Over the summer we commissioned a usability study from Boston Interactive and have been implementing many of their recommendations. One particularly telling observations concerns the efficacy of the left promos. Boston Interactive correctly notes that although we’ve labeled them as calls to action they are not being clicked because they are being treated by end users as ads.
In this case it seems that the inheritance feature that allows them to be pervasive through your sections of the site is having the adverse effect by having them blend in with the background rather than stand out and in some cases having calls to action seemingly unrelated to the page the user is on.
Accordingly we are going to disable the inheritance functionality of the left promos in 2 weeks. Please use that time to assign your promos appropriately — the call to action should have a direct relationship to the page on which it appears. For example: a page describes the steps an applicant must go through in order to apply; an appropriate promo would be a link to the online application. An example of non-contextual promos appears here: http://www.emerson.edu/about-emerson/facts-figures — arguably the first promo is relevant; the second is not.
The right promos will not be affected by this.