How Browser Favicons Affect Anxiety of Page Visitors Experiment ID: #7591

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: 9/20/2017 - 10/3/2017

Hillsdale College noticed that their course signup pages do not show a Favicon, when opened on desktop browsers. A favicon is the icon associated with a URL, next to the site name. Their main website, however, does show a Favicon “H” logo. They wondered: Will adding a favicon to course signup pages reduce anxiety and increase email acquisition rates? They selected their C.S. Lewis, email-specific course signup page test as the control, and created a treatment version to test.


Research Question

Will the presence of a Favicon on a course signup page increase email acquisition rate?


C: Control
T1: Treatment 1


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Control 57.6%
T1: Treatment 1 64.5% 11.9% 95.8%

This experiment has a required sample size of 387 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 831, 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
× 11.9% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

Hillsdale found that the results of this test were invalid. Despite gaining a 12% lift on the treatment page with a 96% level of confidence, they did not achieve an 80% statistical power. Therefore, this test is inconclusive. However, there are a few interesting things to note after analyzing these results. First, it appears that visitors who saw the treatment page were converting at a higher rate. Though we can’t conclude that this was a direct result of the Favicon, this does give us further reason to continue testing with this concept. Second, this course signup page received more than just desktop traffic. For future testing, it will make sense to segment out mobile traffic since they will not be able to see the Favicon present.

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Related Experiments

This experiment is part of a series of experiments aimed at improving overall results. Take a look at some of the other iterations:

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.