What is Testing all about?
It's a scientific way to overcome pre-conceived notions and judgments made by usually the HIPPO's. Do we risk taking a decision and lose it all? - That's the first thing that would come in a marketers mind, rather than thinking - this change in the site will raise the engagement level and has high likelihood of increasing conversions.
We, at Nabler, have been offering Testing & Optimization services since last 4 years, and during this tenure, we have worked with various organizations ranging from a small pure play online retailer to a large multi-channel ecommerce player. Recently, we conducted a survey of 45 online players ranging from $25 Million annual revenue to over $1B annual revenue and classified them in to following 4 segments with respect to their knowledge and expertise in the field of Testing & Optimization:
At whichever stage of testing you are in, it's never too late to test. The best time to test was yesterday and the next best time to start testing is today.
As we are approaching the Holiday Season and the Code-Freeze is going to start, it's a wonderful time to run few simple tests on your landing pages to make sure, they are ready to engage your Holiday Shoppers and keep your Bounce Rate under control. Here are some basic tests you can run on your key landing pages on the website.
Test #1: "Above Fold Page Content"
At Nabler, we run hundreds of Landing Page Tests for our clients every month using tools like Optimizely, Visual Web Optimizer and Adobe Test & Target. Before we do any testing for our clients, we perform a thorough audit of their quantitative and qualitative data for a week using tools like Google Analytics, CrazyEgg or ClickTale, Online Survey Tools, Online Reviews & Ratings Solution and Radian6 (Social Media Monitoring). The idea behind doing this audit exercise is to find out:
When we identify pages on the website for testing, we focus on multiple aspects of the page i.e. number of CMS elements on the page, complexity to create alternative content, dependency on 3rd party creative agencies, catalog vs. content pages, and most importantly, what % of site visitors are viewing content above the fold and below the fold using tools like CrazyEgg and ClickTale.
Based on our testing experience we have found that approx. 87-91% of the clicks on a page happen above the fold; so it's very important for the content and marketing people to plan their test strategy considering the weightage of the clicks and scroll movements of the visitors otherwise, we would end up testing those elements on the page which produces no statistically significant results.
So, we recommend that, when you are identifying the key landing pages for testing, don't forget to gauge the scroll movements and the weightage of the clicks via Heatmap Tools, and pick those pages for Testing which have high-weightage CMS elements above the fold.
Test #2: "HTML Text Elements"
If the Content Manager and marketing manager have difference of opinion about the content text, content layout and content style, let it be decided by the end users — the website visitors. Testing is the right way to do it. Test to determine if the visitors respond better if the texts are in direct tense or if it is in third person. Test if the amount of text is appropriate or if it is too long. Perform a simple ab test to check for the right content layout.
If there are more than 3-4 elements on the pages that needs to be tested in conjunction with each other, then MVT based on Taguchi Method or ANOVA would be a preferred choice.
Test #3: "Different Promotional Offers"
Every Retailer or Brand runs series of promotions during the Holiday Season, and the biggest challenge in front of the Merchandisers is to determine, what type of promotions would generate decent engagement on the website, reduce the cart abandonment rate and lift the monthly revenue numbers. The best way to solve this problem is via running simple ab Tests on the website for different Promotion Types i.e. Free Shipping vs. % OFF vs. $$ OFF vs. BOGO.
The other relevant ab tests both retailers and brands can run on their website are related to Alternative Promotional Messaging, Placement of Promotional Messaging on the Home Page, Category Page, Product Page and Shopping Cart etc.
Test #4: "Call To Action (CTA) variations"
A landing page without an apparent, distinct and properly positioned CTA is a loss of great opportunity. Very often, clients ask us this question, "What makes a good CTA?" Our simple answer is, "Test it and determine yourself".
The Heatmap/Clickmap report can provide actionable insights about the visitors' sensitivity and reactions to the CTA before and during the testing stage. Here are few simple ab tests that can be run for the CTA on the key landing pages on the website.
Pick any one of the above ideas, put it in context with your website, build up your own list of hypotheses, and just test it. Online testing if executed in a structured and planned manner; can yield statistically significant results. Testing is not cheap. But that shouldn't be a reason to stay away from it. It's an expense with measurable benefits.
If you haven't started testing yet, there are ample opportunities and low-hanging fruits that can be tested and optimized. If you have already done some level of testing, build up a culture of testing that drives site optimization and conversion without any second thought.
So, before this holiday season sets in, why not perform some quick tests? We at Nabler can help you setup the proper testing culture right from the strategy and planning stage to the optimization stage.