Will Scully-Power


Marketers Top 5 Testing Challenges
May 12, 2010, 11:14 pm
Filed under: #mktgcloud, A/B Testing, Testing | Tags: ,

This is a horrific stat… only 26% of digital marketers are testing!

At the recent Conversion Conference in San Jose, the top 5 testing challenges were exposed.

From WhichTestWon.com

#1. Office Politics.

We heard lots of anger and frustration on this point. “We want to test, but it’s getting the hierarchy on board,” one ecommerce marketer told our reporter. “The department heads think they know all the answers. And, you have to go through them to implement anything.”

“It’s hard to convince IT to support testing,” said a marketer from an online lending site. “And they have higher pull in the company (than marketing).”

“My CEO does what he wants,” a travel marketer told our reporter. “And, it’s hard to introduce something new when everybody’s plates are full.”

Even big companies have trouble. “Even though we’re very numbers driven, people (in the company) still don’t understand analytics,” said a marketer from a huge consumer electronics retailer that conducts hundreds of tests per year.

(By the way, if office politics is a problem for you, you might be interested in this WhichTestWon report. Here’s the link: Office Politics & Budgeting Battles on Testing)

#2. Traffic.

Marketers continue to have issues generating enough traffic to the pages they’re testing. Dale Stokdyk, Internet Marketing Manager, Champlain College, told our reporter, “Our challenge is generating enough page traffic to get conclusive results.”

For pages with low traffic, we think reducing the number of test variations can help in reaching conclusiveness. If you’re trying to test a template page though, where each page may have few visitors but a lot of pages on your site use that same template, you may want to get outside help in designing and running a conclusive test.

#3. SEO.

Despite the fact that, in the past, Google has announced testing won’t affect natural search rankings and presenters at the show said it’s pretty much a non-issue, many show attendees expressed concern. In fact, someone at nearly every Q&A asked how not to lose SEO ranking due to testing. We suspect SEO consultants seeking clients could use ‘I know how to make testing safe’ as a great marketing hook. In the meantime, the good news is there are things you can do to prevent testing from damaging your SEO rankings.

#4. Technology.

There are plenty of testing technologies out there, but not all play well with sites that have complex conversion patterns and structures. And people with complex sites are often the ones most eager to be testing. Technology complaints at the conference ranged from difficulty integrating free testing tools with ecommerce platforms to even more complex problems.

“One problem is getting the technology to pre-populate test registration forms with data already entered on previous landing pages,” a marketer from an online dating company told our reporter. “You can’t build application logic into it.”

One ecommerce marketer said he’d like to test multiple shipping offers but can’t find a testing technology that will recalculate shipping costs by offer. Sites that segment everything want technology to slice results data so they can see winners from different types of traffic.  “We have to go into discover and slice it ourselves,” said the online dating marketer.

#5. What to Test.

Everyone wanted to know which pages and page elements were most worth testing, and what might not be worth the effort. After all, no one has unlimited testing resources.

Among the laundry list of things people wanted to test were short copy vs. long copy, simple page design vs. complex page design, and “buy now” call-to-action buttons. However, according to the case studies presented at the conference, here’s what’s really worth testing if you can only run a limited number of tests….

(Also, if you’re having trouble deciding what to test, check out WhichTestWon’s report: What’s Worth Testing & What’s Not)

More: www.whichtestwon.com

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