Featured UpTrender – John Jenkins

This post is part of a series highlighting the talented team of UpTrending. We believe in hiring the best and brightest in all areas of expertise, and it shows in the wide range of personalities and skills we have on our team. But our team members are more than just talented professionals – and you deserve to know them a bit better.

John Jenkins is our latest Featured UpTrender. As a member of our Project Management team, John gets to interact with both clients and internal team members on a daily basis. Hailing from Houston, TX, he has been with UpTrending since mid-2015, and works with several of our most prominent clients.


John, tell us a bit about your background, and what drew you to UpTrending.

Prior to coming on board here, I have been in project management for about 10 years. Specifically, I worked in several companies focused on web development, working to help them support other firms, including design agencies. I sought out UpTrending because I really wanted to tackle the opportunity of working with Silicon Valley clients, and to expand beyond just web development.


We’ve heard from other Project Managers that they didn’t set out to be in that role – does that hold true for you?

I’ve actually always had an interest in how technology can be used to maximize business function. I majored in Marketing and Management Information Systems in college, so while I’m not sure I specifically sought out the role of Project Manager, it’s definitely in line with what I like to do as far as helping companies merge business and tech.


So how do you describe your job to your friends and family?

I make life easier for designers and developers. Those guys are the stars who do all the real work.


What do you think is the best part of your job?

The people. Both the clients and my fellow team members are all such brilliant professionals, and it’s great to come alongside them to help them create amazing results.


And the worst part?

As great as the people are, technology doesn’t always cooperate. That could be the technology we are working on, like a website, or a third-party system like a job engine or marketing automation platform. It could even be the very system we’re using to manage the project itself. You can talk with a person, reason with them, reach an understanding. Technology isn’t nearly as forgiving.


I know you work really hard, and a lot of hours – but what do you spend your off-time working on?

I do a lot of reading and studying about entrepreneurship. Seeing how people are working to change the world, and the ways that they are doing it gives great perspective on my own life and what I’m working on. I also used to play the cello, though I don’t get to it as much as I’d like anymore.


Take a moment to talk to the up-and-coming Project Manager. How can they be as awesome as you?

Start with the end in mind. In other words, understand the deliverable and the process before your team ever begins working.

Develop strong trust within your team, and with the client. Trust will make things go much more smoothly when the hiccups come. One way to do this is to own your mistakes. Nobody likes to work with someone who passes the buck. Be authentic and transparent.

Finally, remember that there is no such thing as a “simple task.” In fact, if someone who isn’t doing the work says that it should be simple, that’s likely a sign that the opposite will be true.


If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Houston – I love my city!


3 Habits to Improve Your Conversion Rates

We live in a data-driven world, always chasing increases in leads, conversion, sales, registrations. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has become a common piece of the marketing lexicon. We agonize over minute changes, because we know that they can yield big business results.

If you sell anything online, from shoes to audio editing software, you know how important CRO is. So what are some ways that your company can consistently improve your online conversion rates? Here are three best practices that can have a big impact on your results.

Factor in the Perceived Cost of Your Cart

The perceived cost of your e-commerce website’s cart = the price on-screen + other mental pain points. Any on-screen component that provokes resistance in the mind of a shopper has the same effect as increasing the price shown on the screen.

There are three particular factors that increase perceived cost: friction, anxiety and mental labor.


Elements that introduce Friction Potential Solutions
High shipping costs that aren’t revealed until late in the checkout process Offer free shipping or have shipping prices listed clearly on the site
Having to register and create an account before completing the purchasing process A “guest checkout” option with registration not required
Extra fields in forms that are unnecessary Only show necessary fields, remove the rest



One of the most common causes of anxiety? A visually stripped down, bare-boned credit card form.

When customers see a CC form with the typical Minimalistic visual design that has become so popular, it makes them uneasy. There isn’t a perceived sense of security. Although that Minimalistic design works wonderfully well in all other points of UX, not so much for the CC form.

Instead, encapsulate the credit card fields. Studies have shown that layers of visual content surrounding the CC fields create a sense of protection. Also, add third-party seals that confirm your site is trustworthy.

Mental Labor

If your site gives customers too many choices in the cart process, you might have a problem. The perception of infinite choice causes paralysis.

One study revealed that removing the website’s usual left navigation from the checkout page increased the completion rate 10%. Removing the top navigation increased completion rate by 19%!

Keep the Law of Proximity in Mind

Gestalt psychology – which “tries to understand the laws of our ability to acquire and maintain meaningful perceptions in an apparently chaotic world” – has become extremely useful for conversion-focused marketers.

Zappos provides an interesting example of how marketing uses the “Law of Proximity.” They do something astonishingly simple – on their registration form they group the email fields closer together than any other fields.


The brain immediately draws a connecting line between the two fields clustered together, and it makes it easier for the eyes to find a sense of orientation as it scans the form. This subtle improvement to the registration experience improves the user’s experience, which in turn improves the company’s registration rate.

Follow the Process

Finally, the most important habit for improving your conversion rate? Follow Jon Correll’s advice: Follow the process, not the result.

The very popular and useful site gave him a perfect example. One shared test on the site yielded a jaw-dropping 972% conversion rate increase. However, as Correll noted, when you try to replicate these tests, it’s difficult to achieve the same increase percentage. It can be frustrating to the point that it disrupts your work and lowers the morale of your team.

Instead, Correll offers this sage advice:

“If you’re tasked to make changes and run tests, and then show those results to people [i.e. your boss] with unrealistic expectations, you’re not going to be successful, as failure is part of the process. You need to embrace failure and love learning.”

Need some help boosting your website conversion rates? We’d love to help. Just drop us a line!


8 Ways You Know it’s Time to Update Your Website

“We Never Go Out of Style”
– said no website ever.
(Yes, that was a Taylor Swift pun.)

Technology is changing every day. After you buy a new device, whether that is a phone, computer, or even a watch, a newer one is coming out a month later. And as far as the digital devices change, so do the websites that live in them.

You may be thinking, “Well we just updated our website 3-5 years ago, it still works just fine for us.” But there is a good chance that the “working just fine” website is dated in comparison to your competitor that just did a full-website redesign in 2015. When prospects are visiting your site, for some, this might be a deal breaker.

Keeping up with technology is crucial to your website’s users. The least creative people in the world have the ability to tell the difference between a modern website from an outdated website. They know good User Interface (UI) when they see it – even if they can’t tell you why it’s better/worse.

We have compiled some questions to help make sure that you are not only “keep up with the Joneses,” but also surpassing your competitors.

  1. Are your buttons too complex?

Buttons should be strong Calls-to-Actions, but they don’t need to look like 3D lego blocks. Images inside of buttons and additional bells and whistles can distract the user rather than compelling them to click. Keep buttons as simple shapes and bold colors, which makes them less scary to click.

Great Examples:




  1. Do you love cheesy stock images?

Apparently, so does Vince Vaughn… but your users don’t. They are so staged that they don’t relate to your audience.

Guy pointing at a chart going up?

Intentionally diverse team standing proudly in front of a wheat field?

Woman laughing alone with a salad?


Using photography and videos from sites such as stocksy and dissolve help keep your website relatable. They use a modern photography and video style, with people just like you, to create a soft, approachable vibe.

Great Examples:



  1. Is there too much copy?

People don’t read websites, they skim and scan for content. It’s a fact. Nowadays, users want it short and sweet.

Here is the secret: users will read your content…if you trick them! Do this by splitting up your content into shorter paragraphs and sprinkling these paragraphs throughout the page, instead of having one large block of 10-12 paragraphs.

You can also make your messaging easier to digest by introducing design elements such as infographics and iconography to visually voice your concepts. Remember: Quality > Quantity.

Great Examples:



  1. Do you look smaller than you actually are?

Your website might be communicating to users that you are a 10-20 person startup, when you’ve actually grown into a Fortune 500 company with 500+ employees.

Show credibility by featuring trust indicators such as testimonials from corporate clients, success ratings and company culture. Share details with users visiting your website to give them a better sense of who your company is and what it will be like working with you.

Great Examples:



  1. Is your website over designed?

Over-designed websites use too many forms of patterns, textures and strong drop-down shadows. You certainly want to intrigue your users with beautiful design – but there is a fine line between a clean, classy site and feeling like you are walking down the scrapbook aisle at Hobby Lobby.

Less is more. Keeping your UI clean will make it easier to read and take action.

Great Examples:



  1. Do you have too many links in your main navigation?

Users want to be told where to go. Giving them too many options can overwhelm them and increase your bounce rate. The sweet spot for your main navigation is usually around 4-5 main links.

Great Examples:



  1. Are you using too many colors in your palette?

Establishing a color palette is standard in the branding process. So when it comes to designing your website, those should already be established. You can add subtle secondary colors to the palette specifically for the website, but make sure that it doesn’t turn into a coloring book.

Modernize your website by allowing whitespace and breathing room for your content. Allow white, gray and black to add contrast rather than adding more bold colors.

Great Examples:



  1. Are you using comic sans?

I can’t even…

Typography on a website can make a huge difference. It sets the tone, theme and message of a website. If your typography is off, the whole website can be missing the mark. Setting your header, sub-titles and body stylings with the correct spacing, etc. will allow your website to speak strongly to the users in the correct hierarchy.


If you answered yes to some of these questions, it’s probably time to update your site. If you aren’t sure where to start, contact us! We would love to help you update your website and refresh it to better fit your company. We even offer a full UI & UX audit for dissecting your current website – telling you not only why it might be missing the mark, but how to we can help make it better (in the nicest way possible).


Why “The Fold” in Web Design No Longer Matters

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: when designing your website, you should put as much content as you can at the top of the homepage, because it’s the only space that your users will actually pay attention to! But no matter how many so-called “marketing experts” perpetuate the myth of “the fold” in web design, it’s actual relevance is not nearly as strong as you might imagine. So why are we still talking about the concept?

First Things First: What’s The Fold?

If you’re involved in digital marketing, you probably know about the concept of “The Fold,” a former newspaper term that was transferred to websites in the early digital age. The idea is simple: potential readers/visitors will pay most attention to the content they see first. In newspapers, that’s the top half of the title page, while on websites it’s the content on the front page that’s visible without scrolling. It made perfect sense in a world of static, 800×600 pixel websites where the term was clearly defined.

Changing Perspectives in the Mobile Age

Of course, we’re no longer living in a world of static websites. While plenty of credible, often-cited studies suggest the importance of the fold in web design, these studies are decreasing in relevance as we’re moving into a more mobile-focused digital environment.

Last year, mobile internet usage surpassed its desktop counterpart for the first time, and the gap is only expected to widen in the near future. The result has been a dramatic rise in mobile marketing, including to no small part the rapid spread of web design that responds and adjusts itself dynamically based on screen size. In fact, a survey by Google earlier this year showed 82% of respondents are now using responsive design.

You probably know where we’re going with this by now: if a site adjusts itself based on screen size, and if the majority of users are now looking at your site via mobile devices, just where do you think the fold is? The answer is easy: it no longer exists.

But don’t just take our word for it. Plenty of data points to the fact that scrolling beyond the top end of a page is, in fact, more common than “above the fold” supporters believe.  As it turns out, 76% of users use the scroll bar on a website to dive beyond what they initially see. An A/B test by ContentVerve showed that a landing page with the call to action at the bottom of the page outperformed its top-of-page CTA variation by no less than 300%.

To top it off, research now shows that users spend the majority of their time on a website just below the traditional fold.

Designing Websites in a Post-Fold Environment

In other words, the concept of a “fold” in modern web design is hopelessly outdated. Cramming your content into the top part of your homepage, or even designing an entire page without scrolling, is no longer effective. Of course, the top of your homepage still matters for web visitors as their first impression of your site. But everything that comes after matters just as much.

Here are some tips on how you can design your website in a responsive, post-fold world:

  • Grab Attention at the Top. Your most compelling visuals and headlines should still live at the top of the page. Done just right, they will draw your visitors toward the additional content at the bottom, where you can spend your time and content convincing them to take action. You may even want to think about specifically encouraging your users to scroll for more information.
  • Scatter Your CTAs. Not every visitor behaves similar. Some will come to your website with the specific purpose of filling out a form to get their content, while others need some convincing first. So instead of merely placing your CTAs at the top or the bottom, scatter them around your site to grab visitors at any point within their discovery phase. Dropbox, long a leader and innovator when it comes to landing pages, does a great job of this on its homepage.
  • Avoid the “False Fold.” If your visitors think they can glean everything without scrolling, they won’t do so – even if they see a scroll bar. Too many companies seek to present a complete picture of their site, creating clear delineation between the top “attention grabbing” content and its bottom, “convince me” counterpart. But that delineation actually discourages people from ever discovering that content, as they don’t feel the need to scroll. Instead of creating an arbitrary distinction between your top and bottom content, think about using the Gestalt Effect to your advantage by presenting a design that’s clearly incomplete without scrolling.

As we move further into the mobile age, dynamic websites have made the “above the fold” concept become hopelessly outdated. It’s time to start thinking beyond the concept and toward the countless opportunities companies now have to build amazing websites without fear that visitors will only ever see the top part.


What the Ad Tech Consolidation Boom Means for Marketers

It’s no secret that the ad tech industry is rapidly consolidating due to a rise in acquisitions. This massive consolidation has become “the norm,” and greatly impacts the way marketers utilize advertising technology.

Why the rise in acquisitions?

First, innovative solutions are created by small ad tech companies devoted to creating game-changing tools. Then, larger companies recognize the valuable opportunities in online and mobile advertising that these tools provide. Finally, enormous companies swallow up the small innovators at breakneck speed.

What is Driving the Acquisition Boom

Massive demand for successful apps and digital platforms

For advertisers, mobile usage is growing exponentially. Recently, mobile ad spending has increased at the expense of desktop, taking more and more of marketers’ digital ad share.

Check out these mind-blowing projections:

  • In 2015, mobile ad spending in the US will increase by 50% over 2014
  • $28.72 billion will be spent on mobile ads in 2015
  • Mobile will account for 49% of 2015 digital ad spend
  • By 2019, mobile ad spending will rise to $65.87 billion and comprise 72.2% of total digital ad spend

Marketers need better tools

Merging technologies can create a more accurate and efficient way for marketers to reach their target audience.

A great example of this is the Google/Twitter deal made in May 2015. This deal stated that tweets would be available in Google search results. Suddenly a 140-character update about your recent purchase of a cell phone could be scooped up by an ad-serving company and be used to direct a Twitter ad your way about mobile accessories.

Increased demand for ad tech transparency

As marketers spend more on digital advertising, they are also demanding more insight into the ROI. This bottom-line focused clamor is putting the pressure on ad tech companies, and increasing competition.

As pointed out by the Wall Street Journal, the major challenge for ad tech companies is meaningful result data. Because online advertising is primarily measured by impression and clicks, companies are left wondering:

  • What should I do with these results?
  • How can I apply these numbers to my overall business?
  • How do I use this to grow revenue?

Based on these reactions, digital advertising vendors are continuously working to prove they can provide more than just views and clicks. They are focused on proving that their services convert into real revenue.

How Ad Tech Acquisitions Will Affect Marketers and Advertisers

Bigger budgets are becoming absolutely essential

As digital marketing becomes increasingly crucial to business strategies, 80% of companies intend to raise their digital marketing budgets throughout the next 12 to 18 months.

This growth indicates an increase in consumer demand for digital marketing and advertising. In turn, ad tech vendors are looking to fulfil this demand by acquiring inventive new solutions, which drives even more demand.

Acquisitions are giving us a simpler solution

Marketers and agencies would rather avoid the hassle of dealing with multiple firms and managing multiple relationships. It is time consuming and expensive.

According to a comprehensive article from DigiDay, Marketers are looking for simpler, full-service solutions. Consequently, many ad tech companies will:

  • Create new capabilities
  • Merge with others
  • Fall behind (Unfortunately!)

Fewer options, higher costs, & less competition

Ad tech consolidations mean more limited options. Giants like Google and Facebook are acquiring companies with the most cutting edge technologies, leaving digital marketers with limitations in where they choose to advertise. This also means higher costs for advertisers because of reduced competition.

The Final Word

Fortunately, consolidation will offer:

  • Sensible standardization
  • Improved advertising quality
  • More clarity among advertisers
  • Better tools to reach your target audience

Unfortunately, consolidation creates:

  • Higher costs to market products, services, brands etc.
  • Decreased competition (fewer options)
  • Challenges keeping up with technology learning curves


Have an opinion about the changing advertising technology landscape? Drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to chat!