A/B Testing Urgency Messaging Across Four Domains

By Luke Hardwick

October 2, 2018


This university website had featured landing pages with program information for years. However, they wanted to provide more helpful information to prospective students right off the bat (and increase form submissions and enrollments). They speculated that site visitors would benefit from more prominent information about starting dates and registration dates. This case study dives into how they A/B tested that theory.

blue background with cartoon people and a magnifying glass

The Organization

A non-profit, accredited university with over 90,000 students on campus and online.

The Project

The university hypothesized that adding start dates and registration dates to program landing pages would create a sense of urgency, set visitor expectations, and ultimately increase conversions.

The A/B Test

The university ran a straightforward A/B test. The control kept program landing pages as they were, without calling out registration and start dates. The variation introduced these dates into different locations for the two main domains. One above the main hero image for program landing pages and the other within the hero just above the main signup form. Further diversity within the campaigns was delivered through the experiences via the different program levels (graduate and undergraduate) and their start dates. The result was four individual campaigns to challenge the urgency hypothesis by site and program level.

Performance was measured at a global and program page level for both undergraduate and graduate program pages, as well as on their subdomain where paid traffic is directed. This provided an additional level of insight and offered the opportunity for more sophisticated personalization down the road.

Results and Next Steps

As expected, the new information did improve conversions across the board. Though one of the four campaigns saw an insignificant change in conversions, the best performing page saw an uplift of almost 4% in form submissions. The total projected incremental revenue increase across the campaigns was over $1 million. The university plans to serve the winning variation to 100% of traffic moving forward. Focus has now shifted on to exploring further locations and ways to inform students and increase urgency across enrollment pages.

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Luke Hardwick

Luke Hardwick

Luke Hardwick is a Manager of Customer Success at SiteSpect, consulting for SiteSpect users on their optimization and personalization road maps and projects. Luke is based in London and has experience as an conversion rate optimization specialist across many softwares before landing at SiteSpect.

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