When Less Is More: Empirical Study of the Relation Between Consumer Behavior and Information Provision on Commercial Landing Pages
This paper describes an empirical examination of how users’ willingness to disclose personal data is influenced by the amount of information provided on landing pages – standalone web pages created explicitly for marketing or advertising campaigns.
Provision of information is a central construct in the IS discipline. Content is a term commonly used to describe the information made available by a website or other electronic medium. A pertinent debate among scholars and practitioners relate to the behavioral impact of content volume: Specifically, does a greater amount of information elicit engagement and compliance, or the other way around?
A series of large-scale web experiments (n= 535 and n= 27,900) were conducted employing a between-subjects design and A/B testing. Two variants of landing pages, long and short, were created based on relevant behavioral theories. Both variants included an identical form to collect users’ information, but different amounts of provided content. User traffic was generated using Google AdWords and randomized between the page using Unbounce.com. Relevant usage metrics, such as response rate (called “conversion rate”), location, and visit time were recorded.
This research contributes to the body of knowledge on information provision and its effectiveness and carries practical and theoretical implications to practitioners and scholars in Information Systems, Informing Science, Communications, Digital Marketing, and related fields.
Analyses of results show that the shorter landing pages had significantly higher conversion rates across all locations and times. Findings demonstrate a negative correlation between the content amount and consumer behavior, suggesting that users who had less information were more inclined to provide their data.
At a practical level, results can empirically support business practices, design considerations, and content strategy by informing practitioners on the role of content in online commerce.
Findings suggest that the amount of content plays a significant role in online decision making and effective informing. They also contradict prior research on trust, persuasion, and security. This study advances research on the paradoxical relationship between the increased level of information and online decision-making and indicates that contrary to earlier work, not all persuasion theories are effective online.
Understanding how information drives behavior has implications in many domains (civic engagement, health, education, and more). This has relevance to system design and public communication in both online and offline contexts.
Using this research as a starting point, future research can examine the impact of content in other contexts, as well as other behavioral drivers (such as demographic data). This can lead to theoretical, methodological, and practical recommendations.