Came across this ad for Basecamp during a search I was doing on Mixrank. Why share this little display ad? First of all, if you're not familiar with Basecamp...View More or more importantly, the company behind Basecamp, 37 Signals, I highly suggest you look them up. They are a talented team behind some of the earliest & most innovative SAAS companies (Basecamp being one of them) and are absolutely worth following http://37signals.com/. In fact, they are one of the companies we study closely and follow in our Insider's Club. Now, initially, I breezed past this ad. It looked like a testimonial ad where they were simply quoting a customer, but there is no customer & there are no quotations. Take a second look & imagine you have this ad displayed on your own site. To the visitor, who does it look like is recommending Basecamp? That's right, YOU. It could easily be perceived that the site owner is putting up the ad recommending Basecamp & we all know the power of having a site owner recommend something to their own visitors. It ran for a good 6 months several years back which is a fair amount of time to run the same ad consistently. Whether it worked or not, the idea is definitely clever & worth testing.
The power here is in borrowing the social proof & rapport already built by the site owner. Many visitors may think they recommended Basecamp & click through for that reason.
Beyond borrowing of social proof, they make sure to point out what Basecamp is by listing features. Usually, features on their own, do not make compelling ads, but in this case, the power is in the recommendation & the features simply clarify the offering.
By just including the statement & adding in a logo, it doesn't look like a flashy ad which is what you want to avoid (an ad that looks like an ad).
The black background will stand out on most sites that have a white or light background
Mike Schaueris the founder of Swiped.co and the main analyst in the swipes section. After intently studying & building conversion-focused websites for 6+ years, he started Swiped to help others master marketing & copywriting through the analysis of great examples!
Visit the archives of this swipe's source URL or view past screenshots of basecamphq.com below.