Think Twice! Before Exiting…
WhichTestWon's Analysis: (Click back to see versions A & B)
Winning Version: Version A, with the ‘No’ button stating ‘I’m already an optimization master’ was the unquestionable winner.
This strong text markedly decreased opt-outs, resulting in higher email submission rates.
Read on to learn how WhichTestWon tested wording that won.
Test Type: Lead Generation
Confidence Level: 99%
If you want people to opt in, Make. Them. Think. . .
Use powerful prose that takes readers by surprise, and prompts them to actually evaluate their decision.
The Testing Details:
It’s the New Year and we’re turning over a new leaf. WhichTestWon is going to be publishing some of our own test results this year to share our learnings with you.
To start off the year, we thought this would be a really neat study for you to see!
In this test, we wanted to know the best wording to increase sign-ups to our free weekly Test of the Week email.
We worked in partnership with Bounce Exchange, a full service behavioral automation platform. Bounce Exchange transforms web traffic by serving tailored content to different visitor segments.
Using their proprietary exit intent technology, our testing teams worked together to determine which wording would win.
WhichTestWon aims to bring you high-quality content featuring the latest in A/B testing and conversion rate optimization trends.
To grow our audience base, this test looked at how to increase opt-ins by decreasing the number of people leaving without subscribing.
Opt-ins occurred when visitors clicked on the ‘Yes’ button, then submitted their email addresses. If visitors chose not to subscribe, they clicked on the ‘no’ button, then continued to the site without giving their email address.
Our goal was to convince more users to click ‘Yes’ instead of ‘No’.
To achieve this goal, we tested which ‘No’ button wording would result in more opt-ins.
In version A, the button stated ‘No. I’m already an optimization master.’ In version B, it said ‘No. Continue to site.’
To isolate the impact of the ‘no’ button, the ‘Yes’ button was the same across both versions. It said ‘Unlock my access now.’
The buttons were shown through an exit overlay. The overlay appeared as users moved their cursor to exit the site, or close their browser window. New users not yet signed up for the WhichTestWon email list saw the overlay.
Users who clicked the ‘Yes’ button were brought to a second overlay screen that asked for their email address. It looked like this:
Users who clicked ‘No’ simply continued to the site without being prompted for their email address.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized more readers would click ‘Yes’ and submit their email address (opt-in) if their decision to leave was challenged.
We suspected the strong, surprising wording of ‘No. I’m already an optimization master’ would take readers by surprise. We anticipated this wording would prompt users to stop, think, and evaluate their need for valuable, free content. In doing so, they’d realize of the benefits of opting-in. So, they’d click ‘Yes’ instead of ‘No.’
In contrast, we thought the wording ‘No. Continue to site’ would provide an easy out. Users wouldn’t have to think about their decision. They could impulsively choose to continue to the site without considering what they’d lose by doing so.
To test this theory, we split traffic 50/50.
The Real-Life Results:
The results were undeniable.
Making users stop, think, and question their decision to leave was definitely the better way to get opt-ins.
Compared to the ‘easy out’ text, using the ‘No. I’m already an optimization master’ wording worked best. It motivated 27.25% more viewers to submit their emails, opting-in to the free newsletter.
Don’t make me think! That’s what, Steve Krug, the famous web usability author advocates.
But, in this case, it was actually beneficial to make our users think. We needed them to pause and reflect to stop the almost instinctual reaction of opting-out.
Now, we’re not saying Steve Krug is wrong. Ostensibly, he’s right!
Normally, you don’t want to make your visitors think. Complicated sites that confuse visitors don’t convert well. (To hear more about this idea from Steve Krug himself,
check out this exclusive WhichTestWon interview.)
But, when you’re trying to get your users to perform a deliberate action – that defies reflex – thinking may be warranted.
The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion explains this idea well.
According to it, messages are processed through two distinct cognitive routes: the central route, or peripheral route.
The route through which a message is processed determines how strongly viewers attend to it, influencing the direction and magnitude of their behavior.
In central route processing, visitors actively attend to the text, carefully consider the message, and deliberately evaluate the argument.
That’s exactly what happened in our test.
In the winning version, the strong text to took viewers by surprise. It got their attention. Once attentive, users were prompted to assess their self-perception as optimization masters. In doing so, they were more likely to realize they could benefit from receiving free, educational content. So, they chose to opt-in.
However, the losing message was likely processed through the peripheral route.
In peripheral route processing, viewers don’t elaborate, or extensively process the message. Because users weren’t prompted to think, they may not have even realized they missed out. They just instinctively clicked to continue.
What do you think? Why did more users opt-in when reading the pattern-interrupting text? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or start a discussion on WhichTestWon’s Forums.
Want to see the results of another opt-in study looking at wording? Check out this test.
Got a great A/B test you’d like to see published? Send it on over.