How a related background image impacts email acquisition rate on a course signup page Experiment ID: #7731

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: 10/1/2017 - 10/26/2017

Hillsdale College was looking for new ways to optimize their online course signup page for ‘Great Books 102.’ They wondered: Will the presence of a related background image increase email acquisition rate? They launched a treatment page that contained the same image used in their Facebook promotion and tracked the results.


Research Question

Will the presence of a related background image increase email acquisition?

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 21.8%
T1: Treatment 1 20.8% -4.7% 89.8%

This experiment has a required sample size of 12,201 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 16,993, and the level of confidence is not above 95% the experiment results are not valid.

Key Learnings

Hillsdale College found that the presence of a related background image did not increase email acquisition rate on their ‘Great Books 102’ course signup page. Even though the imagery selected for the background does match the image used in the Facebook advertisement, it’s clear that visitors were not significantly affected by the addition of the background image. Therefore, it did not reduce anxiety like it was intended to do.

Further tests are being conducted to determine if any kind of background image is effective in reducing anxiety.

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Experiment Documented by...

Grant Klembara

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