Stansted Express Stansted Express

How We Helped Stansted Express

  • 8.6% Conversion Rate Increase

  • 46% Cost-per-Acquisition Reduction

A commercially-driven strategy to reinvigorate stagnant campaigns and maximise returns from all traffic.



Fountain first met with Abellio, operators of Stansted Express, in mid-2017 when they approached us to audit their campaigns.?

Lifting the lid on their Google Ads account, it was clear that huge improvements could be made to campaign structure, granularity and the application of basic principles of optimisation.

When we received their Invitation to Tender, we could see that fixing campaign issues would not be enough to deliver Abellio’s ambitious growth targets.?Up against some of the world’s best agencies, Fountain’s team worked hard to build a pitch that was entirely evidence-based and commercially driven, that spoke not only to marketing and procurement, but also to the finance team.

As a growth partner and strategic consultancy, Fountain takes a holistic approach to driving online revenue by actively seeking out and removing obstacles that affect the behaviour of traffic from all channels, not just those we manage. Our strategy therefore incorporated Conversion Rate Optimisation at every level.

Abellio announced Fountain as their new agency on 2nd February 2018, and by the 6th we were underway.



Abellio’s goal was to grow sales by 20% year on year with digital marketing playing a significant role. For Fountain, this meant consistently beating the lowest Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) the Stansted Express campaigns had ever previously achieved, whilst delivering more sales at the same investment.

Our campaign target was set to:

Optimising for Success

We immediately implemented a series of changes to halt wasted spend and increase the click-through rate of all Google Ads campaigns:

  • Segmentation and targeting of remarketing audiences to focus spend on users more likely to purchase.
  • Implementation and optimisation of Ad Extensions to publicise offers
  • Automation: Using smart bidding and Dynamic Search Campaigns to drive up conversion rate
  • Running Responsive Search Ads to lower cost-per-click.

Meanwhile, Fountain’s Conversion Rate Optimisation specialists identified major obstacles in the user’s path to purchase that, once fixed, promised to substantially boost returns from all channels.

“We took the decision to create the two below tests due to the previous performance of two key pages. They were in the top 10 highest traffic pages on site, but we felt that the conversion rate for these pages could be improved.? The goal for both pages was to make it as easy as possible for the customers to get the information they need, whilst also making the purchase process as easy as possible.”? –?Lori Cantwell


Optimisation Target 1: Ticket Types

Looking at heat maps, we could see that customers weren’t scrolling too far down the page, meaning they weren’t viewing all the products available. The solution to this was to pull the main products above the fold and populate them horizontally onto the page, as opposed to vertically.

Hypothesis:?Moving the three main products above the fold will reduce time spent scrolling and make customers more inclined to purchase.


Optimisation Target 2: Timetables

The timetables of Stansted Express are held on a single, vast landing page. Prior to Fountain’s changes, the user was required to manually search for the route and date they were interested in. We tested a variant that allowed users to filter by route and date.

Hypothesis:?Reducing the time spent searching for information will increase the likelihood a user will make a purchase.



As of September 2018 we achieved a 46% reduction in Cost-Per-Acquisition for Stansted Express, surpassing our target in four months.

“We’ve seen our digital revenue grow by 13.50% and the conversion rate of some of our top traffic driving pages increase by 18.3% from work directly attributed to Fountain. We’ve seen nothing but utter professionalism from these guys and can’t wait to see what else they have up their sleeve.” – Chris Ford, Marketing and Digital Manager, Stansted Express



Thank you for reading this case study. To discuss how we can help meet your business’s growth goals through the techniques described here, including Strategic Consultancy, Campaign Management, and Conversion Rate Optimisation Audits, please call our team on +44 (0) 20 3325 6670 or get in touch via email using the form below.






Service Breakdown

  •   Strategy
  •   Conversion Rate Optimisation
  •   Pay-Per-Click

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