How hint text forms impact email acquisition rate Experiment ID: #7725

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: 9/28/2017 - 10/26/2017

Hillsdale College was looking for new ways to increase their online course signup rate for their popular course ‘Western Heritage.’ After reviewing other similar course signup pages, they found that ‘hint text’ forms were a common practice. They wondered: Will using hint text forms on an email acquisition page reduce friction and increase email acquisition?

They launched an A/B test on their ‘Western Heritage’ course signup page to find out.

Research Question

Will the presence of hint text forms increase 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 24.4%
T1: Treatment 1 24.2% -1.0% 46.5%

This experiment has a required sample size of 235,669 in order to be valid. Unfortunately, the required sample size was not met and a level of confidence above 95% was not met so the experiment results are not valid.

Key Learnings

Hillsdale College found that the treatment with hint text forms did not have a valid impact on email acquisition rate. Therefore, the results of this test are not conclusive. However, we can take away something important from this experiment. It’s important to note that this test didn’t have a significant impact, despite the difference in design. Though most would agree that visually the hint text version is more visually appealing and less cluttered, it ultimately did not impact the visitors motivation to sign up for the course.

Further tests are being conducted on similar course signup pages, in regards to connection between the visual and functional components of these pages.

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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.