What is online experimentation?
“For centuries, scientists and engineers have relied on experiments, guided by their insight and intuition, to learn new information and advance knowledge… In the business world, experiments have led to the discovery of both technical solutions and new markets.” – Experimentation Works, by Stephan Thomke
As you can see, the goal of business experimentation is much like that of scientific experimentation: to challenge existing knowledge and think outside the box. It takes more than luck and the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion to continually improve your website performance.
We start by identifying areas of opportunity by analyzing your web performance data. Then, we construct user personas to better understand who is most likely to take a specific action on your site. Finally, we create hypotheses about ways we can improve the onsite experience to lead to more conversions.
A simple hypothesis might be: Many people visit the Contact Us page, but few people fill out the form. We believe that if we simplify the fields on the contact form, people will be more likely to fill it. Using testing tools (like Google Optimize to name just one) we present 50% of users with the simplified form and the other 50% see the original form. We wait for a designated period (perhaps 2 weeks) to see which variant performs better. Then, we are able to declare a winner. Then, we can implement the winner for 100% of page visitors.
The “surprise” factor
In these simple cases, it can seem obvious which variant will win. But sometimes even our team of experts is surprised – and that’s what makes experimentation so important. We may assume that we know the best way to accomplish a goal. This means that sometimes our experiments fail. This failure, or learning as we like to call it, can show us how to tweak an experiment. This often leads to even better results in the future.
Let us help!
It’s a relatively simple concept, but it can require a team of developers, UX designers, and analysts to implement it successfully. It is useful to begin this process with an experienced agency that can help you properly implement the correct testing tool.