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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