Articles in the A/B & Multivariate Testing Category

November 26 2008

The top 15 things to test on your website

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It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about testing (which I love and encourage you to embrace with open arms as I have). I like to use Google Website Optimizer whenever I have an experiment to run, but you can use any program, such as Omniture Test & Target. As long as you are testing, you are “in the game” (and, if you are not testing, why not?).

I found an article within the Google Website Optimizer help section that I’d love to expand upon, called “The Top Five Elements to Test“. This help section article lists 15 specific elements, but it does not cite any examples, which I feel help visualize each point, even though some of them are very obvious. So, I have beefed up this very good list of possibilities below. Enjoy, and, seriously consider testing as many of these 15 things as you can:

1. Title -Short versus Long
Short: High-Quality Product
Long: High-Quality Product that will last for generations to come!

2. Title – Question versus Statement
Question: It’s 10 PM – Do you know where your kids are?
Statement: It’s 10 PM – Your kids are in bed.

3. Title – Formal versus Informal
Formal: Good Evening, Sir / Madam.
Informal: Yo, what up, dogg?

4. Title – Emphasizing selling point A versus B
Selling Point A: 100% Recycled Material!
Selling Point B: 100% Money Back Guarantee!

5. Image – Big versus Small
Big Image: Takes up half the screen
Small Image: 100 x 100 square in the upper-right corner of the page

6. Image – Photo versus Illustration
Photo: A nice, vibrant stock photo, or photo taken by a professional
Illustration: A nice, vibrant drawing, sketch, or animation created by a professional

7. Image – Customer versus Product
Customer: Happy customers, smiling and laughing on a warm sunny day
Product: Close-up picture of your awesome product against a smooth background

8. Layout – Long sales letter versus multi-column layout
Long Letter: A very long page outlining every possible detail and customer testimonial about your product
Multi-Column: A table with visible rows and columns displaying tidbits of information and statistics about your product

9. Layout – 3 page pitch versus one dense page
3-Page Pitch: Three pages, including the landing page, with “Click for More” or “Continue” buttons at the bottom
One Dense Page: All of the information contained in the three-page pitch on one single page

10. Selling Proposition – Quality versus Convenience
Quality: Made with 100% Imported Leather!
Convenience: Never buy another pair of boots again!

11. Selling Proposition – Features versus Service
Features: 256GB of Disk-Space!
Service: 24/7 Customer Support!

12. Selling Proposition – Make Money versus Save Money
Make Money: Make $100 for every friend that you refer!
Save Money: Save $100 on your next trade-in!

13. Conversion Incentives – Free Shipping versus Money Back Guarantee
Free Shipping: We offer Free Shipping to every city in the United States!
Money Back Guarantee: We will refund 100% of your money if you are not satisfied.

14. Conversion Incentives – List All Incentives versus None
All: List every possible incentive imaginable on Landing Page
None: Simply promote the product price, image, and / or availability on Landing Page

15. Conversion Incentives – Telephone Order conversion versus online form
Telephone: Call us at 1-800-555-1234 and get started today!
Online: Fill out our simple online form and get started today!

November 11 2008

Three of my favorite Advanced Segments with Google Analytics

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Ever since Google Analytics officially released Advanced Segmentation about a month ago, I haven’t been able to stop using it. How can you blame me? It’s awesome to slice and dice data in ways I could never have sliced and diced data before – and the things that I can learn about my website’s data are invaluable.

Here are three of my favorite advanced segments (so far) with Google Analytics. In parenthesis below, I outline what each segment means. The first segment is a default segment; while the second and third segments are custom advanced segments (The names of the second and third advanced segments are also “custom”):

1. Visits with Conversions / Visits with Transactions
(All Visits that have converted / made a transaction at some point in a visitor’s history with the website).

As I mentioned above, this Advanced Segment is one of the “default” or “pre-packaged” Advanced Segments that Google Analytics provides, without having to create your own. And, it’s one of the best ones. With it, you can see how visitors that have performed the actions that you have defined are behaving, what pages they are landing on, how often they return to your site, and anything else that you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask. You can learn a lot about your converted visitors with this segment (and get insights and ideas on what you can do to get them to convert again).

2. The Power of your Brand
(Dimension: Keyword; Condition: Contains; Value: the first word of company name; AND Dimension: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 30; AND Dimension: Pageviews: Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 3)

Would you care to know how strong your brand name is, and how engaged visitors are that used your brand name or company name as their search term? This segment can give you excellent insight to your customers or potential clients who already know you by name, which means they are well beyond trying to find you, and are most likely closer to reaching out to you, or buying from you.

3. Social Media Awareness
(Dimension: Sources; Condition: Contains; Value: The name of any social media site: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc…)

Measuring the traffic that your website receives from social media platforms is becoming increasingly important towards these last few months of 2008, and you can expect Social Media to really become important in 2009. This advanced segment puts you in the game by allowing you to see all of the traffic from the more popular social media websites that are out there. Monitor this segment over time to get a feel for how interesting and engaging your social media initiatives are – if they are interesting, and if you have a strong social media presence, traffic will start coming your way before you know it.

BONUS Advanced Segment:

4. Are You Experienced?
(Dimension: Visitor Type; Condition: Matches Exactly; Value: Returning Visitor; AND Dimension: Days Since Last Visit; Condition: Less Than; Value:7; AND Metric: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than; Value: 180; AND Metric: Transactions; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To: Value: 1)

This Advanced Segment excludes all pretenders, rookies, and newbies, and focuses on allowing you to analyze what your most experienced, best customers are doing. Use the clues that you find in your reports after applying this segment to learn what makes your best customers tick, and compare that against your customers who do not engage with your website at this level.

There are thousands of different possibilities with Advanced Segmentation, which means that once you start creating your own, you’re bound to come up with an advanced segment that will meet your specific needs, answer your specific questions, and become favorites of your own.

July 17 2008

This types of stuff happens eh-veh-ree-DAY!

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In my latest, most desperate of attempts at trying to make our loyal blog readers think I’m hip by using titles that come straight out of popular phrases in rap songs (which is in conjunction with my last attempt with a blog post entitled “Tryin’ to make a dollar outta fifteen cent!“), I’d like to give you an idea of what the typical day-to-day life is like here for me at MoreVisibility. Every time I describe what I do to friends, colleagues, co-workers and even some clients, I talk about how being in Web Analytics is like being a private investigator or a federal agent of the internet. You gather data, compile statistics, find clues, compile some more data, interview a couple of people, and solve the mystery! Then you typically have to present your findings to your boss(es) and your clients, and then talk about where to go from there.

Here’s an outline of a typical day for me (which is sort-of a false statement, because no two days are the same, so there really is no such thing as a “typical” day…but you get the idea).

Date: Wednesday, July 9, 2008, Boca Raton, FL, USA (Temp: 91Β°)

7:04 AM – I have just woken up, and I’m already thinking about what I’m going to be doing for that day. Do I have an Analytics presentation to give? Do I need to check the coding on a site before it launches? What accounts will I be doing some investigating on? Do I have enough laundry to last until the weekend?

7:57 AM – I arrive at my office, turn on my computer, and see a yellow sticky note on my monitor that reads “Joe – Please see me about [Client]’s Top Landing Pages.”

8:01 AM – While my computer is loading and my email is downloading, I catch my co-worker who explains that our client is concerned that the exits from their homepage is too high. I suggest evaluating the page’s Bounce Rate and maybe a quick Navigation Summary to get a better idea of what is really going on with their homepage. I also mention something about A/B testing with Google Website Optimizer.

8:02 AM – I log-in to my Google Reader account and catch-up with the 60+ Web Analytics and Search Marketing blogs that I subscribe to, while simultaneously responding to emails with questions and discussions from co-workers.

8:41 AM – I am finalizing my speech for an in-person Analytics Presentation to one of our clients, when Amber (Client Strategist) buzzes me and tells me her client added an email address to their Google Analytics account, but they cannot log-in. She tells me she knows what the reason is: “The Email address is not a Google Account yet! It needs to be a Google Account in order to log-in with that Email address into their GA Account.” I start smiling, because that’s exactly right.

9:15 AM – I meet with Shawn, our newest co-worker, and begin to review all of the great things that is Web Analytics. Of course, I have to throw in my private investigator / federal agent simile. I also explain that Javascript-based programs like Google Analytics are only able to collect data from users who have both Javascript and Cookies enabled on their browser of choice. If they don’t, Google Analytics simply cannot track those individuals.

10:30 AM – I am out of water, and I’m starting to get hungry. I think about all of the different possible ordering options, and think how cool it would be if some of our favorite local take-outs would have an online ordering option, and imagine what I would give for a large turkey & swiss right now.

10:35 AM – I start to open up a brand new Google Analytics account for a new client. I provide our client with the necessary tracking code to be placed on every single page of the website. I also explain the many different options available, such as SiteSearch, Ecommerce, Benchmarking, and Filters that can be utilized.

10:59 AM – I receive a phone call from another client who asks me to explain the difference between A/B Testing and MVT (Multivariate Testing). We throw around some ideas of what to test and experiment back and forth, and we agree to launch an experiment using Google Website Optimizer for their AdWords Campaign’s landing page.

11:33 AM – Okay I am REALLY hungry right now and I can’t imagine being able to last another 27 minutes without eating something!

11:34 AM – Marni (another Client Strategist) sends me an IM that reads “It’s working!!!” She is referring to the neat advanced filter that we wrote which added the name of the source and the visitor type in front of the transaction ID in this particular client’s Ecommerce Report section. This is great news, as I’m sure the client will be very happy to hear about this.

12:00 PM – I’m about to grab my sunglasses and walk across the street when I see an Email come in that reads “GA Tracking Issue – Please Help!”, flagged as High Importance. Guess lunch is going to have to wait a while…

12:19 PM – Problem solved! Turns out there were two sets of Google Analytics tracking code on the same page, one urchin.js version and one ga.js version, which is bad news. I then proceed to solve another problem – my hunger.

1:10 PM – I return and find some great discussions starting up on the Yahoo! Web Analytics Forum. It’s really a great forum to check out whenever you can.

1:15 PM – My in person analytics presentation is in 45 minutes. I am very obsessive when it comes to presentations, as I like everything to be perfect, neat, and organized, so I visit our client’s website one more time, and find that they have repaired a bug in their shopping cart that was the focus of one of my main points in the presentation!! I think of a good way to still use this slide in the presentation.

1:38 PM – One of Khrysti’s (Director of Optimized Services) clients is in a bind. They cannot figure out why they are not seeing “yahoo / cpc” or “msn / cpc” in their Google Analytics profile, like they can for “google / cpc”. I reference my latest blog post about Google Analytics URL Coding, and I strut away confidently as I’ve capitalized on another opportunity to tell someone about my Analytics Blog. πŸ™‚

2:00 PM – It’s showtime! Our clients have arrived, and I hand out my business cards and begin with introductions. It’s always great to be able to meet people in person and talk analytics, Site Search, and Shopping Carts to them. This particular client is using both Google Analytics and WebTrends, and they were really concerned about the differences in data between the two, even though they swear that they have everything installed properly. I explained that different analytics packages will always report different values for the same metric, no matter how perfect your installation and coding is.

3:32 PM – I come back and check my own Google Analytics profile for this blog, and I’m surprised to find so much referring traffic from European blogs! I love that someone in Austria and someone in the Netherlands is reading a blog written by someone half-way around the world. I know this because I frequently check my referring traffic reports, to see who is bringing me additional traffic.

4:00 PM – Another one of Khrysti’s clients cannot for the life of them understand why people type in such simple, generic words such as “shoes”, “belts”, and “hats” into their website’s search feature on their online clothing store. They believe something is wrong, broken, or not working correctly. I am pretty sure that their search function is working properly, but I go to their site and double-check with some test searches anyways. After I verify that it is working properly, I pick up the phone and begin to explain to the client that people have much different behavior (and level of tolerance!) when they perform keyword searches on Google or Yahoo vs. performing keyword searches on someone’s website. Again, I direct their attention to my blog by referencing my post about a website’s internal search function.

4:45 PM – My day is starting to come to a close. I like to take a few minutes each day and “spot check” different analytics accounts, just to ensure that everything is still running smoothly and data is being collected and displayed properly. I’m glad I did this, because an important Goal in one of April’s (Director of Strategic Accounts) clients’ accounts has stopped collecting data. After a test on the client’s website, it turns out that the Goal URL has been changed from “thankyou.html” to “thanks.html”. Websites are updated all the time, which is a good reason to routinely double-check your Goals to make sure they are working properly.

5:03 PM – I’m just about wrapping it up here and saying good night to everyone in the office. Out of nowhere, Danielle (my boss) catches me right before I walk out the door. She explains that a new client needs to speak with someone urgently (first-thing tomorrow morning) about what analytics platform they should choose between Omniture SiteCatalyst Hitbox (HBX) or ClickTracks. They also need help in defining new Key Performance Indicators for their executive team, and possibly setting up some custom reporting. I love to think about things like this, especially on off-hours, so I’m glad I have this opportunity.

7:00 PM – Analytics is going to have to wait a while – an episode of Law and Order is on right now that I’ve never seen before. πŸ™‚

All in a day’s work. πŸ™‚

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