CRO to me. When I first started exploring the world of CRO SiteTuners was constantly mentioned and recommended so I inevitably checked them out and ended up spending hours pouring over their content and books. Many of the lessons I learned from SiteTuners teachings have been applicable to not only improving conversions but building a better business, making customers happy, and delivering an excellent stress-free user experience.

Thanks to Tim and his awesome team of true experts I learned countless invaluable lessons that helped me improve clients websites while becoming a better marketer and professional. For that I have Tim to thank and can’t wait to hear his keynote at Conversion Conference Chicago – I just hope I can take notes fast enough…


If you aren’t already subscribed to the SiteTuners blog, I highly advise you do so right now.




Some other sessions I look forward to:


  • Angie Schottmuller – Organic Conversions – Conversion Strategies for SEO Traffic 10:30AM Tuesday (CRO and Search is a big puzzle to most people, should be interessting!)


  • Michal Parízek – 7 Pillars of a Mature Conversion Optimization Strategy 11:30AM Tuesday (I’m a big fan of systems and processes; I have a feeling this session will teach me a lot about structuring and organizing my CRO campaigns more efficiently)


  • Jodie Ellis – Getting Personal: 5 Ways to Optimize More with Targeting 3:45PM Tuesday (It’s mind blowing how far online marketing tech has come in the last 2 years – the things we can do with targeting today are insane and would have been near impossible in the recent past)


  • Jon Morris – High-Impact PPC: Reduce Pain Points, Increase Profits 4:45PM Tuesday (As a PPC professional there’s always another trick, method, or strategy to improve your campaigns across the board – can’t wait for this one)


  • Dennis Yu – Facebook’s Hidden Conversion Rate Impact 10:30AM Wednesday (With Facebook’s new partner category targeting options I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation wit their ad platform as of late, this is a topic I’ve been curious about for awhile now)


  • Josh Krafchin – After the Conversion: Leveraging the Power of Confirmation Pages 1:30PM Wednesday (There are a lot of creative things you can do with conversion/confirmation/thank you pages and I know I’m barely scraping the surface with my current strategies – this session should be an eye opener)

[hr] I can already tell this is going to be a great conference with plenty of immediately applicable takeaways, see you there 🙂


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