The Heritage Foundation

How an eBook acquisition offer dear reader affects donor conversion rate

Experiment ID: #167582

The Heritage Foundation

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 12/07/2023 - 12/12/2023

The Heritage Foundation regularly uses dear reader ads to promote direct appeals or acquisition offers on The Daily Signal news articles.

During their year-end campaign, Heritage wanted to know whether using an acquisition offer, specifically their Guide to the Constitution eBook, in a dear reader instead of a year-end direct appeal would lead to an increase in donations.

The CYE (calendar year end) dear reader contained a countdown timer with the amount of time left to donate in the campaign, directly asked the viewer to “Donate Today”, and led directly to the year end donation page. The Guide to the Constitution dear reader contained an eBook image mockup and asked the viewer to “GET YOUR ACCESS NOW”, leading to a landing page where readers could request the eBook and then to an offer-specific donation page.

The dear readers appeared on every Daily Signal article sitewide.

Research Question

We believe that using an eBook acquisition offer dear reader for news article readers will achieve an increase in instant donation rate because readers will be more motivated to donate after receiving a valuable ebook for free.


C: CYE Dear Reader
T1: Guide Dear Reader


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: CYE Dear Reader 0.01%
T1: Guide Dear Reader 0.03%148.2% 97.6%

This experiment has a required sample size of 53,617 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 141,156, 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
× 148.2% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The key learning from this experiment is that using an eBook acquisition offer in a dear reader instead of a direct appeal for donations can significantly increase the instant donation rate.

We ran this experiment for six days at the beginning of Heritage’s year end campaign until it validated with a 97.5% level of confidence in favor of the treatment. The treatment group, which received the eBook offer, saw a 148.2% increase in donations compared to the control group, which received the CYE direct appeal messaging.

This suggests that providing readers with a valuable incentive, such as a free eBook, can enhance their motivation to donate. Offering something of value in return for their donation can make the action feel more rewarding and increase their likelihood of taking immediate action.

The results of this experiment should be used in future experimentation by incorporating acquisition offers, such as eBooks, in dear reader ads. This strategy can help to optimize donation rates and improve the effectiveness of direct appeals. Further testing might include adding a fundraising campaign’s direct appeal language to an existing content offer during the campaign to determine whether the language provides an extra, timely incentive to give.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #167582

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