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The Marketing Laboratory

Moving a letter one pixel to the left may be the digital equivalent to splitting hairs, but as it turns out, even small changes can have a big impact.

Have you noticed a change in Google’s logo?  No?  Well you’re not alone – the small tweak is barely noticeable, but some of the more hawk-eyed users spotted it nonetheless.

 

Google may have its reasons, but chances are that this particular change won’t have a great effect on the user experience. But as the saying goes – the devil is in the detail.

Moving a letter one pixel to the left may be the digital equivalent to splitting hairs, but as it turns out, even small changes can have a big impact. Nowadays we know that you can achieve a 42% higher click-through-rate by not littering a page with more than one Call to Action (CTA). How do we know that? Well, someone actually tried to pit a website with just one CTA against another with two or more. As the majority of people in marketing are aware, changes to things like colour, positioning and size can actually make all the difference – but are they willing to take the time to do some serious experimenting?

Online design can differ enormously from one webpage to another. There are a number of unwritten rules; you might for instance want to adapt your site to the population’s F-shaped online reading behaviour, and people have come to expect contact details at the bottom of a site. But apart from those guidelines, it’s up to you. As your audience will constantly change their view of a good website, experimenting with new design and online solutions is very, very important.

We could present a number of statistics on user behaviour, but those would only provide general guidelines when all you really need is to be specific. At the end of the day the crowd of people visiting your website differs from the one visiting your competitors’.  By adapting your digital platforms you can make sure to target the audience most relevant to you.

So how does one know what works on their website? Well, A/B testing of course! You pit your original website (version A) against one with a variation (version B) in order to find the best solution, thus allowing for information based decisions. This may be Marketing 101, but quite frankly A/B testing is something a whole bunch of marketers are not very good at. This is rather odd, considering tools such as Optimizely have turned A/B testing into child’s play.

You could for instance test out tweaking:

  •           Copy length
  •           Wording
  •           Whether to use bullet points or not
  •           CTA button placement/colour
  •           Images

What matters are the bits and pieces that will help you reach your goals. If an image will increase traffic to your site – try it out. If a different colour will make a button more clickable, go for it. Just make sure to test both versions simultaneously and have patience – you won’t get reliable results in just a couple of hours.

In the fast paced world of digital marketing, it’s only natural that those in charge of a company’s marketing efforts want to avoid a creative stand-still. Creative forces want to do just that, create, and not dabble in the almost scientific world of A/B testing. The trial and error approach may be a great way of learning the ropes, but it is also a way of spending a budget at light-speed. A little testing will go a long way in today’s harsh marketing climate.

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Image courtesy: monicamlewis.blogspot.com, ergonomics.ucr.edu

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