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If you’re a time-strapped marketer, you probably often ask yourself: “Should I spend more time perfecting the written copy or tweaking the visual design of my landing page?”

Designing a landing page can be daunting. If it’s not your area of expertise, making your landing page look the part becomes time-consuming and frustrating—even expensive, particularly if you need a designer to do the heavy lifting for you. Many marketers struggle for hours, days, or weeks because they’ve been told design is one of the most significant factors when it comes to landing page performance.

But just how important is design? Does it impact your conversion rate enough to warrant all that extra work? How does design stack up against other key factors like copy?

These are some of the questions we asked ourselves here at Unbounce. After all, we’re all about conversion intelligence: Combining your marketing expertise with machine learning so you can make informed decisions based on the latest available data—and get the most conversion bang for your buck.

With that in mind, our data team set out to understand precisely how landing page conversion rates are affected by design and copy.

And what did we learn? Design isn’t as important as you might think.

How Did We Get Our Data?

Before diving into the results, let’s chat about the data we used and how we went about our research.

At Unbounce, we’re lucky to have more than a decade’s worth of landing page data totaling billions of individual conversions. For our design analysis, we looked at 36,928 English language page variants active between March 2019 and March 2020.

We took snapshots of these landing pages and trained various image-based learning models to predict their conversion rates. To evaluate copy, we extracted the written content of each landing page. We trained a machine-learning model (or, to get a lil nerdy, a deep learning-based natural language model) to predict conversion rates from the copy of each page.

To compare the relative importance of copy versus design on landing page conversion rates, we created a new predictive model by combining the results of the best performing image- and copy-based models. We did this across all 36,928 pages in our dataset and averaged the contributions to give us the “relative importance of design” and “relative importance of copy.”


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