Testing, Testing,1-2-3-4-5?

  |  June 3, 2013   |  Comments   |  

Consider these five steps to help you start testing.

Optimization of online content and user experience (UX) through A/B and multivariate (MV) testing has become a hot topic in the digital industry over the last few years. This has led to the adoption of small to large scale optimization programs in western markets to help marketers achieve more with their budgets.

Why aren't marketers A/B and/or multivariate testing in Asia Pacific?

The answer is simple: budget. With ongoing investments in traditional media and limited access to digital practitioners within the region, it can be difficult to justify the marketing dollars to begin or maintain an optimization program. But, what we have learned from our clients is that testing not only provides improvements on conversions, but results in significant savings when it comes to marketing budgets. And, if you start testing now, you can have a distinct advantage over the competition in the Asia Pacific market.

Testing helped SAP increase digital leads by 27 percent while saving 20 percent of their digital marketing budget

SAP, one of Acronym's testing clients, created a formalized optimization program in 2011 to better their marketing efforts. By investing in a three-legged stool strategy around their platform, team, and process, SAP's Test Lab is providing continuous insights that have allowed them to adapt messaging, design, and approach to produce significant ROI. On average, the tests result in a 27 percent lift in incremental sales leads from digital and findings have also resulted in digital marketing budget savings of 20 percent.

Recently, SAP began supporting the Asia Pacific region more heavily with dedicated resources to understand how they can optimize for the rapidly growing market.

Why you should test

You don't need to be as big as SAP to start testing! Any size company can start testing and it's critical to do so as marketing decisions are often made on limited research and with the sole opinions of executives in a boardroom. This leaves a clear distortion between a company's offering and the real-world experience of that product or service in a consumer's life (i.e., user experience). Testing gives us the power to change that and allows users to have an active role in the experience we provide them.

5 steps to help you start testing

1. Do the research: Good tests should be backed by good data. Use both quantitative (e.g., web analytics) and qualitative (usability testing, surveys, etc.) data to understand the issues on your website and possible explanations for these pain points. But don't stop there - take it a step further and make a few projections based on the relative improvements you could see from testing.

2. Get the buy-in: Testing takes time and money so it is essential to gain proper buy-in from upper management. This is where your research becomes essential. Your boss cares about performance. If you can identify an issue, solution, and possible improvement, it will be hard to ignore the problem and easier to justify the cost.

3. Make your first test count: In your research, you will likely discover a number of obvious hurdles that your customers are facing throughout their journey toward conversion. To get the biggest impact, and to gain further support in your testing efforts, make sure your initial test offers the biggest increase in conversions with the least technical implementation. This type of vetting is a key part of the test plan/strategy stage. Also, don't forget to be bold! We like to say, "Test big to win big" because we know bigger lifts are typically associated with more drastic changes.

4. Understand and have a clear process: Testing has a lot of components (strategy, design, implementation, etc.). If the first test you run is an operational nightmare, it will be hard to justify the headache to your colleagues involved. To combat this, become familiar with how testing works and the dependencies involved. Then, make sure there is a clear project manager who oversees each part of the process.

5. Measure the impact: If you follow steps one through four, it will be hard not to have a successful test. After the test has been completed and the data has been analyzed, figure out where you can syndicate your insights and measure impact. Don't forget that these insights can usually be applied to offline marketing efforts as well.

After a few successful tests, you should have enough momentum to justify an optimization program. I'll share the five steps to grow a successful testing program in my next article.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.


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Breanne Maliniak

Breanne Maliniak is a user experience and conversion rate optimization consultant. With over 5 years of experience in the digital space, her passion is balancing business and consumer needs to improve her clients’ profitability. With years of consulting for clients of all sizes in B2B and B2C industries, she firmly believes that a company’s success relies on happy customers and works on helping organizations discover and connect user experience to every facet of their business. By doing extensive research, Breanne’s passion for creating targeted data-driven optimization strategies has led to successful projects with marquee clients such as SAP, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Yves Saint Laurent, Hewlett-Packard and Aberdeen Asset Management. In 2010, Breanne was recognized with the HSMAI Adrian Award for the Best Search Marketing Strategy.

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