Conversion Intelligence—The New Era of Marketing

Change is hard. 

In a world where it seems like the next big thing is just ‘round the corner every day, there’s comfort in holding on to the old way of doing things.

It’s part of the human condition, and history is littered with examples of people who weren’t able to recognize—or capitalize on—trends and events as they happened

Lightbulbs, bicycles, and laptops are but a few of these once-misunderstood tech inventions. Just a few years ago it was even considered ludicrous for the internet to be used for ecommerce.  

This is also where we believe digital marketing finds itself today—on the cusp of something new that’s about to overhaul traditional processes, manual data-crunching, and tedious testing by partnering up with artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

We’ve seen the signs and are calling it: The world is heading into a brave new world of marketing with more results and fewer hassles. Are you ready to join us in this mind shift?

The Problem with Digital Marketing Today

Since opening our doors 10 years ago, Unbounce has existed to help small businesses grow by making access to essential digital marketing tools easy. But over the past two years, we’ve seen that growth come to an abrupt stop. And we aren’t just talking about the effects of the pandemic. SMBs are suffering and there is no end in sight. 

Today, we’re seeing small businesses falling behind while large corporations with big budgets are dominating the competitive landscape.

We can’t say it any clearer: Digital marketing needs an equalizer. Now.

Tamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, UnbounceTamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, Unbounce

There is a much larger problem going on even beyond Unbounce … the world is not built to support small businesses. It’s difficult to start one. They generally have fewer resources. Business owners are often wearing multiple hats. They don’t have the luxury of spending their whole day just thinking about marketing campaigns, landing pages, and conversion rates. — Tamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, Unbounce

COVID-19 brought a massive wave of new competition to the digital space, forcing brick-and-mortar businesses online and accelerating strategies by six years. To put that into context, over the last year alone, social media ad spend in North America increased by a staggering 92.3%.

Today, Google indexes more than 35 trillion web pages, with 500 000 new pages going live each day. If it were a country, it would be the most populated place in the world. Sure, that means there are more opportunities than ever before to attract potential customers online, but there’s also a lot more competition. 

Google ads are getting steadily more expensive with CPC inflation, and we’re not just talking about the go-to keywords that were nigh impossible to get anyways. Even niche businesses feel the heat—searches for meat delivery have increased by no less than 925%.

It’s scary out there. With 40% of small businesses saying that attracting customers online will be their greatest challenge over the next year, the days of getting ahead simply by being online are over. 

And here’s the thing: It won’t be going back to how it was before. 48% of small businesses say they will stick with ecomm long after the pandemic—and then we’re just mentioning one specific market segment.

Though we hate to say it, welcome to the “new normal.”

Conversion Intelligence—A Smarter Way to Market 

We can go down the rabbit hole of stats citing that marketers don’t have time, budget, or the resources to optimize campaigns. But at the end of the day, what most marketers want is more conversions.

We’re living in a time where the old-school metric of costly clicks aren’t enough: Marketers need conversions. [Unbounce Survey]

And that’s why we are pioneering a new way to do marketing called “conversion intelligence.” We believe that the most optimal results from your marketing will come when you actively and openly pair your own expertise with the power of AI. 

As a company with deep knowledge and experience supporting the growth of small businesses, it’s our belief that conversion intelligence is the disruption SMBs need to get a step up in the digital marketplace. It’s time for business to get more and go further by working smarter, not harder.

Daniel Parscale, Oli Gardner, Unbounce Co-FounderDaniel Parscale, Oli Gardner, Unbounce Co-Founder

Conversion intelligence can take away some of the stress and burden that typically comes with optimization and actually free us up to get more done and be more creative. Insights from conversion intelligence make rapid experimentation accessible to anyone, and the great thing is, you’re still the one in control. — Oli Gardner, Unbounce Co-Founder

Think of conversion intelligence as a change in your approach to marketing by pairing your expertise with data-powered AI insights to create and optimize the highest-converting campaigns possible. It’s you, and your marketing know-how, augmented by machines.

Conversion Intelligence brings together the best of both worlds—your marketing intelligence (creativity and know-how) and the raw data-crunching power of AI.

A fun yet poignant example comes from chess. The computer always beats the grandmaster. However, when players and computers team up together for a round of “Cyborg Chess”—with the player leading the strategy and the computer providing the tactics—the bionic team generally wins. Relative newbies to the sport have come out victorious over grandmasters AND the most powerful chess computers in the world.  

Think of conversion intelligence as your chess computer. AI will provide actionable insights and recommendations, but you’re still the one making the calls. It’s about predictive data meeting the creative power of a marketer—and there’s an endless amount of possibility in what you do with that.

There are many AI-powered marketing solutions released to market each day. Exciting tools that enable conversion intelligence specifically, range from predictive email tools that let you create and send variants to the respondents based on previous click data, to AI-assisted ads that can match inputted copy and images to create a unique user experience.

Christian Krohn, Unbounce Customer and Owner, PatientClicksChristian Krohn, Unbounce Customer and Owner, PatientClicks

When I look at all the AI tools coming to market, I’m cautiously optimistic. At the end of the day for us, it’s all about bandwidth. We don’t have a big team, and if we can do our job more efficiently and get equal to, or better results by using AI or machine learning, then we’re all about it. — Christian Krohn, Unbounce Customer and Owner, PatientClicks

This brings us to the magic question: What exactly differentiates conversion intelligence from your current marketing stack in getting you in front of more potential customers?

Well, it’s all about serving relevance …

Relevance, the Cooler Sibling of Personalization—and the Key to Conversion Intelligence

There’s been a lot of talk about “personalization” in marketing circles over the past decade or so, but it hasn’t amounted to much. It’s mostly resulted in an onslaught of {f_name} fields in promo emails rather than a real personalized experience. 

It’s no surprise that 80% of business owners who invested in personalization projects will stop funding by 2025 due to a lack of ROI. Just because personalization is dead, it doesn’t mean generic is the way to go. It’s about rethinking what we were taught about personalization in terms of relevance.

Relevance happens when serving visitors unique marketing experiences that match their needs, preferences, and expectations. It’s not just based on what they’re searching for or what they’ve already told you—but based on behavioral and predictive data. 

Many of the biggest companies today already get that distinction. Look at how Netflix does it, for instance. They’re not serving up the same lukewarm recommendations with your name attached, they use AI to promote the latest, most relevant content for each and every customer—saving the company $1 billion a year.

Tamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, UnbounceTamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, Unbounce

The future is here, and right now AI is the reality of marketing. A year or two ago it was very aspirational, with big companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon spearheading it and reaping great rewards from it. Now marketers and businesses of all sizes are getting a competitive advantage by adding AI to their marketing toolkit. It’s simple, the marketers who aren’t embracing this new perspective are going to be left behind.
— Tamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, Unbounce

It’s about providing directions before users ask for them. Anticipating the next thing a customer would want to buy based not only on the last thing they bought but who they are, and what kind of interactions they prefer.

That’s not personalization. It’s relevance, and it’s a game-changer.

A Note on AI Scepticism

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to marketing. Although there are methods like conversion intelligence that can make the job much easier and effective, it might not be for everyone. For some companies, the ultimate goal is complete automation—simply turning something on and having the work done in a flash without needing human input. For others, they might just not be ready to embrace artificial intelligence in their efforts quite yet.

And that’s okay. But that doesn’t mean this train is slowing down anytime soon.

Nine out of ten Fortune 1000 companies have an ongoing investment in AI. Between 2015 and 2019, the number of enterprises using AI grew by 270%. Within the enterprise model, marketing and sales prioritize AI more than any other department. Big business is powering ahead with AI, and you can be sure it’s not just to sound hip and techy. It’s a major step-up to get ahead in the game.

For Unbounce, Landing Pages Just Aren’t Enough Anymore 

When landing pages came to prominence in the early 2000s, the idea of quickly creating a standalone page for a campaign was revolutionary. Landing pages rode in on a white horse and reduced friction for marketers by ensuring a message match and minimized distractions by closing the gap between clicking the ad and converting. 

And the results were incredible—within our builder alone we’ve seen no less than *1.5 billion* conversions over the last 10 years.

But as the digital landscape became more competitive, simply having a landing page wasn’t enough anymore. Proper targeting and testing can lead to a conversion rate boost of more than 300%. Three hundred!) But that requires near-constant monitoring and optimizing.

Daniel Parscale, Oli Gardner, Unbounce Co-FounderDaniel Parscale, Oli Gardner, Unbounce Co-Founder

The need for optimization was always there, but there was a barrier to entry. Most people had never been introduced to the process before, and it can be difficult and time-consuming. Often marketers would have little success, most commonly because they didn’t test correctly or just didn’t know what to test. — Oli Gardner, Unbounce Co-Founder

And right there is the gap. For smaller teams with limited resources, campaign optimization isn’t really an option. We see it in the Unbounce builder—fewer than 50% of customers regularly republish their pages. This is a metric we look at to signify tweaks and updates to campaigns. We realized that this wasn’t due to a lack of wanting higher conversion rates. Most marketers just don’t have the capacity to monitor and optimize campaigns for optimal conversions.

Even for big marketing teams, who can easily run 36 A/B tests at a time, that kind of optimization isn’t scalable—you’re still only refining one landing page, for one audience segment who would only ever convert on page A anyway. So much for “relevance,” right?

Using Conversion Intelligence to Build Relevance in Landing Pages 

What if you knew that using less than 300 words would double your conversions? Or that by adding a video to a lead-gen campaign page, you might be lowering your conversion rates? How about that mobile users in North America will convert at a much higher rate if the first thing they saw was pricing?

With our Smart Traffic feature, we divert visitors based on their personal attributes to the landing page variant where they’re most likely to convert. Different variants work for different audiences—who needs one champion when you can have five? And it works—we’re talking an average conversion rate lift of up to 30%. (Uh, hello relevance, and hello campaign optimization!) And then we’re not even mentioning the long line of upcoming products.

Felicia Bochicchio, President, UnbounceFelicia Bochicchio, President, Unbounce

Unbounce went to market by solving a very specific problem for our customers. And from there we started looking deeper at the other needs our customers were experiencing. It became less about the technical problems we could help them solve, but more about how we could help them grow smarter as a business. This conversation led us to realize “we can do more.” — Felicia Bochicchio, President, Unbounce

We believe that conversion intelligence is essential for businesses to be competitive in their digital marketing efforts. And we also believe that access to it shouldn’t just lie with big companies with the infrastructure and resources.

Felicia Bochicchio, President, UnbounceFelicia Bochicchio, President, Unbounce

Our marketers and companies, especially those in the small-to-medium-sized space need more than just landing pages if they’re going to effectively compete in their own marketplaces. Landing pages will remain a core tactic, of course. But at the end of the day, it’s about getting higher conversion rates—and that’s where we want to support marketers. — Felicia Bochicchio, President, Unbounce

Within Unbounce, this means developing a full-scale conversion intelligence platform to help marketers get the most out of their campaigns—over and above landing pages—by effortlessly optimizing their entire marketing funnel for the best possible conversion rates.

Tom Suter, Unbounce Customer and Founder, CoffeeCallTom Suter, Unbounce Customer and Founder, CoffeeCall

The whole conversion funnel is as strong as its weakest link…and it constantly requires attention to the different parts of this funnel. (What can we do to this part? What can we learn here? What can we change here to improve it?). You need AI to give you these insights, and then it’s up to you to tweak or tune something. But only if you have good insights can you do something there. — Tom Suter, Unbounce Customer and Founder, CoffeeCall

Lookin’ Ahead to a New Way of Doing Landing Pages 

Artificial intelligence is not a new concept anymore, in fact it’s already part of our daily lives.  And it’s steadily changing the face of marketing—and Unbounce too. 

Later this month, we’ll launch the Unbounce Smart Builder—a game-changing landing page builder that will change the way you build landing pages. With AI-powered insights baked in from the get-go, you’ll be guided to create landing pages that get the highest possible conversion rates based on your industry and conversion goal. 

Yep, this means you can now optimize as you build, serve your audience a relevant experience, and get that competitive advantage right from the start.

Tamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, UnbounceTamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, Unbounce

My dream personally, is that the Unbounce Conversion Intelligence™ platform makes it easy for small businesses to become successful, compete with the big players, and grow smarter. — Tamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, Unbounce

Welcome to the era of conversion intelligence—the future of landing pages, and the future of digital marketing.