Rather than just pick­ing ran­dom ideas or lis­ten­ing to your HiP­POs for things to test and opti­mize on your web­site, there is a much bet­ter way that will usu­ally result in bet­ter con­ver­sion lifts. And it’s some­thing that sur­pris­ingly few com­pa­nies do a very good job of. The answer is to use web ana­lyt­ics data and insights to power your web­site test­ing efforts — yes, ana­lyt­ics isn’t just all about mea­sur­ing page views, unique vis­i­tors and rev­enue, it can actu­ally help improve your test­ing efforts too.

Com­ing from a back­ground in ana­lyt­ics and now in the world of con­ver­sion opti­miza­tion, I cer­tainly have seen the ben­e­fits of this, but unfor­tu­nately it seems like many online busi­nesses don’t really under­stand the ben­e­fit and impact of using web ana­lyt­ics to power their test­ing efforts. There­fore, this rep­re­sents a big oppor­tu­nity for you to form a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage over your rivals who aren’t doing a very good job with test­ing and opti­miz­ing their websites.

Ben­e­fits of using web ana­lyt­ics to power and improve your test­ing efforts:

  • Web ana­lyt­ics helps you dis­cover, mon­i­tor and set tar­gets for your key suc­cess met­rics (for exam­ple shop­ping cart aban­don­ment rate or signup form com­ple­tion rate). These will be vital to use and mon­i­tor dur­ing your test­ing efforts to under­stand how well your test efforts are performing.
  • Web ana­lyt­ics helps you under­stand and pri­or­i­tize what pages on your web­site need opti­miz­ing the most on your web­site, rather than sim­ply guess­ing what you should test. For exam­ple, you shouldn’t be test­ing pages that have very low traf­fic or have a low impact on your con­ver­sion goals.
  • Web ana­lyt­ics helps arm with you infor­ma­tion that can improve web­site deci­sion mak­ing, which is often crit­i­cal to over­come prob­lem­atic HiP­POs (High­est Paid Person’s Opin­ion) who are often hes­i­tant to allow wide­spread testing.
  • Ulti­mately, web ana­lyt­ics pro­vides you with some amaz­ing vis­i­tor insights to help you cre­ate even bet­ter tests, and tests that will usu­ally have a higher chance of see­ing more sig­nif­i­cant con­ver­sion lifts.

Key things you should be doing with your ana­lyt­ics to help power and improve your testing:

  • Ana­lyze your key con­ver­sion fun­nels (for exam­ple shop­ping carts and sign up process) to look for pages that have par­tic­u­larly high exit rates or drop-off rates and then run tests on them to increase con­ver­sion. These con­ver­sion fun­nels can be set-up in Site­Cat­a­lyst using the ‘Fall-Out Report’.
  • Start higher up the con­ver­sion flow fun­nel. When ana­lyz­ing your con­ver­sion flows, find the top entrance paths to the first page of your con­ver­sion flow. For exam­ple, if you are try­ing to opti­mize your reg­is­tra­tion flow, you should find out the top pages that most of your vis­i­tors arrive from, and opti­mize those pages.
  • Review your top entry pages for any pages that have high bounce rates. These are great can­di­dates for test­ing and opti­miz­ing. Remem­ber to also check the key­word or source they are arriv­ing from too to see if the are any issues with con­tin­u­a­tion of messaging.
  • On pages that you are con­sid­er­ing test­ing, use your visual ana­lyt­ics reports (like Click Map) to under­stand what vis­i­tors are click­ing on and their pos­si­ble intent. This helps you under­stand and pri­or­i­tize which page ele­ments may need test­ing and opti­miz­ing the most.
  • Set up alerts in Site­Cat­a­lyst to inform you of when newer highly vis­ited pages occur, as these are also prime can­di­dates for test­ing and optimizing.
  • Improve your test plans with ana­lyt­ics insights and data. When cre­at­ing a test plan for each of your tests, you should always include the web ana­lyt­ics insight found that led you to think of the test. This will help oth­ers under­stand your logic for the test, and help with pri­or­i­ti­za­tion efforts to get it launched.
  • Make sure there is strong col­lab­o­ra­tion between web ana­lysts and test­ing man­agers, because this will help increase the amount of test­ing insights being generated.

Don’t for­get about the pow­er­ful inte­gra­tion between Site­Cat­a­lyst and Test & Tar­get.
Set­ting up this inte­gra­tion between our ana­lyt­ics and test­ing tools enables you to do some other pow­er­ful things with your ana­lyt­ics and tests:

  • Set up con­ver­sion and event-based seg­ments in Site­Cat­a­lyst that you can then use to seg­ment and tar­get even bet­ter in Test & Tar­get. Push­ing live mul­ti­ple win­ners to these advanced seg­ments will really help max­i­mize your con­ver­sion rates.
  • Ana­lyze your Test & Tar­get test cam­paigns in Site­Cat­a­lyst, as this will help give you even more insights into the impact and results of your tests (which is great for mon­i­tor­ing impact on engage­ment in particular).

So in the future, don’t just take your web ana­lyt­ics for granted and start using it to help improve your test­ing efforts. Hope­fully you found this sub­ject enlightening.