ABT – Always Be Testing: Two Design Directions for a Lead Gen Landing Page

Here’s a great example of an A/B test on an education lead gen landing page. It’s a common strategy in education to use banner ads and PPC to drive traffic to a landing page where data is captured in exchange for course information.

The main elements being tested here are the color palette, hero shot imagery and primary messaging.

Type of Landing Page: Lead Gen
Source: http://www.fullsail.edu/
Built Using Unbounce: No

2 Sets of Landing Pages & Banners

You can see from the two landing page examples below that there is a very strong message match – both visually and in terms of the primary headline.

(Click on the landing page images for a closeup)

Version A: The Cold Colors

Version B: The Warm Colors

Landing Page Design Elements

  • Hero shot: The main character on these landing pages is the code covered student – designed to look a little geeky as peer the demographic.
  • Feature lists: Bullet lists of course curriculum are used to simplify the content.
  • Benefit list: A powerful 3 point list of the benefits of taking a course at Full Sail University.
  • Testimonial: A testimonial from an existing or prior student is provided, including a subtle social proof indicator – listing the clients he did work for.
  • Incentive: A deeply discounted laptop is offered as a benefit of becoming a student.
  • Lead gen form: The purpose of the page is the data capture. By completing the form you receive free information – presumably about the university and courses.

Why I Like It

Thumbs UpReason
Strong message matchThe primary and secondary messages on the banner are immediately obvious on the landing page, providing excellent reinforcement to the visitor that they are in the right place.
A personal connectionIn the blue/green example the image of the student really stands out as he is almost looking directly at you (his gaze has a thoughtful of centered gaze). I find it more engaging compared to the other guy that just stares into space. I’d love to know which banner had the higher click through rate (CTR).
Color MatchColor is something that’s thrown around in conversion circles as being either a panacea (as in cases of an orange or blue button outperforming a green or black one) or a useless waste of testing time. In this instance I think the color only has something to do with the initial click-through (if at all), but has largely nothing to do with the conversion. Why color match is key here is that the banner and landing pages are clear extensions of one another, and as such will give the visitor confidence that the experience they anticipated when then clicked will be followed through. i.e. they made a good click.

Final Thoughts

It’s not 100% clear what information you’ll receive when you submit the lead gen form. The only real mention is at the top of the form where it says “Request FREE Information”. I would recommend qualifying this statement with more detail – such as whether you’ll be emailed the information or if you’ll receive it in the mail. If it’s a printed brochure it would be good to say how extensive it is via a page count (e.g. receive our free 40 page brochure).

I’d also change the CTA on the form button from “Submit” to reiterate what will be received when you click it.

About Oli Gardner
Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He’s obsessed with identifying and reversing bad marketing practices, and his disdain for marketers who send campaign traffic to their homepage is legendary, resulting in landing page rants that can peel paint off an unpainted wall. A prolific international keynote speaker, Oli is on a mission to rid the world of marketing mediocrity by using data-informed copywriting, design, interaction, and psychology to create a more delightful experience for marketers and customers alike. He was recently named the "The 2018 Marketer to Watch," in the under 46 category, by his mother.
» More blog posts by Oli Gardner


  1. jamesmattison

    It'd be interesting to see the results of this A/B campaign. My first reaction to seeing both was to immediately prefer the 'warm' coloured version, but obviously in a real-world situation I wouldn't be choosing, merely reacting. I wasn't turned off by the colours of the 'cold' version, but by the typographic chicken pox the rather miserable looking model seems to have developed!

    It would also be interesting from a branding point of view to see whether creating landing pages which are visually consistent with the rest of your traditional branded collateral (colour, typography, layout, etc) are more successful than 'breaking away' for specific online campaigns.

  2. oligardner

    I'd love to know the success of the campaign too. I'll write to them and see if they're willing to share.
    The second point seems like a no-brainer for the most part – but the fact that you raise it makes me stop and think. I'm pretty sure as long as you follow some minimum brand guidelines you could use a landing page to get pretty wild and creative. That the beauty of them – way greater creative freedom.

  3. TOMS Shoes

    But a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style .

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