Can a Puppy Sell a CMS?

Mathias Biilmann

Puppy FaceWe all know humans are hardly rational agents when it comes to buying decisions, often emotional reactions plays almost as large a role as facts, figures and logic.

Choosing a CMS is often a long process involving careful evaluation of the flexibility of the content model, the power of the template engine, the level of separation between design and content, etc. But even so, there's still plenty of space for the purely irrational to play a role.

A while ago we launched an interesting little test to dig into the effect of emotional engagement. In this case we decided to test the click through rate rate on our call to action at the bottom of most of our pages where we urge people to give our 30 day free trial a shot.

Before and After

Here's how it used to look:

Our goal was to see if adding an element of emotional pressure would motivate site visitors to click the signup button.

So we went all out. Just about nothing beats puppy-eyes when it comes to begging for something, so we found this cute little black Labrador to fix its gaze upon the signup button.

Did it Work?

So how did the puppy fare against our standard call to action? Here's a screenshot from our internal testing tool:

Split Testing Results

It turns out, the puppy version had more than double the number of clicks on the signup button than the text only version, with a statistical certainty of more than 99.9% of this being more than just random coincidence.

So what does this mean for Webpop?

It's hard to draw any specific conclusions. The experiment isn't completely controlled for just the puppy, since the text is also different on the puppy version. But we can still be fairly confident that the image was the main factor since this test had a much higher change in click through than what we typically see when we just test text vs text.

For us, the main takeaway is that we should continue to explore ( and test! ) designing for emotional engagement. I suspect we still have plenty of room for improvement, and that the reason the puppy had such a drastic effect is that we at least did something to breathe some life and playfulness into a rather technical sales pitch. 

What do you think?

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