How a soft ask in an email appeal can motivate more people to convert. Experiment ID: #5838

National Breast Cancer Foundation

The National Breast Cancer Foundation's mission is to provide help and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 12/21/2016 - 12/23/2016

For National Breast Cancer Foundation’s year-end campaign they sent a series of appeals. One of their appeals was focused on providing mammograms to women in need. They have found that it is difficult to get their email file to convert through email appeals. In an effort to optimize this challenge, they hypothesized that it might be better to use a soft ask as the call-to-action rather than a direct one. The control email said, “Here’s a link where you can give.” They developed a treatment that said, “Here’s a link where you can learn more.”

Research Question

Would a soft ask help increase click-rate?


C: Hard Ask
T1: Soft Ask


Treatment Name Click Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Hard Ask 0.00%
T1: Soft Ask 0.21% 100.0% 99.5%

This experiment has a required sample size of 1,805 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 7,528, 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:

    100.0% increase in traffic
× 0% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The treatment email increased click-rate by 100%. What this tells us is that even if though the value proposition in the email was strong, people were not ready to give once they got to the CTA. That said, they were motivated enough to learn more about how they can get involved and help.

Every audience is different. It is important to test key elements like the CTA in an email appeal. Knowing that the NBCF audience already had a low conversion rate, the soft ask was a strategic way to motivate more people to engage and get them to the donation page to potentially give.

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Experiment Documented by...

Courtney Gaines

Courtney is the Senior Director of Optimization 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.