Competitive Enterprise Institute

How an individual sender impacts the open rate of an organizational email

Experiment ID: #11495

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 11/28/2017 - 12/04/2017

For Giving Tuesday, the Competitive Enterprise Institute was sending out a fundraising email to their house email file. Historically, these fundraising emails had come from the organization instead of an individual. We wanted to see if sending from the organization’s president, Kent Lassman, would be able to improve the email results. Since it was coming from an individual, we also modified the email so that it had a more personal tone.

Research Question

How will an individual sender impact email engagement?


C: Organizational Sender
T1: Individual Sender


  Treatment Name Open Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Organizational Sender 15.9%
T1: Individual Sender 20.3% 27.5% 100.0%

This experiment has a required sample size of 595 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 9,199, 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:

    27.5% increase in traffic
× 0% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The treatment resulted in a 27.5% increase in opens for the house email file. We believe this is the result of two factors from the email: the sender and the first sentence. Prior research has found that sending from an individual increases the likelihood to open the email. Additionally, by modifying the first sentence, we changed what was viewed in the preview pane of the email. In this case, we were able to incorporate the individual’s name so that the email appeared to be send from an individual to an individual instead of from an organization to a wide list of people.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #11495

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