Even your best ideas can sometimes do exactly opposite what you intend then to do

How often are you utterly surprised by the results of a direct-response test?

If you test smart, it should happen fairly frequently.

Here are some examples of those jaw-dropping who-woulda-guessed test results on websites from the KISSmetrics Marketing Blog: 8 A/B Split Tests That Made Shocking Discoveries.

I want to call your attention to one of the tests reported in that post, the first one: 400% Conversion Boost by Removing Security Badge.

Securitybadge

The control was a page that included a prominent “security badge” that is meant to reassure visitors that their transaction will be secure. The test removed that badge. And the page did better without it. Four times as many conversions without the badge.

What could possibly be going on? A security badge is supposed to improve response by helping overcome a common source of hesitation: Is it safe?

Logic tells us that a security badge should accomplish that. It says, “This is safe.” It does so in an official-looking way.

But in this test, removing the badge resulted in a lot more conversions.

A limitation to testing like this is we learn what happened. We have no idea why it happened. We can hypothesize that the badge brings up the issue of security that might not have been there otherwise. Kind of the way the presence of an armed guard in a place you don’t normally see one makes you think about security.

This test does not tell us we all should get rid of our security badges and other ways we hope to reassure visitors to our websites that it’s safe. It does tell us we should consider testing it. More important, it reminds us that things aren’t always as they seem.


Comments

2 responses to “Even your best ideas can sometimes do exactly opposite what you intend then to do”

  1. Their next test should be no security badge vs. a smaller security badge near the action button they’re trying to get folks to click. The badge in the test was so prominent that it looks almost scammish to me.

  2. Their next test should be no security badge vs. a smaller security badge near the action button they’re trying to get folks to click. The badge in the test was so prominent that it looks almost scammish to me.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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