One of the most common challenges that web site managers face when venturing into improving their conversion rate through multivariate testing, is what I call “variable proliferation syndrome”
When a web sales or marketing team is first exposed to the promise of increasing their conversion rate by testing simple changes to their landing page or purchase funnel, they can become understandably giddy. Giddyness, however, rarely lends itself to scientific testing methodology.
The promise is exciting, but when the site manager doesn’t know which elements will produce the most dramatic result (or whether multivariate testing is even the best first step to take) the inclination is to test everything.. at once.
I was speaking with Tom Leung, Google Website Optimizer Product Manager, yesterday and he confirmed that they’re getting a lot of feedback from early users of the Website Optimizer tool that the experiments are just taking too long. The problem has nothing to do with the tool, though. The real issue is a lack of methodical planning processes.
In fact, it was a reminder to me of where most web managers are at in the process, because for our clients we rarely run into this issue. Our Kaizen Method ensures that the Funnel Experiment plans are aligned with business goals, identify target segments and personas, prioritize experiment opportunities and account for traffic levels.
A methodical process like this ensures that each Funnel Experiment plan recommends experimenting only with variables and variations that will produce maximum conversion rate lift within reasonable timeframes.
Here’s a tip if you find yourself plagued by variable proliferation: Test one thing. It’s better to get a quick learning (good or bad) than to get bogged down in a quagmire with an uncertain outcome.
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