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Website Optimization: Not testing can cost you money

December 15th, 2014 2 comments

I’ve had some pretty terrible online shopping experiences. I’ve dealt with impossible product pages, awkwardly laid-out shopping carts and some sketchy checkout processes.

It seemed as if companies were simply allowing customers to shop online, not encouraging it — especially smaller, specialized stores.

Then came the rise of sites like Amazon and Zappos.

Today, there is no excuse not to optimizing and improvng the customer experience.

At IRCE 2014, MarketingSherpa Reporter, Allison Banko, sat down with Lisa Foreman, Marketing Conversion Manager, Nations Photo Lab, to discuss the necessity of testing.

“If your website is not user friendly, then you’re just not going to convert the customers,” Lisa said. “And it’s easy.”

Lisa explained that the testing technology available rules out any excuse that marketers may have had before when it came to not testing.

“As a marketer without technical experience, I can set up tests on my own without the help from my developer … and I can declare statistical significance as soon as they are ready and get them rolled out,” she said.

The barrier to beginning a testing program without knowing how to code is deteriorating, Lisa added, which is great news for marketers in a world where customers demand instant, seamless experiences across devices and pages.

Developing savvy-looking sites might get your internal marketing department excited, but Lisa warned her peers, “You should be testing it first.”

She suggested that money spent on the development of a new template or designing new pages and experiences are wasted if these changes don’t actually improve the customer’s experience.

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Web Optimization: 3 strategies to improve testing operations at your company

December 11th, 2014 1 comment

In a previous blog post, we detailed how Felix + Iris, a newly launched eyewear ecommerce site, made simple tweaks to its hero unit to improve home try-on conversion 72%.

In this blog post, read about how the Felix + Iris marketing team has embraced testing, and how the team shares results throughout the company. Read on to hear more from Jon Corwin, User Experience Lead, One Click Ventures (parent company of Felix + Iris), and how his strategies achieved testing and optimization success.

 

Step #1. Integrate testing into company culture

At One Click Ventures, the testing function exists in the marketing department.

“There is very much an iterative approach or kind of a lean methodology that One Click has taken,” Jon said.

Jon explained, as far as buy-in goes, testing is not something the team has had to convince others outside of Marketing of its value.

“It’s more of a conversation of what we should test – not whether,” he said.

Marketing team members seek approval from the content team on copy changes, or the design team for anything creative, typography or image-related. Jon also explained the team’s director of marketing will, from a strategic standpoint, help make those decisions.

However, Jon explained the testing function for marketing is autonomous.

“Our testing started off as a skunkworks operation. It was almost like scratching our own itch, and launching small tests and sharing the wins after the fact,” he said.

From there, he explained it has grown and the team has embraced it as another feedback tool to help keep the company a lean operation.

With the newly launched Felix + Iris brand, the team realized testing can be used as a tool to help manage risk.

Instead of buying into a new feature on one of the One Click Venture sites, the team can build a small prototype, launch it and validate that the feature is helpful, or not, with A/B testing.

Once the team has that knowledge, Marketing can send that feature to the tech team and have similar features built out, or use lessons learned from tests to better inform how they should craft future campaigns.

“Right now, it is very much a small operation, but one that has been key in helping make some of these decisions, be it design, messaging, new feature build-out, so on, so forth,” he said.

 

Step #2. Share results constantly

Jon explained there are many different ways the marketing team shares testing results within the organization.

Once tests are completed and the results have been analyzed, Jon will email those results to the stakeholders for that specific test. In addition, weekly conversion meetings, held by Jon, are used to discuss lessons learned from tests.

Jon and the team keep a master ledger of all testing efforts, called the Test Tracker, which is in the form of an easy-to-read spreadsheet.

“That’s where we’ll document all of the testing activity and final test results, with the goal being that that’s our testing bible filled with Felix + Iris best practices based on testing we’ve done in the past,” Jon explained.

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Hero Unit Testing: 72% lift from simple changes you can implement today

December 8th, 2014 1 comment

Selling a product online that customers would most likely prefer trying on in a brick-and-mortar store is a challenge.

Felix + Iris, an online prescription eyewear retailer, provides a free home try-on option for its products with its Fit Kit.

However, getting customers to take the plunge to try on glasses at home was a challenge, especially because the brand is new having launched in September 2014.

Right from the get go, Jon Corwin, User Experience Lead, One Click Ventures (parent company of Felix + Iris), implemented A/B testing and optimization into every aspect of the Felix + Iris’ online presence.

The company falls under the umbrella of One Click Ventures, which owns two other online ecommerce eyewear brands, and testing is a large part of One Click Venture’s business strategy.

“We really embraced using A/B testing as another quick and easy feedback cycle to validate whether our messaging is in line with our customers’ needs,” Jon said.

In this blog post, we’ll detail one of Felix + Iris’ tests on the homepage of the site, centering around the hero image and copy for starting the free home try-on process.

 

Control

homepage-control

 

“The control’s hero unit’s design was certainly in line with our audience. It definitely spoke to our audience. It was aligned with our brand,” Jon said.

But, as Jon discovered, as a new brand, there are some disparities with no having brand equity to help carry Felix + Iris’ message.

Another issue that Jon identified was ambiguity within the call-to-action to “Get Started.”

“Essentially, the top funnel conversion point we were testing is for them to start the Fit Profile quiz. But we realized with the control, there was some ambiguity around what steps were required, what the value of the Fit Profile is for the customer, and what they get out of it,” Jon explained.

Jon developed his hypothesis: Will replacing the hero image with an actual image of the home try-on kit as well as adding the steps in the process help to portray the tangible results of trying Felix + Iris?

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Web Optimization: How to help customers help themselves

December 4th, 2014 1 comment

“The innovation of how the buying process works really has helped us. Not only to help our existing customers, but really gain those new customers through that process and innovation,” explained Matt Ruggle, Ecommerce Manager, Great Northern Corporation, at IRCE 2014.

Linda Taddonio, Co-founder and Ecommerce Strategy Officer, Insite Software, and Matt sat down with MarketingSherpa Reporter Allison Banko to discuss a new phase of site optimization: click tracking.

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Responsive Design: How Fathead gets out of the way of its customers

December 1st, 2014 No comments

Responsive design.

It’s more than just a buzzword. It’s an optimization challenge.

After all, what responsive design really means is that you need more than one optimized design.

It is a marketing challenge not to be overlooked. After all, it’s hard enough to discover one effective design for a website that is optimized for conversion. With responsive design, you need three, four or maybe more designs to present optimized experiences for customers on many different devices.

To help you overcome this and other mobile marketing challenges, I interviewed Michael Layne, Director of Internet Marketing, and Jen Rademacher, Chief Information Officer, both of Fathead.

Michael and Jen discussed how the maker and seller of life-sized, precision-cut vinyl wall graphics transitioned from an “m-dot” website – a mobile-optimized website with a specific subdomain (usually “m” is in the subdomain, for example, m.fathead.com) that mobile users are automatically redirected to – to a responsively designed site and used two years’ worth of discoveries from multivariate testing to inform this redesign and relaunch.

 

When asked about their biggest testing discoveries, Jen said that “colors of buttons really affect what people do.”

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John Rambo or James Bond: What kind of marketing action hero are you?

November 24th, 2014 4 comments

While you may never have to battle gangs of ninjas, jump from flaming helicopters, or defeat eye-patch-laden villains in bloody shootouts, an entirely different type of action is required of today’s marketer.

If you’re facing opposition in the form of endless reporting that never seems to make a difference, it might be time to find the hero within and add some action to your everyday work life. Are you ready to act strategically, rally supporters and face the adventure of changing your organization for the better?

Every week, our sister publication MarketingSherpaanalytics-action-hero-cover holds a free book giveaway featuring volumes that help marketers reach more customers, navigate the workplace, or just generally do their jobs more effectively.

This week’s book is Web Analytics Action Hero: Using Analysis to Gain Insight and Optimize Your Business by Brent Dykes, Evangelist for Customer Analytics, Adobe.

Editor’s Note: This contest has concluded, but be sure to check back on the MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway page for a new contest every week. You can also get notified of new contests from the Best of the Month Newsletter.

You’re probably wondering, “How can a Web analytics book help me discover my inner Lara Croft or Indiana Jones?” Brent has worked with industry leaders such as Microsoft, Sony, EA, Dell, Comcast and Nike. He also blogs for Adobe and has presented at more than 20 Web analytics conferences around the world.

He is a seasoned expert in using data to transform the way we do business. If anyone can tell you how to start driving actionable, data-driven change and defeat the organizational villains we all face, it’s Brent.

His book keeps an entertaining tone while being packed with informative models and examples of how to drive fact-based marketing decisions. It is essentially a how-to for becoming an action hero of science-based marketing and analysis.

The book did a great job reinforcing some of the things I’ve learned on the job as a MECLABS Optimization Analyst, planning strategy and experiments that fuel the content we produce at MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments.

analytics-action-hero-chart

 

Brent speaks to real-life work situations, and since reading his book, I’ve been able to deliver actionable analyses more effectively and use his models to become better at my job in Web optimization.

I had a chance to speak with the Web Analytics Action Hero himself to pick his brain on what it takes to be the Han Solo of the office.

 

 

MarketingExperiments: Who does data-driven analysis apply to, and why should they read your book?

Brent Dykes: Well, I think being data driven and using analysis is really important. The hype around big data has obviously created more of an interest in using and understanding data. I come from a marketing background, and I’ve worked in marketing long enough to remember those days where the vast majority of marketing decisions were being made on intuition—not data.

The digital channel has revolutionized the way we market today. It has ushered in new measurement opportunities that weren’t possible before. In general, it is easier to track digital media than traditional media, and you can get more granular detail as well. With all of the new metrics at the disposal of marketers, the data is susceptible to being misused.

It can’t be, “Hey, I wonder what metrics will make my campaign look good.” Being data-driven isn’t just about using data; it’s about using the right data in the right ways.

I think more people, not just analysts, are realizing they need to understand the data a little bit better.

I haven’t seen it 100% yet, but I think their managers are holding them more accountable to the numbers. So, I think everybody needs to embrace data-driven marketing, and that’s executives all the way down to the interns. Everybody needs to learn.

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