Don't make this optimization mistake in 2017

Posted by Kristin Ravesloot on October 28, 2016

As 2016 wraps up, companies are taking stock of what website optimization & testing worked (and what didn’t), using those insights to plan ahead for 2017. Budgets are being negotiated, strategies presented, and benchmarks set for next year, and hopefully testing and optimization are a significant portion of any company’s digital marketing budget for the new year.

A big part of that decision making process is implementing those website and conversion improvements so your site can absorb the positive change that will result in a better experience for the user and drive more revenue.

It sounds obvious, we know, but time and time again, we see clients – even large, multinational companies – breeze through the optimization process: from data analysis to strategizing, from strategizing to testing, from testing to more analysis … and then? Round and round they go, in a seemingly never-ending cycle of testing, ideation, and planning, without ever making comprehensive changes to their site or app.

You may be wondering, what is the point of all this testing and strategizing if, ultimately, the results learned from those tests are never used to improve a website? It is crucial that companies implement the positive results, creating improved user experiences and increasing revenue. That implementation will then become the baseline for further testing and optimization, meaning that you are constantly improving on the winner.

Considering that this is the single most important part of the optimization process, it would seem strange, that so many fail to accomplish the very thing that they set out to do in the first place: make those improvements to their sites. Often this is due to a lack of internal bandwidth or a back-logged IT department (the two most common reasons we’ve found for this).

Here’s how you can avoid making this mistake with your site in 2017:

  • Stake-holder buy-in: the more company-wide, cross-disciplinary support you have for testing and optimization, the more accountability there will be for your IT department to implement the changes learned from testing and data analysis. How do you get this support? First, by sharing your strategy, including the projected ROI, for optimization with as many people outside of your own team as you can. And, this shouldn’t just be a one-time thing. Keeping multiple team leaders informed of your progress – even with high-level, short reports or presentations – on a regular basis (quarterly at the very least) is one of the best way to rally support and set expectations for follow-through.
  • Some take the band-aid route: Because IT teams aren’t able to implement the site’s improvement, band-aiding means keeping the test running through the selected tool, but showing it to 100% of users instead of a segment. While band-aids are possible, they are not always the best solution. Two main problems with this: Reporting becomes an issue. Secondly, it can then be difficult, in some cases, to run other tests and make smart, data-informed optimizations to that very same page. So, this is best used as a temporary back-up solution – a few months at most – until your IT team can implement the changes we recommend based on testing results and digital marketing analysis.

Need help testing or optimizing your site or app? Email me at kristin@multiplica.us

Topics: Test and Optimization

Written by Kristin Ravesloot