Testing landing pages

1215246_Heavy liftersFor the commercial world outside of consumer e-commerce, focused landing pages are the fastest and easiest ways to improve all conversion points on the site. They are the heavy lifters of this world. Often the Landing pages, being small and light, means they are easy to work with, easy to optimise and easy to improve and as a result a typical company might change these once every month or so. But how can you tell if you are actually improving the landing page? What happens when you’ve done all the “normal” stuff? What happens when the conversion rate starts to fall again?

These are all questions typically running around marketing departments at the moment and the stock answer is to “get a new one designed” on the basis that it must be better than the old one as it’s newer and we’ve learned things (have we?) about the current versions of the landing pages.

Trial and error economics

Don’t guess, don’t risk the return on the heavy-lifters. Your current series of pages act as a ‘banker’ – put simply the new stuff has to race the best of the best you have already. When testing the new pages against the current bankers use a reliable testing method (such as the null hypothesis) that gives results you can be confident in. If you can be confident in the results then you can queue up hundreds of ideas to be tested and leave the testing harness to do the hard work or evaluating the changes.

The risk is low because:

  • Pages that perform a lot worse than the banker will show up as failing very quickly and can be removed from the test quickly.
  • Pages that perform a lot better than the banker will show up as succeeding very quickly and can replace the banker quickly.
  • Pages that perform similarly will take a lot longer to determine their value but as they are not hurting (or helping) the conversion rate there is no loss associated with leaving them in test except the loss of the opportunity to run another test.
  • Testing small changes can help with specific learning. For example, the data-entry form might perform better with a solid blue background versus white. This is real learning and can be applied (after testing) across other landing pages.

In fact, taken as a continuous process (Kaizen) optimising the landing pages can be the easiest and fastest way to continually improve a site, although not very glamorous for a marketing department.

About VITES™ as a testing tool

Split testing using the null hypothesis is built-into the core of VITES™ and offers a fast, reliable and repeatable test harness. Testing can be done via profile, traffic type, campaign or any other superset of visitor data (postcode range, for example) and is not limited to A/B testing with support for 26 concurrent tests running in each profile.  Traffic can be split in any range, typically the fastest results are achieved using a 50:50 ratio in an A/B test but 80:20 tests are commonly used when clients are nervous about radical changes to high net-worth landing pages.