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Online Marketing: How to Prevent Your Own Biases From Leading You Astray

"Nobody would actually BUY this stuff... right??"

Not long ago, I wrote some posts on psychological biases. The crux: knowing your customers' biases can help you create messages that truly resonate.

But there's an interesting flip side. Because as marketers, we're equally biased. We tend to assume our customers will share our own feelings and beliefs.

Biases such as False Consensus and Confirmation Bias can prevent us from recognizing what our customers really want, including:

  • Which products and services will be of interest?
  • What messaging will resonate with readers?
  • Which special offers will motivate them?


Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics - Interpreting the Data

Previously, I wrote a blog post on how to integrate GWO data with GA using custom variables. The ultimate goal of the integration was to look at metrics other than just conversion rate. For example, using the e-commerce reports you may find that one of the losing variations generated significantly more revenue than the winning combination. Or, you could segment your visitors by variation and geographic location. Perhaps one variation does better in one state or region versus another. If you do implement my GA/GWO integration method, here are some of the reports I would suggest you look at in GA. One thing to keep in mind when comparing the data from the two tools is that the data will never match exactly.

First off, let's look at the GWO results


Why I'm No Longer a "User Advocate"

For years, I believed my mission as a usability professional was to act as a user advocate. In fact, "User Champion" was once part of my official job title. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I now believe this concept is wrong-headed.

If you position yourself as an advocate for the user, you will often encounter resistance from the development team. They don't want to change course just because some self-proclaimed "user advocate" believes certain changes are necessary. They may not be convinced you're right; they may believe that they themselves know what customers really want. And they'll push back.


An Update to the Erik Vasilik's "Poor Man's GWO/Analytics Integration": Using Custom Variables

GWO and GA, together at last

Here's an update to Erik Vasilik's "Poor Man's GWO/Analytics Integration" technique. The latest iteration of the technique used GA's user-defined variable to store the combination the visitor saw. Here's an update to that technique, but leveraging the new Custom Variables just released by Google.


Further Evolution of Google Website Optimizer

Just a couple of weeks ago, I blogged about some cool new GWO features. This week, Google released two more.

Experiment-Management API

A critical step in the implementation of any GWO experiment is adding the GWO tags to the test pages. In most cases, this is pretty simple. But if your site uses a Content Management System (CMS) or a third-party shopping cart, accessing and inserting code can be tricky (especially for us technically-challenged marketing folk).


Testing Youtube - An interview with the team behind the largest GWO test in history

In January of 2009, YouTube approached VKI Studios to develop a test using Google's own Website Optimizer. Working together, VKI Studios and YouTube implemented one of the largest Google Website Optimizer (GWO) experiments in history, with a whopping 1024 combinations and more traffic than any reasonable site should have to maintain. The results: a 15.6% increase in YouTube sign-ups.

Last month, we interviewed Neal McGann and Michael Straker, the team behind the experiment, to ask what goes into creating such a massive test. This was originally released exclusively to subscribers to the VKI Studios newsletter, but today we're making it available to our blog readers.

As always, if you're interested in GWO or other landing page testing, be sure to talk to us.


Persuasive Web Design, Part 2: More Usable Is Not Always More Effective

New improved baitless trap: Lower maintenance!

We recently concluded some interesting A/B/n tests for an online driving school's landing page. I thought I'd share the results, as it's a great example of the distinction between usable design and persuasive design.

We restricted our test to the main content area of the page, shown below:


The Evolution of Google Website Optimizer: 3 Great New Features

It's nice to see our friends at GWO are listening. Just in the past week or two, they've made three notable improvements.


1. Experimenter Notes

The Settings page now includes a text field in which you can add your own annotations. This is very handy for quickly jotting down hypotheses, noting external factors that might affect an ongoing test, or debriefing a completed experiment. It's also an easy way for team members to keep each other apprised as to where a project stands. It's especially handy for those of us who usually have several experiments running at the same time.


Google Analytics Traps #6:Subdomain tracking robs AdWords. Blame _setDomainName() or _initData()?

Who gets credit for the Goal

You're getting AdWords traffic. You're sure that some of those visitors are converting. But Google Analytics is not giving your Campaigns the credit they are due. Could Sub-domain tracking be the problem?

All sub-domain tracking problems lead to _setDomainName() and _initData(). _initData()? Just when you thought it was deprecated, dropped, kaput, gone and forgotten !!!


VKI Studios in The National Post - "Marketing strategy begins online"

VKI in the news

It seems like every Tuesday something exciting comes up, tossing aside my hopes of a social sharing post mid-stream. Today is no exception, the National Post has featured VKI studios in a center spread across its back page!

This, of course, is due to the fact that we've recently announced that we recently finished our GWO test on Youtube, one of the most visited sites on the internet.

From financialpost.com:

Last year, Vancouver-based VKI Studios Inc., an Internet marketing and website usability firm, identified an opportunity for growth by thinking about what it had to offer and the type of client that was the best fit for its services.

As a result, VKI Studios embarked on a new strategy that took the company from primarily servicing small to medium-sized companies to a customer base of medium-sized to large businesses.

"It was just a strategic decision we made," says John Hossack, chief executive and principal of VKI Studios.

"A lot of it came down to what it was we wanted to do to help clients and it was just much more involved than the small/medium companies could actually afford."

VKI Studios' client base now includes such giants as You-Tube, Virgin Money, TELUS and Mutual of Omaha.

Read the rest here

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