The Skinny On User-Activated Dynamic Elements

Dynamic elements make a website sharper and more engaging, but they’re only effective when used intentionally. You probably don’t need a scrolling marquee, even though they look cool. Marquees were an integral part of 1990’s web design, but now they’re a distraction.

The ideal dynamic elements of today aren’t random pieces of moving text or images – they’re elements that provide a better user experience.

Popups: the dynamic element mistakenly disregarded

The most well known dynamic element is the popup. With an understandable reputation for annoying visitors, popups still account for a large amount of successful marketing. For example, Sumo reported its users collected 23,645,948 email addresses – with popups – within two years.

The Sumo article also puts the average popup conversion rate at over 3% and explains the difference between an effective popup and one that drives visitors away. This article dispels the myth that popups should be avoided, because when implemented correctly, popups are your best marketing tool.

User-activated calls-to-action

A call-to-action presented as static text will only be noticed if a user chooses to read your content. Fortunately, a call-to-action can be dynamically presented to visitors based on their actions, like clicking or moving the cursor around.

The WordPress theme designed for the Becker Law Office presents a unique, user-activated call to action. As a user scrolls, a live chat announcement drops down from the top of the screen asking if they’d like immediate help. This element is programmed in JavaScript. Given the serious nature of personal injuries, this call-to-action supports visitors who need help.

Expandable content

Some websites benefit from content that expands when a user clicks on a “read more” link, or an icon indicating hidden content. For instance, say you have twenty questions on your frequently asked questions page. From a navigation standpoint, it makes sense to make the answers expand when a user clicks on the question. It’s fast; users don’t need to scroll up and down to find answers to additional questions.

One caution is that expandable content engineered through CSS might negatively impact SEO efforts. This type of dynamic content should only be used when the benefits for the user outweigh all other considerations.

Automatic display of relevant information gets more conversions 

According to Kissmetrics, you can boost conversions with dynamic content. Dynamic content increases conversions by creating a more relevant customer experience. “While often times words like personalization and recommendations are associated with such techniques,” says Kissmetrics, “at their core, these technologies are about changing and displaying content dynamically, based on user signals, in order to provide them with just the incentives they need to engage in business with you.”

User signals can be anything from their zipcode to their IP address, or other information stored in cookies.

Dynamic content can be used to eliminate redundant information visitors see, which presents them with the information they need to make the next logical step in the sales process.

For example, the Automobile Association of America’s website identifies a user’s zipcode before displaying any content. Since each state runs their own chapter, the user is automatically redirected to their state’s website, eliminating the user’s need to search.

You need to collect data to go deep with dynamic content

If you’re serious about using dynamic content to increase conversions, you’ve got to collect data first. Even if your users aren’t logged in, you can use cookies to track the pages they visit, the items they view, and what items they bookmark on a “wish list.” All of this information helps you present relevant offers tailored, as much as possible, to visitors you’ve just met.

For instance, if you offer an upsell during the checkout process, the more data you can collect, the easier it is to recommend the correct upsell. You can recommend accessories, but recommending an item (at a discount) that they removed from their shopping cart is more powerful.

Data-driven recommendations hold more power because they represent the real habits and preferences of your visitors, and aren’t based on arbitrary criteria. Delivering dynamic content to an audience based on their habits and preferences is how you get more conversions.