Make no mistake: the web is changing. Not too long ago, virtually every one accessed the web in a very similar way: we dialed-up, logged in, and began surfing information super-highway. We loved GIFs and gazed in wonder at broadband and Flash. Our browsers—often aligned closely with our ISPs—were optimized to display content in windows no greater than 800x600 pixels, and there was hardly any disparity between operating systems and hardware. Little was known about visitor behavior, and design was king.
Today, we’re accessing the web from a wide variety of devices—phones, cars, refrigerators, and (as if we suddenly need a reminder) computers. Web pages have evolved to guide us in the discovery of new products, solutions, and places.
Web 2.0 has also ushered in a new era of technical marketing wizardry: with advanced landing page software, we now have more insight into visitor behavior than ever before: we can track visits, clicks, referrers, user preferences, conversion rates, and much more.
So this begs the question: has science finally usurped design in the development of landing pages for online marketing campaigns?
The answer depends on who you ask.
Consider this: user-centric design is more important now than ever. Visitors crave app-like experiences and generally feel at home with simple designs and bold contrast. Novelty in web experiences is also important: dynamic pages that respond to visitor behavior generally perform better than static ones, and social integration is at an all-time high. In this way, design—and art—still reigns supreme.
Each new landing page would be a shot in the dark, however, if we weren’t able to leverage our marketing analytics in a way that allowed us to make informed decisions about what goes into each page that we build. Analytics allow us to develop best practices that govern the design of new landing pages, and optimize those designs based on user feedback and visitor behavior. Landing page analytics also help us to craft new messaging and even to create new products or offers. It saves us from the HiPPO (highest-paid person’s opinion) and helps us to optimize our campaign spend.
So, what’ll it be—art or science? Design or analytics? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!