The Grunt Test – Can Your Website Pass It?

By June 25, 2019 July 12th, 2019 marketing

Do you remember those Geico commercials about “So Easy a Caveman Could Do It?”  They became pretty popular and had many different versions that went for quite a long time.  But why were they so popular?  I can’t believe they are over 15 years old now.  Sigh.

What Is The Grunt Test?

The Grunt Test was coined by a great company called Storybrand.  The idea has been around a really, really long time, but they were the first that gave it a meaningful and easy name to remember.  All of us digital marketers know that visitors will bounce away from a page if they don’t find what they are looking for really quickly (like 3-7 seconds) or if the site is ugly. This is common knowledge.  The Grunt Test gives it a name and measurable parameters.  So here is what makes up the Grunt Test.

The basic premise of the Grunt Test includes 3 simple measurements for a website, or really any campaign.

  1. What do you offer?
  2. How will it make my life better?
  3. What do I need to do to buy it?

So, like the Geico commercial claimed, the Grunt Test claims that a caveman should be able to visit your website and “grunt” in happy agreement that they have found what they needed.

Imagine a big hairy guy in a T-Rex t-shirt with his phone, searching the latest model wooden club.  He has found your website with the latest wifi-enabled Club Master 3000.  Would he be able to grunt in satisfaction you answered those three questions?

If you only sell one product, this is really easy, but if you have lots of different products and services, this can get really hard, really fast.

What Is The Grunt Test Good For?

The Grunt Test works best for landing pages for new visitors.  The pages in this category include your:

  1. Homepage,
  2. Product or service page, and
  3. Campaign pages (for email or advertising).

These pages have a very clear purpose of engaging a customer to keep them exploring or convert them quickly into a sale.  Other pages, like blog posts, training articles or supporting material are rarely about trying to convince someone to buy something, which takes out step 3 of the Grunt Test. Don’t discount those pages because they should always have a purpose, but it just may not be the same as a homepage.

Fortunately, most people researching a product or service are going to land on the right pages of your website.  Google has made sure of that.

Video Description of the Grunt Test

How to Pass the Grunt Test

The formula for passing the Grunt Test is very straight forward.  Passing or failing the Grunt Test won’t happen until your visitors experience your changes.  Do more people engage with your website and convert after your changes?

You can use Google Analytics for taking that measurement.  Look at measurements like your bounce rate, time on page, pages per visit, your funnel and conversions.  It’s as simple as that.  If your numbers don’t change for the better, you know the changes didn’t work.  Don’t be upset if it doesn’t work the first time, but learn from mistakes and keep trying.

Every audience and every persona is different.  Employing best practices aren’t going to work for every business.  Employing Smart Practices is how you will learn to pass the Grunt Test.

For your landing pages, here are things to think about to help pass the Grunt Test.

  1. What problem do you solve. Start out with a simple, clear, 3rd grade level statement about the problem you solve.  It should be the main text at the top of the page.  Don’t make it too long or cutesy or the caveman will lose interest trying to think about it.
  2. Design for short attention spans. Don’t make the graphic you have there distracting, but it should still have something to do with the problem you are solving.
  3. Extra copy to engage. The second sentence should probably be a smaller font but it answers how it makes life better.
  4. Design for mobile. For mobile devices, make sure neither of these goes off the page. We don’t want them swiping down.
  5. Don’t make your audience think. Duh, don’t make the visitor have to think to determine the 3 core principles of the Grunt Test.

Does Geico Still Pass the Grunt Test?

So, let’s look at the original caveman grunt test claim from Geico. They claimed that their website is so easy a caveman can do it.  So here is a screenshot of the homepage with some annotation.

Does it pass the three principles of the Grunt Test? Let’s see.

What do you offer? Well, it appears they offer more than car insurance. But all I wanted to do was to find out how much switching my car insurance would cost.

How Will It Make My Life Better? There is nothing on this page about making life better, unfortunately. It seems to be more about what Geico offers than how they make my life better.  Save me money? Nope.  Make getting insurance easier? Nope. Easier to work with Geico? Nope.  So what is different about Geico?  Apparently, nothing based on its homepage.  Unfortunate.

What Do I Need To Do To Buy What You Offer? Well, it looks like I have to get a quote.  But I just wanted to know what it might cost?  Of course, I know you have to give a lot of details to find out how much money I’ll save, but that isn’t presented anywhere.  They are making the caveman think.

Poor caveman.  Poor visitors.

Examples of Companies Who Pass and Fail the Grunt Test

Want to see some examples? In this video, I review the top home insurance providers to see how they perform.

Can Your Website Pass The Grunt Test?

Can You Pass The Grunt Test?  Happy to put your website through the grunt test, just let me know and we can find out.

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John Paul Mains

About John Paul Mains

John Paul Mains is the Chief Marketing Scientist at Click Laboratory. He loves all things digital, but especially SEO and analytics. If you're interested in learning more, his LinkedIn profile is https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnpaulmains/.

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