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page title study

Have you ever wondered if customers are more likely to click on organic results with headlines that include words like “free” or “best value”? Moz, one of the best SEO benchmark and planning platforms out there, did an internal study called “Commercial vs. Functional vs. Emotional: A Case Study on Page Title SEO Testing” to analyze a hypothesis and see which type of copy works better when we talk about CTR (Click Through Rate).

The company discovered that talking about the benefits of the products and services can lead to more conversions than being more emotional. Want to know more about their main discoverie, and how to apply them to improve your own results? Let’s go deeper into it!. 

About the study

The study consisted of updating page titles across a range of mobile phone product pages that would appear in the SERPs to their customers. The KPI to measure the results was the CTR.

They ran the test across all the products on the Three (one of Ireland’s mobile telecommunications providers) website for six weeks. The control CTR data, which was used to compare the results, was collected from six weeks before updating the page titles. So, the entire study spanned 12 weeks of data.

Using the SEO Testing Group Test functionality they created three groups of copy.

  • Commercial content page titles : focused on the financial aspects of a purchase.
  • Functional content page titles : focused on the characteristics and functionality of the products.
  • Emotional content page titles : focused on appealing to the emotions of purchasing the product.

An example of these titles types are:

After the deadline, they’ve got some pretty interesting results.

Functional titles are better for CTR!

By the end of the six week period, the functional copy group had an increase of 9% in CTR, showing the best response from customers. In contrast, copy with a softer and “ emotional ” focus was rejected by most of the users, showing a reduction of 31% in CTR. 

These results showed the importance of data collection to guide improvement actions. By changing the titles for the commercial group, they only had a 1% increase in CTR.

Test, change, and then test again

So, what can we learn from this study?  Even though this study found out that functional page titles worked best for the Three website, which sells mobile phones, we can’t take this for granted for all markets. We all work in different industries with products that are targeted at particular consumers, so testing and gathering data is the most important lesson here.

The results of one particular product can be very different from another, which is why testing is essential. What works for a technology company can be very different than for a food company. Also, the market is always changing, what worked before may not be the best right now. So always question and always test.

Do not develop your strategies based solely on what you think works for your customers, but on real data about your criteria for selecting solutions and making decisions.

And finally, never underestimate the power of copywriting ! The words you use are decisive in driving action. Conversion copywriting starts with data, so it’s essential that you understand your users’ drives. Don’t just focus on sales conversion, micro conversions happen all the time! Take every chance you get.

And if you want to keep up to date with other studies and the main trends of the business and marketing world, I invite you to subscribe to our newsletter below . You’ll receive a straight to the point weekly email with the latest trends, and our expert opinion about how these impact your brand.

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