Leadership Institute

How the placement of your end of article ad impacts donor conversion rate

Experiment ID: #77752

Leadership Institute

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 11/24/2021 - 02/25/2022

When the Campus Reform website was redesigned to better manage articles and update the front-end design, the web development team that rebuilt the news website hard-coded the ad that was placed at the end of the article (which we call a “Dear Reader” ad) in the wrong location — moving it below the “related articles” and social share links.

We wanted to run an experiment to determine whether the placement actually mattered at generating email signups on the pledge and subsequently donations/revenue on the subsequent instant donation page.

Research Question

We believe that moving the dear reader ad up ahead of the related articles for CampusReform.org readers will achieve an increase in donor conversion rate and revenue.


C: Control
T1: Before Related Articles


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidenceAverage Gift
C: Control 0.00%
T1: Before Related Articles 0.01%511.0% 99.3%

This experiment has a required sample size of 96,987 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 369,975, 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
× 511.0% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

With a confidence level of 99.2%, we observed an increase in donor conversion rate of +511%!

We also observed an increase of emails acquired by +171.6% (LoC: 99%) and drove significantly more dollars through this treatment experience.

When it comes to where to place your end of article ad (or “Dear Reader” ad) — the placement absolutely matters. In this case, it just makes sense when you take a moment to think about it.

When a reader clicks a link to read an article, they came there to read the article. Previous experimentation with ad placements on long-form article content within news websites shows us that the placement at the end of the article is the most productive location in which to place your ads. Why? Because the reader came to read the ad — so, it’s only after the value exchange has been completed (that you’ve allowed them to read the entire article they came to read) that they’ll consider another action.

Therefore, what comes next matters the most.

If the goal is to promote additional articles, then showing the “related articles” next would make sense.

In this case, we’re optimizing to increase the number of emails, donations, and revenue we’re producing from readers of our articles. Therefore, promoting our donor engagement pathway (or “Dear Reader” ad) right after the article ends makes the most sense to drive the largest response rates through that pathway.

Experiment Documented by Greg Colunga
Greg Colunga is Executive Vice President at NextAfter.

Question about experiment #77752

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