E-Commerce and Data Testing Tactics
In growth, you use testing methods to optimize your web design and messaging so that it performs at its absolute best with the audiences to which it’s targeted. Although testing and web analytics methods are both intended to optimize performance, testing goes one layer deeper than web analytics. You use web analytics to get a general idea about the interests of your channel audiences and how well your marketing efforts are paying off over time.
After you have this information, you can then go in deeper to test variations on live visitors in order to gain empirical evidence about what designs and messaging your visitors actually prefer.
Testing tactics can help you optimize your website design or brand messaging for increased conversions in all layers of the funnel. Testing is also useful when optimizing your landing pages for user activations and revenue conversions.
Checking out common types of testing in growth
When you use data insights to increase growth for e-commerce businesses, you’re likely to run into the three following testing tactics: A/B split testing, multivariate testing, and mouse-click heat map analytics.
An A/B split test is an optimization tactic you can use to split variations of your website or brand messaging between sets of live audiences in order to gauge responses and decide which of the two variations performs best. A/B split testing is the simplest testing method you can use for website or messaging optimization.
Multivariate testing is, in many ways, similar to the multivariate regression analysis that I discuss in Chapter 5. Like multivariate regression analysis, multivariate testing allows you to uncover relationships, correlations, and causations between variables and outcomes. In the case of multivariate testing, you’re testing several conversion factors simultaneously over an extended period in order to uncover which factors are responsible for increased conversions. Multivariate testing is more complicated than A/B split testing, but it usually provides quicker and more powerful results.
Lastly, you can use mouse-click heat map analytics to see how visitors are responding to your design and messaging choices. In this type of testing, you use the mouse-click heat map to help you make optimal website design and messaging choices to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your visitors focused and converting.
Landing pages are meant to offer visitors little to no options, except to convert or to exit the page. Because a visitor has so few options on what he can do on a landing page, you don’t really need to use multivariate testing or website mouse-click heat maps. Simple A/B split tests suffice.
Data scientists working in growth hacking should be familiar with (and know how to derive insight from) the following testing applications:
- Webtrends: Offers a conversion-optimization feature that includes functionality for A/B split testing and multivariate testing.
- Optimizely: A popular product among the growth-hacking community. You can use Optimizely for multipage funnel testing, A/B split testing, and multivariate testing, among other things.
- Visual Website Optimizer: An excellent tool for A/B split testing and multivariate testing.
Testing for acquisitions
Acquisitions testing provides feedback on how well your content performs with prospective users in your assorted channels. You can use acquisitions testing to help compare your message’s performance in each channel, helping you optimize your messaging on a per-channel basis. If you want to optimize the performance of your brand’s published images, you can use acquisition testing to compare image performance across your channels as well. Lastly, if you want to increase your acquisitions through increases in user referrals, use testing to help optimize your referrals messaging for the referrals channels. Acquisition testing can help you begin to understand the specific preferences of prospective users on a channel-by-channel basis. You can use A/B split testing to improve your acquisitions in the following ways:
- Social messaging optimization: After you use social analytics to deduce the general interests and preferences of users in each of your social channels, you can then further optimize your brand messaging along those channels by using A/B split testing to compare your headlines and social media messaging within each channel.
- Brand image and messaging optimization: Compare and optimize the respective performances of images along each of your social channels.
- Optimized referral messaging: Test the effectiveness of your email messaging at converting new user referrals.
Testing for activations
Activation testing provides feedback on how well your website and its content perform in converting acquired users to active users. The results of activation testing can help you optimize your website and landing pages for maximum sign-ups and subscriptions. Here’s how you’d use testing methods to optimize user activation growth:
- Website conversion optimization: Make sure your website is optimized for user activation conversions. You can use A/B split testing, multivariate testing, or a mouse-click heat map data visualization to help you optimize your website design.
- Landing pages: If your landing page has a simple call to action that prompts guests to subscribe to your email list, you can use A/B split testing for simple design optimization of this page and the call-to-action messaging.
Testing for retentions
Retentions testing provides feedback on how well your blog post and email headlines are performing among your base of activated users. If you want to optimize your headlines so that active users want to continue active engagements with your brand, test the performance of your user-retention tactics. Here’s how you can use testing methods to optimize user retention growth:
- Headline optimization: Use A/B split testing to optimize the headlines of your blog posts and email marketing messages. Test different headline varieties within your different channels, and then use the varieties that perform the best. Email open rates and RSS view rates are ideal metrics to track the performance of each headline variation.
- Conversion rate optimization: Use A/B split testing on the messaging within your emails to decide which messaging variety more effectively gets your activated users to engage with your brand. The more effective your email messaging is at getting activated users to take a desired action, the greater your user retention rates.
Testing for revenue growth
Revenue testing gauges the performance of revenue-generating landing pages, e-commerce pages, and brand messaging. Revenue testing methods can help you optimize your landing and e-commerce pages for sales conversions. Here’s how you can use testing methods to optimize revenue growth:
- Website conversion optimization: You can use A/B split testing, multivariate testing, or a mouse-click heat map data visualization to help optimize your sales page and shopping cart design for revenue-generating conversions.
- Landing page optimization: If you have a landing page with a simple call to action that prompts guests to make a purchase, you can use A/B split testing for design optimization.