Dallas Theological Seminary

How visually increasing urgency in an email affects response rate

Experiment ID: #412

Dallas Theological Seminary

The DTS mission is, “to glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders for the proclamation of His Word and the building up of the body of Christ worldwide.” They strive to help men and women fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, or more simply: Teach Truth. Love Well.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 12/30/2014 - 12/31/2014

December 31st is the biggest giving day of the year for many nonprofits. As the end of the year approaches, organizations often look for ways to increase urgency to inspire additional giving. DTS added some animation to their emails as a way to visually remind supporters of the approaching deadline.

Research Question

Adding an animated countdown clock to the email will increase the urgency in the mind of the donor which will increase the response rate of the campaign.


C: No Countdown Clock
T1: Countdown Clock


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidenceAverage Gift
C: No Countdown Clock 0.18%$892.86
T1: Countdown Clock 0.29%62.7% 95.1%$1,844.62

This experiment has a required sample size of 14,364 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 29,102, 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
× 62.7% increase in conversion rate
× 106.6% increase in average gift
236.2% increase in revenue

Key Learnings

Since the countdown clock increased both conversion rate and average gift, this tactic will be used in future campaigns that contain an inherit deadline like calendar year end or fiscal year end. Interestingly, the countdown clock in the email did not actually increase the number of clicks to the landing page but significantly increase the number of donors that subsequently gave a gift.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #412

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