Negative Lifts

How a 24% loss produced a 141% increase in conversion


Testing and optimization can lead to impressive, triple-digit gains and far higher conversion rates for all the traffic you’re spending time and money driving to your website.

However, testing anything on your website can be a bit frightening to the average marketer. For instance, what happens when you don’t get a lift?

Well, that’s exactly what happened with a recent test we did for one of our research partners…


We ran two tests and managed to get zero lift on the first one and a 25% decrease on the second.

However, the learning we received from those two losses was incredibly valuable. When we finally applied what we learned through those losses, it ultimately led at a conversion increase on the homepage of 141%.

So how did we do it?

It all comes down to test design. If you can design your test so that you’ll get the maximum amount of learning every time, it’s always worth the investment.

In this web clinic (funded by HubSpot and originally held Wednesday, August 3, 2011) Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director of MarketingExperiments, taught the process we used to design our test so that you could apply it to your own optimization strategy.


At the end of the clinic, we had a live Test Strategy Session where we took some of the pages our audience wanted test and told them the way we would go about testing those pages to get the maximum learning of your audience.

Here are what some of the audience members had to say about the Web clinic:

I finally realized I need to learn more of the science behind conversions.–Shanna

The presentation illuminated way past A/B test to the ultimate mindful power of testing who/what/ why is this customer–Neil

I think it would have been good to have delved a bit deeper into why learnings are better – how we can present that as researchers to hungry division managers who need short-term goals or are scared to sacrifice the modest lift for a broader, more 3d view of the custoomer. Testing budgets are hard to come by in startups these days and showing the LTV of the learning vs. lift would help a lot–Farrell

Great teaching session with blend of academic/theory and applied principle.–Steven

Download a full transcript of this Web clinic:

Negative Lifts

View the clinic replay, or listen to the audio recording (mp3), to learn from our researchers as they discuss how to learn from your losses.

Webinar Video 2011-08-03
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Dr. Flint McGlaughlin
Jon Powell

Paul Cheney
Austin McCraw

Technical Production
Luke Thorpe
Austin McCraw
Steven Beger
Jessica McGraw
Greg Gobs

Additional Contributors
Bob Kemper
Beth Caudell
Daniel Burstein
Todd Lebo

Educational funding provided by


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