How to Use to Improve Your Website Copy

Have you ever found yourself wanting to quickly run messaging by your target audience (without diving into intense user testing)?

This is one of my favorite elevated gut-check tools for quick and dirty user feedback: the 5 Second Test!

I love running 5 Second Tests. I find them ridiculously helpful in validating any messaging gap hypotheses I have when I’m working on client projects.

I run 5 Second Tests for quick feedback on high-level components of messaging that can really set apart so-so copy from complete-amazement-because-we-totally-nailed-down-the-ideal-audience copy.

Hint: We want the latter. Your perfect-fit audience should absolutely be reacting at the Andy Dwyer level of awe. It’s all in that juicy VOC data, baby.

Anyways. You don’t need to be a technical wiz to run your own 5 Second Test!

If you aren’t sure where to start with 5 Second Tests, this walkthrough is for you!

How to Run a 5 Second Test on

When I’m running a 5 Second Test, I’m looking for three key answers to these core questions:

  1. What is most memorable about the visitors first glance at the site?

  2. Can the visitor quickly identify who this product or service is for?

  3. Is it easy for the visitor to recall the brand name?

The questions that I ask in my tests are designed to gather this information.

So, why these key pieces?

Our target audience should be able to immediately identify that this brand/product/service/solution/etc. might be able to solve their unique problems.

Honestly, there’s very little stopping them from hitting that back button and bouncing off your site. So your target audience’s ability to recognize these components is paramount to keeping them around.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into how you can actually go about creating and running your very own 5 Second Test using

Want to try running your own 5 Second Tests? Grab the 5 Second Test checklist and get started now!

Step 1: Gather your 5 Second Test materials

You’ll need to decide the copy you’ll be testing and the basic demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach.

I love using 5 Second Tests on home page hero shots, but you can really test any area of your site.

Once you’ve decided what you’ll be testing, simply grab a screenshot.

You’ll also need to nail down basic demographics for your participants. Think about things like which country they live in, their education level, their employment status etc. doesn’t require you to provide this information. But you’ll get more accurate feedback if you can provide an accurate picture of your intended audience.

Step 2: Login (or Create) Your Account

This is really straight forward, I promise.

Simply login or set yourself up with free account and you’re ready to get started.

Step 3: Set Up Your 5 Second Test

It’s time to use the materials you gathered back in Step 1.

Begin by setting your test title and project. (Side note: I love the project feature because it allows me to keep my tests organized by client.)

Upload your image, set your participant’s image viewing time and enter the questions you’d like answered.

Step 4: Select Your Participant Audience

It’s now time to set up the parameters for your participant audience.

I use these tests almost exclusively for getting fresh eyes on my copy, so I always elect to find panel participants. Because I run my tests in this way, I always set my demographic information to align as closely as possible to my client’s intended audience.

This ensures that you receive results that are more in tune with what your target audience visitors may think when they land on your page. defaults to 50 participants, but when I run 5 Second Tests I usually only poll for 5 or so participants. This helps keep the overall cost of your test down. More importantly, you don’t need that many participants to track patterns and trends in the results.

Step 5: Submit Your Test Order

Now we play the waiting game. Luckily, 5 Second Tests are incredibly fast.

You could set your test up before lunch, submit it, leave for lunch and then have your results when you return 45-60 minutes later.

Fast and efficient is the name of the game here and certainly delivers.

Step 6: Analyze Your Results

It’s time to hunker down and begin analyzing the results of our test.

I like to use a simple spreadsheet to track patterns. It looks something like this:

5 Second Test Tracking Sheet

I like to keep tracking super simple. What I’m really looking for at this point is trends in the language that our participants are using.

I set up each question in the same way and go through all of my results. Perhaps this sounds tedious, but it only takes 5-10 minutes in total.

Again, this is another advantage of keeping participant groups small.

Step 7: Form Hypotheses

Now that you’ve gathered all of your test results, sit back and analyze what you’ve noticed.

How many of your participants were able to identify your target audience?

Were only some of your participants able to recall your brand name?

Did your participants understand what they could do on your site after landing in this area?

The answers to these types of questions might be key indicators that your messaging and/or visual components are sitting a little off the mark.

And it’s at this point that you should form a hypothesis as to what is causing this response.

Step 8: Rinse & Repeat

You have a few options once you’ve formed your hypotheses surrounding any problematic patterns that you’ve uncovered.

My favorite next step is optimizing the existing copy to solve for the underlying issue.

For example, if the participants can’t identify who the target audience is I start to write headlines that specifically call out the target audience.

I’ll repeat my 5 Second Test once I arrive at a headline that solves for the newly discovered issue AND aligns in what I’m seeing in the voice-of-customer data.

It’s really that simple!

Want to start running your own 5 Second Tests? Grab my step-by-step checklist and recommended 5 Second Test questions and start gathering that oh-so-valuable feedback.