How the word “freedom” was more powerful than the word “opportunity” Experiment ID: #15034

Americans for Prosperity

Experiment Summary

Ended On: 4/24/2019

Americans for Prosperity development team wanted to experiment with what terms were most impactful at converting donors and acquiring emails when launching their new Economic (Freedom / Opportunity) Quiz offer to acquire net-new subscribers and donors, as well as activate existing audiences.

Research Question

Does the use of the term “Freedom” or “Opportunity” make a difference over the other when it comes to acquiring new emails, and/or activating donors?


C: Control
T1: Treatment #1


Treatment Name Revenue per Visitor Relative Difference Confidence Average Gift
C: Control $0.00 $37.14
T1: Treatment #1 $0.00 -98.0% 99.5% $5.00

This experiment was validated using 3rd party testing tools. Based upon those calculations, a significant level of confidence was met so these 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
× 85.0% decrease in conversion rate
× 86.5% decrease in average gift
98.0% decrease in revenue

Key Learnings

With a 99.5% level of confidence, we quantified that the word “Opportunity” was not as powerful as the word “Freedom”, to the tune of a -98% revenue decrease.

We also noticed the following trends, as well:

  • Donor conversion rate: -79.0% (LoC: 89.0%)
  • Email acquisition rate: -35.2% (LoC: 100%)

The offer took visitors through a quiz, then to a petition, and eventually on to an instant donation page.

It appears that the phrasing of “opportunity” does not perform as well as the “freedom” theme of messaging. This potentially taps into a psychological tendency that we have observed in other campaigns — in that “opportunity” represents “hope of gain”, whereas “freedom” messaging categorically aligns with “fear of loss” motivation.

The summary is: “Freedom” is something that we have. We fear losing it. Whereas “Opportunity” is something that we do not yet have, and would like. In other experimentation, we have identified that the “fear of loss” is substantially more motivating than “hope of gain”.

Continued experimentation with the “fear of loss” is advised to validate this theory.

Experiment Documented by...

Greg Colunga

Greg is Executive Vice President 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.