Monday
Feb232009

Website testing and optimisation

In website marketing on of the biggest challenges that marketers have is in deciding how to make improvements, or how to take action from the data that is being collected. Frequently, without data marketers will be unable to accurately decide what changes to make and may determine that the required steps to move their strategies forward will be through complete overhauls of websites.

By leveraging web data and using analysis techniques (both on the user experience, customer attitudes and behavioural actions) an analytics consultant will be able to offer you a testing plan that identifies potential weaknesses in your website and solutions that can be employed to improve performance, thereby generating increased marketing ROI for your business.

To achieve this we use advanced statistical techniques that have been used by direct marketers for years, that are made considerably simpler through the use of testing technologies that take us from hypothesis to production in days (sometimes hours) rather than weeks (in the case of a multi cell direct mail campaign).

Testing and experimentation techniques we can deploy range from the simple A/B (Champion: Challenger) test, through to A/B/n multi cell tests right through to Multi-variate test (employing statistical methods such as Taguchi, Optimal Design and Full Factorial) designs.

The benefit of taking a scientific approach to marketing, is that our results are benchmarked against the control (the original version) and can be re-tested for validation with data being collected within a matter of 5 - 20 days (depending upon the complexity of the test design).

As we’ve already mentioned, testing and experimentation is not a new concept, and the importance of testing is recognised in the words of David Ogilvy:

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving”
David Ogilvy

We have found that running simple tests for clients, that we can achieve conversion rate improvements in the region of 10% to 200% through very simple tests that cost very little in terms of production (especially when compared with the cost of a full web overhaul) and where results are obtained, and statistically validated with a few days.

Google have shared that the simple change of a button from “Start Now” to “Get Started” on the homepage of Google Docs; this small change led to a 40% increase in new accounts!

Here’s a great example of how Google have used straightforward Multi Variate Testing techniques to optimise the Gmail Sign-up page, presented by Tom Leung of the Google Website Optimizer team. This really helps you as a marketer the value of testing, and to demonstrate that testing can improve the performance of your web content without requiring complete overhauls of designs:

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