Testing has evolved for online marketers so much in the last few years that it’s easy to test anything and everything. It’s also easy to segment your audience to test and target content just for them. It’s mind-boggling to think of the days when we were limited to single sessions and to single-page testing. With the latest test and target technology, all that has changed.

Recently, we were working with a client and wanted to introduce them to behavioral targeting for testing. We had already started the initial rounds of tests to targeted paid search traffic but felt there was an opportunity to move the needle a bit more. There are endless things that one can do with behavioral targeting. At a high level though, behavioral targeting allows marketers to target or segment based on pre-defined behaviors of their visitors.

Start Small Enough to Show a Difference

For this particular client, a large retailer, we wanted something relatively easy to do in terms of execution and design so as to deliver a small taste of what is possible. We created a test that would be targeted to those visitors that added something to their cart but failed to complete their purchase, and then made a subsequent visit to a category page, product page, or the home page on the same session or a later session. This segment can be described as “abandoned carts.”

Set Up a Monitoring Campaign First

Now before I we explained to the client what we wanted to do we thought it best to get some data to help explain the goal and our desired outcome. To do this we set up a monitoring campaign to track these cart abandoners. A monitoring campaign is similar to a regular campaign or test but does not deliver content. It is mainly used to identify baselines so as to visualize the gains of sequential A/B or multivariate testing.

For this monitoring campaign to capture the desired data we had to create the segment for cart abandoners. To do this, we profiled or ‘tagged’ those visitors that added something to their cart. We then profiled or ‘tagged’ those visitors that checked out or made a purchase. Profiling is an enormous feature that will certainly be blogged about here soon in much greater detail.

Now, to qualify for the monitoring campaign a visitor had to be a cart-adder but not a purchaser. The visitor would then have visited a category page, product page, or the home page. We did not limit these visits to single session.

The Monitoring Campaign Results

The results of this monitoring campaign were definitely impactful. We found that 30% of visitors finally made a purchase after leaving the funnel. We then had some interesting data to help us understand who we were focusing our test on and what would be our success metric. Our initial goal wasn’t to increase the revenue metrics such as RPV, AOV, or total sales. Our aim was to increase the conversion rate for the 70% of visitors that completely failed to check out despite having added something to their cart and making a subsequent visit back to one of the earlier mentioned areas of the site.

Now that we had the profiles or ‘tags’ in place we were all set. We added an mbox to the top of the center “hero area” to the home page, category page, and the product pages. This mbox was named the same, which allowed for quick and easy set up in Test & Target. The only thing needed now was a creative element to remind visitors that they have something in their cart.

Add Creative

For the creative, we included a handful of different designs to see if there were any differences in the performance. Limiting the test to no cart abandonment messaging vs. one piece of creative limits your analysis quite a bit. If cart abandonment messaging is effective but the creative was poor you would get misleading results in such a test.

The test or campaign was set up as follows:

Recipe A: Default Content (No Cart Abandonment messaging)
Recipe B: Abandonment messaging (design 1)
Recipe C: Abandonment messaging (design 2)
Recipe D: Abandonment messaging (design 3)

With this type of test design we get to understand a couple of things from the results.

1. Does cart abandonment messaging improve the conversion rates of this segment of traffic?
2. Does one creative over another affect things differently?

The results were pretty interesting. We saw a decent amount of conversion lift across Recipes B, C, D. This was great to see, as we were able to confirm that we could positively affect this segment of traffic.

Recipe C though did a lot better then Recipes B and D. The creative was very different which lead us to believe that creative does impact things as well.

Right now this customer is running a champion/challenger test by testing Recipe C against another new variation to see if we can leverage the gains even more. This time we have 10% of traffic going to the control, and 45% of traffic going to each of the cart abandonment messaging. This way we can quantify the impact of the messaging while getting the biggest bang for our buck.

If you want to see a very simplistic mock up of the cart abandonment messaging using the Test and Target platform, I invite you to visit this link.

Once you visit you will see this product page with four products:

If you actually add one of these nice Mac products to your cart and then revisit the product page you will see the tool in action with this messaging:

If you are a Test and Target user and would like to see how I set up this Cart Abandonment test please email me or make a comment on the post. I will then create a login into my Test and Target account. Here you can not only see how I set up this test but the many more examples I plan on posting here.

10 comments
Kate Benedict
Kate Benedict

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Garbage Truck For Sale
Garbage Truck For Sale

The problem of selling online takes many forms. First you must build it before they come. Then you must find ways to drive customers to the site. Then you must merchandise your products and make it easy and desirable to buy. And finally, you must close the sale. The bane of all ecommerce sites is the abandoned shopping cart, the incompleted transaction. Studies estimate that up to 75% of all shopping carts are abandoned before the sale is closed. All that effort and money, and you failed to close the sale. A study by a leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) research firm offers valuable insight into why. They evaluated the experiences of 719 consumers as they used shopping carts on ecommerce sites.

concrete buggy
concrete buggy

One thing that has helped me. Provide shipping costs early in the process. If possible, provide an estimated cost while visitors browse. They want to buy but want the answers to all their questions when they want them. Total cost is one of those critical questions. Also, if the shipping information is the same as the billing information, include a checkbox to automatically fill in the same information.

Brian Hawkins
Brian Hawkins

Hello Steve, I would love to help you get this set up. Email me at bhawkins at omniture dot com and I can even set you up with access to my prototype account to see how I set this one up. Thanks so much, Brian Hawkins

Steve Nicholas
Steve Nicholas

We just implemented test and target. I would be very interested in how you set this up.

Freight
Freight

I found that when I add pictures inside the basket. Placing a thumbnail image of the product increases conversions by as much as 10 percent.

Towable
Towable

I've found that these are some of the top reasons why potential customers abandon the shopping cart! 1. High shipping prices (72%) 2. Comparison shopping or browsing (61%) 3. Changed mind (56%) 4. Saving items for later purchase (51%) 5. Total cost of items is too high (43%) 6. Checkout process is too long (41%) 7. Checkout requires too much personal information (35%) 8. Site requires registration before purchase (34%) 9. Site is unstable or unreliable (31%) 10. Checkout process is confusing (27%)

Lift
Lift

You can offer visitors alternate selections or trigger personalized messaging and targeted content that provides visitors with an additional incentive to complete the transaction.

Doug
Doug

This is great example and easy to see how this would increase lift for a specific segment of visitors.

Hussey
Hussey

It is the common problem with most of us that we tend to buy products online but either forget or sometime do not lay that much importance on Cart Abandonment feature which is important too.