-93.0% drop How a personal message of impact affects clickthrough rate on a recurring donation ask

Date Added: October 28, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested: Advertising

CaringBridge launched a new effort to acquire recurring donors. Since the most likely people to become recurring donors were people who had visited the site multiple times, they created an exit intent popup that fired as someone left CaringBridge after their second visit (and only their second visit). The first iteration of this popup was a "faceless" message that made a direct ask and sent the user to a recurring-only donation page. They hypothesized that making the ask from a mom who had used CaringBridge would increase clickthrough rate and get more people to the page, thus generating more recurring donors. They launched a test to determine a winner.

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Not Valid How “impact language” affects donor conversion

Date Added: September 22, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested: Donation Page Copy

CaringBridge's main donation page had always been difficult to test, since it had a relatively low volume of traffic and a relatively high conversion rate. However, they didn't want settle for "good enough", so they kept testing. The control copy asked "What does CaringBridge mean to you" and had a highly personal appeal that proposed various emotions that might be brought to the surface when one uses CaringBridge. They wanted to test "impact language" that talked about what CaringBridge does instead of what it means to the individual viewer. They drafted new copy that very simply told the viewer what would happen when they gave—loved ones would be connected.

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27.5% lift How streamlining an inline donation ask affects donor conversion

Date Added: September 22, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested: Advertising

CaringBridge had a donation ask embedded in the "flow" of journal posts for CaringBridge authors. For many years, this "widget" had branded and set apart from the other posts with a border and a separate background. The team wondered if this made the ask look "too much like an ad". They developed a simpler, streamlined version of this, based off of research that had happened elsewhere in the site, and launched a test to determine if the design affected donor conversion.



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13.1% lift How sticky bars affect conversion in non-match periods

Date Added: July 22, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested: Donation Page Copy

CaringBridge had run sticky bars on their donation pages to promote matching grants during their campaign months. While this tactic had generally lifted response by reinforcing the match, they wanted to see if it could be effective in non-match times as well. They created two different treatments for the sticky bar—one that reminded them that CaringBridge is donor-supported, and one that thanked them for their generosity and included a photo and name of a CaringBridge staff member, for increased personalization. 



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31.1% lift How increasing clarity in the value proposition and creating differentiation in the call-to-action affects new site signups

Date Added: July 3, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested: Name Acquisition Copy

CaringBridge wanted to increase the number of new journal sites that were created from the homepage, primarily from mobile devices (which constituted the majority of traffic). After an initial review of the homepage, a few potential issues were identified. First, new site signups were not prioritized—"visiting a friend" was above it in the visual hierarchy. On mobile, the headline "Start your free website" and the call to action "Start a site" were right next to each other, with no description in between. In fact, most of the value proposition was actually below the call to action. They decided to create two treatments— The first treatment used a visual image of someone using a computer to access CaringBridge—to reinforce the feeling that a CaringBridge site creates. Second, a new call-to-action was used: "Create a site", instead of "Start a site", to emphasize that the site was new. Finally, the headline was changed to clarify what CaringBridge offered—"Personal, protected websites for every health journey". This copy was on the treatment, but was secondary to the headline "Share, Connect and Rally Support". They wanted to also see if "help text" would further increase conversions. They knew this would vary based on the visitor's familiarity with CaringBridge, but they added additional bullet points of copy, as well as personalizing the headline to reflect what CaringBridge can do for you, the visitor: "Start your free, personal CaringBridge site today". They launched a three-way test to determine which experience drove the most new site signups from the homepage.

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23.1% lift How an inbound tribute widget affects donor conversion

Date Added: April 25, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested: Advertising

In an earlier iteration of CaringBridge's site experience, they had a "tributes" page, where people could come read tribute messages left to friends and loved ones. This page received lots of traffic, and had a high conversion rate as visitors often left a tribute message of their own—and with it, a donation. Over time, website redesigns deemphasized the tributes page, and eventually omitted it. But in September 2018, the tributes page was restored to the navigation, which greatly increased traffic to the page. However, donor conversion was slow to recover to historical benchmarks, even though there was a direct donation ask. The CaringBridge team proposed adding a place for people to leave their own tribute messages, which would then take them through an opportunity to donate. With the amount of traffic to the tributes page, this proved to have a lot of potential impact if donor conversion could be increased.

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158.2% lift How the subject and quality of a photo affect clickthrough rate

Date Added: April 16, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested: Advertising

CaringBridge was trying to drive traffic to a campaign landing page during a matching gift appeal. They had two photos for the same story and wanted to see which would drive a better clickthrough rate and more traffic. The first photo was a professional photo of a child who had beaten tremendous odds to survive a difficult birth. The second was a personally-taken photo of a mother holding the same child after giving birth. They launched a test in Facebook's Test and Learn tool to determine which photo attracted more clicks.

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78.4% lift How increasing the clarity of the value proposition affects donor conversion rate

Date Added: March 2, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested: Email Copy

JEN (or Journal Email Notification) emails are the lifeblood of the service that CaringBridge provides. These emails are sent out when an author creates a new post in a site, and CaringBridge sends out nearly one million of them each week. There is a donation ask in these emails, but it had very low conversion. CaringBridge wanted to increase revenue from these emails by optimizing the language around the donation ask. The default language made a statement: Tribute donations are vital to keeping CaringBridge and [FirstName]’s website running. Honor [FirstName] with a donation to CaringBridge. They hypothesized that this copy did not present a clear value proposition to the donor because “tribute donation” is an internal term, and the call-to-action does not specify that the donation that they would honor their friend with is a tribute donation. They created four treatment versions to run weekly over a monthlong period to see if they could increase conversion rate. The first treatment didn’t change the copy or CTA, but added a single line question that addressed the context for the ask: “Do you appreciate staying connected to [FirstName] like this?” The second treatment kept that introductory question, but changed the value proposition of the question to remind the user that CaringBridge was a free service, and asked them to make a generous donation in honor of their friend. The third treatment quantified the ask with some language that had proven a lift in other areas of the site by telling the user what their gift does, in tangible terms. Finally, the fourth treatment added a single piece of value proposition to the end of the third treatment—asking the reader to keep their friend’s site online for a year.  CaringBridge launched a weekly testing schedule to determine a winner.

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24.4% lift How visual reinforcement on the donation page increases desktop conversion during a match

Date Added: February 21, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested:

CaringBridge was running a Valentine's Day fundraising campaign and had a $25,000 matching gift. They knew that most of their donations on these short, high-urgency appeals came through a few donation funnels that landed on the same page. While previous tests had focused on driving traffic, they wanted to see if they could optimize conversion by driving home the match language on the two days that the gift was applied. They created two versions of a sticky top banner for the donation page—one that emphasized the match for "your" gift, and another that emphasized the match for "all donations". They launched a three-way experiment split between mobile and desktop to see how it affected conversions on desktop devices. 



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Not Valid How visual reinforcement on the donation page increases mobile conversion during a match

Date Added: February 21, 2019 Research Partner: CaringBridge Element tested:

CaringBridge was running a Valentine's Day fundraising campaign and had a $25,000 matching gift. They knew that most of their donations on these short, high-urgency appeals came through a few donation funnels that landed on the same page. While previous tests had focused on driving traffic, they wanted to see if they could optimize conversion by driving home the match language on the two days that the gift was applied. They created two versions of a sticky top banner for the donation page—one that emphasized the match for "your" gift, and another that emphasized the match for "all donations". They launched a three-way experiment split between mobile and desktop to see how it affected conversions on mobile devices. 



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