Well, the results are in. My attempt at long form copy is a failure. You can see the experiment results below:
As you can see, Google Experiments decided fairly early on that the long form copy page was a load of rubbish and stopped sending visitors to it. The end result was that the original short form copy page out performed the long copy page by 330%. I’d call that a pretty decisive vote against my long copy! Of course there’s a few possible reasons why my long copy page didn’t convert. Here’s what I believe they are in order of likelihood:
- My Long Copy is Rubbish – despite spending a lot of time developing my long copy there’s every likelihood that it’s just garbage and would never convert.
- Long Copy is Wrong for Potential Time Clock MTS Users – Time Clock MTS is fairly inexpensive and the major barrier to purchasing it (price) is not really there. Long form copy is traditionally suited to expensive or complex purchases. Time Clock MTS is neither of these.
- Adwords Visitors Have a Short Attention Span – I’ve noticed that the average time on site for Adwords visitors is much less than for visitors from natural search results. Perhaps they have a shorter attention span or perhaps my Adwords ads are poorly targeted. In any event, long copy is unlikely to work on people with proven short attention spans.
- Google Experiments Are Flawed – I’ve completed several dozen Google Experiments now and I’ve seen a clear pattern of behaviour in the case where there’s a clear winner early on (think within a 48 hour period of starting the experiment). After the first day or two Google only directs a trickle of traffic to the page alternative that is clearly the worst option. I’ll need to read a bit more about the reasons behind this.
As a result of this experiment I’ve decided to abandon the long form copy approach for now and tweak my short form copy pages with some techniques I’ve learned from the long copy exercise. More on this shortly.