Humanizing Conversions: The Jimmy Appeal

November 20, 2010 | Written by Dusty Dean

Wikimedia Foundation Fundraiser: The Jimmy Appeal Banners

Wikimedia Foundation Fundraiser: The Jimmy Appeal Banners #3

Wikimedia Foundation Fundraiser: The Jimmy Appeal Banners #3

It’s that time of year when the Wikimedia Foundation begins their fundraising campaign to keep Wikipedia operational and free of advertising.

This year, they focused on optimizing their campaign in three key areas: banner messaging, banner design and landing/donation pages.

They’ve published the results of their optimization efforts and it’s interesting to see the clickthrough rates of their winning messaging and design.

The drive began on November 15th, and across the header of most Wikipedia pages you’ll find the “Jimmy Appeal” banners.

Jimmy Appeal is the name given to a set of graphical banners that outperformed three other primarily text-based banners with an impressive 2.87% clickthrough rate (CTR) with an average donation of $30.86. The second place tested banner had a CTR of .90%. 1

The Jimmy Appeal banners contain four key elements:

  1. The text “Please read: A personal appeal from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales”.
  2. Different photographs of Jimmy Wales.
  3. A “Read Now” call-to-action (CTA).
  4. An opt-out (X) in the upper right corner.

One of the basic elements of good ad copywriting is to capture your audience with an attention grabbing headline.

The use of the phrase “Please Read” especially shines on Wikipedia since it doesn’t normally run advertisements and its users haven’t developed banner blindness.

Secondly, the use of the phrase “personal appeal” next to someone’s face has a humanizing effect. Wikipedia becomes a person and is no longer a resourceful white page full black text and graphics.

The photographs used of Jimmy Wales are professionally composed with amicable countenances and the use of sharp contrasts and gradients allow your eyes to easily scan the text.

Finally, and most importantly, the ad contains a CTA. It’s always important, especially with banner advertisements, that you make the next action they should take very clear.

Notably, they didn’t make their CTA “Donate Now”, though that’s their desired action. This is important because the reader is only asked to “Read More” and see the contents of his “personal appeal”. This serves as a bridge to the landing page and increases CTRs since people aren’t being asked to donate money right away.

We’ve seen from content based websites such as blogs and newspapers that CTRs trend lower on those sites. A 2.87% CTR is very impressive and it appears that the Wikimedia Foundation have found a successful banner arrangement.

It will be interesting to see more conversions tests performed with varying people, backgrounds and text but using the same formula above.

Testing is essential to successful Web marketing and it’s always fun and surprising to see the results, decipher trends and optimize your Web and ad copy accordingly.

November 20, 2010 | Written by Dusty Dean

Ready to work with us on transforming your digital strategy?
Stay up to date on this topic
Receive all the news, case studies and updates in your inbox