Harvest Ministries

How adding urgency to a repositioned call to action affects clickthrough rate

Experiment ID: #2822

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: 12/08/2015 - 12/09/2015

Harvest Ministries prepared an appeal for their year end campaign that offered a book, “The Biggest Story”, as a premium. They had prepared an email that told a personal story, made a financial ask with a call-to-action button, and then followed up with some information about the premium. On the landing page, there was a callout box that indicated that time was running out to order the premium and receive it before Christmas.

Their team formed a hypothesis that if they moved this callout earlier in the donation funnel, that they would incentivize more readers of the email to click through to the page. They developed a treatment that added urgent copy that emphasized the impending deadline, and moved the call-to-action button after this copy.  They then ran an A/B split test to see the results.

Research Question

Will highlighting the urgency of a deadline increase clickthrough rate?


C: Control
T1: Treatment 1


 Treatment NameClick RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: Control 3.5%
T1: Treatment 1 6.6%87.7% 100.0%

This experiment has a required sample size of 387 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 13,668, 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:

    87.7% increase in traffic
× 0% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

This tells us that highlighting urgency on the landing page isn’t enough — we must move it earlier in the decision process if we want to motivate and incentivize the maximum amount of prospects. Because email performance rates decline naturally at each step (from delivery to open rate to clickthrough rate), we can reach more prospects with this message as we move it further down the inverted funnel. However, that doesn’t mean that we should move it to the subject line — when improperly placed, urgency can deceive and disincentivize prospects.

This also gives a valuable lesson about call-to-action placement. In the first email, the button was placed before the premium, which meant that many prospects made the decision before they were fully informed and incentivized. By moving the button to the end of the email (and strengthening the incentive that comes before it), Harvest was able to nearly double clickthrough rate.

Experiment Documented by Jeff Giddens
Jeff Giddens is President of NextAfter.

Question about experiment #2822

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