Optimal Number of Products to Include in Comparison Table?

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#1
What say ye?

I'm building yet another site and started thinking about the best number of products to include on the comparison tables. I'm going for the side-by-side style where each product takes up a whole column, so I can't have more than 5 anyways.

But I think 5 should be the max. As a user, 5 is about the point where I'm getting overwhelmed, because it's no longer helping me make the decision. It's throwing too much info at me.

I thought about doing 3 and then second guessed myself and thought about 4.

I tried to Google some data about it and couldn't find any info other than not to go above 5 if your table is static without filtering.
 
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#2
It will probably depend on the products you are comparing and how many parameters there are to compare.

This is an excellent article that dissects the comparison table experience on lots of different sites and gives some good ideas.

However, seeing as my site is an Amazon affiliate site, I just try to copy what Amazon do, even copying the layout and design of their tables as best I can. After all, they have $$$$ to throw at A/B testing these things!
 
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#3
I agree with everything you said. Five is the maximum. Your job is to do the reader's job for them, and more than five makes it too hard to make a decision. Do you want them to convert or get confused some more?

I've seen a lot of attempts at longer tables of 20 items and more that you can sort by column, but it doesn't help as a user. Even the ones where you can filter feel like I'm at an ecommerce site instead of a blog.
 

Ryuzaki

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#4
I've just built my own comparison table with only 3 options. This was partially restricted to 3 based on the type of stuff I'm selling and the way I've broken it into price groupings. It also made for a much cleaner design.

Intuitively I feel like 4 would be the best. Seems like a good middle ground between too few (and not getting enough curious clicks) and too many (and flooding the user instead of narrowing it down for them).

There's probably no data because it varies so wildly with niche and design and product choice. There's no real way to conduct that broad of a test. Split testing each table, or all tables across one site, is probably the most that's been done.

I think a meta-review of all of the data could be helpful to guide decisions though, but I didn't see that or any data out there actually when I looked.

My question was more along the lines of whether or not having a table at all would boost or hurt my conversions. I'm guessing it'll help, even with high priced technical items.
 
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#5
You don't have to limit yourself to one kind of comparison table.
You can have one at the top with "best", "best value", "cheapest" and then go on to review more, make a really big comparison table or individual testing.
 
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#6
Three seems like it would be a winner so you can offer "good", "better", "best" as retailers tend to do, however, I guess if you've got the traffic it's something you could test
 
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#7
I ended up going with 3 products because the plugin I went with had a nice horizontal table they called a grid that matched what I had pictured in my head. It has other formats too like @ragnar said, so I can create more affiliate tags to test which do the best. I can add different ones to the top of different posts to see, but I don't really have enough posts for it to "average out" the results. I see why there's no information about this now.
 

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#8
My 3 product table is in place. It's boosted my clicks on affiliate links by at least 50%. This was from a couple days ago, it's only gotten better now that they're all in place and it's the weekdays:



The gray bars are my clicks.

No matter what you think about comparison tables and your copywriting and what kind of products you're selling, try out a comparison table. Especially if it's something like Amazon where most of the job is getting them to the store. It's the bee's knees.
 
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#9
I have always included 5 products in all my comparison tables, and I recently tried out a post where the table only had 3 products. The main difference I noticed is that I was selling more of a mixture of the 3 products, compared to the 5 product table where the 1st product sold the most.
 
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#12
So just a list of the product names with your affiliate link? Or do they link to a section further down the page?
Yaa.. just straight product link..i think it depends on your niche.. when there is not much to compare, i would just link to product..