Archive

Archive for the ‘Research Topics’ Category

Selling the Click vs. Selling the Product: Which Strategy is More Effective for a Text-Based PPC Ad?

August 9th, 2016

Imagine for a moment that you need to write a PPC search ad for an event your company is running. It’s an event so you’re on a tight timeline. In fact, you have a week to run the ads. At the end of the week, your early discount of 5% ends.

Long story, short, you need to build a text-based PPC campaign that gets a lot of people to buy tickets, and you don’t really have time to figure out what strategy works through a/b testing or historical data mining.

What do you do?

An organization that [full disclosure] partners with MECLABS (MarketingExperiments’ parent company) to help optimize its event messaging was faced with a similar situation recently.

The strategies, while simple in wording are fairly radical in nature.

 

TP30091_1-page_z

 

For the control ad, the primary message sold the actual value of the event.

“2 Days and 13 World Class Speakers”

For the treatment ad, the primary message sold the page on the other side of the click.

It was a fundamental shift in the process-level value proposition of the ad. One was aimed at the ultimate objective of purchasing event tickets. One was aimed at the shorter term objective of clicking through to the video mentioned in the ad.

The result of that shift was a 102% increase in thank-you page impressions. One important thing to note is that the average thank-you page impression generated more than one ticket sale. So this ad treatment hit the bottom line dramatically.

 

You might also like…

Consumer Reports Value Proposition Test: What you can learn from a 29% drop in clickthrough

PPC Marketing: Testing value proposition messaging increases clickthrough 88%

Writing an Email Like a Human “Absolutely Crushed” A Traditional Marketing Send [2 Min Video]

Earn a Graduate Certificate in Communicating Value and Web Conversion

 

Writing an Email Like a Human “Absolutely Crushed” A Traditional Marketing Send [2 Min Video]

August 1st, 2016

“If you write an email like a human being would write an email, you’re going to get a better response.”

So says Nathaniel Ward, Associate Director, Online Membership Programs, The Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation is a non profit conservative think tank focused on conservative policy formation and promotion.

I realize quoting a political organization of any kind is just asking for an incendiary response in today’s political environment, but bear with me on this one.

Partisan or not, they have a very sophisticated email marketing department, especially for a non profit. And Ward’s approach to email testing and messaging is critical for any organization to study and learn from.

Time Stamps:
0:27 – How the test was set up

1:17 – The results of the test

1:26 – Interpretation of the test results

1:43 – Ward’s takeaway for other marketers

You might also like…

Consumer Reports Value Proposition Test: What you can learn from a 29% drop in clickthrough

Online Testing: How a B2B SaaS nonprofit increased clickthrough on landing page by 291%

Email Marketing: Nonprofit achieves 12.5 times higher donation revenue per email than industry average

Earn a Graduate Certificate in Communicating Value and Web Conversion

Email Marketing: Test ideas for five types of email

July 1st, 2016

Testing your email marketing can help power some pretty impressive results – like a 100% increase in clickthrough or a 114% boost in revenue.

But … let’s be real … it is harder to test your email than to just send a single version of the email idea you come up with.

One challenge with email marketing – to keep your customers clicking and coming back for more, you need to endlessly come up with new messages and ideas for every email you send or set in an automation platform.

However, when you test your email marketing, you don’t get to create just one email for each campaign, you now need an A and a B (and a C and a D … etc. … etc. … depending on how many treatments you have and your list size can support).

To give you some new hypothesis ideas for your next email test, I interviewed Mike Nelson, Co-founder and Head of Marketing, ReallyGoodEmails.com, in the MarketingSherpa Media Center (MarketingSherpa is the sister publishing brand to MarketingExperiments).

He brought examples of five key types of marketing email from his site, which is described as a “modern-day museum” full of emails.

Read more…

Exploring Online Shopping Behavior: How website characteristics affect likelihood of purchase and basket value on ecommerce sites

May 26th, 2016

Traditionally, brick-and-mortar stores have displayed their products in their windows, enticing passers-by to come in and learn more, perhaps meet and talk with the owner and other shoppers, and, ultimately, fill their shopping baskets and purchase the goods.

Today’s digital stores (ecommerce websites) are striving to achieve the same goals as their brick-and-mortar counterpbrick-and-mortararts, with varying scopes of products ranging from unprecedented breadth (e.g., Amazon) to narrow specialization (e.g., your local cupcake bakery).

Though ecommerce stores come in a myriad of types, and specific factors influence how customers shop at different websites, they all share one thing in common: Store owners are always on the outlook for some generalizable principles and ideas to test in their specific conditions in hopes of maximizing revenue.

Which website characteristics increase the likelihood that a visitor will make a purchase? And, since shipping costs are a considerable expense, how do you increase the likelihood that a customer will spend more money per shopping session?

Let’s look at a recent study exploring the effects of website characteristics on online shopping behavior and basket value, and how those effects depend on product characteristics.

 

The study

In March 2016, professors Girish Mallapragada of Indiana University, Sandeep R. Chandukala of Singapore Management University and Qing Liu of University of Wisconsin published the results of a study exploring the effects of product and website characteristics on customer shopping behavior and basket value.

The authors analyzed the shopping behaviors of 2,000 consumers over one year, collected from the ComScore Web Behavior Panel. The data encompassed 773,262 browsing sessions and 9,662 purchase transactions at 385 online retailers across 43 product categories.

 

Method

The researchers scored all websites on product variety offered and on two types of functionality: navigation and communication.

Navigation functionality captured the extent to which a website facilitated browsing through content, site maps, layout and updates.

Communication functionality captured the extent to which a website offered communication features such as email, chat rooms and message boards.

They also scored the products on their hedonic and utilitarian characteristics using a previously developed scale.

Hedonic products (e.g., jewelry) would be rated highly on items like “fun,” “exciting” and “delightful.”

Utilitarian products (e.g., office supplies) would be rated highly on characteristics like “effective,” “functional” and “necessary.”

 

Results

Which factors predict likelihood of purchase?

In the browsing stage, the researchers found that the following factors are significantly related to purchase:

  • Previous purchase (previous customers are more likely to buy again)
  • Session duration and page views (more engagement leads to increased likelihood to purchase)
  • Broad scope of products (more variety leads to increased likelihood to purchase)
  • Communication functionality (more communication features lead to decreased likelihood to purchase)

 

Which factors predict higher basket value?

Among the customers who made a purchase, the researchers found that the following factors are significantly related to basket value:

  • Page views (more page views were associated with higher basket value)
  • Session duration (longer sessions were associated with lower basket value)
  • Broad scope of products (more variety associated with higher basket value)
  • Communication functionality (more features associated with lower basket value)
  • Navigational functionality (more features associated with higher basket value)

 

However, the effects of navigational and communication functionality depended on the characteristics of the products consumers were shopping for. Namely:

 

  • Communication functionality lowered basket value for utilitarian products, but not for hedonic products
  • Navigational functionality lowered basket value for hedonic products, but increased basket value for utilitarian products

 

The authors suggest that people buying utilitarian products might be looking for relevant information about the product on the page instead of communication functions, which might be perceived as clutter and add to friction. On the other hand, people buying hedonic products might be looking for self-affirmation through engaging in a dialogue with others and find communication features helpful.

 

Key takeaway

If you are selling utilitarian products, your page might benefit from rich navigational functionality, while if you are selling hedonic products, your page might benefit from rich communication functionality.

In both cases, you want to entice your customers to engage with your pages and check back often, which would ultimately lead to more purchases and higher basket value. Having a variety of products to choose from, and earning the loyalty of returning customers also helps increase the likelihood of purchase and basket value.

 

You might also like

Exploring the Effects of “What” (Product) and “Where” (Website) Characteristics on Online Shopping Behavior [Executive summary from the Journal of Marketing]

Ecommerce Chart: How a low conversion rate can be a good thing [From MarketingSherpa Chart]

B2B Marketing: Customer-focused site design for book ecommerce drives order volume up 211% in three years [From MarketingSherpa Case Study]

Ecommerce Marketing: Time spent on site boosted by 50% with transition from flash sale to retail for fashion site [From MarketingSherpa Case Study]

 

Email Marketing: 7 (more) testing opportunities to generate big wins on your next email test [Part 2]

May 2nd, 2016

Does your email audience prefer short or long emails? How about images versus GIFs?

If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, it’s OK. All you need is an A/B email test. 

Testing allows us to better understand our customers, and determine ways we can better engage them.

Last week, we detailed nine experiment ideas for you to try on your next campaign. If those weren’t your style, we have seven more for you — for a total of 16 testing opportunities.

Today, we’ll be reviewing opportunities in your body messaging, calls-to-action and design.

Email Body Messaging Testing

Testing Opportunity #10. Messaging tone

In this test, from the Web clinic, “Email Copywriting Clinic: Live, on-the-spot analysis of how to improve real-world email campaigns,” researchers used two treatments to increase total lead inquiries from visitors who abandoned the free trial sign-up process.

The first treatment was designed based on the hypothesis that visitors did not convert because the copy didn’t engage them enough, so it took a direct response tone. The second treatment was based on the hypothesis that visitors experience high levels of anxiety over potential high-pressure salespeople or spam phone calls. This treatment took a more “customer service”-oriented tone.

Read more…

Email Marketing: 9 testing opportunities to generate big wins on your next email test [Part 1]

April 28th, 2016

Email is a great medium for testing. It’s low cost, and typically requires less resources than website testing. It’s also near the beginning of your funnel, where you can impact a large portion of your customer base.

Sometimes it can be hard to think of new testing strategies, so we’ve pulled from 20 years of research and testing to provide you with a launching pad of ideas to help create your next test.

In this post and next Monday’s, we’re going to review 16 testing opportunities you can test around seven email campaign elements.

To start you out, let’s look at nine opportunities that don’t even require you to change the copy in your next email.

 

Subject Line Testing

Testing Opportunity #1. The sequence of your message

Recipients of your email might give your subject line just a few words to draw them in, so the order of your message plays an important role.

In the MarketingExperiments Web clinic “The Power of the Properly Sequenced Subject Line: Improve email performance by using the right words, in the right order,” the team reviewed several tests that demonstrate the importance of thought sequence in your subject lines.

Try testing point-first messaging. Start with what the recipient will get from your message and the email.

Read more…