Use Real Data and Test Your Website…Constantly

usertestingI’ve found that it’s far too often that we go with our gut. I’m not saying don’t go up to that cute brunette at the coffee shop around the corner from your apartment. Go with your gut on that one, she’s definitely interested. I’m saying that we go with our gut too frequently when it concerns our websites, landing pages, digital creative, etc. Stop it!

We must stop looking at our digital strategies and tactics through our own eyes; and put ourselves in our customer’s mindset. But, how do we do this and stop the madness?

Two simple things. Data and Testing.

Get out of the habit of gut feelings, and back your decisions up with a little data. A novel idea, but you’d be surprised to find out that several digital marketers neglect that 4 letter D-word and instead resort to feelings and straight up assumptions. You must get into the habit of looking at the data before making changes to your website – no matter how big or small. Before you decide it’s “time” to update the creative on your homepage – see if there is some data to support that update. If you have run the same creative for several months; and you start to see an increase in fallout, that might be a good opportunity to test in some new creative.

Once you have some good hard data to support your claim, test into your hypothesis. In fact, state what your hypothesis is in the first place. For example, “If we update our home page creative to use a different stock image; it will help decrease the user fallout”. There. You took some data from your analytics team, realized there was an opportunity to better a key metric on your website, and then you try to correct that metric with a creative update. It’s as simple as that folks.

I’ll recap:

  1. Look at your data and key metrics to determine what opportunities exist on your website.
  2. When you identify an opportunity in the data, establish what you can do to take advantage of that opportunity; and state a hypothesis.
  3. Test into your hypothesis via A/B test.
  4. Measure the results of both the control and the test to determine a winner.
  5. Repeat.

Another important thing to remember is that if your test case loses to your control, that’s perfectly fine! You learned that your control was actually better than your test. Now you have hard data that says you did X and it was worse than Y. So go back, look at the data; and see what else you can test to beat your control.

Data and testing go hand and hand. Your website is a living, breathing, entity – so continue to test…constantly.



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