Conversion Rate Optimization Process
One of my favorite aspects of running digital advertising campaigns are the virtually unlimited options of testing to increase performance. Headlines, calls-to-action, bids, targeting, personalization...the world is your oyster.
It’s easy for marketers to quickly add new variations, but it’s much harder to understand exactly what variables are having a positive or negative effect on results.
“I don’t care much for Best Practice - I care about conversions. That’s why I test” - Michael Aagaard
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CRO Tips for Testing
1. Write Down Your Hypothesis
Before launching a new initiative, write down the channel and variable you would like to test. Next, establish a timeline for how long the test should be active and the desired outcomes.
2. Benchmark Performance
Record the previous results. These metrics will be compared to the new test and help you understand if the recent changes helped or hurt the performance of the campaign. If you are looking to conduct a two week test for example, note the performance trends from the previous two weeks as a benchmark.
3. Use Tracking URLs
Custom URL applications such as Google URL builder help you track A/B tests within analytics platforms. With this tool you can add unique identifiers including:
- Campaign source - Used to identify the channel (Email, Google, Yahoo!, BING, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, etc.)
- Campaign medium - Used to identify the marketing medium (cpc, email, banner)
- Campaign name - Used as a label to track a specific focus (such as a product or seasonal promotion)
- Campaign term - Can be used to track specific search terms (keywords).
- Campaign content - Used to differentiate two elements pointing to the same destination url (such as ad copy variations)
4. Use CRO Tools
Setting up an A/B test doesn’t have to be a painful, manual process. There are many tools created to help marketers run tests to increase paid media campaign performance. Here are some suggested options:
Landing Page Optimization
A/B Ad Copy Testing
Heatmaps and Visitor Recordng
5. Write Notes in Analytics
Google Analytics includes a feature called annotations. This allows a marketer to add notes, highlighting and tracking major initiatives or changes. Each annotation acts as a quick reminder of milestones, which helps explain spikes or drops in site performance trends.
6. Come to a Conclusion, Repeat What Works
After the end of your testing period, compare your hypothesis results, to those of your previous benchmark. Identify increases or decreases in performance (CTR, CPC, CPA, Cost Per Lead, etc.).
As a caution, if you test too many variables or don't document the conversion rate optimization process it will be very hard to pinpoint what did or didn't work. Opposed to blindly running tests and being at the whim of what sticks, create your own luck. Methodically test and find the best suite of advertising channel, targeting, ad copy, and landing pages to yield monumental results.