Marin Software's official blog

Generate 100s more conversions without adding a keyword…(Part 1)

Tim Granshaw
|
May 4, 2011

Creative testing is broken into five steps:

  1. Identify test goals
  2. Identify test themes
  3. Define and build test structure
  4. Run test and measure results
  5. Iterate


In this post we'll cover the first two items with the final three covered in my next post.

Identify Test Goals


The test goals will have a significant impact on how each test will be structured. You may want to know whether one marketing message has more impact or another, or looking to build the best possible creative for a certain audience.



Each of these goals will result in different test structures and components. Ideally, define the goals of a test in objective terms as these are most easily quantified: For most performance marketers these measures are conversion rate, click through rate, or return on investment. Examples might include:

  1. Increase click-through rate by 20% over current average
  2. Increase return customer volume by 2% (this may be a combination of creative and media strategy)
  3. Improve coupon downloads by 15%


Identify Test Themes


Once test outcomes have been reviewed, next decide how to best achieve those results. For example,

  1. Decide on a few interesting ways coupon downloads could be tested including adding an expiration message or adding a possible savings amount.
  2. Test whether some vendor coupon types are more interesting than others.
  3. Finally, test whether adding a persona to my text ads (in the form of a quote) or my display ads (as an image) performs better than none at all.


Don’t be afraid of running some outrageous ideas: A poor performing creative will only live a few days, a great one can continue to make money for months or years.

Once creative themes are defined ,decide how to apply those themes. The consensus across creative testers is that the most impactful elements in a display creative are headline, image, call-to-action, and creative style (which encompasses text fonts, background colors, etc). The most impactful elements of search creatives are usually headline message, headline type (Quote, statistic, etc), main body message, and display URL structure. For the examples above, tests might include:

  1. A couple of headlines that test expiration date for coupons vs. the possible amount saved for coupons
  2. A few different logo sets (in display) or vendor names (in search) that have different associations with different buyers. For example, test one logo set that conveys luxury against another that conveys savings or low price.
  3. A few different personalities including a cartoon, a woman, and a couple as images in display or quotes in search.


Finally, rather than testing just creative, Marin always recommends extending the test at least through your landing page. A consistent message is less likely to be jarring to the visitor, resulting in a more accurate reflection of most effective message.

Internet Image



A perfect example of creative-to-landing page optimization. Even the winning dollar amount has increased slightly between the creative click and the landing page arrival. In this case the user coming from ad to landing page is getting exactly what they’re expecting when they click the ad.

Once deciding on what to test and how to want to manage it, the test can be built. We’ll cover that in my next post.

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