A/B Testing within an Organization

A/B Testing for Big Business

I got my start with A/B testing within a large organization with a simple, 1-product funnel. The business I worked for lived and died by a single subscription product and each acquisition was worth a LOT of money annually. Because of the way this business was set up, conversion funnel optimizations were directly attributable to annualized revenue performance. A single product funnel allows one to really avoid the noise caused by product variability, price ranges, merchandising, etc. Every change on the site was measured via testing before it was committed. Not only does increased performance result in increased revenue, a poorly performing test results in saving the company a revenue loss.

A/B Testing Basics

The basics of A/B Testing and optimization of your conversion funnel is using javascript to change elements on page for each user.

In a basic 50/50 A/B test, 50% of your users will see one experience and 50% will see the other experience. Most tools, at the very basic level, will identify which user is which via a cookie, then serve them a several snippets of javascript and html (including CSS) that manipulate the experience on page. It then passes the cookie as a flag on the user and records behavior based on what you’ve defined as your goals. As users flow through these separate experiences, metrics are generated and statistical confidence increases with volume. Defining what ‘confidence’ means at the beginning of your test is encouraged, rather than making stories to rationalize the results.

Leading A/B Testing

One of the things I’ve picked up in various companies is that A/B testing is only successful when championed and made exciting to leadership. Packaging testing Wins and Losses as revenue gains and revenue saves is exciting. Landing page testing for ad campaigns is exciting. I urge people to schedule regular results meetings with various tests that includes learnings. These methods become more exciting when other businesses adopt the methodologies you use in their world. Get the enterprise involved in creating test ideas and a way for people to easily submit tests into the backlog. Keeping results posted also helps keep your colleagues visually interested.

Digital Marketing Basics

Digital Marketing Basics in 2017

Digital marketing evolves every year. While some variables stay constant, the way search engines deliver content to the user changes quite often with some changes being bigger than others. I’ve worked for organizations pre-Panda (Google’s search algorithm shift in 2011) that never made a full traffic recovery after the changeover. If you can recall, there were countless sites that existed purely to aggregate other sites’ content and generate a feed based on what was relevant to their site topic. While this was scoring well within Google’s search algorithm pre-2011, the algorithm shift buried those sites post-Panda.

The one constant that kept some sites up and boosted sites is original content. In today’s shifting sands compounding with authority from other sites, original content has to be written in such a way that in conducive to leveraging those authority-site opportunities.

Search Marketing

Depending on one’s presence in search, different methodologies must be taken given the situation. While SEO should always be a priority, SEM and Advertising opportunities can take budget priority depending on one’s place in market. The most optimal risk and reward situation with short-term and long-term goals must be realized.


As a digital marketer who has worked for big businesses, PPC is always in the spotlight. From the perspective of a business, we can accurately analyze a site’s CPA (Cost-Per-Action) and make tweaks that improve our ROI (Return-on-Investment). We can run campaigns to maximize the dollars spent on certain goals and optimize what our business determines is a profitable spending budget. There are several ways to optimize:

  • Reduce cost per action by attaining better quality scores for your ads
  • Optimize the spend amount against the return ratio


The foundation of digital marketing comes with an understanding, at least at a high-level, on how SEO works. At the very core, search engines like Google and Bing want to return what they believe to be the most accurate, quality page to the user based on the search term. Algorithms can change at any time and some types of sites may rank higher or lower based on what Google believes is best. Sometimes, Google will have a business user define requirements for what the “best result” is which leads to Shopping Sites as a boosted type, over content.

When my site, Stickhunters.com, was active as an online archery and outdoor gear retailer, I was ranking on Google page 1 for all of my products. My content was ranked much lower, even though the content included in-depth review of the products I was targeting keywords for.

On the other hand, perhaps shopping sites are truly the best result, as products tend to have a lot of information including descriptions, reviews, specifications, and more. It’s easy to see why Google would rank these types of sites higher. Links between sites of authority influences the way Google may return a certain site to the user as well. No site is immune to algorithm changes, so the best way to stay consistent is to provide well written, well formatted, original content.