In our case studies, normally we wouldn’t identify the specific advertiser using particular techniques for landing page optimisation but in this case the company no longer appears to be actively advertising actively; the site has not been updated since March this year (2012) and its community also appears to have disbanded.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk about the opt-in strategies behind The Content Ad Blend.
A while back, when I was on Yahoo Answers I came across an advert that had been heavily meshed with the surrounding text-heavy content and served up by Yahoo’s display ad platform (so no, I’m not sure if this would had made it through Google’s more stringent Adwords):
First impressions here are very, very effective. This ad has a fantastic headline, and the copy (though it has its flaws) is compelling enough to pique your curiosity.
I’m not an expert on the use of publicly-licensed celebrity images, but somehow this one got through (any legal eagles out there who might be able to clarify why, feel free to leave a comment).
With a single ad click you’re taken to a straight-up ‘email squeeze’ landing page.
As we all know, getting a highly targeted and specific list of email subscribers is a hugely important part of a marketing campaign.
The trouble is that customers are getting more wary of throwing their email addresses around as well as overworking their spam filters. To get around this sticky issue, smart(er) marketers are creating ‘email squeeze pages’ that explain the privacy standards of their business, a list of benefits that subscribing will provide (usually free) and assurances that credit cards and banking details are not what they’re after.
In this case, I did notice the one-liner to “Put your credit card away…” Nice touch, try that yourself on your next landing page.
A note regarding Adwords: Depending on the brand strength you have, you may or may not be able to get away with squeezing visitors this hard into an email submit as Google refers to this ‘info harvesting’ and are keeping a close eye on it. That said, I’ve seen brands get away with it…
After you enter your email, here’s where you’re taken:
On the thank you page here, it’s interesting to see how they’ve done the ‘membership login’ info… Saving you, the subscriber, so much valuable time and effort by automatically pre-populating the login data so it’s just sooooo easy to go to the next step….
Here’s the Members area:
Great, But Does it Convert?
No one knows for sure. Given that that the site now seems to be abandoned, perhaps it was a dud, although that could be due to a whole range of factors other than the conversion funnel.
They’re also not capturing the credit card in the ‘free trial’ stage, but this could be because the raw number of people entering the funnel was large enough to offset the ‘forgetful trial subscriber’ optimisation.
When we were discussing this approach in our daily client meeting, Nicola brought up a good point relating to the credit-card-collection-on-trial approach:
“I wonder if on the inside if they had some sort of ‘bonus’ which cost £1 and got the credit card data. Maybe that would help convert a lot more people, while still allowing for the huge numbers of free people upfront to sign up free?”
That’s an interesting question. Simply because you didn’t get the credit card on the initial lead form doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t get it shortly afterward while they’re farther into the signup process…
Love it or hate it, the trend towards blurring content text and display ads with editorial will continue, and it is fascinating to see how some advertisers have started to take advantage of the opportunity.
The question still remains unanswered. Does It Convert? I’ll be watching how far this strategy can be taken and, more importantly, if success is achieved and measurable