E-Mail Case Study: Video Landing Pages

My last column discussed an e-mail send that, while successful, didn’t meet my expectations. The issue wasn’t with the e-mail itself, but with one of the landing pages, which included a video. We implemented some changes and did a second send; here are the results and some additional lessons learned.

The first send was to a third-party list, and the second went to the client’s house list. House lists tend to perform better than third-party lists because the recipients are more familiar with your brand and have specifically asked to receive e-mail from you. The ratio can be 2:1 or even greater.

This send was no exception. The open rate on the house list was 50 percent higher than that of the third-party list. The CTR (define) was six times that of the first send, while the click-to-open rate was four times higher.

But the breakdown of what recipients clicked on was somewhat different:

Percentage of All Clicks (%)
List Type Video Landing Page Free Trial Sign-Up Page Learn More Page
Third-party list 65 19 16
House list 48 18 34

The link to view the video remained the most popular. However, while 65 percent of the third-party clicks went there, only 48 percent of those from the house list did. The video caption offered readers the chance to see how the product could benefit them. The discrepancy in the ratios is probably due to most people on the house list already being aware of the benefits.

The link to sign up directly for a free trial of the product (the primary call to action) performed almost identically in both sends, garnering 19 percent of the third-party list clicks and 18 percent of the house list clicks. This is surprising; I had anticipated that a higher percentage of the house list would have an immediate interest in the trial, because they were more familiar with the product than the people on the third-party list.

The link to learn more received much more attention from the house list than it did from the third-party list. More than twice the ratio of clicks (34 percent vs. 16 percent) went there. The e-mail announced a new, lower-priced version of the product, which explains this. Readers who were familiar with the original version wanted to see how the new, less-expensive version compared.

But how did we do on lead generation, getting people to actually sign up for the free trial? Did the changes we made to the video landing page increase its rate of conversion?

Video Landing Page Free Trial Sign-Up Page
Third-party list Percentage of leads (%) 10 90
Leads as a percentage of clicks (%) 2 28
House list Percentage of leads (%) 20 80
Leads as a percentage of clicks (%) 5 17

The house list, as expected, had an overall conversion rate four times that of the third-party list. While the original third-party send got 10 percent of its leads from the video landing page, the house list got twice that (20 percent). Adding a persistent call to action boosted the percentage of leads that the video landing page generated.

It also boosted the ratio of leads as a percentage of clicks: 5 percent of those who viewed the video from the house list send signed up for the free trial. This is 2.5 times the ratio we saw from the third-party list, where there was no persistent call to action on the page (visitors had to watch the entire video to sign up).

Surprisingly, the ratio of leads to clicks on the free trial sign-up page was lower for the house list. Here the landing page creative didn’t change. But only 17 percent of those who visited the free trial sign-up or learn more pages went on to sign up for a free trial, as compared to 28 percent of those from the third-party list. What did, or didn’t, the house list visitors see on these landing pages that caused them to convert at a lower lead-to-click rate?

While we were very happy with the increase in the lead-to-click rate on the video landing page, it was still less than 30 percent of the lead-to-click rate we saw on the free trial sign-up and learn more pages.

Which leads me to a key lesson: people are interested in video, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re interested in your product. In this example, video drove many more clicks, but many fewer of them converted to leads. Don’t let your enthusiasm for video cause you to ignore your more traditional calls to action.

Until next time,


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