SSL Case Study

Case Study: “I didn’t know it was so easy to increase ad performance by 400%!”

1170 818 Mateusz Raczynski

One of our clients saw a massive increase in their conversions. It was just a small tweak that made it happen. And the best part? They’ve decided to share with you how they achieved this.

Sometimes, answers are staring us right in the face. Advanced performance marketers frequently seek new ways to optimize campaigns by taking a long, hard look at the data. But this art isn’t only about numbers—you have to be creative as well.

This allows you to discover new ways to increase performance. Not only by standard means, like adjusting targeting or creatives, but also by discovering all those quick fixes and hacks that lead to rapid and substantial performance increases.

That was the case for our client, who chose not to disclose his name. But before we dive into the hack itself, let’s give you the context.

The background and idea

What kind of performance marketing operations is our hero involved with?

I run mostly native ads on mobile devices. Some of the campaigns are for lead generation, some purely e-commerce focusing on purchases. I’ve considered them successful already, but there’s always some room for improvement.

He also shares his idea on optimizing this segment:

With this more and more popular switch towards https encryption, I decided to test my ads by adding an SSL certificate. I’ve added it to my redirect links and to the landing pages I direct my traffic to.

What are the results?

I didn’t know it was so easy to increase ad performance by 400%!

Later on in the conversation, he expands further upon the results. He claims that campaigns aimed at iOS and Safari browser have sometimes even hit a 400% increase in performance, though at other times the increase has been 200-300%.

But is that really THAT easy to get better results? You just enable the SSL and that’s it? Well, no.

Let’s analyze this case

What underlies this performance increase are the undergoing changes in web browsers. Google, Apple, and similar are pushing the shift for a safer internet. They advocate SSL encryption not only on pages where you enter your login data, but wherever you are on the internet.

At the same time, as they’re the key players in web browser space, they’re able to shape the way we surf the net. And they decided that to enhance security, website owners should use the https protocol.

It’s nothing new, nor are the changes not unexpected. Remember the last time Chrome told you your connection was not private? That was just the beginning of the larger move towards SSL.

Starting with iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4, Safari shows a red “Website Not Secure” warning if there is no SSL certificate on the website. It’s especially visible on mobile devices.

It might seem that this message is not that powerful, but, as it turns out, it is. It actually stops users from filling out forms or making purchases. Removing this obstacle results in double, triple, or even quadruple the number of conversions.

How can you benefit from this?

You can use a similar tactic in your campaigns and they’ll work for you as well. However, there are some limitations.

It’s important to acknowledge that our hero was working on native ads. The SSL encryption makes website load times slightly longer. With native, the load time is less important as users clicking them are more engaged and curious about the content you provide.

Also, the warning is more visible on mobile devices, so removing this blocker can result in higher performance increases than on desktop. On both platforms, using SSL can help in lead generation campaigns as users will know that the data they enter in the forms is encrypted and safe.

What’s more, you can also benefit from using SSL on your redirect links. When the user is on a website with SSL and gets redirected to another one without it, some browsers will warn users about leaving the encrypted connection. This could also damage the campaign flow and result in users dropping off at the redirect stage.

SSL is becoming a standard

With this “SSL warning” addition to Safari, it’s becoming a standard. What’s more, with the release of Chrome 68 in July 2018, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.” A lot of campaigns and landing pages will be affected by this change.

If, right now, using SSL leads to an increase in your conversions, in the very near future, campaigns without it may see a reduced performance.

That’s why it’s reasonable to start testing them right now and be all set for when all the major browser providers turn SSL into a must-have standard.

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