Further Learnings on Ethics-Based Messaging: Legality vs. “Respect”

devil duckIf you’ve been reading here lately, you’ll know that I’ve been doing some A/B/n tests to determine if it is possible to affect conversion rate of customers looking for free content by introducing “ethics-based” messaging into the page. As I reported previously, it definitely appears to work – at least in the tests I’ve done so far – but upon further research additional knowledge is starting to surface.

When digging in deeper to the segments, I’m seeing an interesting trend: When the messaging is about being fair and paying songwriters, there is a lift – but not as much as when the messaging focuses strictly on legality.

For example, according to tests of first-time visitors to a product page, directly from a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo), users on a PC show a nearly 7% increase in conversion from page view to ordering the product when presented with a message directly confirming that the purchase of the content is legal (vs. no messaging at all).

Messaging focused on “supporting songwriters” likewise saw a lift, although much lower, at less than 3%. This further confirms the hypothesis that reinforcing the ethical aspects of purchasing digital media through legitimate sources has a positive impact – but based on this deeper investigation, the impact appears to be stronger when the message focuses on something with a stronger potential negative impact (i.e. “illegal” vs. “disrespectful”).

Tests will continue, but it is worth noting that as of this point I have discontinued all tests of the songwriter-based messaging, and am now focusing on segmentation within the “legality” messaging subgroups – with potential follow-ups being explored.

It is also worth noting that there were several additional tests of messaging run – all of which were variants of either the “support songwriters” message or the “legality” message, and they followed similar trends. The second “songwriter support” message saw the second smallest lift in conversion, while the licensing and legality messaging showed stronger responses.

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