I held a talk last night at Hyper Island in Singapore. I had been left with a bad feeling in my stomach over what I have been doing to the web the past few years. My job is to figure out how the mechanics of online algorithms and networks work, and then use them, sometimes abuse them, in order to get marketing results for brands.
It sounds horrible when I say it that way, but it is the way it is. By understanding how networks work, human behaviour, and the algorithms that govern these behaviours, I have been able to produce some fantastic results. Modern day marketing. Growth hacking. Viral marketing. It all builds on the same notion. Just as old school creative, emotional advertising hacked the emotions we guide ourselves with.
My presentation yesterday was about algorithms and how they are filtering our worlds based on what we like. The frictionless web, where we enjoy shit so much that we never have to get disappointed. The counter side of this, is that we do not see things that oppose our current world beliefs. We are only fed with things that confirm our own beliefs.
What I didn’t know at the time, was that a person – Eli Pariser (thnx for the tip @infotology) – had thought about the exact same thing, but three years ago. He had given it a nice name. The “filter bubble”.
What Eli predicted, is now coming true
However, he saw the first sign and predicted that this would have an impact. Today, we actually start to see how algorithms are effecting everything from journalism to politics. Real shit, that effects us on a very broad scale.
Question such as, why racism is growing in Europe, why some people don’t believe in the effects of our pollution on global warming, why IS can reach their intended audience, without being detected. The filtered web confirms bad ideas too. And so, if the algorithm sense that you are into something such as racism, it will start showing you more racist content, confirming your idea that the racist thing is the way forward. Thus cultivating your idea, into a strong belief.
And I truly believe that the pleasing algorithms, demoting opposing opinions, is a big part of this.
The worst thing is that main stream media. The old gate keepers of information are starting to adapt to the world of likes, producing their clickbaiting, like hunting information types in the shape of headlining their websites with gossip, entertainment and buzzfeed tilted headlines.
Yes. I have a bit of a foil hat on when I discuss these things, but as a hypothesis, it would be interesting to look deeper into it.
Why usability is killing the web
In a sense. No one dislikes this development.
The technology companies producing the services, get more popular if they adapt their algorithms to show things people like. The people receiving the algo-edited information, likes it more than having to scroll through things that are “irrelevant” to the urge for solving a quick question. I love it, as I can predict how to work with information in order to get into the news feed of a particular person, how to get on someones radar.
No one really has an incentive to change things. We all have an incentive to keep this going. However, my question right now is, do we have a responsibility to do something about it?
This blog post is a part of my “how to get” series. I will cover how to get more likes, views, shares, fans, followers and other such vanity metrics.
Step 1: Deciding on a theme for your Instagram
Out of all the different methods I have selected, NEITHER of them work, if you do not have a set theme for your Instagram account. For myself, I decided that my Instagram should be about digital tactics with simple advice on why and why not to do different things when working with digital marketing.
Regardless of your theme, you need to have one, otherwise all of your efforts will go down the drain.
Step 2: Getting the right tools for Instagram management
There are mainly two tools I have found useful for managing an Instagram account properly.
Followers for Instagram – an app that gives you the opportunity to see who follows you back and who doesn’t, which gives you a way to unfollow those who do not follow you back when you start exploring the different hashtags.
Gramfeed – A web application that connects to your Instagram account and gives you the opportunity to do your work – except the posting – from a desktop computer.
Statigram stats – Use statigram to know when Instagram is experiencing high traffic for your account. You will then know when you should post your Instagrams in order to get the highest engagement rate. Imply log in and click the statistics option in the top navigation.
Step 3: The best practice regular advice on how to build an Instagram audience
Share things people like – yeah… right
Share at the right times – actually a really important one, see above for tool
Use relevant hashtags, but not too many – yes, but it really only helps your like count
Follow others – best one as you can see below, important that they are relevant
Host contests – SUCKS
Complete your bio – yes, if you add things like “I follow back”
Ask questions in captions – good one if you want comments – which engages more people
Use call to action in caption – good one if you are a SPAMMER or if you want to drive traffic elsewhere, doesn’t help for getting more followers
Use filters and apps – yes! especially to edit your photos well and to post collages etc. again – for likes, not for followers
Consistency – Yes. Worst thing is to surprise your followers in the wrong way.
Step 4: The fast track tactics of how to build an Instagram following
The goal for this test was to reach 10.000 Instagram followers. The below tactics are the ones I used and I started out at 514 followers.
1. The LIKE a desperate hashtag on Instagram tactic
There is one tactic that works considerably well for building Instagram followers. That tactic is the “follow desperate hashtags” tactic. Basically, you sort out the hashtags where people are the most desperate for a follow, and then you start interacting with them. Basically, you can get a ton of likes and followers, simply by following the feed and liking the photos they post.
Here are some of the best desperate hashtags at this point in time – please add more in the comments section:
So. I got another tip about how to get more Instagram followers, and that was to use the “Like relevant and irrelevant hashtags”. Those hashtags that are relevant to me is #socialmedia, #seo, #marketing etc.
Method result: Good method if I post consistently
3. Mass follow on relevant hashtags
The main concept behind this tactic is to find popular people within the niche you are building your reputation. Then you follow all the users who like whatever the popular person is posting.
Method result: Extremely good outcome if you have relevant content on your Instagram profile
4. Growth through Twitter usage
This tactic is a bit more tricky to setup, and it does require some software.
You start out by creating a completely new Twitter account. Secondly you try to find at least 10 sources with RSS-feeds that are relevant to the topic/theme in which you want to grow. Let’s say animal puppies. You go out and find ten blogs and instagram accounts publishing photos and posts of and about animal puppies.
Do NOT name your Twitter account “Animal Puppies”. But rather name it “Annies Puppy” or something cute, yet possibly real person alike.
Now you go ahead and combine the RSS-feeds using Yahoo Pipes. Now! Do some research about all the hashtags that are used for Animal Puppies such as #cute #puppies etc. Just check out what is trending at the moment. Great tool to do that is Twitters own search engine.
Next step is to generate a new RSS-feed through Yahoo Pipes, and posting the aggregated RSS-feed to IFTTT. NOW! You connect your IFTTT to Twitter, generating an auto posting Twitter account. Let it post for a day or two to start collecting your first followers.
Now you are ready to go buy some followers to this account. Yes! Buy them. Remember, this tactic is for Instagram and not for Twitter. You need the followers in order to pass the Twitter radar for following too many people at one time. Just remember to buy them at a slow pace of about a hundred a day.
Once you start accumulating bought fans, you should start adding fanns using TweetAddr or some other such tool where you can search for a hashtag and create an auto follow function.
NOW!! The magic detail! Put the link to your own Instagram account in the bio!
The only next thing you will have to do is to clean your following list from time to time. You will see your Twitter account grow fast, but you will also see a lot of those followers moving over to Instagram as well.
Method result: Works really well as long as you stay on topic, which the automation does for you, for long term growth
5. Facebook push
If you have a Facebook page, the easiest way to build an audience on Instagram is to push traffic towards your Instagram account, simply by telling your fans that you have an Instagram account and what it is that you are using it for.
I would post something like this: “Hey guys! Just launched on Instagram. I will post photos from my travels, the people I meet and from days in the marketing industry – http://bit.ly/1lE81sE”
You might call this a silly tip amongst the others, but seriously. I hadn’t done this one myself and it is one of the first things I recommend my clients to do, AND it is a really good one :).
Method result: If you have a Facebook page – do this regularly! It really helps
This article will be updated as I discover more tactics on how to build more Instagram followers.
The past 16 years I have had the great fortune of working with a range of different brands with very different ideas on how to run a business. One thing that unites all of them, however, is their unwillingness to be the first one to jump into the water and swim whenever a new thing come along.
Benchmark has since long, been the way brands try to hedge what their own position in the business landscape should be all about.
This is perhaps a great way of understanding where the market is moving, however, when applied to marketing in 2014, looking at what others do, might be what makes you fail. Especially if you copy, rather than understand the mechanics at work behind the results.
The value of social media
The past year we have seen the victorious viral of Volvo Trucks, the Ice bucket challenge and a series of other wild campaigns that have been shared between people online. Naturally, marketing directors are pointing fingers, asking their agencies for their own version of the above.
It has always been this way.
What many fail to understand however, is WHY and HOW these viral campaigns became the huge successes they did.
Human behaviour at the core of the launch
In the media, in blogs and in most of the story telling coming out of these campaigns, the focus has been the content. It has been about the story and how people choose to engage with something they care about.
I would like to argue that this has very little to nothing to do with the final outcome. Content is shit, when it comes to generating a viral effect in any type of media.
Rather. It is the behavioural mechanics and the understanding of formatting/optimising which is what makes a campaign go viral or not. The difference is in the detail. It is about the choice of words in a button and about the ability to change, until it takes off.
However, mainly, the success of a viral campaign resides in whether or not it coheres to the principles of conformity, challenge, charisma, creativity and cheating. You can listen in on the 5 Cs of viral marketing in the video listed above.
Everyone forgets the launch
Besides the behavioural mechanics, most marketeers forget that the launch of a campaign is as crucial as the product in itself. Just like product development in the startup community, a campaign has to adapt until it sits with its audience.
Most budgets are spent on production or hijacked to some crappy banner advertising at the date of launch. Very little money goes into adapting the messaging or the layout. Even less goes into creating additional stories about the content, making it relevant to more bloggers, online magazines and newspapers.
Do it and it will get done
In viral marketing, you need to reach through, not only reach out. You need to be inline with the purpose of the visit, the view or the action in order to generate a share. The only way to get there is to focus on optimising your own journey so that it is inline with the behaviour, purpose and interests of who you are trying to reach.
It is only when you understand these principles that it also becomes fun, easy and really really profitable to jump into the water and swim on your own.
JOIN US IN SINGAPORE FOR SOCIAL LABS
Together with Hyper Island we are running a series of labs in Singapore. People from all over the world fly in to go from doing to doing great in digital marketing and social media. Find all the information you need on Hyper Islands website. I for one would love to meet up with you and discuss until we drop!
From the makers of word of mouth, omni-marketing and viral apps, comes the new and evolution sloshing concept of – Everything Marketing!
This new type of marketing says all that all others have said before, but uses the new, and super all inclusive term of Everything to precede the word Marketing. Thus, now marketers do not have to reinvent their business every other year! NO! From now on, marketing is EVERYTHING! Not only this! Meaning the stuff we have. But also all future rebranding of that same thing!
SEO – yepp!
Social media marketing – yepp!
Viral marketing – yepp!
Omni channel marketing – yepp!
Content marketing – INCLUDED!!
All future and other types of marketing – FOR FREE!!
Seriously though… wouldn’t our industry be so much better off if we just sold our shit based on what it actually helps solve, rather than that it is the newest kid on the block?
I am concerned about this change as it will give less value to essentially all blog posts that are either too short or too long. You will thus have to change the format you write in order to maintain your shareability on Facebook.
So. What the heck do I mean by saying that?
Well. First off. If your article is a short how to or top list, visitors will stay shorter at your page than they would on a longer article. Regardless if you served their purpose of clicking the link in the first place. Secondly. If the article is too long, yet the introduction is really interesting, I am very likely to save the article for later reading and thus return to Facebook after a short while.
The short articles will have a bit of an easier time as they, most likely, will be compensated by users sharing and commenting on the posts. Also. Posts with Facebook comments will get priority as they are more likely to get interaction signals that Facebook can read. However, the long reads. They will most likely get less priority as a result of Facebook not being able to get any signals about how the user interacts with the story.
I would say Facebook shouldn’t do this change as users will eventually stop clicking these links if they do not like the content they receive. Facebook has a wonderful ability to push ads on a personal serve basis, and I am surprised they admit that they cannot monitor my behaviour well enough to stop serving me these types of links when I stop clicking them. However, my suspicion is that they do this for completely different reasons. But hey! I am a cynic.
The challenge with links in the photo caption change
This is challenging cause it will effect the way we do promotions on Facebook. Especially if we have legal constraints that are associated with our promotions. If let’s say we post a photo with an offer that is tied to a set of legal constraints, we will have to either boost the post more heavily, giving us a less beneficial ROI. OR we will have to post the full legal text directly in the post, pulling down conversion rates and click throughs – not because you have sucky legal disclaimers, but because the format of the post is not a nice way to pedagogically present legal changes.
I have used links with photos a lot as a navigational tool and as a game tool where the next step or a “jump” is made possible in more creative photo albums. I have also used is as a “Yes or yes” conversion tactic where I have given people the option to click the link or to share the photo which has worked really well.
Either way. Work around time!!
1. How to work with click baiting links
My advice to counter the click baiting algorithm are these:
1. Use related posts at the bottom of each of your pages in order to keep users at your website for a longer time.
2. Implement Facebook comments in order to give Facebook more signals about how people interact with your content
3. Make sure to ask a closed question as simple as “Do you like 1 or 2″ in order to get more interaction on your posts
This might not produce the most valuable content for the end user. Nor might it not be the best for the site owner. But it will counter the algorithm change if you want to do it.
2. How to work with the image caption challenges
Naturally this is a move by Facebook to get you to use the OG-meta. And that is the solution I will give you. The way to get around this is to do the following:
1. Implement full OG-meta landing pages for all of your campaigns – Get code here – and make sure you size your images correctly and use your promotional photo as the OG-image.
2. Publish photos without the link but use text such as “Visit our website for full terms and conditions. Link can be found in our bio.”
3. Use mobile cloaking based on UTM-tags, where you serve a different kind of content for visitors coming through different kind of tagged links
Either way. These changes will not solve the challenges Facebook is describing, but they will just serve the purpose of integrating your website more into the nest of the Facebook economy. When will Facebook do something cool again? When will they give us more customisation options and ability to get ads from companies we really like. I sure as hell like a great offer. Still, in 2014, Facebook has never asked me which of the Brands I like, I really want offers from…
I have been fortunate enough to be able to work in the “real world” a bit these past few months. It has been fun, and it has truly engaged me in the quest of turning the world into a website.
Not in the sense that I want to change the way we interact with each other, find a marquee tag for street lights and make window items clickable. No. I want us as marketers to start considering the methods, tactics and user funnels we use in the “digital world”, as means to drive conversion in the “real world”.
My main point being – the two are merging, and although we do not see the full extension of possibilities with the Internet of things yet, we are on the verge of this kind of evolution. However, we are in the early days, and just as in the early days of the web, user behaviour is still very simplistic and next to analogue. Thus you will have to use the equivalent tactics of the “Space jam 2″ era, in order to decrease the friction between the perceptually two different worlds.
Or in other words:
1. Most of the stuff being shared online, happens offline and thus brands should spend their time trying to simplify online activation from the offline world if their goal is to get attention
2. We are in the early days of this, and so our solutions cannot be that fancy. Even though the technology is there, the user behaviour is not and thus we have to simplify shit in order to make it work, instead of making it fancy fancy and expensive.
3. Triggers are more important than coolness. Meaning a dot in the ground saying “Selfie spot” will actually induce more shares to the web, than a colossal blinking pillar with 2000 sqm of LED.
In the somewhat laughable video above, I elaborate on these thoughts.
Many have the critics of Facebooks latest changes in post visibility for brands been. But equally many have the defenders turned out to be. The one side says “boohoo, no more free space for advertising”, whilst the other side says “Facebook is not an advertising platform, you will have to do better“. Both sides are missing the point. Most people do not agree with either side.
It is not true that most people want to engage with your brand. It is really not. Most people want to be entertained by a brand. From the 1-9-90 model onwards, all empirical studies have shown that all people have their favorite activity to do in the digital space, and they like to engage with that. This means that a lot of people are engaged – SOMEWHERE – in the digital space. However, this still usually means that they are not engaged in you.
The difference between wanting to be engaged, and liking what you do, are two extremely separate issues. And this is where I am starting to get fed up with the pro-facebook-changes hardliners. Misinterpret me correctly, I LOVE FACEBOOK. It is just that I think they are doing a poor job hiring business developers able to put the money where the company values are.
Cause, why should Facebook be the only one allowed to be lazy?
If they argue that advertising and one way communication is wrong. That content needs to be truly engaging and genuine.. yada yada… then why the heck do they, themselves work on a business model that solely rely on the bullshit they say they are so opposed to? I do not get it. See, this is how it works, Facebookers, and you should know this – If you say something that smells like rotten fish in the connected world, someone will pick up on the scent and stick it too you.
At least advertisers openly admit that they are trying to “build demand” for services they are working for. At least they try to be creative and game the system. But in the case of Facebooks creativity… “let’s expand the ads areas on the right hand side of the feed”… I mean COME OOOON!!!
You have the largest network of connected people in the world, and that’s what comes out of your biz-dev meetings? Or is there a grumpy developer somewhere who is not willing to build what you ask of him or her?
Collective payments – simplifying group purchases so that the super users of the
Pay for privacy – the ability to use your platform without you being able to sell data to third parties
Game spaces – where you use the micro payment structure of gaming to earn money
Simple workflow/onboarding – for brands to use on their landing pages – the “premium” version of Facebook connect
Those were fore revenue driving ideas that came out of my mind in four and a half minutes. And there are a lot of brighter people than me around.
I have met Facebook representatives in many countries. Most of them have no idea on how to use the platform to build truly engaging content. They know ads formats. “Engagement ads”… I mean… come ON… with all the jibberish about genuinity… what kind of name is that for a banner?? Rarely have I met a representative that understands the meaning of how to use your ads formats in combination with other online products in order to create true value to a company.
And here is where I usually bump into problems with the “Brand-hating-squad”. But I believe their view on the world is way too simplistic and not in tune with the complicated lives most of us live. Most people have real problems and are not concerned whether or not a post in a feed is from a friend or a brand. They solely care if it delights them or not. If it touch their space of emotion that generate a feeling in the gut.
With that said. Most advertisers don’t know how to do this. They remain in the “big idea world”, and try to apply it to the fragmented space of the digital context. Which doesn’t work. There is no longer such a thing as 360. 360 takes a message and brings it too a user. The digital and connected space of “always-on”, requires you to meet every online user individually, and there is simply no way to do that with big-idea-communication.
Instead, you need a platform consisting of persistent values and exchangeable tools through which you can creatively respond to, interact with and build upon the requests from the people you meet online.
Yes, you still need your marketing department. But, you actually need to do work, and not hand it off to agencies. Yes, you should still post information on where to buy the product you are trying to sell, and you are highly recommended to do fun and creative shit. However, you also need to understand the user journeys occasionally touching the outer layer of your brand presence and allow those users in.
Facebook used to support this kind of arena. Increasingly so, they are not anymore.
And of course I am a hypocrite!! I sell services that help companies do this. However, I know that side of my business is out the door soon, and I fight to get companies onboard for the next few years (that are actually right now), but it is tough when too many companies, consultants and advertising professionals talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
Such as Facebook.
So. Mr. Mark. If you truly believe in what you say. Then why not help change the people trying to make this happen? Why should you be the only one allowed to remain lazy when everyone else needs to change?
Keyword data seems to be disappearing from Google Analytics. So. How do we know what to optimize our websites towards? How will we be able to know what supporting keywords to use in our texts? How will we be able to run keyword targeted conversion optimization on the organic traffic we have earned.
No worries. We’ll get to that. Obviously Google says they want you to work with your website, to increase your quality and better serve users with better content. However, you will now have to resort to paying some in order to get the juicy stuff.
Below is a set of tools that you can use in order to know.
1. Wordstream is the best keyword tool out there – use it
Wordstream is a tool that helps you to create Adwords keyword groups for your content. They help you find the most profitable niches and are available in many different languages.
I suggest you create a subscription account on Wordstream. It will cost you some money, but it is surely worth it.
2. How to bid on Adwords to get keyword data
Use Keyword tool – generate dynamic tracking URLs
Do not bid broad as you will lose a lot of data doing so as your exact match will not be displayed in your account
If you are simply interested in search volumes – use Google Keyword tool AND bid with minimum bids on all keywords you can possibly think of
Bid narrow and use negatives.
3. Activate internal search tracking in your Google Analytics
I find it awful that so few companies have activated their internal search tracking. MORE than 20% of the people on a website use search onsite. You will get the exact match on the keywords to optimize for PLUS deliver a brand building experience to your users if you work on your internal search.
To activate it. Open the profile you want to track > Click Admin in top right corner > Click View Settings > Enable Site Search to be tracked at the bottom of the General settings page > The parameter that you need to enter is the search query generate in the URL when someone searches for this blog – if you search for “search” – http://jesperastrom.com/?s=search – the parameter you would enter would be ?s=
4. Download the “Not Provided” kit
This was a kit – actually an analysis framework – that one of my former students Markus Frick gave me a tip about on Facebook. Download it from here.
Ok. So that’s 3 ways. I know you got one to add. Comment away!!!
A/B-testing is something that is quite frequently discussed as something you should do. Yet, most marketing managers and online communicators still don’t. In fact. They dread the mere notion of having to test and change their digital campaigns.
I will get to the solution and how to easily do an A/B-test. But in order to fully understand the notion that there is a problem to be solved here. I first need to explain the essence of the challenge of starting using A/B-testing as a methodology for constant improvements.
The challenge is threefold.
First off there is a problem with the relationship between marketing and IT. Marketing wants things to move along fast, whilst IT wants things to be done the right way. This has been a problem ever since IT became a part of the communication process.
There is a vast difference between building solid systems and supporting quick communication. This has bearing on the split testing as any such functionality has to be planned when building the architecture of the system according to IT, whilst Marketing gets frustrated by slow development causing revenue, participation and results to diminish.
This problem can now be solved.
The second problem is that the wish to test something has been seen as weakness. “What, you don’t believe in your idea enough… why test it if you believe in it..“.
This is something that has come out of traditional marketing structures where your idea went of to print or went out on air. There was no way that you could split test your campaigns during a campaign. The mere fabric of digital gives you an opportunity to change and fine tune your campaign, website and online presence so that it improves over time.
I like to view the A/B-split testing as a Formula 1 race, where I am the engineer standing in the pit stop ready to adjust any small detail to make perfection out of good. No one can say that any Formula 1 car (read creative) is slow (bad). But the conditions might be such for the day, that things need to be adjusted for it to work at full capacity. (Love that metaphor… WhOOt… you don’t like it.. well.. then.. then… pfff…)
Companies love to discuss 360 approaches to advertising. And yes. Different medias can support each other. But without using them properly, if applying the same methodology to digital as you do print, you are doomed to end up with less than the maximum effect of the campaign. With A/B-testing you can increase conversion rates, e-mail opening rates, click through rates etc, constantly giving you more for every dollar you spend.
And as I promised above. The challenge of time to market – from idea to implementation is solved. It doesn’t exist anymore.
Thus. This second problem can be overcome.
The third problem is that most marketing managers – clients – do not consider growth when considering the creative of an advertising campaign. They do not see it as a part of building a brand over time, but they rather see it as an instance to push a new product or meet a seasonal increase/decrease in demand. Advertising campaigns can have great success whilst the product they are meant to support doesn’t grow its default revenue streams. Meaning, in order to maintain your sales volumes at the hight of the top of the campaign, you have to campaign all the time which, in many cases, is a very expensive affair.
This is a much more difficult thing to overcome as it has to do with behavior and moreover habits. It is not a problem of lack of knowledge. It is quite easy to rack up the numbers. But still this seems to be a very difficult task for some (would really like to write most) marketing managers to wrap their arms around. Creativity is a lot more fun to purchase than growth, as you actually have to think and not only feel. However, as I will come to, A/B-testing is ALL about feeling, however, it doesn’t give you the power to choose as the data does that for you. Ie. you can still feel, but you need to be able to disregard taste.
To illustrate this I will show you the difference in growth and in simply having campaign success by studying two graphs of search queries made in Google. I use this measure as it is a great tool to estimate brand demand amongst consumers.
This is the search graph for Kodak – Successful campaigns, yet no gained growth. You can see that regardless of their marketing efforts. Their growth is negative.
This is the search graph for “Mitt Romney” and as you can see… no one cares about Mitt Romney if he doesn’t buy a shit load of media to get elected
Now. In comparison to growth which looks like this. First off is iPhone.
Secondly we’ll have a look at McDonalds.
There is a very strong difference in the way these brands have worked with campaigning. One uses the campaign to promote innovation in the product whilst the other use it as a way to promote more of the same.
By focusing on creating campaigns that allow for A/B-testing, we also allow users to respond to the way we market our products better. I believe that this is one great way to overcome the hurdle of taste, and “internal protectionists” that seem blinded by previous success. It is also a methodology to use data to implement a process of change and improvement in an organization without threatening anyones position. It is the data that says so. Not anyone smarter. Just the data.
Another way to overcome this challenge, is if we as analysts, developers and optimizers become as cool as the advertisers. That’s why I love the emergence of the infographic hype, growth hackers and the concept that everyone is a nerd. This actually helps us get through as they want to be like us, dress like us yet, they are too socially skilled to ever be like us.
So. Finally. What is A/B-split testing
Well, basically it is looking at some data and seeing that traffic doesn’t flow the way you want it to flow. It can be that they do not click on a website the way we want them too. It can be that they do not sign up to the newsletter, or simply that they do not fill in a specific form or find a specific document. As a result you get either lower conversion rates or more calls to your customer service.
STEP1 – The Hypothesis Gut
In order to improve this, you start out with listening to your own to gut.
First off. You try to do whatever it is that you want your users to do. Ie. Sign up, buy, click or find. Somewhere along the way you may realize that there might be a few other ways in which a user complete a task a lot faster. This gut feeling is what we optimizers like to call – Hypothesis. Not only does it sound a lot more valuable than “gut feeling”, but it also gives the client a honest hint that it is simply an educated guess.
The more experience the optimizer – or you – has, the better the hypothesis and probably the fewer tests needed.
STEP 2 – Setting up your test
Once you have your hypothesis in your head. You should start testing the changes. It might be a larger text, a variation in navigation or a change in a background color.
In essence a change to the copy, page or design in order to change the way the user uses it. Ok. So once you have that ready in your head, you should get to the nitty gritty of creating these variations.
Now. This has previously been extremely time consuming and problematic as you have had to create all these variations in code – meaning you have had to contact IT to do these variations for you.
This problem is now a segment of the past.
Several great tools such as Optimizely – which I can honestly say that I love (video embedded below this section) and Visual Website optimizer have given us simple drag and drop possibilities to make variations quick.
This means you do not have to implement 6 different versions of a design. No more waiting for coding. No more waiting for design templates. YOU can do this.
Step 3 – The implementation
You run the test. Get the numbers and see which one of your hypotheses actually created an improvement.
Now you have all the data. You can call IT and say with 100% accuracy (perhaps 95% or some confidence interval) that sales will increase with 40% by making these changes. It is thus a priority project. NO IT-person… no matter how big, rough skinned or flanell shirt pansared, can object to that. You won’t have to ask for resources as you can do the testing yourself. You are not there with a problem. You are there with a solution!
Regardless if you run A/B-testing on a website or if you do it on a campaign, or some e-mail copy or whatever you are testing, it is worth it. There are tools simple enough for you to be able to do this on your own. You can relax and go with your gut whilst the data takes care of the decision making.
You then send the solution rather than another problem to the IT department. You become the true hero of your organization as you just increased the bottom line result with 40%. Congratulations! You’re it!