How varying types of third party credibility affects email acquisition Experiment ID: #6441

Hillsdale College

Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college with a student body of about 1,400. Hillsdale’s educational mission rests upon two principles: academic excellence and institutional independence. The College does not accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies for any of its operations.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 3/6/2017 - 4/6/2017

Hillsdale launched a course designed to give students a better understanding of the role of the Executive Branch. Previous optimization efforts from a similar test on a different course had already shown that student validation outperformed the presence of a course schedule by 20.5%.  They were interested in discovering how student quotes as third-party validation would perform against an endorsement from former President Ronald Reagan. They hypothesized that student quotes would outperform an endorsement from a former president because it was more personal, experienced-based, and spoke from the point of view of the page visitor.

They launched an A/B test to find out which treatment produced the highest email acquisition rate.

Research Question

Will student quotes outperform a endorsement from a former president?

MECLABS Conversion Factors Targeted

C = 4m + 3v + 2( i - f) - 2a ©

Copyright 2015, MECLABS


C: Control
T1: Treatment 1


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Control 46.1%
T1: Treatment 1 47.0% 2.1% 57.1%

This experiment has a required sample size of 20,807 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

The results of this test were statistically insignificant. Even though the treatment with student quotes increased conversion by a 2%, the test could not be validated, which showed Hillsdale that prospects were not heavily influenced by varying types of third party validation. This prompted a reassessment of which page elements should be further tested.

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Experiment Documented by...

Kevin Peters

Kevin is the Chief Technology Officer at NextAfter. If you have any questions about this experiment or would like additional details not discussed above, please feel free to contact them directly.