For campaigns, the conversion funnel is the path a voter takes from supporter to donor or volunteer. With the growing importance of online fundraising in the 2020 Democrat primary, I’m posting my teardowns of the leading candidates’ conversion funnels.
I’m analyzing how well a campaign has implemented best practices in constructing their funnel and the final grades are based on these key factors:
- Is the campaign easy to find on Google?
- Does the campaign’s website load quickly? Data shows that faster load times lead to higher conversion rates.
- Does the campaign have clear email capture and calls to action on the homepage?
- Do subpages, like the about page, blog posts, etc. also have email capture and calls to action?
- Are the campaign’s online ads geared towards driving conversions?
- Are the landing pages for these ads optimized for the maximum number of conversions?
- Does the campaign use effective email automation to drive supporters through the conversion funnel?
- Does the campaign redirect traffic to donation pages after a user takes action? Are they customized to the earlier action?
It goes without saying that there are a number of critical factors that go into a conversion funnel, like website design and paid advertising, but these are two areas that have already garnered signifcant attention.
For our first teardown, I’m starting with Joe Biden.
Other Teardowns in this Series:
Despite some early trouble with appearance on Google, JoeBiden.com now appears on the coveted first page of Google where 75% of users stop. According to Google’s Transparency Report, Biden has also spent in excess of $100,000 on search ads.
The homepage loads in a speedy 0.775 seconds.
You won’t find email capture fields on the homepage, but a donation call to action is prominently featured. Despite some anchoring issues, there’s no doubt that Biden’s campaign wants supporters to donate.
After a little bit of scrolling, a pop-up appears, finally asking for an email, mobile, and ZIP.
The pop-up also appears on mobile, but without the photo.
It’s worth pointing out that the call to action “Let’s Go” is more inviting than a generic “submit” and it’s clear there’s been some thought into the site’s design and conversion funnel.
After completing the form, a user is redirected to a donation page – a key step in driving additional conversions.
Biden’s team, like most campaigns, is using the multi-step ActBlue form, which increases conversion rates by helping the user along and reducing errors.
Another important feature is that in both the pop-up and the donation page, there’s a photo of Biden looking at where the call to action is. We’re hard wired to follow eyes.
The subpages of JoeBiden.com which include some high-traffic pages like the about and issues pages are completely absent of email capture calls to action and even the Donate button is anemic until you begin scrolling down and the donation amount bar becomes prominent.
On mobile devices, the donate button is very prominent.
Signing up via the pop-up triggers a minimalist, stripped down email that welcomes a user to the campaign and provides a sort of online orientation, linking to social media, donation pages, and a volunteer page:
Hick’s Law states that the more decisions a user has to make, the longer they’ll take which means they’re more likely to abandon altogether. By giving users too many options, Biden’s team is driving down their conversions because it’s not clear which action is the most important.
About an hour after this email, I got another email with sender “Joe Biden” that features a more traditional email fundraising template.
And then about six hours after that, I got an engagement email asking me to complete a survey that redirects to a donation page after I take it.
Biden is leading the Democrat pack in terms of spending online and his ads are focused on driving donations and gathering emails.
Last week, many of the campaign’s ads used an “End of Month” fundraising deadline as a trigger to drive donations. Democrats have an advantage here with ActBlue where potential donors are likely already signed in and able to make quick, one-click donations, thus making advertising for donations much easier than with Republicans.
The graphic videos are designed to catch a user’s eye as they scroll through the Facebook feed and are squares to take up the most space possible.
Biden’s campaign is also list building on “blue meat” topics like repealing the Trump Tax Cut and ending “Dark Money.”
Once a user clicks through on the ad, they’re driven to a landing page that is clear and focused. Design-minded readers may quibble with an item here or there, but from a conversion funnel perspective these are excellent.
After completing the landing page, a user is “selected’ (I was selected every time!) to complete a survey about the issue increasing engagement and priming the supporter to give. It even includes a series of checkboxes to soft-commit to donating. After that survey is completed, they are driven to a donation page that references the survey they just completed. I’m surprised that the pledge to donate I made doesn’t transfer over and automatically pre-fill the donation page.
Before I deliver my grade, here’s the checklist once again, with notes:
- Homepage – There’s no clear email capture call to action, other than a pop-up which some users may find annoying and instinctively dismiss.
- Subpages – None of these pages offer an opportunity for a supporter to provide an email after they’ve learned more about Biden’s campaign.
- Online Ads – These are well executed and feature eye-catching creative focused on driving conversions.
- Landing Pages – Clear and focused, with some minor design issues.
- Donation Page Re-directs – With a step in between that primes the user to give, a converting user is driven to a donation page at the end of every action.
Grade (as of 6/3/2019): B+
JoeBiden.com’s Conversion Funnel has all of the right pieces in place and leverages many of the right behavioral methods to drive conversions, but there’s room for improvement, especially on converting organic site traffic to email signups. It’s clear that Biden’s team is making up for this oversight with the brute force volume driven by paid online ads.