Landing Page Testing & Tuning: SES New York

We’ve hit the final stretch of Day 2 with the Landing Page Testing & Tuning session. This one features an introduction by Sage Lewis ( with Tim Ash (Site Tuners) presenting. Now seems like an appropriate time to comment that I am freezing. The toes are doing that turning blue thing again.

Sage is suddenly doing an infomercial for Tim’s book. Oh good. I thought the sponsored sessions were over for the day?

Tim said he’s going to try to keep us awake because he’s the only thing standing between us and free drinks in the expo hall. There are free drinks in the expo hall? I…um…fine. I’ll stay here.

Tim lets us know we’re going to turn into WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?

What is Landing Page Optimization? It covers a lot of things.

Online Marketing Activities

  • Acquisition: Get people to your site
  • Conversion: Persuade them to take desire action
  • Retention: Increase lifetime value of relationships

Conversation Rate: The percentage of visitors who take desired actions.
Landing Page Optimization: Improving your conversion rate by testing Web site changes.

Why should you care about landing page optimization? Because you have neglected your landing pages and/or your conversion rate is too low. This is costing you a lot of money. The economics of conversion says fix your site to lower costs.

[mathalert] Your CPA equals your CPC over your clickthrough rate [/mathalert]

Tim asks the audience what a camel is. Apparently, it’s a horse designed by a committee. Clever.

Next questions: Who should design your Web site? Ad agency? Your boss? Webmaster? Marketing? IT (no, no, no, keep them in the cage, says Tim. Hee)? The answer is none of the above. Your visitors should design your Web site.

[Tim is giving out $20 bills to people who answer questions correctly. I’m waiting for him to ask a question about puppies. Or how to drive Susan Esparza crazy. I’m good at those.]

The Matrix

It’s a systematic way to make sure people’s needs are being meet. It’s getting the right people through the right activities in the right order.

Matrix = Roles x Tasks x AISA

Roles: The identified visitor roles of those interacting with the mission critical parts of your site (Faculty, Staff, Alumni, Parents & Families, etc)
Tasks: Specific activities that a visitor in a particular role wants to engage in.
AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. The stages everyone has to go through before they’re going to do what you want them to do.

Common Awareness Problems aka What Not To Do:

  • Banner Ads: There are more important things you want users doing on your site, don’t distract them.
  • Entry pop-ups: You can emphasize and deemphasize things on the page.
  • Clutter home pages: He shows an example of a home page with 146 links on the page. He says even someone with ADD would get bored looking at that page. Don’t do that.

Keys to Creating Awareness

  • Stop screaming at your visitors: (flashing banners, pop ups) Tim just screamed really loud and scared me. Sad face.
  • Eliminate choices.
  • Unclutter what remains.

Rules of Web Awareness

  • If you can’t find something easily it doesn’t exist
  • If you emphasize too many items, they all lose importance
  • Any delay increases frustration

The rules of Web interest are to understand what I am and understand what it is I’m trying to do. The rules of Web desire are like dating. Users want you to make them feel appreciated, make me feel safe and understand that they are in control.

The Action Step

Why should I get it from you? Brand strength, previous resource investment, the total solution, and risk reduces & credibility.

You don’t have control over your brand strength or your resource investment but you do control the total solution, stuff like customers service, return policies, etc.

The risk reducers and credibility are things that make customers feel “less bad and more better”. (I apologize for that grammar.) You want to make sure your trust and credibility symbols are visible above the fold. Get them out of your footer.

The rules of Web action are: Get out of my way, make it easy and don’t surprise me.

Picking a Tuning Method

Key considerations: What’s the size of your tests and do you want to consider variable interactions? Interactions are very important. Maximize positive interactions (synergies) and eliminate negative interactions. It’s not the headline or the photo on the page that matters; it’s the interaction they create together.

Don’t ignore variable interactions. Interactions exist and can be very strong. Ignoring them will lead to sub-optimal results. A/B splits and MT tests assume that there are no interactions

AB Split Tests: Test one variable at a time. Send equal traffic to all versions. Very simple to implement. You get 1-10 recipes.

Multivariate Testing: Test several variables at the same time. Ignore variable interactions and try to predict best setting for each variable. You get 1-100 different versions.

Non-parametric tuning: Proprietary math for Internet marketing. Designed for large-scale tests. Takes variable interacts into account. Get millions of versions of your page.

Avoiding The Pitfalls

  1. Ignore Your Baseline: Always devote some bandwidth to your current version. Measure relative to the baseline, not absolute performance. You test a change that increases your CR from 4.6 percent to 5.03 percent, should you get a promotion? No, because things have actually gotten worse relative to the baseline.
  2. Not Collecting Enough Data: Do not make decisions based on too little data. Pick a confidence level and wait to see which version is better.

Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

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