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We’ve completely reengineered the A/B testing system to make it possible to test more variables.

You’ve long been able to test the page title and copy, as well as the appearance of (or lack of) a video or a thermometer on your contribution forms. Now, you can also test the pop-up recurring ask and title.

The best part? We’ve also added all of that testing data to the donor data .csvs, which are available for download on every form.

Here’s what it looks like. You’ll find it under the A/B Test tab when you’re logged in and editing a contribution form.

ABtestingtoolvisual

This new feature is best utilized by candidates and organizations that have thousands of donors contributing on one form. It’s unlikely that you’ll see statistical significance on these relatively small changes unless you have a large sample size.

For those of you that do have a large donor pool, you’ll be able to figure out which pop-up ask works the best for your program. For example, you can test offering a premium in the recurring upsell: “make it a recurring donation and you’ll get this awesome sticker.” And you’ll be able to track and fulfill those orders via the new .csv.

We’re really excited about this new feature because recurring contributions are so incredibly valuable to organizations and the pop-up recurring has proved to be such an easy way to convert people to recurring donations. Have fun testing and figuring out the best ways to build that recurring pool!

We’d love to know what you’ve been testing, especially if you’ve found clear winners and losers. And if you have questions about running A/B tests, please drop us a line at info@actblue.com. Our data analyst is more than happy to help you design and run a successful test.

Looking at your inbox on April 30th, you might have thought that it was the end of the quarter again, given the flood of fundraising emails. Nope, it’s just the end of the month, the little brother of EoQ.

Campaign and committee list managers have been teaching their list to respond to end of the month asks, despite the ahem…kinda made up deadline.

You see this sort of stuff in business sales. Everyone needs to hit their monthly sales numbers, so they start sweetening offers to clients at the end of the month. Clients learn to wait until the end of the month to put in their orders. All of a sudden, you’ve created an entire culture around the end of the month, making your workload crazy at the end. But you know what? It’s effective and that’s why they do it.

In this case, there is no legal reporting deadline at the end of each month, but the month by month numbers are often released as a show of strength. The campaigns really do have an internal goal for each month that the need to raise, so they hype the end of the month and that helps them reach their goal. And now lists are conditioned to respond to it.

Here’s our day-by-day breakdown of fundraising in April:

april day chart

This is actually pretty typical of how most months look. You see dips during the weekends, when people are sending fewer emails, and peaks during the week. Then the whole thing builds dramatically during the last week with a huge spike on the last day.

It’s important to note that this actually was a very good month over all–the highest month of the year outside of the actual end of quarter in March. It’s not that campaigns had to play catch-up at the end of the month, but rather that sending multiple emails and using the “deadline” as part of the pitch pulls in a lot of money.

This is how April ’14 stacked up against the previous three Aprils:

Apr ’11 Apr ’12 Apr ’13 Apr ’14
Contributions 51,727 122,619 169,922 321,771
Volume ($) $2,580,800 $5,485,860 $6,358,786 $11,975,308
Mean Donation $49.89 $44.74 $37.42 $37.22
Committees 677 1,651 1,010 2,003

2,003!! candidates, orgs, and committees using ActBlue. That’s the third highest month all time. #1 and 2 were October and September ’12. Yep, some candidates really do wait until the final hours to fundraise. But we strongly, strongly encourage people to start much earlier.

Our Express membership continues to grow like a weed! We’re up over 800,000 users…actually 831,630 when I hit “publish” on this post! Here’s our fun growth chart:

express growth chart

It’s just a matter of time till we hit 1 million. Given all this growth, you Express Lane users can’t forget to match your lists regularly to pick up new folks for your targeting.

Scott Brown made some uh interesting design choices for his new Massachusetts New Hampshire Senate campaign website. But where he went really wrong was his contribution form.

We’ve been watching this video from WebPageTest on a loop today (spoiler alert: our entire form loads before their first response):


We’re obsessive here at ActBlue about page load time, going to great lengths to shave off hundredths of a second. It’s often the difference between someone giving a donation and just simply giving up, particularly when they are on a mobile device. And that’s why 20.3% of all contributions on ActBlue last month were made on mobile. If your numbers aren’t up there, you’re doing it wrong.

And none of that would have been possible without the support of thousands of ActBlue donors, so thank you.

Now let’s all stop laughing at Scott Brown (for the moment) and get back to work powering Democrats to victory this November.

Drumroll please…

Three quarters of a million people have signed up for ActBlue Express accounts!

That’s 750,000 people who have saved their payment information with us and can give with just one click on every ActBlue form. It doesn’t matter if it’s $5 for a city council race in Cottage Grove, MN or a max-out donation for Alison Lundergan Grimes, it works exactly the same.

We’ve been experiencing a crazy growth spurt in the Express user base, which is up from 600,000 in August. Below we chart the number of Express users we’ve added since the launch of the program. As you can tell, the number spikes during election years. One million here, we come!

The Express program is designed to help the Democratic party as a whole. Donors love it because it saves them time and gives them a secure and trackable way to give. And candidates and committees benefit from higher conversion rates.

Making a donation is a streamlined experience for Express users. That equals higher conversion rates, especially on mobile. The mobile part of the equation is going to be key during this election year.

We’ve already seen up to a quarter of the day’s donations come in via mobile. Since 2013, 18.1% of donations from Express users were made via mobile phones, compared with 10.9% for non-Express users. Since we launched mobile responsive contribution forms, 23.1% of all Express contributions were made on mobile (15.8% for non-Express users).

Making the giving experience as easy as possible for users is just as important as increasing conversion rates (although the two are obviously intertwined). Express users are some of our most active users. They give to an average of 2.57 entities campaigns or organizations a year and since 2013, 3.5% of donations from Express users were recurring, compared with 2.2% of donations from non-Express users. These are people who are committed to supporting the candidates and issues that mean the most to them, so it’s important that we’re paying attention to their giving patterns, and listening to them when they reach out to us. Not just for our own success, but for the success of the party.

Express Lane, our one-click payment system, has been a game-changer. We’ve been rolling out Express Lane to a number states for statewide and legislative races the past few months, and we’ve seen campaigns across the country increase their conversion rates (and raise up to 200% more money).

The Express user pool will grow dramatically as we get closer to the election, so we’ll be more focused than ever on finding new ways to increase conversion rates and make the donation process easier for these users.

Have you tried out Express Lane for your federal campaign? Have you used your Express account to keep track of your political donations? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.

In the fast-paced digital campaigns world, if you’re not innovating and testing constantly, you’re headed for obsolescence. And, more importantly, you’re letting your users down, especially those in short-term competitive environments (aka elections). At ActBlue, we’re always developing our platform with metrics-driven decision making, aka testing.

The result is that today’s ActBlue isn’t the same as the ActBlue of a month ago, and that’s a great thing. Sometimes our tests fail. Others result in a barely statistically significant bump in conversion rates. But that’s ok because all of those little bumps add up. Occasionally we hit on a big winner that dramatically increases conversion rates. We do it in a methodical, constant way that allows us to identify improvements big and small.

One advantage we have is the sheer volume of contributions we process, which allows us to A/B test small tweaks to the form and get statistically sound results. If one organization tried running an identical test on their own, they’d never be able to identify as many improvements.

We’ve got thousands of campaigns and organizations counting on us to have the best system possible, so they can focus on winning. It drives our work and testing every single day.

Our tech team make changes to the platform daily. Some are minor tweaks, others major changes. They’ve developed a rock-solid platform where we can easily roll out significant feature or a layout change, even in the middle of the crazy busy end-of-quarter period. And that’s no easy feat, but a deliberate design choice so we can be as nimble as the party needs.

Today we thought we’d roll back the curtain just a little bit and break down some of our favorite A/B tests from the past few months.

Test 1: Employer Address Checkbox

We know from our data that a lot of donors mark retired or unemployed on the forms and we wanted to see if we could use that knowledge to increase conversions. Turns out: yes! We A/B tested our normal form with one that has a checkbox they can click if they’re not employed. The checkbox automatically provides us with the information, which fulfills the legal requirement and bumps up conversion rates.

Original:

Checkbox:

We saw a 4.7% improvement in conversions (p < 0.05, for those of you keeping score), so we switched over to the new checkbox version. Bonus points for cutting waaaaay down on customer service questions about the occupation/employer boxes.

Test 2: Shrinking the Contribution Form

Speed is essential in online contributions, so we’re always looking for ways to make the Contribution Form shorter and faster to load, but the rapid increase in mobile donations has made it even more important than ever. We ran a number of tests aimed at shrinking the contribution form, including the following:

- Removed credit card tooltip (which popped up when you click the credit card box) so it would load better on mobile
– Removed “Employment” section header
– Using horizontal employer fields rather than stacking them vertically

All of these tests ended without statistically significant results, but that was a win for us, because it meant we could make our forms less cluttered. If a feature isn’t adding value, that means it’s time to go. And bye bye those three things went on every single form in our system.

You can see the evolution of the Employment section below.

Version 1 (original):

Version 2 (horizontal):

Version 3 (no header, checkbox added):

Test 3: Multi-step Contribution Forms

We already wrote a whole blog post about this test, but it’s worth mentioning again here. This was one of those big wins, with a 25.86% increase in conversion rates with 99% significance. That was after just a few days of running the test. We had tested multi-step Contribution Forms a few years back, and they lost to our standard one page forms, which just goes to show how important it is to test and test again.

One page form (losing version):

Multi-step form (winning version):

We do one thing at ActBlue and we’re the best at it in the business. And the biggest reason is that we’re constantly upgrading our platform. We push changes out to everyone ASAP so that thousands of campaigns and groups big and small can get the best right away.

In a few months when we get down to the crunch of election time, know that we’ve got your backs and you will always be using the most optimized and tested form out there.

This one is for the fundraising pros, the long-time ActBlue users, and the data junkies out there. With our new custom date range CSV feature, you can now download a .csv of donations made in any data range or fundraising period you choose.

After nearly 10 years of helping some groups fundraise, people have a lot of data stored on ActBlue and need an easy way to access exactly the information they want. Juggling data and producing thousands of custom reports is no easy feat, but we knew folks would find it useful, so our new engineer Eric made it happen.

Just go to your Dashboard and click on the Reports tab.

Select your date range, and then click on the link that reads “Download a fundraising page CSV report.” It’ll generate a file for you and automatically download it, and you can pull as many custom reports as you need or want!

We’ve got tons of new features lined up on our development schedule, so stay tuned!

We are constantly testing and tweaking our system to optimize performance aka help thousands of candidates and organizations raise more money. Most of the time the improvements go unnoticed (except the extra $ ;). Not today!

Introducing multi-step! Anyone who doesn’t have Express cookied on their computer will see a brand-new four-step contribution form. Take a look at the new shiny-ness:

And yes, it’s bringing in a 25.86% increase in conversion rates with 99% significance. It’s a nice bump. We typically see the novelty effect in these sorts of changes to forms, so it probably will be less of an increase long-term as donors get used to the new form. Still, it should be a solid improvement. Oh, and it works on mobile to boot.

Express and Express Lane users will continue using ActBlue their usual way. This change is for new folks. If you’re a regular ActBlue user you probably have an Express account, but you can open any contribution form in an incognito browser to take a look at the new multi-step version.

Multi-step is now rolled out site-wide, so no need to do anything, just enjoy our holiday gift to you.

Here are a few more shots of the new layout:

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