How presenting a course’s current enrollment count affects email acquisition on a course signup page Experiment ID: #7918

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: 9/13/2017 - 11/21/2017

Hillsdale College was analyzing their existing landing pages when they noticed some areas for improvement. They found that, while they had learned many new ways to improve email acquisition on their course signup pages, they had yet to implement these findings uniformly across all of their courses. They decided to isolate one of these elements–namely, the enrollment count–in the header of the Western Heritage course signup page. They created a treatment and launched a test against the control.

Research Question

Will the presence of the current enrollment count reinforce the motivation of the visitor and increase the course signup 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 18.2%
T1: Treatment 1 19.3% 6.3% 97.3%

This experiment has a required sample size of 9,047 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 23,014, 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
× 6.3% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

Hillsdale College found that the treatment version increased email acquisition by 6%. This aligns with what we’ve seen in previous testing–that 3rd-party validation increases motivation by the page viewer. By showing how many other americans have already experienced this content, Hillsdale college reduced anxiety and produced a lift in their course signup page.

This is an important lesson to remember: As you continue to test elements across various pages, don’t forget to go back and implement new learnings in those existing pages. As we can see here, this is a simple way to mend parts of your conversion funnel.

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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.