Will Clickshaming Increase Your Opt-in Rates?
"No thanks I'd rather pay full price", "No I don't like traffic" or my personal favorite: "No, I want to continue dwelling in my mom's basement".
All of these are statements to click if you want to close a lightbox without opting in...
A while ago we started seeing those rude, passive aggressive and sometimes flat out cruel links everywhere. It got so common there's even a term for using these: Clickshaming.
By writing an undesirable result as the "No thanks" link, the goal is to shame visitors out of clicking (and into subscribing).
But do they work? Do they increase conversions? We decided to test it out and the results may surprise you....
Clickshaming is All Around
I didn't have to look very far to find interesting examples of clickshaming....
Some of them are simply making the "missing out" very obvious.
Others take it one step further and make it something embarrassing to admit, like:
Or they are simply really insulting (and a bit funny).
While I suspect the last one to be a link bait stunt (to get people to talk about his website), the other forms are very common and have been around for a long time.
But the real question remains... Do these clickshame No thank you-links increase the opt-in rate on those forms?
The Test and the Hypothesis
We decided to test it out on the Thrive Themes website. In Thrive Leads, we set up an A/B test on a screenfiller opt-in form.
The hypothesis is the following:
More people will sign-up for the opt-in form if we make them uncomfortable clicking the "no thanks" link.
In order to test this hypothesis, we decide to test 3 variations:
- No link (our original form)
- A simple "No, Thanks" link
- A Clickshame link "No thanks. I'd rather waste my time sifting through outdated YouTube tutorials."
This will allow us to test if a normal link is clicked more often than a clickshame link and what happens if there is no link at all.
All other details stayed exactly the same (same type of opt-in form, text, images, button color, trigger time, animations, ...) so that they would not influence the results.
The First Result... No Thanks
After letting the 3 variations run for 1 month (the minimum period to get significant results being 2 weeks) we could clearly see the normal No Thanks-link having a negative impact on conversion rates.
The No Thanks variation was performing 27.38% worse than the original form (without a link to close the form) so we decided to pause this variation.
Pausing one of the three variations allows to keep the test running with only the 2 remaining variations.
In our test case we continued with our original form (without a link) and with the variation with the clickshame link because after 1 month we did not have a statistically significant result to pick a clear winner.
In Thrive Leads, you can see this in the column "Chances to beat the original". If the chances to beat the original are between 95% and 5% after 2 weeks (and more than a 100 conversions), the result you're seeing is not statistically significant. 5% is the minimum threshold we suggest because this means that if you repeat the exact same test 95 out of a 100 you'll get the same result.
Of course, the closer this number is to 100% or to 0% the better.
So What About Clickshaming?
We kept the other two variations running... But over 3000 signups later we still could not get any significant results.
As you can see, even after months of testing and over 3000 combined signups, the clickshame variation (the yellow one) only has a 71.42% chance of beating the original.
These statistics are not conclusive. And this is really not that rare when you conduct A/B tests.
The lower opt-in rate on the No thanks variation compared to the Clickshame variation suggests that people do hesitate to click on a link that clearly states something uncomfortable or undesirable.
But the non-conclusive test results between the original no link variation and the Clickshame variation tells us that simply removing the "No thank you" option might be enough to get the same results.
Now, we're not going to pretend that this is the absolute truth and that you'll see the same results on your site (we'll leave that to our competition). But I hope this shows that blindly following what everybody is doing might not be the smartest move for your conversions!
And then there is the question about your image... How do you want your visitors to FEEL when they arrive on your website an sign up to your email list?
I know this is opening a whole other can of worms... But it's important to keep in mind that behind those sign-up rates there are actual humans having an (often first) impression of your site and your brand.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Are you using clickshame links? Did you test it? How do you feel when you see them? Let me know in the comments below!