The last in my series on when to test is when your ad spend (or your email send) depends on it. Let me explain…

By now I’m sure you have a good idea of how Test&Target will help you test out design ideas, con­ver­sion fun­nels, and land­ing pages. But those are all user expe­ri­ences that take place on your web­site. When you are doing acqui­si­tion mar­ket­ing or cul­ti­vat­ing value from a data­base of cus­tomer email addresses the stakes are pretty high. You are either pay­ing for the dis­play ad impres­sion or you are pay­ing to send them a mes­sage that will hope­fully get them to click through and come to your site to make a pur­chase, com­plete a lead cap­ture form, or per­form some other sort of suc­cess (eg: for firms such as auto com­pa­nies it may be to build & price a car or request a dealer quote).

What­ever the end goal, it’s cost­ing you money to get your mes­sage in front of them. And I’ve seen it proven time and again, and you prob­a­bly have too, that the offer and the cre­ative exe­cu­tion of the ad or email makes a big dif­fer­ence in response rates. It can also make a big dif­fer­ence in whether those who respond are qual­i­fied – mean­ing they actu­ally are inter­ested in the offer and could become a valu­able cus­tomer. Why not test out the offer and the cre­ative that is being put in front of them the same way you might test an offer and cre­ative of a home­page hero ban­ner on your web­site? It’s bound to make your spend (or send) more effective.

Here’s how it works: the Test&Target prod­uct has a fea­ture called “AdBox­ing” that allows you to cre­ate a test­ing script that doesn’t require JavaScript to exe­cute the test­ing cam­paign (fyi: you can also use Flash­box­ing or other Adobe products/services to achieve a sim­i­lar result). Instead, it pro­duces a sim­ple URL that points to Test&Target – and wher­ever you place this URL, it will dis­play con­tent A or con­tent B. So if you want to a/b test two dif­fer­ent dis­play ban­ners against each other and see which one brings in the most traf­fic, rev­enue and orders, you just place ban­ner A into one Test&Target recipe and ban­ner B into another. Cre­ate an AdBox URL and give that URL to your ad net­work. When your AdBox URL gets pub­lished, it tests ban­ner A against ban­ner B and lets you mon­i­tor how they are per­form­ing against each other — based on actual con­ver­sions that resulted on your site for each ban­ner, not just response rate.

One of the largest adver­tis­ers in Latin Amer­ica decided to take this a step fur­ther and use a com­bi­na­tion of AdBox­ing with land­ing page opti­miza­tion to find the ideal com­bi­na­tion of ad + land­ing page (see Fig­ure 1). As I’ve said before, this is the “least leaky bucket” approach.
Fig­ure 1:
Adboxing with TnT

A sim­i­lar con­cept applies to email sends, but can be made even more pow­er­ful by pair­ing Test&Target with an inte­grated email provider such as Exact­Tar­get.

Often when you push an email send to a seg­ment of your cus­tomers, there are debates over what the weekly offer should be to that seg­ment and what the cre­ative treat­ment of the email should be. Why not test those things and ease the debate, while mak­ing more money in the process? That’s the prin­ci­ple behind the Test&Target inte­gra­tion with Exact­Tar­get. First, you push the send to your cus­tomer seg­ment with both ver­sion A and ver­sion B split ran­domly among the cus­tomers in the seg­ment. Half of the recip­i­ents get ver­sion A, half get ver­sion B. But as cus­tomers begin to open the email and respond (or ignore) the offer, Test&Target is learn­ing which ver­sion is per­form­ing bet­ter — again, per­for­mance is judged not just on response rates but on actual result­ing con­ver­sions on your site. Pretty soon you have a win­ning ver­sion of the email, and the sys­tem can change all of the emails that are still sit­ting unopened in cus­tomers’ inboxes so that when they are opened they will all have the win­ning ver­sion – no more test­ing needed for this send.

This same appli­ca­tion of test­ing can be used to squeeze more value out of each send – even long after the day of the send. For exam­ple, what if you send an email that has a time-sensitive offer (like a President’s Day Sale)? By the time the sale has come and gone, there’s likely a large per­cent­age of emails pro­mot­ing the sale that are still sit­ting unopened in cus­tomers’ inboxes. When they open them, if it’s an expired sale then that’s a wasted oppor­tu­nity to mar­ket to that indi­vid­ual and it’s a poor expe­ri­ence for them. It’s a throw­away email from you. So after the President’s Day Sale is over, why not use Test&Target to change out the offer in any email that is still sit­ting unopened in a customer’s inbox? Replace it with an offer that is cur­rent, and you’ll squeeze some more life out of that old send after all!

Best of luck with all your efforts in test­ing to improve your dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, increase con­ver­sion and rev­enue, and improve the expe­ri­ences your cus­tomers have with your brand. I hope this series of blog posts has helped spark some ideas for you, and that you’ll roll up your sleeves and go well beyond the con­cepts I’ve writ­ten here!

–Brig Graff