Category Vs. Product Pages: Which One Tests Better? (You Might Be Surprised)

When Al Scillitani set out to do a little landing page testing, he was convinced he knew which page would win. But when the results came in, he was suprised.

Scillitani conducted an A/B test to see whether category pages or product pages would test better. He used email and homepage promotions to drive traffic to his test. He guessed that product pages would fare better. But it was the category pages that won the day.

The promotion involved 6 products that were on sale. In test A, the image of the 6 products was broken down to link individually to the product page. There was also a link to the category page. In test B, the image was kept as a whole and linked directly to the category page.

The email results didn’t show much of a difference in conversion rates, but the order size was 40% higher for test B.

Meanwhile, test B was also the winner for the homepage promotion, but in a different way. The conversion rate was 15% higher and brought in 10% higher revenues. However, test A actually did produce a higher order size, by 5%.

So, why did the category page test so well?

“The products we were offering were way below our competitors. I feel this is the reason B performed better,” wrote Scillitani on his blog. “Once the B people clicked and went to the category page, they not only saw the product they clicked on, but 100’s of other products priced way below the competition. This combined with the “only a few days and limited quantities” messaging triggered more sales.”

Of course, you can’t use this test and assume it will work for your site.

“Run your own A/B tests. It is the only way to really evaluate what works and what doesn’t work based on your product prices, product availability, the marketing message, and your customers, concluded Scillitani. “There are very few absolutes when it comes to online marketing.”

Full disclosure: Al Scillitani was the boss of me at a North Carolina-based search engine marketing firm a few years back. I still meet him for coffee at Starbucks, where everybody knows his name.

Do you have a search marketing story to share? Contact me here.

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