How a video preview affects email acquisition rate Experiment ID: #6848

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: 6/2/2017 - 6/21/2017

Hillsdale College was promoting a brand new course, Introduction to the Constitution. This course was shot in a manner that was very different from their previous courses, and had a much improved look and feel to the video. They realized that their original Introduction to the Constitution registration page expressed this improvement in video quality through text, but did not show the prospect the actual video of the course they were signing up for. They decided to test a video preview on the email acquisition page, even though they had previously tested video and founded it reduced conversion rate. They hypothesized that in this case, if the user was able to see the new course, they would be more likely to sign up. They created a treatment with small cosmetic adjustments to the page that included a video preview next to the sign up form.

Research Question

Will a video preview positively impact email acquisition rate?

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 23.9%
T1: Treatment 1 25.1% 5.2% 96.0%

This experiment has a required sample size of 9,079 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 19,931, 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
× 5.2% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The treatment with the video preview increased email acquisition rate by 5.2%. The small lift in this treatment indicates that it may have only helped convert a segment of the traffic that was more deliberative, and needed the video preview to be completely convinced. This prompted future testing to see if placing the video higher on the page produced a further increase.

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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.