Optimization of Avast’s Cross-sell Campaign

Michal Pařízek
5 min readOct 15, 2016


In Avast, we wanted to improve our cross-sell campaign. We decided to pick few regions and do an experiment — to verify few concepts, and then use the gained insights for design/copy improvements.

The campaign itself was targeted Avast users who already purchased a paid version of our antivirus. The value proposition of this campaign was: purchase a specific Avast product (Avast Cleanup) and get a free upgrade to a higher tier of your antivirus.

The two areas we wanted to explore in the experiment were: tone of voice & urgency.

Tone of voice

There are many ways how you can present your campaign and set the tone. Below are just few examples of typical campaign visuals:

They all look quite similar, aren’t they?

However, we can split them into two groups which differ in one


The three visuals at the left side involve money. We have them connected with a purchase.

On the other hand, the examples on the right side do not necessarily involve money.

Several studies (e.g. Dan Ariely’s one in his Predictably Irrational) proved that we respond differently to requests which do and do not involve money. And we wanted to test which approach is better for cross/up-sell campaigns which are targeted to paid user base.


We live in the world of deadlines and lack of time. We are surrounded by urgency at every step.

Most of the e-commerce sites use some type of urgency. All the big players like Booking, Amazon do that and the small one follow their lead. Urgency is also often listed among strong conversion drivers.

But since the urgency has become part of our everyday life, an important question comes up.

Haven’t we become resistant to urgency?

We wanted to verify that.

Also, when we used urgency (particurarly a time-limited offer) in the past campaigns, we faced one issue. We could not easily prolong the campaign for extra week, or stop it earlier. The time inflexibility made us to question the impact of time-limited offers.

The experiment

We took the cross-sell campaign main medium— an in-product pop-up which appear for 20 seconds in the right bottom corner (if you have Avast installed, indeed). And we incorporated the experiment there.

The tone of voice & urgency experiment incorporated into a campaign pop-up.

For the tone of voice part, we chose a headline as the elment which can set the tone of voice best. The headline is the most visible part of the pop-up.

We’ve selected a candidate from both approach types:
- Special offer representing the money-involved type.
- Loyalty reward representing the money-not-involved type.

For the urgency, we’ve decided to either display or not display the time-limited offer.

Then, we combined these variants into an A/B/C/D experiment:

The campaign lasted 10 days, and so did the experiment. We run it in 4 English speaking countries: USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

The flow of the campaign was the same for all testing variants:

Pop-up (the tested element) -> Landing Page -> Cart -> Thank you page

As an A/B testing tool, we used Avast own split test platform which is incorporated in an IPM CMS. For reporting, we used Google Analytics Premium.


In the 10 days we’ve managed to get quite significant amount of data:

Total number of users in the A/B/C/D test: 797,737
Total number of conversions: 3,286

For better interpretation, let’s combine the data from variants which match in the testing element.

Since there was only one product offered in the campaign, the AOV was same for all variations. What differed was the conversion rate.

Tone of voice

What was the most effective approach? Special offer or Loyalty reward? Let’s have a look at the results:

Users who have seen the cross-sell pop-up converted much better! We could see a 28% uplift in conversion rate and also sales.

The restults very consistent across all four countries.

Why did Loyalty reward score much better on the initial CTR? We thought of these reasons:
a) It embraces curiosity (“What is the reward?”).
b) It looks less like a sales campaign.
c) It touches the reciprocity emotion.


The second testing element in the experiment was the urgency factor.

Have we become resistant to urgency? Does it still have an impact?

Yes, it does.

It turned out, the time-limited offer is still very persuasive. Regardless how much are we surrounded with urgency nowadays. We could see a significant 24% increase in conversion rate (and sales) for the variants which had the urgency place. And it worked better in every step of the flow.

What was really interesting was the fact that variants with time-limited offer were more persuasive from the beginning of the campaign. Not just at the end of the campaign.

It dismissed our internal thought that the urgency can help to reach better performance at the end of the campaign. But in fact, it helps to improve the performance from the day 1!

Financial impact

If we did not launch the experiment and just launch the campaign with “Special offer” headline and without urgency (which we both seriously considered!), we would have earned $22,300 less.

And, this is the impact for only the 10-day campaign and 4 countries. I am sure you can imagine can benefical these learnings are for Avast future campaigns.


In the end, the learnings and insights are the most valuable in every experiment.

We’ve gained these two very valuable learnings:

  1. For paid customers campaigns, tone of voice with focus on loyalty & rewarding works better than traditional sales approach. By knowing that we can shape better our future campaigns and our communication to paid customers.
  2. The urgency is still very persuasive. Since we’ve verified the impact it can have for Avast paid userbase, we can incorporate urgency cleverly to other business flow and work it more effectively.

Did you find the case study useful? What is your experience in testing tone of voice and urgency? Please, share your thoughts in comments below!