Conversion Rate Optimization: AdRoll Case Study

AdRoll Logo

Not too long ago, conversion rate optimization rarely crossed the minds of web designers and marketers. But the last few years brought an array of changes to the world of web design, conversion rate optimization is now crucial to the success of your website.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies reports that over 14,000 advertising companies are actively accepting clients. Faced with growing competition, AdRoll developed an innovate retargeting platform for online advertising. Despite creating new technology, they were still a startup, they had no branding, credibility or users. By implementing incredible conversion rate optimization techniques, they launched themselves to the top of the online advertising industry.

Some of the key components of AdRoll’s Conversion Rate Optimization:

  • They establish credibility by showcasing awards and repeating that they are “#1”.
  • “Free Trial” is highlighted in the menu bar.
  • A video explains their service in a casual manner while giving an inside look of the company.
  • Their phone number is in the header of every page.
  • Social media icons are always visible.
  • An omnipresent chat bar stays at the bottom of the screen.
  • They feature their top brands from a variety of niches.
  • Press coverage is highlighted on the homepage.
  • Numerous case studies & testimonials are available.
  • They have a “Meet the Team” Page.
  • The bandwagon effect is introduced by saying: “5000 brands choose AdRoll”
  • They appeal to viewers emotions with a visual connection to Silicon Valley.
  • Pages are organized nicely in their footer.

Building Credibility

Modern design tools allow practically anyone to launch a website. Since websites are all created on an even playing field, businesses must place significant focus on establishing credibility to set themselves apart from dubious competition. AdRoll makes a clear effort to demonstrate their trust and authority by drawing attention to an abundance of awards, case studies, a strong client base, and press coverage.

Use of “#1” Above the Fold

Adroll Conversion Rate Optimization

AdRoll uses “#1” three times, before users even scroll down.

Before even scrolling down, three instances of “#1” appear. A banner at the top of the page proudly showcases themselves as the “#1 Advertising Company by Inc. Magazine”; the largest text on the homepage defines themselves as the “#1 Retargeting Platform”; a box beneath that proudly describes why they are “#1 on FBX”. The visual redundancy of “#1” clearly serves as an indirect approach to condition users into believing that they are actually the best platform to use. While their claim of being the “#1 advertising company” is backed by Inc. Magazine, the other two claims are not backed with any support; yet, seeing “#1” combined with additional ethos building strategies serves as a powerful method to convince visitors of their credibility.

Reassurance Through the Bandwagon Effect

Conversion Rate Optimization - Social Pressure

AdRoll builds their credibility by making it clear that established brands already use their service.

AdRoll showcases the fact that over 5000 brands use their service. They not only present this as a way to reassure visitors that the service is well established, but it also initiates the psychological concept of the bandwagon effect. Users will have a larger tendency to use AdRoll because individuals generally prefer to conform to social norms. Additionally, in the business world, the term “brand” typically correlates with successful companies. AdRoll understands that they are primarily targeting business owners, CMO’s, and marketing directors; in an effort to flatter this audience, they replace “companies” with “brands” to make potential users feel as though using their service classifies their company as a “brand”.

Inclusion of Recognized Brand Logos


AdRoll carefully picks a select few companies to represent their service.

Any business that does client work should be sure to include the logos of their biggest clients, this is crucially important to increase conversion rate optimization.

Out of their 5000 customers, AdRoll displays only a select few, choosing clients from an assortment of niches to make it clear that the service is effective across all markets. Silicon Valley tech startups are placed at the top as a means to introduce the concept of status leaks – business owners are more likely to use AdRoll if they respect the marketing decision of these companies.

In order to not isolate traditional business owners, national brands such as Nestle and America Apparel are featured as well.


AdRoll Press Coverage Homepage Design

They proudly display press, select particular quotes, and only show news from business outlets.

Carefully selected Press Coverage

Further down the page is a separate area featuring news snippets from Forbes, Business Times, Bloomberg, and an array of news other press outlets. They choose to only feature the business related news outlets to better appeal to their target audience since business owners will respect these sources more than non-business sources. The fact that AdRoll demonstrates their credibility with such a broad set of authoritative sources sets them apart from their competition, creating an extremely successful homepage. By virtually saturating their website with press, big brands, testimonials and awards, they leave no room for viewers to speculate that they are anything but the most authoritative advertising company.

Appealing to Users Sense of Logic

They Make it Clear that Support is Standing By

AdRoll Support

AdRoll Keeps their phone number in the header, a live chat box is always present at the bottom of the screen, and all their contact information is in the footer.

Coupling their awards and authoritative sources with an appeal to the viewers sense of logic reinforces AdRoll’s credibility and creates an extremely powerful argument. As users scroll down the site, a live chat box stays omnipresent at the bottom of the screen, comforting customers that helpful support is always present. Unlike most companies, their customer service department is called the “customer delight team.” This euphemism serves as a subtle indicator to help potential users feel that they will be “delighted” with support, given the poor quality of traditional customer service.

AdRoll Uses Warm Sounding Words

Positive sounding words replace any harsh terminology. “Contact us” replaces “connect with us,” implying a personal connection with customer support. “Pricing packages” replaces “pricing made simple,” followed by a subtitle stating, “You have complete control.” Generally, potential users become apprehensive around pricing; they make multiple references to the fact that they work with any budget and that there is no minimum monthly spend. This directly appeals to low budget companies and small businesses, however, large companies will feel that AdRoll is not solely focused on making money.

AdRoll makes a clear effort to display subtle indicators of comfort, conveying the fact that there are humans behind their product by placing their toll free support line at the header of every page.

They Associate Themselves with Recognized Companies

Page space is limited above the fold, but AdRoll still makes an effort to associate themselves with major partners. Their video still rests on an image with the logos of Facebook, Google, and Microsoft; AdRoll builds logical appeal from the fact they work with these authoritative companies, supporting their claims of credibility. As users scroll down, we see an array of case studies and testimonials. In this instance, AdRoll relies on the testimonies and opinions of expert opinions to support their claims of being the best company. They create an authoritative group of businesses to show that the general public, and their current clients, support the service.


AdRoll Makes a clear emphasis on displaying their social media presence

Their Social Media Presence is Proudly Displayed

Further scrolling down reveals a strong social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and Twitter – all of which are paired with a numerical value that indicates a wide following of everyday people, not large brands.

AdRoll includes these to appeal to the average, non-executive, consumer.

They knows that some users can connect with their social media presence better than they can connect with a list of large brands. AdRoll effectively appeals to logic by presenting the testimony of their clients, changing verbiage to sound helpful, accentuating the presence of customer service and connecting with users through social media; all of which serve as a direct support to the claim that they are the “#1” advertising platform.

Incorporate the Viewers Emotions

AdRoll makes a straightforward appeal to the emotional side of the viewers, directly displaying the success and relaxed environment that many business owners aspire to create. This appeal to pathos plays a crucial role in the development of their homepage.

They Show an Inside Look of Their Office

AdRoll Office

AdRoll Shows an Inside Look at their office, support team, programmers… and still places a conversion button near the video.

The speaker in the video is shown wearing a t-shirt, the traditional laid back attire of the Silicon Valley atmosphere. When viewers click the video, they see the young speaker in an office that is quite different from that of traditional East coast companies. A young front man is not unlike other Silicon Valley companies, but is certainly unique to the advertising market. The AdRoll staff does not wear uniforms, they are not working at cubicles, people are chatting in the background – it simply looks like everyone enjoys their job. The fact that AdRoll can afford such a relaxed work environment reflects upon their success as a company.

Visual Connection to Silicon Valley

Golden Gate Homepage Design Adroll

AdRoll appeals to the readers design emotions by keeping the golden gate bridge image present in their footer

The footer shows a distant illustration of the golden gate bridge, allowing visitors to clearly see that AdRoll is not only based in San Francisco, but also that they embody all the principles and business practices of Silicon Valley. Even the meet the team page helps bring the staff down to a friendly level. The president is described as an “avid surfer,” while the COO is described as someone that enjoys “tennis on the foggy courts.” By dropping the formal outward appearance of traditional advertising companies and displaying their company in a welcoming manner, AdRoll convincingly appeals to the viewers emotions, perfectly supporting their appeals to logic and credibility.

Conversion Rate Optimization: Take Home Points

Rather than displaying the advantages of their service, AdRoll appeals to users judgment of credibility by displaying their awards, press coverage, testimonials, client base, social presence, and client base. Their primary focus rests with increasing credibility, setting them apart from the other 14,000 advertising companies; but this seamlessly couples with direct appeals to logic and emotion, creating a compelling homepage that effectively convinces business owners to use their service.

Traditional marketing companies tend to characterize themselves with formal outward appearances – but this does not apply to AdRoll. The homepage of AdRoll is dependent on the full spectrum of conversion rate optimization techniques, all of which are based on the conventional rhetorical appeals. They display their association with big brands; provide a wide selection of press coverage, and present lengthy testimonials to build credibility. They accentuate this with an appeal to logic, showcasing their awards, social media presence and an array of support options. While subtle, their friendly tech voice, casual visual connections to Silicon Valley and inconspicuous graphic design details build emotional appeal.

AdRoll’s immense success in the advertising market privies them to take a powerful approach when marketing their product; rather than simply showcasing their service, they overwhelm users with awards, press coverage, testimonials, and an array of large clients, all in a “friendly” voice that epitomizes the Silicon Valley vibe. Combining these factors dramatically improves their overall conversion rate optimization.

Personal Note: We use AdRoll’s service for our own website, our E-commerce sites, and for some of our client’s websites. They are an excellent company and we would highly recommend their service. I’ve never had a problem with their customer support, their user interface is second to none, and the results are unmatched for online ads.

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