Harvest Ministries

How a raw link in an email affects donor conversion.

Experiment ID: #2956

Harvest Ministries

Harvest Christian Fellowship exists to bring Christians closer to God and to bring nonbelievers to a saving relationship with Him by showing how God's Word and faith in Him are applicable and relevant to everyday life.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 09/14/2016 - 09/19/2016

Harvest Ministries has been learning a lot about their donors through their monthly appeal testing. After a series of different tests they have learned that their donors respond best when the appeals have a personal and more casual tone to them. There are a lot of different variables that attribute to an email looking, feeling and sounding more personal and casual, so they wanted to test the specific variables within the email to gain an even deeper understanding of their donors. Keeping all other variables consistent between the control and the treatment email, they first tested the link in the email. The control had their standard link with a group of text hyperlinked and the treatment had a raw link that actually showed the URL a person would be sent to.

Research Question

What kind of link would acquire more donations?


C: Standard Link
T1: Raw Link


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: Standard Link 0.50%
T1: Raw Link 0.89%77.6% 100.0%

This experiment has a required sample size of 3,517 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 24,521, and the level of confidence is above 95% the experiment results are valid.

Flux Metrics Affected

The Flux Metrics analyze the three primary metrics that affect revenue (traffic, conversion rate, and average gift). This experiment produced the following results:

    0% increase in traffic
× 77.6% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The raw link not only had a 12.4% increase in click-throughs, but a 77.6% increase in donations! The raw link helps the email to look and feel more personal by making it look as if the writer of the email had just pasted the link into an email. This method is much more believable and reinforces the personal approach. If this email was, in fact, an email sent from one person to another, a sender would most likely put a raw link in the copy rather than highlighting specific text and hyperlinking it – as validated in this test, we should take that same approach with these personalized appeal emails.

The raw link also brought clarity to where the link would take the end user. This reduces any anxiety a person might have in clicking the link because the URL specifically tells a person where they are being sent.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #2956

If you have any questions about this experiment or would like additional details not discussed above, please feel free to contact them directly.