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11 Awesome Popup Design Examples – Scored by The Delight Equation

I admit it. I’m a geek. Or am I a nerd? Definitely not a dweeb, but probably a keener (that’s a Canadian term).

One of my favorite things to do (as a marketer) is to reverse-engineer marketing experiences – good and bad – to define an equation that can be used to score them. It’s primarily a heuristic exercise, but I find it’s an incredibly helpful way to analyze a design, especially when it has the ability to leave you with a simple checklist of things to consider to make it better.

In the past, I’ve created The Clarity Equation (for value propositions), and The Testimonial Equation (for customer social proof).

For today’s post, I focused on popup design examples that exude positive characteristics, to create The Popup Delight Equation.

What Makes a Popup Design Delightful?

Hands up if you thought “That’s an oxymoron.”? I know, I know, how can a popup be delightful? Well, just like any other aspect of marketing and web design, it’s all about the details, and finding those magical ways of combining what makes your brand special, with a dose of responsible interaction design.

I see delightful popups all the time, usually because the copy is hilarious, or the design is surprising.

If your perception of a popup is one of those ugly WordPress template type things with three big green checkmark bullet icons (see below), and a Johnson box (those fat dashed red lines that resemble a coupon cutout), then no, that’s not delightful. That’s just shitty.

It is possible to make a popup delightful, and it’s not that hard if you know which aspects of interaction and visual design are required to do it right. Which brings me to…

The Popup Delight Equation

The equation (shown in the image at the top of the post) is broken down into 7 principles; Clarity, Control, Creativity, Relevance, Charm, Value, & Respect.

Each principle has a few checklist questions that build up a score between 0 and 1 (you can choose 0.5 for any of them if you like) for a maximum score of 7. These are then combined and turned into an overall percentage score as shown below:

0 1 1 1 0 1 0 57%

I’ll explain each of the delight principles, and then I’ll get to the popup designs.
(skip to the examples)

Principle #1 – Clarity

The clarity principle represents how easy it is to understand the offer presented by the popup. First, there’s the immediacy factor, can you read and understand it very quickly. The second part concerns the use of a primary “hero” image and whether it helps or hinders visual communication.

Clarity = ( Immediacy + Hero ) / 2
Immediacy Can you explain what the offer is after looking at it for only five seconds? Yes 1, No 0
Hero Is there a primary image (not a logo) that shows what you will get (or who you will get it from)? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s a generic site-wide offer like a discount that doesn’t need an image, score 1.

Principle #2 – Control

The control principle represents a visitor’s ability to fully control the experience. This includes being able to easily accept, reject, or discard the interruption.

Control = ( Close [On] + Close [Out] + Close [Esc] + Continue + Cancel ) / 5
Close [On] Is there a close button (typically an x) on the popup? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s a fullscreen “Welcome Mat” you can take a 1 here unless there’s no “No thanks” button.
Close [Out] Does the popup close if you click on the background surrounding it? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s a fullscreen “Welcome Mat” you can take a 1 here.
Close [Esc] Does the popup close if you press the escape button on your keyboard? Yes 1, No 0
Continue Is it clear what you need to click in order to accept the offer? Yes 1, No 0
Cancel Is it clear what you need to click in order to decline the offer? (Score 1 if there’s only one option) Yes 1, No 0

Principle #3 – Creativity

Like any type of marketing communications, a creative popup will be more likely to be well received. This principle is comprised of visual design esthetic, the inclusion of (non-tacky) animation, and how on-brand it is.

Creativity = ( Design + Animation + Brand ) / 3
Visual Design Esthetic Is it unique looking (non-rectangle), or just look awesome to you (some subjectivity is okay here)? Yes 1, No 0
Animation Does it include some motion as it appears that makes it more noticable. Yes 1, No 0.5, Yes, but it’s annoying 0
On Brand Does it match the site’s design or look like a cheap template that could be from any site? Yes 1, No 0

Principle #4 – Relevance

A popup that isn’t highly relevant will convert poorly and moves you closer to the wrong end of the interruption spectrum. This principle includes congruence (how aligned the offer is with the page you are visiting) and targeting.

Relevance = ( Congruence + Targeting ) / 2
Congruence Does the offer feel related to the page you’re on? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s somethng like a site-wide discount it’s a 1, but if it’s a blog subscribe popup on a homepage, product or pricing page etc. (not your blog), that’s a 0.
Targeting Score 1 unless one of these scenarios is true: it doesn’t apply to you (such as wrong country), or it’s referring to you coming from a page/partner/place that you didn’t come from (and in general if it’s making assumptions about you that are incorrect), in which case it’s a 0

Principle #5 – Charm

You know a charming marketing experience when you see one. Same goes for popups. If the design and/or copy make you laugh, or smile, or want to share it with someone, it’s a winner.

Charm = ( Smile [Design] + Smile [Copy] ) / 2
Smile [Design] Does the visual design make you smile? Yes 1, No 0
Smile [Copy] Does the copywriting make you smile? Yes 1, No 0

Principle #6 – Value

Some popups only contain information, some have a discount, others ask you for personal information in order to claim the offer. The value principle is concerned with how fair of an exchange it is, and it’s completely binary. If the reward is equal or greater than the ask/effort, you win.

Value = ( Reward >= Ask )
Reward > Ask Is the offer worth more than or equal to the requested information/effort? Yes 1, No 0
Score a 0 if it seems unfair, such as a ton of form fields for very little in return.

Principle #7 – Respect

The respect principle leans on the concept of “a responsible use of technology”. The biggest offense in this regard is the idea of “Confirm Shaming”. This is where there are two options (continue or cancel), but in order to cancel, you have to click a button/link with offensive copy – such as “I don’t like free money”. You get penalized extra for this offense.

Respect = 1 – 2*(Confirm Shaming)
Confirm Shaming If this is a two-button Accept/Decline popup, and the decline button is offensive in any way, it’s confirm-shaming. Yes 1, No 0
A 1 here results in a -1 score for principle 7.

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Brands Appearing in Today’s Popup Design Examples

Thanks to these awesome companies/people for inspiring me to include them: Tim Ferriss, Leesa, ClassPass, How-To Geek, Groupon, Tasting Table, Get Response, Lemonstand, PetSmart, Travelzoo.

Note: None of these popup designs score 100%

I’m sure you’ll like some, and dislike others. I’m including a wide variety of examples because they each show different aspects of the delight criteria.

Popup Design #1: Tim Ferriss

0.75 0.8 1 0.5 0.5 1 1 83%


This fullscreen “Welcome Mat” popup takes over the screen when you’re leaving. I dislike this style when it happens when you arrive, but on exit, it’s totally cool. It’s a simple and classy design. Let’s score it!

    I gave it 0.5 for immediacy as I had to figure out what the content was (fortunately I just bought a book about Seneca so I caught on). Having Tim in the background makes it very clear it’s coming from him.
    The only failing here is the lack of the escape button working, which is my favourite way of dismissing a popup (I’m a big keyboard shortcut fan). It’s much faster than hunting for a close icon/button.
    I love the design. It’s fresh and open. The visual hierarchy of the buttons is perfect: dominant continue, secondary cancel.
    It loses out a bit on relevance, as it’s a speaker contact page, making this popup incongruent.
  • CHARM:
    Visually, yes. His authentic smile makes you feel welcome.
  • VALUE:
    It’s a 2-step opt-in form (email address if you click “Unlock”), which is a fair deal.
    “No thanks, I’m not interested.” is great. It’s all you need to do on your cancel button. No confirm shaming here.

Popup Design #2: Leesa Mattress – Countdown Timer

1 1 0.83 1 0 1 1 80%


There are so many mattress 2.0 companies out there now, it’s hard to tell them apart aside from the colour. This one’s really plain, and quite boring, but it does get bonus points for the countdown timer, and not breaking any of the fundamental delight rules.

    Full control.
    It got it’s creativity 1/3 only for being on brand, but I added a 0.5 bonus for the countdown timer, which is a nice touch for ecommerce.
    Timely and on point.
  • CHARM:
    Nah. They could do way more with the copy and the visuals are kinda bleh.
  • VALUE:
    Hard to argue with a discount.
    No problems here.

Popup Design #3: Tasting Table

1 0.8 0.17 1 0 1 1 71%


I like the use of a question headline in this popup. If you aren’t then you probably shouldn’t be on the site, so they’re helping to self select their ideal customer/subscriber. I’m not a foodie, however, so I’m closing it ;)

    Get an email, about food. Easy.
    No escape button close on this one either. Grrr.
    It gets a few points for being on brand, but nothing original otherwise.
    It’s food.
  • CHARM:
    Lots of potential, but doesn’t deliver.
  • VALUE:
    I was going to ding it for asking for a zipcode, but it probably increases the value so it get’s a pass.

Popup Design #4: Get Response

1 1 0.67 1 1 1 1 95%


Simple and a bit weird (and basic) looking, but it rocks the scores beacuse it doesn’t break the fundamental delight rules, and adds some playfulness to stand out. Give it a little wiggle animation to go with that cute little alien thing and it would get a perfect score.

    Pretty clear, and they get a few extra seconds of reading because it’s cute.
    Full control.
    Not the slickest design, but I think it’s got a lot of fun in it.
    It’s SaaS, and this is for a free trial. Totally relevant.
  • CHARM:
    This one made me smile based on the copy and the design. Nicely done.
  • VALUE:
    It’s no different than clicking any other signup button on the site, so it’s regular ol’ fair.

A quick contrast break…

Some pretty amazing score so far, and that’s because they’re doing it right. Before I continue, I just want to run one of the examples from yesterday’s “6 Really Bad Website Popup Examples” post through The Popup Delight Equation to provide some perspective.

0.5 0.6 0 0 0 0 1 30%

NOT delightful.

Popup Design #5: Groupon

0.75 0.4 0.67 1 0 1 1 69%


    I would’ve given it a higher score if there had been a photo of Vancouver in the popup, as it gives that immediate sense of locale.
    Neither the escape key or clicking the background close the popup, which is really annoying when the “No thanks” link is so tiny. I dinged it extra for that.
    This is what I’m referring to re: looking different from a shape perspective. Yes, it’s a circle and not a rectangle, but that’s the point. 99.999999% of popups are rectangles. So this simple change makes a world of difference. And the transparency allows lots of breathing room, and for it to not look like it’s completely shutting out the site.
  • CHARM:
  • VALUE:
    Hard to argue with deals.
    Good job.

Popup Design #6: How-To Geek

1 1 0.17 1 0.25 1 1 77%


I bet you didn’t expect a score like that. Which just goes to show that when you do some of the fundamentals correctly: it’s very clear, it’s easy to control, relevant, fair value, and respectful. It looks pretty awful, but that’s why it scores so poorly on creativity and charm. The fundamentals matter a lot. Get those right, and you can spend your time being exceptional.

    Super obvious.
    All functional.
    On brand but nothing else positive from a creative standpoint.
  • CHARM:
    I gave it a tiny bit cos of the nerdy logo guy.
  • VALUE:
    Standard newsletter value.
    All good.

Popup Design #7: ClassPass

0.5 0.4 0.33 1 0 1 1 60%


I thought this would do better when I first saw it, then after playing with the interaction it let me down a bit.

    This is an entry popup, so the visuals are covered. Having a photo in the popup would help with the clarity around what kind of class they’re talking about for a first-time visitor.
    no on, out or esc. The reason having no visible close button is undelightful is because it forces you to choose (and read) one of the buttons to close it. That’s too much effort when I’ve decided I want to get rid of it.
    On brand, nothing else.
  • CHARM:
    A bit cold.
  • VALUE:
    Without question.
    Good job.

Popup Design #8: Lemonstand – Squishy Animation

1 1 0.67 1 0.25 1 1 85%


I stuck an animated GIF in for this one so you could see the animation. It’s a prety plain looking popup aside from that, but you can see how it does add that extra attention-grabbing effect.

    Ebook with an image of a book. Done.
    Full control.
    Scores for animation and being on brand. Mix in a different shape or a design like a lemon stand for bonus points :D
    It’s on the blog, so full points.
  • CHARM:
    Only the squishy animation saves it here.
  • VALUE:
    Fair indeed.
    No confirm shaming here.

Popup Design #9: PetSmart

1 1 0 1 0 1 1 71%


Granted, this is the lamest of the bunch, but I included it because of its simplicity. Sometimes an offer is just an informative statement.

    Nope. Sorry.
    It’s an ecommerce store. Yes.
  • CHARM:
    Nope. Add some kittens!
  • VALUE:
    All good.

Popup Design #10: Travelzoo << The worst!

1 0 0.67 1 0 0 -1 24%


Looks sure can be deceiving. At first glance I really like this one. Then I started playing with it. And it became the worst popup of them all.

    Yep, super clear with the photo of Ireland.
    Can’t click the background to close. Oh, and wait, no matter what you do, IF you manage to close it you get turfed to the homepage. Horrible.
    Minor points for the rounded corners.
  • CHARM:
    Started with zero, got worse from there.
  • VALUE:
    See respect, below.
    Wow. If I were critiquing this solely on a screenshot, I’d have given them a 1 for respect. But I just tried to interact with it. If you close the popup (without signing up) it redirects you right back to the homepage. You can’t even see the deal. That’s seriously gnarly. Shoulda put this one in yesterday’s post.

Popup Design #11: Tim Ferriss

1 0.6 0.67 1 0.5 1 0.5 75%


We close it out with another from Mr. Ferriss. It’s from the same page as the first one, but instead of being an exit popup, it’s triggered when you click a small banner that appears in the lower-left as you scroll down the page. Because it’s an on-click triggered popup, you typically get full points for relevance and clarity as you asked for it specifically.

    Super clear
    No escape key function, and the close (x) button doesn’t always show up.
    Looks great,and on brand.
  • CHARM:
    As before, the friendly photo works.
  • VALUE:
    As expected.
    Not quite as nice as the other one on the cancel link, so I’m dinging him a little.

Alrighty then, that’s a wrap for those 10 delightful popups, and one most certainly not delightful (Travelzoo) popup. Let me know if you agree/disagree with my ratings.

How Delightful are Your Popups?

I showed you mine, now show me yours! I hope you enjoyed learning about the delightful side of the website popup. I’d really love to see some of your popups, and how you score them, so drop a URL in the comments with your score and we can see if I agree.


p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates.

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11 Awesome Popup Design Examples – Scored by The Delight Equation

Instagram Ad Campaigns: 4 Tips For a Better Mobile Experience

My first camera belonged to my mother.

I’d sneak it out and take photos of the dog, the sky and even take photos of photos — this was in the days of film, when every photo was precious. Of course, she’d get mad when odd photos would pop up between shots of birthdays and family outings.

little girl taking photos
Improving your skills is as simple as knowing your tools inside and out. GIF via The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain.

I continued taking photos all the way through university and later, ended up being a paid photographer for Airbnb.

The giddy feeling I remember feeling while stealing my mom’s camera came back to me when I heard Instagram was available to marketers. In some ways Instagram has replaced that old Kodak, except the stakes are much higher than a spoiled roll of film.

With 400 million active users spending over 21 minutes a day on the platform, Instagram is an opportunity that performance marketers can’t ignore.

The key to figuring out how to market on Instagram effectively is to understand that Instagram is a mobile tool and that people have different behaviors, expectations and needs when they’re in the mobile environment.

We combed through hundreds of Instagram ad examples and examined what works and what doesn’t so you can begin your next Instagram campaign on the right track.

1. Create Mobile-Friendly Forms

People have short attention spans — and there’s nothing more distracting than a mobile phone.

Your ad is competing for attention against other Instagram accounts as well as every other app on your prospect’s phone. It’s impossible to determine where and how they will see your ad. It’s likely that they are juggling many things at once: groceries, a dog and a flurry of Facetime calls from their mom. Why not make things easy for them?

If you’re looking to generate leads from your ad, provide an opt-in form that’s easy to read and simple to fill out.

Example: Easy2buytool

Easy2Buy is a tool that will let you sell directly from your Instagram feed. What they’ve made here is a nice and simple lead generation ad.

Instagram Ad and Mobile Landing page

Some breathtaking clouds with a bright colored logo. Okay, I’ll click.

This ad is clear and actionable. It uses distinct imagery, copy and branding from start to finish. There’s no friction and that’s what makes it inviting to click on.

The signup form is easy to understand and fill out without distractions. The greyed-out text lets the visitor know what information they need to share.

An added bonus is that the entire landing page fills my screen, which means there’s no need to scroll and I can keep multitasking while sharing my information.

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Example: Foundr Magazine

Foundr magazine is a digital publication for entrepreneurs that curates insightful interviews, case studies and ebooks.

Instagram Ad Campaign images

Their ad copy s-p-e-l-l-s out what the prospect will receive when they click. The title of the ebook, “How to Convert Your Followers Into Dollars,” is included on both the ad and the landing page copy.

As you scroll down, there’s a form with a nice bright call to action button: “Download The Free Guide.” The color of the button makes it stand out from the rest of the form. And we know that the word free is an effective way to convert.

The simplicity of this form results in efficiency. You enter your information and you’re done!

2. Use Responsive Landing Pages

What makes Instagram so addictive is that it’s a minimalist experience. The main action is scrolling and the primary visual assets are images and video. Such simplicity requires the corresponding landing page to be simple too.

Using a responsive landing page goes beyond having a page that scales to fit the device; it’s about creating a truly frictionless experience.

This means using a landing page that:

  • loads fast
  • has several prominent CTA buttons
  • uses design elements to support the CTA

I can’t over-emphasise how discouraging it is to land on a page that isn’t responsive. They’re hard to navigate, they usually don’t render, and they make me want to tear my hair out. This is the point where most prospects just bounce. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Creating a responsive landing page is one way to combat against this frustration. If you don’t believe me, just check out the examples below.

Example: Photoshelter

Photoshelter is a marketplace that provides cloud storage, website templates, business guides and more for photographers.

Example of how to market on Instagram

Look at all that shiny new equipment! As a photographer, I couldn’t help but click.

I landed on a page that didn’t elaborate on Photoshelter’s “Sign UpCTA. So, I kept scrolling because I wanted to know more about the features and benefits offered. Unfortunately, I scrolled for a very long time.

After bumping into a few people on the street, I finally landed on the “Start Free Trial” section at the bottom of the page.

This landing page scales to fit the screen, but it creates friction when it assumes the prospect will sign up using the first CTA button presented. What if a prospect needs more convincing?

The CTA button in your ad serves to prime people. It’s how you let them know what to expect: learn more, shop now, sign up or install now. Make sure to have multiple CTA buttons that reinforce your campaign goals throughout your landing page.

Making them scroll to the bottom of your page feels like an unusual form of punishment for a someone that liked your product enough to click, doesn’t it?

Example: Sonos x Apple Music

Sonos is an electronics company that creates wireless speakers and other products. They partnered up with Apple Music for a new campaign to curate music for your speakers.


I’ve heard a lot about Sonos, so I was curious when I saw their carousel ad. It had cute images of a father and daughter participating in “unquiet time.”

But I was confused by what I landed on.

About 80% of the images on the landing page were GIFs of cool artists having a great time. There were so many different elements to click on it was hard to focus. Every scroll was met with friction: images and GIFs that simply wouldn’t load.

I was curious, though, so I kept scrolling. As I explored, my Instagram app crashed – not once, but five times.

Sonos’ landing page was more confusing than enlightening. Their CTA said learn more but there were no other places on their landing page that invited me to actually learn more.

Using GIFs is a cool way to attract attention but it was a poor way to communicate the value proposition of the ad. A responsive landing page makes sure the elements on the page support the CTA and don’t distract from it.

Besides the lack of clarity from ad to landing page, this page was so long and robust that my phone couldn’t handle it. This is a case where curiosity killed the app.

Example: Canadian Tire Canvas Lighting Collection

Canadian Tire is an iconic home and hardware store in Canada. With this Instagram ad campaign they are introducing Canadians to their new Canvas Lighting Collection.

Example Instagram Ad Campaign

Cool stuff! Canadian Tire used carousel ads to showcase their new collection of lamps in different settings.

I’m a sucker for accent lighting so I decided to click. I was surprised by the beautifully-curated campaign-specific landing page.

The experience from first click to last click was seamless. The page loaded fast, was fully responsive and it also expanded on the story introduced in the ads. As I scrolled through the landing page I was reminded why I clicked on the ad in the first place.

I loved this experience so much that I shared this ad with friends that are in the process of moving. Amazingly, Canadian Tire, an old retail store my mother used to bring me to, gave me a reason to want to shop more.

3. Be Adventurous, Test Video

Images and videos are what Instagram is all about, so make sure they not only stand on their own, but that they stand out from the crowd, too.

Your product or brand will be inspected within seconds and scrolled past even faster. Get it ready for its closeup so it can be seen in the best light.

Video, in particular, offers you a new way to engage with your prospects. Make sure to test things like video length, sound and format, and whether landscape or square video works best.

Now you can stand out from all those bespoke lattes set against marble countertops.

Example: Andy Boy’s Eat Broccoli Rabe

Yes, this is an ad about broccoli! Andy Boy has dedicated an entire account to it, and created an eye-catching and mouth-watering Instagram campaign around broccoli rabe (also known as rapini).

Example of an Instagram Ad

The fast chopping movement and the text across the video would draw anyone’s attention. I never thought I’d say this, but this was the most action-packed broccoli ad I’ve ever seen.

The CTA button on the ad led me to a page that fulfilled the “learn more” promise. Not only did I learn about the health benefits of broccoli rabe, but the landing page was filled with recipes, each of them enticing me to learn more.

A slick brand awareness campaign from beginning to end.

4. Think About Clarity

Instagram is all about consuming images and videos. Simplicity and clarity are key elements in the Instagram environment that should be defining principles when you’re building your next Instagram ad campaign.

Think of your ad as a  trailer for your landing page. The best movies trailers give you a teaser of what’s to come without giving it all away.

Your Instagram ad should do the same by cultivating interest and enticing people to click. Your landing page needs to deliver on what your ad promised, by matching the design and copy in your ad and giving the people what they came for in a clear, frictionless way.
Clarity is your friend. It’s what will ensure that prospects don’t become anxious and leave your landing page.

Example: The National Finance Journal

Instagram Ad campaign example

Bold flashy text and cool cars? Great. You’ve got me.

But when I click through, my excitement vanishes – and is replaced with insurance forms. There may be a wee bit of design match with some of the colors of the typeface on the ads and the CTAs on the landing page, but there is very little message match from the ad to the landing page.

I get that insurance is a highly regulated industry, but some sense of continuity would be great here. Matching the text over the images with the headline on the landing page would be a great start.

As a prospect I was compelled to click because of the image of cars and the associated monthly ticket price was attractive, but now I find myself on a lead gen form for car loans.

Is this what I originally clicked on? Giving up my name and email address seems like a lot of commitment with little explanation. Unfortunately, The National Finance Journal lost me.

Example: Videofruit

Instagram campaign example and landing page

You know what? This is actually a pretty good ad. Their value proposition is clear: “Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers.”

When I click through, I see an eye-catching visual: a giant illustrated hand. The progress bar at the top of the form creates a sense of urgency.

However, the visuals in the ad and landing page simply don’t match up. The lack of design match makes me question what I’m signing up to and reduces the sense of clarity I had before I clicked the ad.

Thinking about clarity is important when designing a campaign; without it, you may end up with leads that aren’t worth the cost.

Now go forth and create the best Instagram campaigns

Image of Captain Planet
Captain Planet’s Instagram campaigns would be clean, direct and responsive. Image source.

The core elements that make up an Instagram campaign are the same as any other social ad campaign — the main difference is that the entire experience, from start to finish, is mobile.

A great Instagram campaign needs to provide a great mobile experience by using mobile forms, responsive landing pages, unique creative and above all, clarity.

When you’re designing an Instagram ad campaign, make sure your landing page is responsive. Always check to see what the experience feels like before launching your campaign. Grab your phone and your friend’s phone, scroll and click. This is how you get better at the craft — by being your own best critic.

And remember: Instagram is a tool, much like a camera. You’ve got to know it inside out. Once you understand the platform, the mobile environment and what your prospects are expecting from you, you’ll be taking shots just like the pros.


Instagram Ad Campaigns: 4 Tips For a Better Mobile Experience

How New Balance Drove 200% More Sales at Half the Cost Using Unbounce

For most online marketers, getting customers to enter their payment details and click “purchase” is the ultimate conversion. But for New Balance Chicago, online sales are kind of the enemy.

Chances are you’ve worn a pair of New Balance sneakers or know someone who swears by them. Headquartered in Boston, New Balance is an international, 109-year-old brand endorsed by Australian cricket players, Canadian tennis stars and American cyclists.

Image by Alicia A. L. via Flickr.

In the Chicago area, however, New Balance’s brick-and-mortar stores are owned and operated as a family business – with a local marketing budget. Since ecommerce sales go straight to the parent company, their business depends on getting people’s actual feet in the literal door.

So you can understand why, until recently, online marketing seemed like more of a threat to the company than an opportunity.

“Their typical ad buy was during a Cubs radio broadcast, not a cross-device digital campaign,” says Brian Davidson, co-founder of Match Node, the digital marketing agency tasked with helping New Balance Chicago drive – and track – its in-store sales through online channels. “We knew that we would face some challenges.”

Over the course of a few months, Brian’s team tackled those challenges feet first. Using a combination of targeted Facebook ads, campaign-specific Unbounce landing pages and personalized emails, they were able to generate hundreds of leads and drive thousands of dollars in sales at half the ad spend.

This is the story of how they did it.

The first campaign: Facebook offers don’t offer enough

Match Node’s original strategy for New Balance revolved around Facebook Offers, which allow marketers to embed discount codes in Facebook display ads.

The first campaign, which launched during a cold Windy City winter, allowed a customer to receive 15% off when temperatures were freezing and 20% off if the weather fell below zero Fahrenheit. Brian’s team aimed the ads at a wide audience of people who:

  1. Lived in zip codes near New Balance stores in Chicagoland (the greater Chicago area)
  2. Looked similar to previous New Balance customers: Using Facebook ad targeting, they created a “lookalike audience” based on customer emails, which the stores had been collecting at checkout.
  3. Had relevant interests like “fitness” and “Chicago marathon” listed in their profiles.

The ads reached 136,541 people and resulted in 600 offers being claimed. This generated more than $5,000 in sales, which Davidson considered a success.

“These were solid results as they exceeded same-month ad spend and we know the customer ROI extends out over many months and multiple purchases,” Brian says, “but we knew that tracking needed improvement.”

In fact, they were only able to track 32 individual purchase codes. The problem was that in order to track the codes, the company had to rely on customers and clerks taking the time to report the discount codes at the point of purchase. The codes themselves were unique, but the 15% discount was promoted on various channels, meaning customers could have heard about the sale in a number of places.

They could have tracked the codes using customer emails, except Facebook won’t give advertisers the names or email addresses of users who download coupons. Despite the campaign’s relative success, using Facebook Offers proved to be a frustrating experience for a data-driven, optimization-minded marketer like Brian.

“The limited ability we had to track success was far from real time,” Brian says. “Every week or two we’d get sales volume by promo code, but the in-store nature of the purchase limited any real-time conversion data that we’d normally use to tune and refine a pure e-commerce campaign.”

Then one day, everything changed.

Mobile responsive landing pages to the rescue

Another limitation of the Facebook Offers strategy was that there was no relevant online destination to send users to once they claimed the coupon. Directing them to the New Balance website was out of the question since it only increased the likelihood of an online purchase, which didn’t benefit Brian’s client. It also didn’t give them the opportunity to create a dedicated experience for each specific campaign.

Moreover, given that the majority of Facebook ad clicks came from mobile users, sending potential customers to a page that wasn’t optimized for mobile users would have been like “cutting off our nose,” says Brian.

Suddenly, that was no longer a problem.

“When Unbounce launched mobile responsive landing pages, we were thrilled,” Brian says.  “We had used Unbounce for numerous landing pages and with its mobile launch, we made a tactical shift away from using Facebook Offers and utilized Unbounce to capture email address conversions.”


Using Unbounce’s landing page builder, Brian says his designer “virtually cloned” the national New Balance website as a starting point, but then made a few key tweaks to make sure it was optimized for offline conversions.

Instead of website navigation and links to purchase products online, the page featured information about New Balance’s Chicago stores, including Google Maps, phone numbers and in-store benefits like old-school fittings, something few other shoe stores offered.

unbounce-logo-100pxPssst. Need a flexible landing page template that allows you to maintain your or your client’s brand identity? Unbounce gives you hundreds of beautiful templates to start from and customize with a simple drag n’ drop interface. Check them out!

Once the landing page was built, Match Node created a series of Facebook ads aimed at very specific segments. The first campaign promoted a discount for U.S. military veterans (New Balance’s “Made in America” credentials are a key differentiator for the brand):


Clicking this ad…


… sends you to this landing page:


Aimed at an ultra-targeted audience of 45,000 military vets, the ads generated more than 200 coupons, which were sent to leads after they entered their emails on the landing page. This meant that instead of crossing their fingers that people would print out the coupons and bring them into the store, they were able to collect the emails of interested buyers – and follow up with them.

In just two months, New Balance Chicago’s email list grew by more than 10%.

“Unbounce was very helpful in this case because we could directly tie the New Balance landing page to any Mailchimp or Constant Contact email marketing account,” Brian says. “For organizational and segmenting purposes, we created specific email groups for each campaign we were running.”

With these emails tied into specific campaigns, they were able to go “one step further in the funnel” and send out reminder emails, urging leads to claim their discounts.

Open rates for these reminder emails were 5-10% above New Balance’s regular promotional emails, says Brian.


The lead gen component of this strategy was the cherry on top for Brian’s client.

“There’s an internal value put on email,” Brian says. “It’s something tangible to them.”

unbounce-logo-100pxPssst. Want to generate more leads like New Balance and then nurture them into paying customers? 31.4 million leads have been generated using Unbounce, which integrates seamlessly with MailChimp, Marketo, HubSpot, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, InfusionSoft, AWeber, Salesforce and other marketing software. Start generating leads now.

Optimizing for conversions and replicating success

There’s one more element that made these campaigns so successful. Using Facebook’s ad platform, marketers can choose to optimize their ad spend either for clicks or for “website conversions,” which means actions taken outside of Facebook’s ecosystem.

Once they started sending people who clicked on the ads to dedicated landing pages, Brian’s team could optimize their campaigns for landing page conversions, which is far more efficient than gunning for clicks.

With this strategy, they were able to spend 50% less and drive 200% more in sales compared to the Facebook Offers campaigns they ran previously.

The military veterans campaign was just the beginning. Using Unbounce, they could easily duplicate the original landing page and tweak the design for any other offer New Balance wanted to promote.

Throughout the year they’ve run successful promotions for everything from Foot Health Awareness Month, to athletic apparel, to kids’ shoes. They’ve perfected the formula along the way, testing copy changes (such as leading with the discount vs. leading with the “free fitting” benefit) and swapping out photos on the landing page to match the ads that Facebook’s algorithm identified as the most successful.


By making incremental changes, Brian says they’ve been able to boost conversion rates by 5-10% throughout the course of a given campaign (which often translates to 5-10% more sales).

One change that worked especially well was specifying on the page that New Balance’s in-store fitting is 100% free:

Variant A


Variant B


The variant with the word “free” boosted conversions by almost 20%. That may seem fairly obvious, but it’s yet another reminder that once you have the right strategy in place, small steps can take you a long way.

If the shoe fits

Some solutions are so good that they solve problems you didn’t even know you had. Looking back, the challenges Brian’s team was hired to help solve were:

  • Using online marketing channels to generate in-store sales rather than ecommerce purchases.
  • Finding an efficient way to track whether they were doing so effectively.

And using Unbounce, they were able to:

  • Drive sales.
  • Grow their email list with qualified leads.
  • Nurture those leads.
  • Reduce their cost per acquisition.
  • Target high-value mobile users.
  • Easily replicate and optimize their most successful campaigns.

Needless to say, the folks at New Balance Chicago are digital marketing skeptics no longer. And lots of agencies would like to be in Brian’s shoes right now.

Visit site:

How New Balance Drove 200% More Sales at Half the Cost Using Unbounce

Why You Should Get Excited About Emotional Branding

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The Role Of Brands Is Changing In recent decades, the economic base has shifted from production to consumption, from needs to wants, from objective to subjective. We’re moving away from the functional and technical characteristics of the industrial era, into a time when consumers are making buying decisions based on how they feel about a company and its offer.

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Why You Should Get Excited About Emotional Branding

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The entire process of designing digital applications comes with many challenges and decisions. For the majority of projects, you will be designing in somewhat familiar territory. But what happens when you have to design something to be used by hundreds of children around the world? How do you accommodate your design for kids of different ages and backgrounds? What special challenges emerge, and how can they be overcome?
For a project of this scale, the design process we follow might require modifications.

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How To Design Global Applications For Children

Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: April 2011

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one — desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for almost two years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: April 2011

Ask the Expert – Design Discussion with James White

Ask the Expert is a popular series here on Design Informer. “Design discussion” is the theme for this interview. The renowned designer, James White is this week’s expert.
James White is a graphic designer from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. His personal art and design ambitions has landed him in many worldwide creative publications such as Computer Arts magazine, Computer Arts Projects, Advanced Photoshop magazine, Wired UK and the spanish DT Platinum magazine where he was included in their ‘21 People of the Century’ article.

Link – 

Ask the Expert – Design Discussion with James White

The "Wow" Factor in Web Design

Everyday, we go through hundreds of different websites. With Twitter and RSS feeds, we are able to see an excessive amount of sites in just a short time. Most of the websites that we visit are forgettable, they don’t leave a lasting impression.
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The "Wow" Factor in Web Design

Pricing Tables: Examples And Best Practices

Pricing tables play an important role for every company that offers products or services. They are a challenge from both a design and usability standpoint. They must be simple but at the same time clearly differentiate between features and prices of different products and services.
A pricing table should help users pick the most appropriate plan for them. A company should carefully examine its product portfolio and pick the most important features to present in its pricing plans.

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Pricing Tables: Examples And Best Practices