Case Study – 64.53% More Downloads by Moving the Testimonials on an Ebook Landing Page

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 19.08.39Testimonials can be an effective tool for overcoming friction. However, there are several factors you need to consider if you want the full impact of your testimonials. Placement is one of them.

Here’s an interesting little case study where changing the placement of reader testimonials on an ebook landing page increased downloads by 64.53%

Background info

I recently published a free ebook on conversion optimization called 7 Universal Conversion Optimization Principles. I decided to create a whole landing page for the book rather than just using a pop-up or banner to pitch the download.

Craig Sullivan, Peep Laja, Oli Gardner and Marcus Sheridan all read the book, and I decided to get a quote from each of them that I could use on the landing page to add credibility and further motivate visitors to download the book.

The control variant 

On the control variant, I placed all four reader testimonials right under the sign-up form.

The idea being that testimonials have most impact when positioned in close vicinity to the call-to-action.

Landing Page Control Variant

The treatment 

For the treatment, I decided to place two of the testimonials higher on the page, so they would assume a more prominent position.

The idea being that first time visitors who aren’t familiar with need an extra nudge, in the form of social proof, to make the right decision.

I decided to give Marcus Sheridan’s testimonial the most prominent position as it really sells the book well and reinforces it’s value. Here’s the testimonial:

“A book like this could easily sold for a lot of money. But Michael has elected to give it away. All I can say is WOW…. and get it today.”

Landing Page Treatment

Test hypothesis 

Moving two testimonials higher on the page will add credibility and prompt more visitors to download the book.

Research question

Which variant will generate most downloads – the control with the testimonials placed lower on the page, or the treatment with two testimonials placed higher on the page?


The test data confirmed the test hypothesis as the treatment generated a substantial lift of 64.53% in downloads.

64.53% More Downloads by Moving the Testimonials on an Ebook Landing Page


The placement of your testimonials can have major impact on the decisions and actions of your potential customers.

When using testimonials on a landing page, you need to consider which placement will best support the decision-making process of the prospects and help build momentum towards the call-to-action.

In this case, placing two of the testimonials higher on the page, in the first screenful, had a positive impact on visitors and helped motivate them to download the book.

Moreover, just because something is free, it doesn’t mean that people will automatically want it. The internet is swamped with free stuff – especially ebooks – and your prospects have to agree that your ebook is worth giving up their email for.

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  1. Damn I guessed wrong, but hey that’s why marketers do split tests, because most of the time the gut feeling is wrong :)

  2. That was fun. Thanks! I happened to be right, but of course, without the split testing, I would never know for sure.

  3. Hi Michael

    I’m very curious: Did you build the landing page in Unbounce?:-)

    Thanks for an AWESOME blog!



    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Tina – Yes, I love and would recommend it to anyone who needs an awesome tool for building campaign landing pages.

      I use Unbounce for my own landing pages and for tons of client landing pages.

      Thanks for the kind words about the blog – it means a lot to me!

      – Michael

      • Hi again

        Thanks for your answer!

        I’m just getting to know Unbounce – signed up for their awesome free course – and it’s great how you actually learn how to use the platform in it.

        I found it a bit difficult to get strarted using it – but I really think the course will kick-start my Unbounce adventure and get me going building landing pages for the clients I do LPO for.

        And of course you recommending it makes a huges difference – I’m now sure it’s the right tool to use:-)

        Well, Michael, I’m a big fan of yours – you being the copy rock star you are. SO! I’m really looking forward to hearing you do CRO magic at ConversionBoost in Copenhagen this September;-)

        Very best,


        • Michael Aagaard says:

          Hi Tina – Awesome that you’ve started using unbounce.

          As soon as you get the hang of it, it’s incredibly easy to use.

          Thanks a lot for the kind words – see you on the 19th ;-)

          – Michael

  4. Interesting, indeed. Then again it makes logic. Benefits, then proof, then call to action.

  5. Very interesting! Maybe you should also add these testimonials and credibility callout to the insert box at the end of these blogpost? :)

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Yes – I’m already on it ;-)

      I tested using one testimonial in the banner on the right hand nav bar and it gave me a significant lift.

      – Michael

  6. Stefan Johannesberg says:

    You should do this more often, it was indeed very very funny. Luckily my gut feeling didn’t fool me. As a conversion content specialists I was expecting that BUT with every other answer my arrogance and self esteem were floating away. And i liked it :-)

  7. Great to see this result, Michael. We had a similar case study, over at VWO, few months back. Changing the placement of testimonial improved user flow on the page, which increased sales by 35.6%. You can read the complete case study here:

  8. Excellent article as usual, Michael.

    Testimonials and the placement plays an important role in conversion and sales. Having testimonials boosts the trust factor and having it placed just right boosts the conversion. I’ve tested it myself with my last wordpress plugin (you can see the recommendations without scrolling down) and it works great. But it took some time for me to edit the theme and put it there. Maybe a regular internet blogger can’t do it. I thought about it and working on a WordPress plugin which does the exact thing with a click. Will be ready soon, I hope :-)


    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Mervik – Awesome sounds like a cool tool. Let me know, when it’s ready!

      Nice to hear that you’ve had similar experience moving testimonials around.

      – Michael

  9. great test… of course, what’s running through my mind is treatment #2 – what would happen if you put all FOUR of the testimonials above the CTA? ;)

    Would love to see a follow up piece on that! Timely advice by the way, launching an ebook this week and will be using unbounce.

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Herb – Thanks man, and great idea for a follow up experiment!

      I should definitely test that variant when I’m done with the current experiment (right now I’m testing privacy policies).

      – Michael

  10. Amazing results. It looks as such a small change and it blows my mind that you were able to increase the number of downloads by nearly 65% – but I guess that only shows how important it is to keep improving and testing.

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Bo – Yes I was taken aback by the results. But it really does make sense when you think about it. Moreover, Marcus’ testimonial really “hits the spot” here ;-)

      – Michael

    • Yes, that’s incredible.
      Just a small change able to increase the number of downloads. I must try it on my own by re-form our design. Thank you, Michael

  11. Fascinating! I often say, there are some things that just aren’t going to sound true as long as they’re coming out of you mouth. So yea for testimonials!

    What’s most interesting to me about this is that both treatments are well executed. That makes the results of your test even more eye opening. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Thanks for sharing your results; they’ll be helpful for a digital marketing ebook I’m publishing next month.
    I also wanted to second the endorsement of unbounce; I’ve tried other similar software and so far this is easily my favorite.

  13. Michael Aagaard says:

    Hi Steven – thanks for the comment!

    It’s difficult to generalize and it really depends on the context, the target audience and the offer itself. On landing pages where you get a lot of traffic from visitors who comparing offers and getting a first impression, I would hypothesize that a prominent placement high on the page is the right way to go. Moreover, testimonials in close proximity to the call-to-action seem to work well.

    I regards to right column, it seems that people have a tendency to view the right column as not quite as important – a form of banner blindness. If the testimonial is important, I’d choose to place it in the “real” content and not the side bar.

    Hope that helps ;-)

    – Michael

  14. In this test, or perhaps others like it, did you determine whether the user was using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop/desktop? If so, did the optimization hold true across all devices/screen resolutions? If not, have you performed any tests that reveal whether mobile visitors need different optimizations than full screen visitors?

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Robert – thanks for the comment and sorry for my late answer.

      In my experience there is a big difference between mobile and tablet. A lot of websites work pretty well on tablet because the screen is relatively large. Of course mouse-over effects and stuff like that doesn’t work for tablet, so that should be considered.

      I’d say it really depends on the individual case, what your website offers and not least visitor intent. Websites with lots of forms and flows are usually a hassle on mobile. I had a terrible experience recently trying to book movie tickets via my iPhone.

      It makes sense to optimize for all platforms, however, it’s worth considering whether mobile site, responsive design, or app is the right way to go in your particular case.

      Hope that helps!

      – Michael

  15. to bad I found this article now, just a few weeks ago I made a similar experiment, it looks like some people don’t look down… very interesting

    Thank you for sharing

  16. I love it when I am wrong! Especially when I can find out that I am wrong and learn from it. Thank you!

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