Case Study: Earnest

Variations come in all shapes and sizes. At Optimizely, we often encourage our customers to “go big” when they build variations--to consider making big changes to make an impact that will be likely to be noticed and give our customers conclusive results.

However, Earnest decided to take a risk with one of their experiments and went small.

Earnest is a bank that’s comfortable with risk. A new voice in a field dominated by giants like Bank of America and Wells Fargo, they aim to change banking by democratizing access to high-quality financial services. The bank currently offers student loan refinancing and personal loans. Their goal is to ensure that their clients have a clear and friendly experience and that they feel delighted by their experience with Earnest.

For one of their experiments, Earnest decided that instead of changing something big about their website and flow, they’d change just four words. They collect more personal information for the application process than a traditional lender so they can offer a more accurate (and potentially lower) interest rates. So, in an attempt to inspire confidence, they added just four words to the application: “We value your privacy.”

What can four words do? Well, for Earnest, they did a lot. With these four words, conversions to the next page of the flow increased 5% and continued to increase down the flow to a final conversion. From this success, they iterated more experiments that adjusted their language all the way down the flow and explained why each piece of information was being requested, building success with each variation.

So, in building your variations, think big, think small, think in whatever way you can transform your visitors’ impressions and experiences on your website or app, and manifest them in your variations. Big changes sometimes come in small packages.