4 ways to measure the impact of your copy writing

With the rise in popularity of A/B testing, we can measure the impact of almost any new design or feature on a website/app. Changes to design are usually obvious – a reorganised search bar, or moving items on a page, but copy changes can be far more subtle.

Users also suffer from a short attention span, so how can you know whether your copy makes a difference? Here I offer 4 ways to measure the impact your copy is having.

1) CTAs (Call to Action)

Perhaps the most obvious way to test copy is the short snippets of text used on buttons to convey the next step. This is where most A/B testing begins, and for good reason. It’s easy to track clicks, and the short copy means that you can be fairly sure that the words have been read and made a difference.

It’s generally agreed that copy on a CTA should be more descriptive than vague, eg “Payment Options” should convert better than “Next Step” but nuances in location based language can make a difference too, with “Add to Cart” being an Americanism, and “Add to Basket” more common in the UK.

Continue reading or read more to measure engagement

2) Hide the Copy

Yes, really. By hiding the copy behind a ‘read more’ or accordion design, you can measure engagement rate on the opening of that content. This suggests that the likelihood of a user reading having read the copy is higher because they engaged with it. Hiding both control and variation allows you to directly A/B test the impact copy changes have.

You may find that A/B testing a paragraph or two of copy makes no difference at all, but sometimes that could be the wanted outcome. For example, for a copy writer bullet points might be easier to write than paragraphs of copy, in which case, an inconclusive result between those two styles maybe desirable because it will cut down on the work involved to write it.

3) Progression

If you have a large body of copy, split it across a journey or multiple pages. You can then measure the users progression through those pages, especially if the CTA to continue is at the bottom of the copy. Some blogs already do this.

Adding a sign up block (for example ‘Join our newsletter for more articles’) at the end of that journey is also a great way to measure how engaging your content was. Again, if running as an A/B test, ensure both control and variation include the same sign up block at the end to compare accurately.

4) Survey your users

Perhaps the business does not feel comfortable hiding copy behind a ‘read more’ link, or the KPI you’re measuring against is to do with understanding as opposed to conversions (which is common on educational websites). If this is the case, then surveying your users on site is going to be the best method to measure the impact of copy changes.

Tools such as Hotjar and Usabilla (others are available) allow you to survey your users directly on site. Asking them at a certain scroll point “were you able to find the information you were looking for?” or “do you have any unanswered questions?” is a way to figure out whether your copy is giving your users everything they need, and if not, asking an open text question can let users tell you what is missing.

Copy is such a vital part of a website, even though users often skim read and don’t give content the attention it deserves. I hope you found these methods useful to measure the impact your copy is having. Better copy equals a better user experience, more conversions and loyalty.

UX, Conversion Rate Optimisation and Personalisation specialist.

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