How brand alignment affects email acquisition rate Experiment ID: #7015

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: 6/26/2017 - 7/26/2017

Hillsdale College was promoting a free download of their popular publication, Imprimis. They had initially launched ads under the Hillsdale College brand, as the college is the publisher of the speech digest. However, they wondered if changing the visible brand to the somewhat clunky “Imprimis, a Publication of Hillsdale College” would increase conversion rates.

They launched a new ad that kept all of the original images and copy, but inserted Imprimis as the advertiser.

Research Question

Will increasing the brand alignment between the advertiser and the offer increase conversion rates?

MECLABS Conversion Factors Targeted

C = 4m + 3v + 2( i - f) - 2a ©

Copyright 2015, MECLABS


C: Hillsdale Brand
T1: Imprimis Brand


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Hillsdale Brand 1.1%
T1: Imprimis Brand 1.3% 23.4% 100.0%

This experiment has a required sample size of 15,070 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 211,297, 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
× 23.4% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The new ad, featuring Imprimis as the brand advertiser, increased conversion rate by 23.4% without drastically affecting clickthrough rate. This shows that the brand alignment is actually quite powerful—it doesn’t drive more primary interest in the product, but makes the prospect much more likely to accept the offer.

Brand is often a misunderstood (and underestimated) term—but this experiment shows that it might have a residual effect on conversion throughout a conversion funnel. This prompted a test on the landing page to see if increasing the brand presence there would improve conversion even further.

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Experiment Documented by...

Jeff Giddens

Jeff is a Senior Vice President 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.