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Why Rotating Picture Sliders Could Be Killing Your Conversions

May 27, 2013   //   by jeremywallace   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

So you’ve got your picture slider up.  The perfect tool to showcase a variety of marketing messages in one compact space – or so you thought.  What you didn’t know before having your slider coded into your website – is that using one can kill conversions.

How could that be?  Everyone who’s anyone has one.  Based just on appearances alone, they can make a “run from the basement” website look like a Fortune 500 company.

Well, here are a few reasons why.

The human eye instinctively reacts to movement.  That means that our brain is more focused on the movement of the rotating slides than on the actual content itself.

When you offer too many messages to your visitors – you really offer no message at all.

Rotating images are beginning to have the same effect that banner advertisements have come to have on visitors.  They are largely ignored.  In fact, the phrase “banner blindness” was coined because visitors already know that they’re advertisements and pay little attention to them.

Users need to feel a sense of control while on your website.  If they are in the middle of reading your message on slide 1 but it suddenly switches to slide 2 before they’ve even finished reading the message – you’ve taken away that sense of control.

And finally, most rotating sliders don’t allow for enough time for the reader to even get through the message on each slide.

As Adam Fellows puts it:

“Almost all of the testing I’ve managed has proven content delivered via carousels to be missed by users. Few interact with them and many comment that they look like adverts and so we’ve witnessed the banner blindness concept in full effect.

In terms of space saving and content promotion a lot of competing messages get delivered in a single position that can lead to focus being lost.”

Several studies have recently surfaced to back up the theory that rotating sliders hurt conversions.

 

One study by usability guru, Jakob Nielsen, revealed that it was difficult for users to answer even simple questions regarding individual picture slides.  This was due to the fact that the moving images made it difficult to fully ascertain the message.

 

Another study at Notre Dame revealed that only 1% of users actually engaged with the rotating picture slider.  The study also revealed that those users who did engage, really only engaged with the first slide – rendering the slides that followed the first slide as useless.

 

This graph depicts the engagement users had with each slide on the rotating picture slider that was tested.

ND.edu Feature Click-Through Rate

 

These facts indicate that using a rotating picture slider that takes up such a large portion of screen space yet yields such a small amount of user engagement is a waste of prime online property.

“We have tested rotating offers many times and have found it to be a poor way of presenting home page content.” – Chris Goward, Wider Funnel

So there you have it.  In most cases, it’s best to remove your slider to avoid the risk of losing sales.  Opt to use a static page that doesn’t steal the majority of your “above the fold” screen space, gives your readers plenty of time to read your message and pushes them to engage deeper into your site.

If you absolutely cannot part ways with your slider because it feels like you’re giving away your first teddy bear – there’s still a few things you can do to keep it from killing your conversions.

Space the timing out so that it gives your visitors plenty of time to fully absorb the message on each slide.

In order to keep your visitors feeling like they have control, instead of using automatic rotation – provide a button where they can click to proceed to the next slide – should they choose to do so.

Although they may look pretty and give the feeling of a hi-tech web experience – rotating picture sliders are just not worth risking conversions.

Of course, in some cases, a rotating picture slider *might* increase conversions.  An A/B split test should always be performed to determine which page version yields the highest conversions for your website.

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