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Tips & Tricks for Building Your Experimentation Program

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Faster than an airplane, more powerful than a locomotive, impervious to bullets! Up in the sky – look! It’s a giant bird! It’s a plane! It’s an OPTIMIZELY TESTING HERO!

This could be you.

Note: This could be you.

Grab your cape and call up your sidekick, folks. Whether you’re an e-retailer preparing for the holiday season or an online publisher trying to increase clicks and engagement, this 3-part series will offer quick, easy steps to take you from Testing Zero to Testing Hero in a matter of weeks.

Part 1: It’s all about definition

There are a number of things you’ll need to define before launching a Hulk-smashing testing program.

HULK SMASH!

HULK SMASH!

Who are the essential team members and what resources are needed? What does success look like? Is it an increase in purchases? Revenue per visitor? Or something else? What skill sets will need to be developed along the way? What tests should you start with? Defining answers to these questions will help you think about your testing program strategically.

You can group the most important definitions into 4 buckets.

1. Define success: What will a successful testing program will look like when you look back a year from now? For example:

  • “We want to learn about our users’ preferences so we can take an informed approach to our website redesign and prioritize resources accordingly.”

  • “We want to focus on ROI and quantifiably make more money through our testing efforts than had we not tested at all.”

2. Define your dream team: No matter what size your company is, you’ll need one person to manage your testing efforts. A testing program manager will prioritize test order, coordinate resources, understand how to interpret test results, and ensure those with buy-in have regular and timely updates on test results.

Who else is on your testing dream team? Think of your resources in terms of skill sets. Do you have access to a designer or a developer? Who (if anyone) on the team knows HTML, CSS, or Javascript? Make sure the team members that have these skill sets know they’re going to be a part of the testing program’s efforts.

3. Define consistent metrics: Outline common, quantifiable success metrics that will be present in every test that is run. Common examples for e-commerce include: Homepage bounce rates, category-pageviews, product page views, adds to cart, and all stages in your checkout flow all the way to the ‘Thank You’ page or whatever page defines a purchase has been made.

4. Define (and build) your first tests: Now that you have basic definitions in place, run a few easy tests to ensure you’ve defined the your resources and metrics correctly. I recommend starting with low-hanging fruit first – things like copy, imagery, and forms – to gain momentum around big wins quickly.

Need some more testing ideas? Check out this webinar (starring myself and Chris Goward of WiderFunnel) for some tests you absolutely should be running now or try Optimizely’s A/B testing tool.

Already a testing hero? With great power comes great responsibility. We want to hear from you! 

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