In early November, we provided an update to Adobe’s Test&Target product. I encourage you to take a look at a release walkthrough video to get a feel for the capabilities added. In this blog post, I’d like to share with you the reasons why we crafted an incremental product update with the provided enhancements.

Over the last couple of years, a series of market developments have brought Adobe Test&Target to the point of being an undisputed  leader in online testing products. ‘The Forrester Wave™: Online Testing, Q3 2010’ report, an independent evaluation of eight online testing vendors, was the most visible evidence of that reality. We feel the core optimization capabilities within Test&Target are in many cases ahead of the marketing organizations that use them. The challenge before Test&Target was to help these marketing organizations create a culture of optimization within their ranks. To help understand this problem deeper during our product planning sessions, we referred back to the following graphic:

Maturity Model for for Online Testing and Optimization.

Maturity Model for for Online Testing and Optimization.

We then asked a straightforward question: What are the key remaining challenges facing marketing teams to create more effective optimization programs? Stated differently, how can we help marketers transition their organizations from “Incidental Testing” and closer to “Optimization Organization”. This is fundamental since we have a overwhelming amount of evidence (that we share with you through our case studies) that proves that organizations that successfully make the transition achieve significant increases in marketing ROI. After customary deliberation, we came up with three major areas of focus. These were Ideas, Collaboration and Program Development.

1. Ideas

Ideas is the fuel that drives marketing campaigns. Clearly, marketing organizations need to get better over time at generating ideas for their campaigns. Today, most organizations manage their test ideas in a spreadsheet and iterate on it via email or at a weekly meeting. As happens more often than we would like (especially at companies in Silicon Valley), Optimization Managers are promoted up, across or beyond their current organizations. When that happens we have an institutional memory issue that sets these organizations back. We believe there is a better way to create and manage the optimization roadmap and doing it within Test&Target lends context to the Ideation, which is powerful. So we created “Ideas”, a new section within the tool. Here is what it looks like:

The new Ideas tool allows teams to record and manage testing roadmaps and other improvements within the application, eliminating the common an inefficient practice of managing campaign roadmap and communication in email or spreadsheets.

Ideas lets teams to create and manage testing roadmaps.

Using Ideas, the Optimization Manager and team can create Ideas, prioritize the ones that they believe have the most compelling hypothesis and create marketing campaigns for those Ideas. We believe that Ideas is more task appropriate than general purpose tools such as Excel or BaseCamp. To be clear, we love those tools and the people behind them. However, quite often, they introduce more overhead than benefit for creating and managing optimization roadmaps.

2. Collaboration

We took a look at two critical phases of the marketing campaign lifecycle (the two ends) which are Ideation and Analysis. We decided to infuse these with a dose of collaboration. Why? A major component of building a successful marketing programs is enabling the extended optimization team (optionally includes Adobe Consulting and other Agencies) to effectively communicate. Today, most organizations use email to communicate during the campaign lifecycle phases. Again, we believe there are ways to enhance this communication and doing it within Test&Target lends context to the communication, which is useful. So we created several features that allow marketers to communicate more effectively during the Ideation and Analysis phases of the campaign lifecycle. Let’s take a look:

1. Collaborate to generate Ideas

Let’s start with Ideas. Most marketers will browse a website to generate Ideas. We created a browser bookmarklet that marketers can use to submit their ideas to the Optimization Manager from without leaving their browsing task. This is swift and effective way to collaboratively generate ideas across the client organization and the agencies that support them. Here is what it looks like (shown in the context of browsing adobe.com):

Ideas Bookmarklet is a tool to allow optimization team members to submit Ideas to the Optimization Manager during web browsing

Ideas Bookmarklet lets teams to submit Ideas while browsing.

2. Collaborate to analyze Campaigns

Let us continue to the Analysis phase. First, we created a new feature called Spotlight. What the Spotlight does is allow the marketer to understand, at single glance, the nature and performance of their campaigns. It contains five major sections, which are Objective and Results, Notes, Winning Experience, Data Overview and Experience Snapshots. With these data points, marketers are now afforded a single place within the tool to create documents that communicate test results to stakeholders. We’ve taken it a step further and we hope organizations take us up on it. We’ve also provided a feature to share a link to the Spotlight via email. This provides the person consuming the report to view the Spotlight directly (no login required). Here is what the Spotlight looks like:

Spotlight

Spotlight lets marketers communicate test results easily using email.

You may have noticed that I slipped in the ability to annotate the Spotlight. This feature allows the optimization team to create notes and replies within the Spotlight. Here is what Spotlight Notes looks like:

SpotlightNotes

Spotlight annotations lets teams to talk about their campaigns.

We’ve created a News Feed within the Launch Pad (which I’ll describe later) . One of the benefits of the News Feed is that it provides a auto updating feed for the optimization team to view the latest conversations around their marketing campaigns. One way to think about it, is as a collation of the conversations that are currently happening on the various Spotlights. Here is what the News Feed looks like:

NewsFeed

News Feed lets teams to watch the conversations around their campaigns.

Observing conversations about your marketing campaigns, interjecting your opinions in reports and communicating results easily makes for better marketing campaigns.

3. Program Development

Our marketers told us that they need guidance on understanding where their organizations are within the “Development of an Optimization Organization” maturity model, depicted above. They also wanted guidance on how to progress their programs. We’ve invested in features that allow a organization to create a more effective optimization program and features that help the marketer create more effective marketing campaigns. Here is what we now provide:

1. Better Optimization Program with the Program Overview

We created a Program Overview that employed a three stage heuristic. Stage 1 represent organizations that are testing on an infrequent basis and Stage 3 represents organizations that are using advanced segmentation and behavioral targeting techniques to boost their ROI. In addition to communicating their overall stage, we also provided the stage heuristic against a set of Test&Target specific features to illustrate how marketers could use the features available in the product to help with stage progression. We do this by providing pointers to our documentation that have  illustrations and examples of how to use the more advanced capabilities. Here is what the “Program Overview” looks like:

ProgramOverview

Program Overview shows organizations their optimization stage.

ProgramOverviewDetail

2. More Effective Marketing Campaigns with Audience Insights

One way to develop a more effective marketing program is to continue to move the needle on developing more effective marketing campaigns. What Audience Insights will do for the marketer is surface the segments of traffic that are behaving differently for their offers. For example, it will be able to tell you that the visitors that visited during the weekends from paid search are converting at a higher rate on a different experience when compared to the general population. What the marketer is then encouraged to do is to take a deeper look at the segment and/or the offer to understand what they might be able to do, to target that segment more effectively. This is what “Audience Insights” looks like:

audienceinsights

Audience Insights prompts action for interesting segments.

Buidling more effective campaigns will naturally move a marketing organization along to building a more effective optimization program. They’re connected.

Before I sign off, I’d like to introduce one more thing. Prior to this release, when a marketer logged into Test&Target, we landed them on the Campaign List. We  now have a more actionable homepage for the marketer and we’re calling it the Launch Pad. The Launch Pad is the heartbeat of the organizations optimization program. It ties together the various concepts discussed so far. So when the marketer logs into the tool, they are now landed into the LaunchPad. The Launch Pad (by default) looks at that at the campaigns live within the last 30 days and provides the marketer four things. These are high level campaign overview cards that link to the Spotlight, Audience Insights, News Feed and quick access to the Program Overview. Marketers now have their pulse of their optimization activities at their fingertips and are encouraged to iteratively improve. This is what the Launch Pad looks like:

LaunchPad

The Launch Pad is the new hearbeat of an organizations optimization program.

There are several other features in the release such as improvements to Campaign List, Product Navigation and Campaign Labeling to name a few. You will discover other enhancements as you use the tool. As always, we hope you enjoy using the new features in the release as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

So, what do you think? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments. If you prefer you can reach the Test&Target team via email at tt-feedbacklist@adobe.com.

Good Optimization!

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