Case Study Results – 92% Of Marketers Guessed Wrong.
By on Sep 03, 2010

I posted a Plenty of Fish Case Study yesterday. Check it out if you haven’t already. If you’ve already read it, and voted, it is likely you will be disgusted by the results. There were over 200 votes. Thank you to those fine young charming people who participated…I don’t have much to say to you others…sharpen up your act! I’ll forgive you this time. Next time you wont be so lucky.

Anywho…here is the distribution of the votes:

Here are the results:

You will see two CTRs side by side. This is because I created two identical campaigns, just make sure one ad wasn’t skewed for an odd reason.

0.60%, 0.64%

0.51%, 0.82%

0.89%, 1.11% – WINNER!

0.88%, 0.89%

0.24%, 0.39%WORST

0.53%, 0.48%

Fascinating, huh? The animated ad that the majority of you voted for, got destroyed by an all text ad. The static image was the worst by far.

So why did the ad, “because you weren’t tall enough (blue)” win?

Well I think a big part ofย this has do with the placement of these ads.

The image ads look a lot more like ads, than the text ads. I’m guessing a lot of POF users are banner blind now. So the less ad looking an ad, the higher the CTR. There is, however,ย a fine line. I don’t think POF would be happy with youย trying to trick users into thinking your ad is part of POF.

How many times have you bothered to reword the same idea?

“Because you weren’t TALL enough?” really out performed “Because of your height?” There was a difference of around 50% ctr. That alone, is enough to transform a losing campaign into a profitable campaign.

Red vs Blue?

It was close, nearly too close to call. The blue ads just scraped through. I’ve “heard” that red text always wins. Once again it depends on placement. POF = blue heaven.


Spent: $43

Revenue: $93 (3 conversions at $31)

Profit: $50

Not bad for less than an hour’s work (results covered 24 hours worth of traffic). I was also bidding pretty high because I wanted to get enough data to report back with.

Final word

Once again, assumption has proved to be the devil. 92% of people guessed wrong. 68% were very far off.ย  As for the other 24%, I wonder if they picked picked non-image creatives, just because they thought it was a trick question.

Whoever are the 8% that got it right, show yourselves! What was your logic behind your pick?

Comments (65)

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  1. d3so says:

    Awesome. Just goes to show u the psychology of advertising. I've never done banner ads with pof. Where do u go to set these up?

    • Lorenzo Green says:

      You need to spend at least $1000 in the lifetime of your POF account to be able to access IAB ads. I'm not sure if it's the same case now. When you go to create an ad you get the option to select text ads or IAB ads.

  2. Hannah says:

    Really good case study, thanks for posting it. I always love things like that.

    I plan on logging into POF tomorrow and seeing 50 exact duplicates of this ad.

  3. Steve says:

    I picked blue instead of red because to me red is a negative colour which I thought might get less clicks, and I picked the one with the word 'tall' in capitals because it seemed to be really 'prodding the wound' with people who do think they are having problems finding a partner due to their height.

  4. doinme says:

    How many clicks did you send altogether?

    Which ads got the conversions?

  5. Ziah-ski says:

    People are going for the text ads more because it looks like less of a sell and piques curiosity. Notice how it just blends in at the header on the top of PoF. Hey they might think it's coming right from PoF. There's an idea. It reaches right out and grabs ya. Plain text and ugly websites win over fancy graphics and animated junk. Animated crap was overused and abused "This is NO JOKE! You just WON!" and brains have blocked this out. I read it's called "Ad Blindness" and you might even need to change your text on this one after people have blocked it out as well. Test, test, test and change it up is the process.

  6. 2stepup says:

    I think the new shiny flashing object is bait for wannabe marketers thats why we picked the flashing animation ๐Ÿ™‚

    But the results show real buyers are looking for solution to a problem,and the text only ad, allows the the eye to not be distracted from the message,of the presented problem and the call to action for a solution.

    • d3so says:

      I think you're right on. Noobs would mostly go with the flashy ad because it draws attention but the text ads will tend to draw out relation to what's being said.

  7. Monetizaction says:

    "assumption has proved to be the devil"

    Totally agree, always do split tests!

    I've a question though, were you direct linking?

    Nice case study Mr Green!

    • Lorenzo Green says:

      Yep I was, you don't really need pre-selling landing pages for most Clickbank offers. They are so long and informative, it's pretty hard to add any value in your own lander.

  8. Punkcash says:

    I blindly clicked and scorrred!

    What do I win?!?

  9. browie says:

    Besides placement of POF which I agree with. Blue is classic hyperlink color. That probably could have helped.

  10. Beau says:

    I guessed that one of the two blue ones would perform best. Blue is a good color. People like (really like) blue. I think that a lot of people on PoF and other banner-based sites simply see image + text and immediately think advertisement. Text alone, though still conspicuous, is at least a little more subtle. I also liked how, in the second blue ad, the creative emphasized the problem.

  11. lolwut says:

    “Because you weren’t TALL enough?”

    TALL hits their psyche.

    just saying "your height" isn't enough, it beast around the bush. if im 5'7" and i see this i can persuade myself and say not talking to me..

    but 'TALL enough' there's no way around it. i've been hearing this all my life. i look at tv and see all men are 6'2". these damn women….


  12. finspin says:

    I chose the blue tall creative (didn't vote, came too late when the poll was already closed) simply because it seemed to best touch on the feelings of a short guy sitting in front of a computer trying to find a girlfriend on POF.

    Good case study!

    Also, these are really popular in Finland these days

  13. Harshad says:

    Make an Ad not look like an Ad is the mantra.

  14. Steven says:

    I don't actually work with ads as a biz dev, but I spend a lot of time with people who do. In this time I've been exposed to a great many different techniques and approaches. I have to say the choice was fairly natural for me.

    I choose the blue with the capitalized TALL as it was different from what I've normally seen thus cutting through the noise. Also, the TALL captured my eye, the sentence itself was more engaging than the one with Height, and blue was less aggressive on what some people might find a "sensitive" subject. It seemed to work more with the action required(Click Here) too; a bit more coaxing.

    Truthfully, I believe my guess was luck. Every day I work shows me more and more that testing is really the only way to know what will work best.

  15. groomez says:

    I chose the winner! derp My thoughts were all blue text looked like what internet users brains consider "ohshititsabluelinkiHAVEtoclickonit"

  16. Wahoo! I guessed blue, all text. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Krupesh says:

    Looks like I happened to pick the winner for a change (could it be because I wasn't tall enough ?:) Anyways, my reasoning went like this –

    "Because of your height" was vague, but "not tall enough" was very specific and a short person easily could relate to.

    Blue vs/ red – just thought all in red seems like yelling

    Images in the text – it neither looked like a amateur profile pic, nor like an informational message.

  18. Affiliit says:

    Eh, I was stuck between blue and red, but chose Red in the end. Great case study!

  19. BenPOF says:

    Mr.Green has outed one of the "secret" profitable microniches on POF now LOL. Well done case study my friend! I went with Tall enough- RED ๐Ÿ™

  20. tom says:

    Good stuff to know for future ads with POF.

  21. Ryan Eagle says:

    Enjoyed reading the case study!

  22. finspin says:

    It would be interesting to see if you'd get even higher CTR if your ad background color matched that of POF (i.e. light blue).

  23. Thanks for the case study. Hope to read more in the future.

  24. Thanks for the case study! I still haven't gotten into POF. Feel like I'm missing a big party.

  25. patrolorp says:

    I chose the winning ad correctly. My reasons were:

    1. Blue sticks out, and is known by most users as clickable links.

    2. Image ads look like ads

    3. The headline "because you weren't tall enough" had more impact in my eyes, like it was something the user was doing wrong and could fix, by following the link. "Because of your height" seemed to generic and didn't draw the same emotional response (for me anyway).

  26. Now just play around with the text and make different variations of that banner.

  27. Buddy says:

    Very cool case study! In Cashvertising, Drew said blue was the number one preference with red in a very close 2nd. Looks like its true!

  28. Gayle says:

    Fellow Kiwi in USA – spending my time on TVNZ surveying the damage in Christchurch, however been reading your blog since discovering you. I'm curious – what does your ad link to – another blog? article? a product – leg stretching machine, easy carry box to stand on behind fence when waving to girls, really high platform shoes, pills for growth? Presume it's selling whatever it is. And as a vertically challenged woman married to a tall bloke (I'm up to his navel) I have fantasies about jockeys……

  29. Lorenzo Green says:

    Hey Gayle,

    I was linking to a "grow taller" e-book on Clickbank. I'm unsure if there is any offers out there on how to date jockeys. I'll let you know if any come up!

  30. Gayle says:

    And it sells? Must do or why would ya bother. I see I have a lot to learn about the mindset of ….well most people really. I have to stop being influenced by my own prejudices and non-shopping mentality. As a committed atheist I'm ashamed to say my best seller on one of my sites is a Bible lesson ebook and I plug it like hell… um if I was principled I guess I shouldn't use the word hell either!

  31. Graham Nichols says:

    How high was 'bidding pretty high'?

  32. dave says:

    what are you using to create the banners? id appreciate your help!

  33. Andy says:

    You seem to have caused quite a stir on POF with these baners! Have just received the following email from POF (you "trickster" you – lol!):

    Hello Advertiser,

    If you've received this email, it is because you have been running banners on POF. Due to recent findings, we've discovered that many of our users have been tricked into clicking, as the banners appear to look too much like In order to clarify, here are the rules for these new banners going forward:

    – must have a border

    – ad text cannot be entirely blue

    – ad text must not be underlined as to appear as a link (ex. *click here*)

    A few of the banners have been retroactively declined and we will be working forward to ensure all banners comply to these guidelines.

    • Lorenzo Green says:

      Wow. So I just logged into and was browsing around. On my second page view an ad with VERY similar styling to my example showed up. I refreshed and another one came up. I refreshed again and another one showed up.

      I will rethink future posts.

  34. I see you only used 6 ads in one campaing x2 would you say that was average for testing? Can you use to many? like I have about 20 ads 4 different wordings with 5 different pictures set up for an age and country demographic then re set the 20 ads for different campaign with new age groups.

    Not sure if thats not tight enough for testing?

    Also if your not getting that many impression's even with a good budget does that mean the demographic is to tight?

  35. Text ads always outperform image ads for my clients, so I went with the winner, because I know TALL is a sore spot with guys due to the fact that they say, "Women don't like short men." So TALL versus SHORT would tell me it would be more of an eye grabber and hit a nerve with men who read it.

    Although image ads get some good conversions, I would say it would also depend upon the actual landing page where the ads were placed.

    If the image ads are already competing on a page with better looking people, even the flash version that might draw more attention to your eye, the guys and gals are going to click on the hot people, versus the "not so good looking people" (sorry) on the image ads that were presented.

    Text ads are information, regardless of size, and the uniformity of the blue with the click option under the text ad flows nicely. Although red is known to be a "buying" color and action color for "buy now!," it didn't flow well and isn't widely known as a clickable, anchor text link like blue.

    Also, image ads are half the price on Google for all of my clients, although due to the limitations of BLOGGERS/AdSense clients who don't offer all formats, the traffic is less. Yet, when they do click on them, the average conversion rate is 10%, which isn't too bad. The average conversion rate for text ads are 14%. So if you can get less clicks at half the price, image ads are worth a try. (These are actual stats for my own clients, not an average statistically.)

    Nice test! I was just referred to your BLOG by a client of mine…I will share it with my other PPC and SEO friends!

    Thank you for valuable content, which is rare on many sites.


    Adrienne DeVita

  36. Awesome case study Lorenzo! Thanks for sharing. My guess was for the first blue text entry followed by the static picture. The reference to "Height" or the word "TALL" did not jump out at me one way or another.

    Definitely shocked at how poorly the static image fared.

    I always split test and this excellent post proves why.

    Thanks again.


  37. diolt says:

    Good subject. But not sure it happens like this. I just was after one and really i got her

  38. make money says:

    Great article, thank you very much.

  39. Armin says:

    Brand new to this field started reading your cases from back to front to partake in your 'tests', I picked number 2 because the capitalized 'tall' seemed as a subversive way to say want to get your elephant trunk bigger? But I am probably wrong since I am a noob of noobs.

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