Sales Killer: Cycling important messages on a home page in Flash! Proof from a client case study

We started a Google Adwords PPC campaign for a new client in January. It’s a monthly membership life style program.


Note –  I’ll be updating and presenting this case study at Pubcon in Las Vegas in November. If you’ll be there stop by:

Session: Increase Your Post Click Conversion Performance
Date: Wednesday November 11, 2009
Time: 11:30a 12:45p
Location: Salon B

Note – The schedule can change so check it online at or check the schedule boards at Pubcon.


You can download the slides.
Includes Best Practices for Animations


Flash Animation on Home Page Was Cycling Multiple Messages

On the home page, taking up fully half the browser window, was a Flash animation. It cycled through four messages automatically, as many of these Flash animations do.

Our user testing shows that not many people will watch a flash animation long enough to see multiple messages.

In fact many people don’t remember even a single message in a Flash animation.

As Todd Follansbee pointed out in his article regarding results from usability testing, people “rarely remember the content of Flash messages. Far more often they are able to remember simple static headlines.” (See below for a link to Todd’s Article).

I thought that many people where probably missing the most important message in this home page Flash animation – A message highlighting a compelling celebrity endorsement along with the monthly membership cost.

In fact I had visited the home page over a hundred times the previous two weeks and I never noticed the monthly membership cost in the Flash animation.

Stopping the animation leads to increase in sales!

I asked the client’s web developer to “freeze” the Flash animation so that the most important message is always displayed unless the user takes action to see the other frames (there are icons along the bottom of the animation a visitor can mouse over to see the other messages).

In other words, the Flash animation was turned into a static image with one frame always displayed unless the visitor takes action to see the other frames.

The Conversion Rate Increased About 164%
Displaying this single Flash frame to all visitors led to a significant improvement in the conversion rate and a reduction in the cost per conversion (membership signups).

Here are the numbers for the two most important AdGroups for a week before and a week after the change was made to the Flash animation –


Results of “Freezing” Flash animation on one message



Conv. Rate



Adgroup 1        
Week Before





Week After





Adgroup 2        
Week Before





Week After





Week Before





Week After






Freezing the Flash animation increased the conversion rate and reduced the cost per conversion –

In Adgroup 1 the conversion rate increased from 1.9% to 4.6%. That’s an increase of over 240%

In Adgroup 2 the conversion rate increased from 2.4% to 3.3%., an increase of 150%

In total the conversion rate for both AdGroups increased from 2.2% to 3.6%. That’s an increase of about 164%

Even more important to the customer, the cost per conversion decreased from $36.18 to $21.26

The customer makes approximately $50 on a new membership the first year. Let’s look at what these results could mean over the cost of year assuming no seasonality etc:


ROI Estimate BEFORE Change to Flash Animation

 Before the change there were 19 memberships sold in a week.

 19 sales x 52 weeks = 988 sales per year

 988 Sales at $50 Gross profit per sale = $49,400 gross profit

 988 sales x Cost/conversion of 36.18 ea = $35,745.84 Ad Spend

 $49,400 gross profit – 35,745.84 Ad Spend = $13,654.16 Profit


ROI Estimate AFTER Change to Flash Animation

 After the change there were 33 memberships sold in a week.

 33 sales x 52 weeks = 1,716 sales per year

 1,716 Sales at $50 Gross profit per sale = $85,800 gross profit

 1,716 Sales x Cost/conversion of 21.26 ea = $36,482.16 Ad Spend

 $85,800 gross profit – 36,482.16 Ad Spend = $49,317.84 Profit

The improvements could results in $49,317.84 Profit instead of $13,654.16 Profit. That’s a pretty huge difference in ROI!



More User Testing Results about Flash Animations –


Read Todd Follansbee’s article “Distracting Cycling Images and Messages Can Hurt Profits: Learn how to improve conversion rates with a simple and effective solution“.


Increase Business From Your Web Site!

User Experience and Conversion Point Review

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