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Mar 28, 2002
Case Study

SUMMARY: When Yogesh Tadwalker was asked to create a banner campaign that would get loads of clicks from India's teens, he was worried a banner wouldn't work. He explains, "Banners don't hold any novelty or interest value, especially for experienced users. Despite variations in sizes offered, colors used, and the animation effects created, many banners end up being blind spots." So he decided to try something new -- a banner that appeared to be an actual live instant messaging conversation between two teens. (Yes, this Case Study includes a sample of this unusual banner, and the cleverly-written script used.)

Aptech Computer Training provides IT training and other computer skills courses to 14-22 year olds around the world seeking a profession. In India, these courses start at a minimum of 50,000 Rupees (about $1000) and go up from there.

Generally, once potential students learn about Aptech, they schedule a session with a personal Aptech counselor to learn more, then go back to their families to discuss (because it is usually the parents who end up footing the bill). This process is not an impulse buy you can sell with a clever online ad campaign.

But Aptech knew their best prospects were heavy Web surfers. Was there a way to at least start the sales process online?


First Aptech came up with an incentive that few students could resist -- a 2 million Rupee (about $40,000) scholarship fund that would accept applications for a limited time only -- and asked online design firm Communicate 2 to create a campaign around it.

Yogesh Tadwalkar, Communicate 2's Director Interaction Design, worried a banner would not work. He says, "They don't hold any novelty or interest value, especially for experienced users. Despite variations in sizes offered, colors used, and the animation effects created, many banners end up being blind spots."

He is in mid-20s himself, so he is well aware of what kids and teens love to do online -- chatting via instant messaging. Instead of doing a regular banner, he created one that looks just like an instant messaging chat box (see link to sample below) with what appears to be a live conversation between two Indian teens running through it.

This faux live chat is very carefully scripted to be as realistic as possible. The casual language switches between English and Hindi just like many Indian teens do. Here's the script:

Cyberkween > Hi, wassup ?

Cooldude > Hi, nothing just timepass

Cyberkween > hey u know, Aptech is giving
scholarships worth Rs. 20,00,000 EVERYDAY ?

Cooldude > Rs. 2 million ? don't pakao yaar !

Cyberkween > no really ! I just won a scholarship .
Click here to register

Cooldude > Wow, this should please my bapu :)

Click throughs landed on an online registration form for
a "Personal Counseling Appointment" and then Aptech's sales staff handled the leads after that.


This instant message-style banner got an astonishing 5% click through rate. Although often banners with unusually high clicks get correspondingly low conversions on the other end, in this case about 75% of clicks went on to register for a personal counseling session. (Note: the average landing page conversion rate for something free is generally 30-50%.)


Link to sample of chat banner:

Communicate 2

See Also:

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