Boost your Christmas conversions by 10.2% with a simple JavaScript trick (code included)

Hot off the conversion press and just-in-time for Christmas.

Last year we posted about our Merry Christmas v. Happy Holidays test we ran for one of our clients. This year we decided to some landing page optimization tests with variations of the Christmas theme.

If you’ve followed our blog before, you know that creating a sense of urgency for your users to act usually increases conversions. Since we practice what we preach, we decided to run a headline on one of our client’s websites doing just that. We tested a headline that reminds them how near Christmas is. We came up with 2 variations of this headline: one that just states the days, and another that states the days, hours, minutes, and seconds and counts down in real time.

The test:

Here’s the day countdown:

10 days til Christmas.

Here’s the realtime seconds countdown, +10.2% in conversion rate:

9 days, 13:22:03 til Christmas.

Validity notes: This test ran on a site that gets more than 4,000 conversions a day. It was declared a winner with over 95% confidence in less than a week. Additionally, conversions are actual end-goals, not just clicks to the next page.

Why does this work?

It emphasizes the urgency.

Here's a simple experiment to make the point. Try to do any task in one minute. Now try to do the same task while having your friend audibly countdown the time left for you every second. The latter scenario is far more stressful. Your heart starts pumping, sweat starts beading on your forehead, and adrenaline starts coursing through your veins. While we’re not trying to invoke stress in our users, we do want them to notice the urgency. Typically conversions increase when your users have slight pressure to make a time-sensitive decision as soon as possible.

For years advertisers have known that it pays to announce "Limited time offer!" We're taking that same concept to the next level.

It catches their eye.

Remember those early banner ads that caught your attention by flashing bright colors at you? Same thing here. Although we'd like to think we're being a little more polite.

Things that move catch your attention. It’s a science fact. What do camouflaging animals do when they are trying to hide from their predators in plain sight? They hold still. Not moving allows things to blend in and be overlooked. And the opposite holds true too.

The Downside to this test: Depression sinks in the day after Christmas... You'll have to turn this winning variant off and it's back to the baseline.

Here's our Christmas gift to you

If you'd like to use this on your site, just customize the following code snippet. Here's the HTML that will display the countdown:

<span id="xmascounter"></span> until Christmas.


Here's the JavaScript that will keep it ticking:

function calculateXmasCounter() {
    var now = new Date();
    var xmas = new Date(2011, 11, 25, 0, 0, 0, 0); //Xmas 2011 (be careful: 11 is December)
    var hoursleft = 23 - now.getHours();
    var minutesleft = 59 - now.getMinutes();
    var secondsleft = 59 - now.getSeconds();
    var daysleft = Math.floor((xmas - now) / (1000*60*60*24));
    //format 0 prefixes
    if (minutesleft < 10) minutesleft = "0" + minutesleft;
    if (secondsleft < 10) secondsleft = "0" + secondsleft;
    document.getElementById('xmascounter').innerHTML = daysleft + " days, " + hoursleft + ":" +minutesleft + ":" + secondsleft;
setInterval(calculateXmasCounter, 1000);


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8 thoughts on “Boost your Christmas conversions by 10.2% with a simple JavaScript trick (code included)

  1. Great post, this can be still be used to create a sense of urgency. My consumer behavior class emphasized on how consumer are more apt to urgent situations that benefit them most. For instance, a huge sale can create an environment for mass amounts of sales. Think Cyber Monday and Black Friday holidays.

    I would definitely use this for a dating campaign in relation to Valentine’s Day. Just a thought…

    1. Thanks for the insight, Dustin. Yes – a Valentine’s Day countdown for dating would be gold! Great idea!

  2. Thanks! Didn’t get this on-time before christmas, but as “Robert Cladini” says – Sense of urgency can always be useful. I will try and use this on another landing page.

  3. You could also use this for a customer’s birthday (if you captured that date) to remind them they have x days to spoil themselves, for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Easter etc. Thank you very much for the code!!!

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