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Running Conversion Optimisation Tests? Save Time – Copy Google

Posted in: Online Marketing,Statistics by Richard Hearne on December 24, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that SEO is now a commodity. It seems that just about everyone in the web design / web marketing industry is now also an SEO. So the obvious move is up the value chain. For me that means Conversion Optimisation and Analytics .

2008 to be the year of the site optimisation?

When I say ‘site optimisation’ I’m talking about page analysis and optimisation based on statistical analysis of different versions of your page/page elements. In common parlance – A/B testing, Multi-Variate testing and Behavioural Targeting.

I’ve always been fascinated by psychology, and the psychology of Internet users is super cool in my opinion. What makes the Internet such a great place to learn about human psychology? The ability to test and measure like no other medium.

I’ve mucked around with the Google Website Optimizer a bit in the past 6 months, and I’m looking forward to using both Optimost and Offermatica next year (I’m a lucky soul with a large client who wants to get into this area of website optimisation).

Multivariate Testing for Conversion Optimisation
Multivariate Testing for Conversion Optimisation

Looking for good tests?

I sat in on the Multivariate Testing and Conversion Tweaking session at Pubcon. By far the best takeaway from that session was a look at how Google uses its own product to analyse and tweak there own landing and subscription pages.

Apparently they run Website Optimizer on many of their main download/sign up pages. They generally leave the tests running for 30 days or more, which I presume means a lot of traffic and high confidence in the results. The example used my Tom Leung, GWO PM, was Picasa:

Google Picasa Multivariate Testing
Google’s Picasa uses GWO for multivariate testing

Oddly enough this page is not the winning page shown by Tom in his presentation. And I cant see the GWO code running on the page (this might be due to my location).

But Tom did mention that the three main elements to test are headline, hero shot and action button. These were the elements that gave best bang for buck from testing conducted by Google. Unfortunately I cant show you the winning version Tom showed at Pubcon, but it didn’t have the product image, and it used a high contrast blue button for the download link.

So as a site owner why should you care?

Given that competition is increasing in almost every vertical and niche, and traffic is becoming more expensive to acquire, it makes sense to maximise your return from the traffic you already have. Google’s Website Optimizer is free (you need an Adwords account), and once you run a few tests it becomes quite easy to use.

Tiny increases in conversion rates can amount to be increases in revenue. Consider this: you currently convert 1.5% of your visitors and generate €200,000 per month. If you can increase that to a 2% conversion rate by testing and tweaking you can increase your revenue to ~€267,000 per month with no extra traffic required.

Of course if you can combine that with traffic acquisition via SEO/SEM you could be onto a real goldmine. Roll on 2008 :grin:

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  1. Good to see this Richard – came across this sort of work a couple of years ago in the US. This sort of expertise will be great to have here altho I am sure people like IQContent are working on this as well?


    Comment by keith bohanna — December 27, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

  2. Hi Keith

    Not sure about IQContent offering this type of service, although it wouldn’t be a huge leap for them. Certainly the last time I spoke with Lar he didn’t mention that they were doing testing, and we had a conversation about this.

    I think it’s definitely the way forward though regardless :grin:

    Thanks for dropping by Keith, enjoy the holiday, & best rgds

    Comment by Richard Hearne — December 27, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

  3. smart post. the tipping point will be when website owners ask each other “how is your site converting?” instead of “what rank are you on google?”

    Comment by bill — December 29, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

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