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A hard lesson in testing

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Staffing Today banner ad…crash and burn

Today was supposed to be a big day. Our first ad appeared in Staffing Today.

As marketers, we know the importance of making your marketing stand out. And with banner ads, where click through rates average less than 2%, you really have to do something special to get people to pay attention (we’ve been kind of toilet trained to ignore these kinds of ads).

So rather than the typical pretty picture with a caption, we decided to go bold with an animated ad and a less than subtle message. Here’s what the ad was supposed to look like:

ASA-Staffing-Today Haley Marketing Ad

Unfortunately, we skipped one critical step in the design process.

Step 1: Verify that you can do something different

Prior to creating our ad, we checked with ASA to see if we could publish an animated GIF file. Good news, ASA told us no problem. Our creative team went to work brainstorming messages and finding clever ways to use bold copy and colors to capture attention.

Step 2: Test the ad

Prior to submitting the ad for distribution, we tested in-house. Everything looked great! So we sent our ad to ASA. But we had made a rookie-level mistake. We did not ask ASA to send us a test email. We never saw what our ad looked like in Outlook 2007 (which is commonly used by our clients).

Our ad went out this morning, and at first blush it looked fine. We boldly told every Staffing Today reader that their website sucks! And then we waited. And waited. And waited.

It turns out that our animated GIF isn’t animated in Outlook 2007. All you see is the first screen–and that doesn’t even have our logo. So while our ad looked great in our tests, it didn’t work for a lot of people. Ugh!

Step 3: Have a backup plan

Luckily for us, we planned ahead. We had pre-designed a non-animated version of our ad just in case anything went wrong. And while not quite as attention grabbing, our backup ad works for everyone.

Thank you ASA!

We appreciate your willingness to let us try something new. And we REALLY appreciate how quickly you helped us to address our mistake. We definitely learned (or at least were reminded of) one of the most important lessons in marketing…test everything!

Oh, and if your website sucks, and you’d like it to ROCK, please contact us for a copy of our Staffing Website Features Checklist.


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