Dur­ing an elec­tion year, I think we’re all the more keenly aware and frankly tired of mar­ket­ing mes­sages that are all hype and lack sub­stance. We’ve wit­nessed polit­i­cal debates where impres­sive fig­ures are thrown out, but the next day they are quickly debunked by fact check­ers.  I’m all for a healthy dis­cus­sion, but mar­keters need to hone in on the truth behind sen­sa­tional claims and the real data and met­rics that mat­ter.  Unfor­tu­nately, the online test­ing mar­ket is not immune to such rhetoric, and I feel com­pelled to help sort out fact from fic­tion and refo­cus the debate on what really mat­ters about testing.

Are you iden­ti­fy­ing the real return on your test­ing invest­ment? Here’s what you should focus on:

1)     Goals of a test­ing program

What are the busi­ness goals you want to achieve through using a test­ing prod­uct? In addi­tion to dri­ving more con­ver­sion and rev­enue, most busi­nesses want to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of who their online audi­ences are and learn what their audi­ences are look­ing for through the process of online test­ing. The next step is being able to quickly deter­mine, tar­get and deliver the right con­tent to the right cus­tomer at the right time. The test­ing prod­uct you select must be held account­able for deliv­er­ing on these goals.

Adobe Test&Target already deliv­ers on this promise for our cus­tomers today, while in con­trast, tar­get­ing is still just a goal on the roadmap for many other basic test­ing prod­ucts in the mar­ket. Test&Target also effi­ciently pro­vides deep seg­men­ta­tion of an audi­ence pop­u­la­tion and the abil­ity to rapidly test vari­a­tions of con­tent for these seg­ments. This includes test­ing and bridg­ing off­site con­tent includ­ing emails, dis­play ads, social and mobile appli­ca­tions with onsite expe­ri­ences to drive greater con­ver­sion among a diverse audi­ence on an ongo­ing basis.

2)     Scale

Orga­ni­za­tions that adopt test­ing and a true opti­miza­tion cul­ture think of test­ing as an ongo­ing and dis­ci­plined pro­gram, not a coin-operated process to just set and for­get about. So, the abil­ity for a test­ing prod­uct to scale and build upon ini­tial results and suc­cesses to con­tinue dri­ving busi­ness value is tantamount.

Test&Target serves over 1.2 bil­lion test page opti­miza­tion requests each day. Wow. Com­pare this to one startup who has bragged about serv­ing up 1.3 bil­lion over the course of a few years. And Test&Target long ago (while still part of Omni­ture) cel­e­brated the mile­stone of run­ning 100,000 A/B and mul­ti­vari­ate tests, which other test­ing prod­ucts are just begin­ning to reach now.

3)     Inte­gra­tion with best-in-class dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tools

Test&Target’s built-in inte­gra­tions with the ana­lyt­ics in Site­Cat­a­lyst and the prod­ucts within Adobe’s Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Suite enable mar­keters to mea­sure, opti­mize and per­son­al­ize the customer’s full web­site, social media cam­paigns, mobile site and mobile app expe­ri­ence, includ­ing ele­ments such as search results and auto­mated recommendations. This is a big dif­fer­en­tia­tor as most of the basic test­ing prod­ucts can­not deliver tar­geted con­tent to dis­crete audi­ence seg­ments, but rather pro­vide only min­i­mal tar­get­ing based on the results of sim­ple tests. They also lack the flex­i­bil­ity to adapt to a website’s more com­plex needs, or the abil­ity to scale and react in real-time to the chang­ing trends and pref­er­ences of an audi­ence base.

4)     Enter­prise expe­ri­ence and support

Did you know that a large major­ity of the top 100 web­sites in terms of traf­fic as ranked by Alexa use Test&Target? While other ven­dors may claim to have a cer­tain per­cent­age of the Alexa top 10,000 web­sites as cus­tomers, this is ter­ri­bly mis­lead­ing when you con­sider the web­sites’ rankings. In fact, the Alexa top 100 web­sites account for more than 70% of Inter­net traf­fic so there is a big dif­fer­ence between the breadth and reach of the top rank­ing sites than all the rest.

Many other basic test­ing prod­ucts also lack access to full-service con­sult­ing ser­vices, sup­port, or best prac­tices for their clients, which can be essen­tial to grow­ing an opti­miza­tion pro­gram over time. Our rich exper­tise in opti­miza­tion and unpar­al­leled enterprise-level ser­vice dri­ves incre­men­tal value for our cus­tomers every day.

And while we really like to show­case the impres­sive horse­power of Test&Target, even basic test­ing is very easy to learn and to deploy — I’ve wit­nessed opti­miza­tion man­agers learn to run basic tests within the tool within an hour’s time. But empha­siz­ing ease of use is just not enough. Mar­keters and busi­nesses need to be focused on impact­ing their busi­ness and rev­enue goals through their test­ing pro­gram. At the same time, they need to keep an eye to the future in terms of how to build upon ini­tial test results to scale toward a sophis­ti­cated opti­miza­tion sys­tem that can tar­get con­tent to their key audi­ence seg­ments automatically.

So, I encour­age you to dig deeper than the rhetoric you’re hear­ing this elec­tion year and demand the facts when look­ing at the future of your test­ing pro­gram. Don’t set­tle for short-term sim­ple point solu­tions, but look at which ven­dor can pro­vide the best part­ner­ship for growth and scal­a­bil­ity to meet the opti­miza­tion and rev­enue goals of all of your dig­i­tal prop­er­ties. The future of your busi­ness depends upon it.

But, don’t just take my word for it — here are a few recent exam­ples of Adobe cus­tomers who have seen great results from their Test&Target investment.

Cae­sars Enter­tain­ment boosts online con­ver­sion by 79%

USGA increases rev­enue per vis­i­tor by 26%

Nau­tilus drove a 13% uptick in over­all site con­ver­sion through testing

I’d love to hear about your suc­cesses with Test&Target, please share them in the comments!