RCT of ads for BIDA

December 15th, 2012
bida, contra, experiment
It's really hard to know what works with advertising for contra dances. We put out ads via many channels (plus there's lots of people talking to each other and bringing friends) and then some number of people show up. For example we have ads that show up when people search for stuff related to contra dancing in the boston area, paying per click. Are those clicks worth it? Do people show up?

For a while I've written off our advertising as too hard to test, but now I'm not sure. If we were to randomly run ads before some dances and not before others, we could see how this matched to our attendance. The signal is pretty noisy, though. I wonder how long we would need to run the test to tell?

Since May 2011 (1.5 years) we've had 353 clicks, or about 10 clicks per dance. Our average attendance is about 100 people. I don't know enough stats to say how long we would have to run a test (at two dances (trials) a month) to find whether there's an effect and if so whether it's large enough to be worth it.

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