How emotional impact language on the tribute widget affects donor conversion | NextAfter

How emotional impact language on the tribute widget affects donor conversion

Experiment ID: #57974


CaringBridge offers free personal, protected websites for people to easily share updates and receive support and encouragement from their community during a health journey. Every 7 minutes, a CaringBridge website is created for someone experiencing a health event.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 04/20/2021 - 05/04/2021

CaringBridge’s tribute widget was a primary source of donations for people who visited their journals. Over the years, they had optimized the copy to maximize conversion.

However, as they reviewed the latest control, they wondered if they could better convey the emotional impact that a journal provides for someone who is going through a health journey, and if that would translate into more gifts or more revenue.

They created a treatment that made two tweaks to the copy. First, they changed the headline to include the impact, as well as the result. Instead of just “Help [FirstName] Stay Connected To Family and Friends”, they added the effect: “Help [FirstName] Experience the Comfort of Staying Connected To Family and Friends”. Then, in the body copy, they inserted language that referred to the potential feeling of loss the author might feel without Caringbridge: “A $30 donation to CaringBridge means that [FirstName] won’t lose this special connection to family and friends.

Then, they split traffic to see the impact of this new emotional impact language.

Research Question

We believe that adding emotional impact language for personal home page visitors will achieve an increase in donor conversion rate. .


C: Control
T1: Treatment - $30 Ask


  Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence Average Gift
C: Control 0.60% $0.00
T1: Treatment - $30 Ask 0.58% -3.4% 40.5% $0.00

This experiment has a required sample size of 1,092,475 in order to be valid. Unfortunately, the required sample size was not met and a level of confidence above 95% was not met so the experiment results are not valid.

Key Learnings

Ultimately, there was no impact on conversion rate. This suggests a few potential reasons why:

  1. The reader might have already understood the emotional impact, and the specific callout only brought that to the surface—it wasn’t missing.
  2. Any impact the emotional language might have had could have been blunted by the additional copy.
  3. The copy was ultimately not that different from the original.


Either way, this experiment failed to move the needle, and more radical approaches must be taken to improve conversion.

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

Question about experiment #57974

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