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