Tag Archives: phrase

3 Ways You Could be Unknowingly Wasting Ad Budget


Today’s ad platforms can have even the most experienced PPC marketers spending more than intended.

Campaign settings, rules and other factors change over time, which can have substantial impact on your campaigns. For example, starting October 4th, 2017 Google announced they could spend up to two times your daily budget. If you’d been sitting calm with $1,000/day budget, not wanting to spend a penny more, you could have been surprised.

There are many unpredictable reasons you can wind up with traffic or spend you didn’t plan for (and may not even know) — which is why it’s useful to consider intended vs. actual traffic.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Intended traffic: Is the traffic you planned on acquiring in your strategy as a result of the keywords, geographies, and networks you defined.
  • Actual traffic: Is traffic you actually get from your ad platforms, in spite of your strategy. Sometimes you’ll see traffic that was not intended due to campaign settings, mistakes or platform changes.

In short, the gap between intended and actual traffic is wasted ad budget. But, fortunately, you can identify and fix this to save money.

are you wasting ad budget?
Wasted budget is like wasting pizza, only worse. (via Giphy)

In this post I’ll cover three ways you might be wasting your PPC spend and how to ensure you’re both aware, and can turn things around with quick fixes.

Mistake 1. Accidentally spending on bad search terms

Wasted budget on the wrong keywords is fairly common. As Melissa Mackey of B2B agency Gyro sees often:

“advertisers [bid] on keywords that they shouldn’t be bidding on. For example, novice advertisers selling shoes try to bid on ‘shoes.’ Overly broad keywords eat up budget and do not perform well for the advertiser.”

But the bigger problem here is that some marketers believe that keywords and search terms are the same thing. The terms are commonly used interchangeably, but they’re very different. Here’s how I define each:

  • What’s a search term? This is the exact word or phrase a person uses on the search engine to find what they were looking for (how buyers search). See the “Search Term” column in the example below.
  • What is a keyword? This is the word you use to target search terms on paid search platforms (how marketers target buyers). See the “Keyword” column in the example below.

If you misunderstand or accidentally misapply keyword match types (broad, broad modified, phrase, exact match), you can have a gap between search terms and keywords causing you to spend unknowingly.

For example, a client in the continued medical education space was targeting medical professionals who need Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. Here’s what happened:

  • Intended traffic in this case included people searching ‘Pediatric Advanced Life Support’ or ‘PALS certification’.
  • Actual traffic ended up including Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification and PALS certification. However, because of poor keyword match types (and the acronym in this case), the company ended up with traffic from search terms such as “penpals online,” “free kids online pen pals,” and “senior pen pals.”

See the Search Terms Report as an example:

Click above to see larger image of how intended medical certification traffic turned into pen pals traffic (via SCUBE Marketing).

Traffic that attracted anyone looking for “pen pals” wasn’t intended, leading to wasted spend. The root cause of this was confusion over the difference between search terms, keywords, and their match types.

Action item: Take a closer look at search terms

To avoid this scenario yourself, run a Search Term report discussed above to identify which search terms (triggered by your keywords) are not relevant.

Then exclude irrelevant terms with negative keywords at ad group, campaign, or account level. From there, use keyword match types to better control your exclusions. For example:

  • Exact Match Negative to exclude just the exact term that was irrelevant. Example: -[penpals online]
  • Phrase Match Negative to exclude an irrelevant phrase pattern you noticed in your search terms. Example: -“penpals online”, which will exclude ‘California penpals online’, ‘penpals online’, and ‘penpals online for seniors’.
  • Broad Match Negative to exclude search terms containing irrelevant words. Example: -penpals, which will automatically exclude all search terms with penpals.

Once you’ve eliminated any obvious waste, reevaluate your keyword match type strategy. If you skip this step, you will continue to trigger lots of irrelevant search terms.

Your match types will range from exact match (with a close correlation), to broad match (with far correlation) between your keywords and search terms.

Ideally, break your broad match keywords into more specific keywords with broad match modified, phrase or exact match types. They will give you more control and trigger search terms you intend to target.

Mistake 2. Wasting spend on unintended locations

Similar to keyword match types, incorrect location settings in AdWords can trigger ads in locations you don’t want to serve and amount to wasted budget.

When we look at the reality of the situation, your location settings can trigger three types of geographies:

  1. Physical location. Your ads appear to people physically located in your target geography. This is the option we usually expect when selecting locations to target, in that it’s very direct. This is our intended traffic insofar as geography.
  2. Location of interest. Your ads appear to people searching for (or indicating interest in) your targeted location. With this option, physical location doesn’t matter. As long as people have your target location in their search terms, the ad is triggered. This can result in out-of-country traffic that appears to be relevant, but perhaps isn’t for a myriad of reasons. (i.e. Perhaps you don’t ship to a given location, for example and your ads would thereby be irrelevant to those in that area).
  3. Both. This setting combines both targeting options. Your ads appear to people who are physically located in your target geography, or are searching for (or indicating interest in) your targeted location. This is the broadest option.

To see how you can waste spend this way, here’s an example of how unintended location targeting affected a client in the industrial machinery space:

With respect to intended traffic, this client wanted to target people physically located in the United States. However, they ended up with traffic from Nigeria, India, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, and the Philippines. Unfortunately, the client doesn’t do business internationally, so their budget was spent on targeting the wrong locations.

In this case, the client kept the default AdWords setting of ‘Both’, which triggered the traffic from physical location and location of interest, causing the unintended international traffic. Fairly simple mistake to make.

Action item: Stop Wasted Ad Budget on Unintended Locations

Get a list of locations where your ads have triggered by running the User Locations Report in AdWords. See an example below with multiple unintended international locations for the same client I described above.

Incorrect Location Settings causing wasted ad budget
Click above to see a larger, clearer image.(via SCUBE Marketing)

Once identified, exclude irrelevant locations from within your campaign settings. After your locations have been excluded they will appear next to targeted locations. See an example below.

Exclude Locations In Campaign Settings To Stop Wasting Ad Budget
Exclude locations in campaign settings to stop wasting ad budget

Once you have identified any unintended locations, check how these locations were triggered by reviewing a Geographic Report. In our example, the ‘location of interest’ setting caused the traffic the client did not want.

Location of Interest Targeting Setting
Click above to see a larger, clearer image.

To avoid this, simply change the setting to ‘people in my targeted location’:

Mistake 3. Using the default regarding unintended networks

Network targeting has similar quirks as location targeting. The devil is in the details and wasted budget often lies in the settings. AdWords has different campaign types. If you’re not careful, and you stick with the default settings, your targeting can (and probably will) be off.

To clarify, here’s an example from the intended vs. actual traffic angle for a new client we audited recently.

They’d wanted to target people using Google Search on Google.com, but ended up with traffic from the Search Network, Search Partners Network, and Display Network. Obviously this was unintended, and they didn’t know. As it turns out, they didn’t execute their targeting properly and their campaign settings had a default setting: ‘Search Network with Display Select’.

Click above to see larger image of default campaign network settings you may want to avoid (via SCUBE Marketing).

This resulted in the client targeting three unintended networks in one campaign. Prepared only for the Search, they didn’t have targeting and ads for Display, and ended up with automatic placements from irrelevant websites. Overall, 53% of their PPC budget went to the Search Partners Network and Display, but the traffic had zero conversions, and was a waste.

Click above to see larger image of Surprise Traffic Coming From Search Partners and Google Display Network (via SCUBE Marketing).
Action item: Stop Wasted Ad Budget on Unintended Networks.

How can you check if you are unintentionally targeting networks without your knowledge?

Segment your campaigns by network. See an example below. Once segmented, you can figure out the right settings, and can plan the action items for further optimization.

If you see traffic from unintended networks, simply change your network settings from the default.

Don’t drain your ad budget

Because of fine details, even the best marketers can fall into traps and overspend unintentionally. Paid campaigns can be difficult beasts to manage, and a campaign that hasn’t been optimized to eliminate waste is a ship with leaks in it, destined to sink.

Take a good look at your data for the above, scrub it against what you’ve learned here today, and see what you can save.

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3 Ways You Could be Unknowingly Wasting Ad Budget

Learn From the Best: What Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz Can Teach us About Marketing

snake river

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” This phrase has been drilled into our heads since we were kids — what significance does it have in our everyday lives as marketing and advertising professionals? A whole lot. Photographs evoke emotions from the viewer, and that is exactly what we want to invoke when appealing to a target audience. The best photographers — Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz and Steve McCurry — can teach us about marketing and advertising, through the universal theme of evoking emotion, as well as how to appeal to the human brain, and the human eye. Why Imagery…

The post Learn From the Best: What Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz Can Teach us About Marketing appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Learn From the Best: What Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz Can Teach us About Marketing

How to get your users to take action with compliance gaining

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Cars are scarce in my group of friends.

Most of us are in our late 20’s, living in Downtown Vancouver, where there’s plenty of public transit, parking is difficult, and expenses are high. Owning a car doesn’t really make sense.

Until one of us needs help moving, of course.

My boyfriend, Andre, owns a 1997 GMC Sierra 1500; needless to say, he gets hit up constantly for truck-related favors.

compliance-gaining_truck
This truck is a hot commodity during moving season.

We hear a lot of:

“Hey Dre, can you help me move on Saturday? I’ll buy you beer!”
“Dre! Can you help me move on Saturday? I hate to ask, but you’re my only option.”
“Andre, can you help me move on Saturday? No pressure, of course, if you can’t do it…”

The initial request (“Can you help me move?”) is almost always accompanied by something else: a bargain (“I’ll buy you beer”), a reason (“you’re my only option”), an out (“No pressure”).

For our friends, it seems instinctual to cushion the request somehow, to urge Andre to say “Yes” and dissuade him from saying “No”.

Think about all of the times you’ve asked a friend for a favor. Do you ever simply ask for the favor, or do you find yourself negotiating in some way? I, for one, try to frame my requests in ways that make them almost impossible to refuse.

As marketers, we do the same thing. After all, most of what we do revolves around trying to get our users to take an action. In the social science community, these ‘negotiations’ are referred to as compliance gaining techniques.

Four compliance gaining techniques you should test

Get this list of 4 of our favorite “Loss Aversion”-specific compliance gaining techniques. Learn how these techniques work and get ideas for how to test them on your website.



By entering your email, you’ll receive bi-weekly WiderFunnel Blog updates and other resources to help you become an optimization champion.

In this post, I’m going to examine the concept of compliance gaining through a marketing lens.The question is: How can you leverage compliance gaining techniques in your marketing to get your users to say “Yes” rather than saying “No”?

What is a compliance gaining technique?

In laymen’s terms, compliance gaining interactions occur whenever a message source tries to get a person to do something they might not otherwise do.

When your mom gently advises you to wear your helmet or when a friend asks you to set him up, the message source (mom, friend) are trying to get you to do something.

To clarify, compliance gaining is often confused with persuasion, but they are different. While persuasion is often concerned with changing a person’s attitudes or beliefs, compliance gaining seeks to change behavior.

There are numerous (read almost 900) strategies you could categorize as compliance gaining, from “bargaining”, to “complimenting”, to “persistence”, but here are some of the more pervasive compliance gaining techniques you may have heard of as a marketer:

Types of compliance gaining techniques

Foot-in-the-door:

compliance gaining_foot-in-the-door
Foot-in-the-door: start with a small request and build to a larger request.

You ask your user for something small first that they will most likely say yes to, then ask for something larger (the actual action you want them to take) at a later time. Researchers have several theories as to why this is effective, one of them being your user’s desire to remain consistent with what they previously said.

Example: If your web page features a form, you can break the form into multiple steps. Start by asking for easy-to-give information; save bigger asks for later steps when there is more to abandon. Once your user starts saying “yes”, they are more likely to continue to do so.

Door-in-the-face:

You ask your user for something big that they will most likely say “No” to, followed by a smaller, more reasonable request (the actual action you want them to take). Guilt and self-presentation help explain why this is effective: Your user has already said “No” once, and won’t want to say “No” twice.

Example: On a non-profit website, you might start off by asking your user to sponsor a child for $20/month. This is a fairly large request. Your user may feel badly for saying “No” to this initial request, making them more receptive to your next request for a smaller, one-time $20 donation. This is your intended request.

Disrupt-then-reframe:

You ask your user for something in a confusing or strange way the first time around. You immediately follow-up by re-framing your request or giving your user a reason to say “Yes”.

Example: Some brands use a catchy, clever headline that isn’t clear at first, that they reframe with informative copy just below the main headline.

Macbook-persuasion
A disruptive headline from Apple.
Apple-persuasion-copy
The subsequent copy reframes the offering with appealing adjectives.

In this example from Apple, the headline reads “Light. Years ahead.” The dots disrupt our thinking framework and the copy below helps reframe with adjectives such as “lighter”, “better”, “thinner”. We are less likely to resist the reframe because our brain is busy with the initial disruption and the adjectives help to convince us.

Note: Be careful about making your content too disruptive. You could lose visitors due to a reduced information scent.

Dump and Chase:

You ask for something and your user says “No”. You respond by asking “Why not?”, repeating your request in a slightly different way. Urgency and guilt are at play here: You’ve created a sense of obligation by asking “Why not” and the repetition of your request can make it seem more important, more urgent.

Example: Your user may decide they are not ready to buy from you. That’s where mailing lists come into play. If they sign up for your mailing list, you are able to repeat your offer (via email) in various ways until that user’s concerns have been met and they finally do buy.

There are many more compliance gaining techniques. But my favorite of the moment is referred to as But You Are Free or BYAF.

But You Are Free to refuse…

But You Are Free refers to a situation where I ask you for a favor followed by a gentle reminder that you are free to refuse my request.

Wording can vary, but the key to this technique is to acknowledge the target’s freedom to say “no”.

In 2000, French researchers Guéguen and Pascal published a study that demonstrated the BYAF technique for the first time. In the study, experimenters asked passersby if they could have some change for the bus, followed by the statement “But you are free to accept or to refuse”. The Control group of passersby was simply asked for change for the bus, sans compliance gaining technique.

compliance gaining_but-you-are-free
“Will you give me change for the bus? You are free to accept or refuse.”

Their findings showed that passersby who heard the follow-up phrase were more likely to comply with experimenters’ request and gave twice as much change as those in the Control.

This experiment was based on psychological reactance theory. Introduced by Jack Brehm in the 1950’s, the theory states that “individuals have certain freedoms with regard to their behavior. If these behavioral freedoms are reduced or threatened with reduction, the individual will be motivationally aroused to regain them.”

Freedoms once granted will not be relinquished without a fight.

– Robert Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Guéguen and Pascal proposed that the phrase, “but you are free to accept or refuse”, weakens the target’s perception that their freedom to say “no” is being threatened by the initial request. Instead of being motivated to refuse, in order to protect their own freedoms, the target is reminded that their freedoms are still in tact, allowing them to say “yes”.

Recently, I asked a coworker for a favor via Slack, followed by the phrase “No pressure, of course.” Even though I really needed this favor, I added the phrase “No pressure” to my request—it was automatic. It was the BYAF compliance gaining technique. (My coworker said yes.)

Now, before you go adding a “You are free to accept or refuse” sub-head to all of your calls-to-action, let’s go a little deeper…

BYAF in a marketing context

In 2013, Christopher Carpenter published a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of the BYAF compliance gaining technique in Communication Studies. He wanted to know, given the research that has been published on this technique, whether or not BYAF is effective in a sales situation (among other questions).

Carpenter cited past researchers who theorized that “people are more suspicious of self-interested requests and cognitively process such requests more thoughtfully,” which would render the BYAF technique less effective when a request is being made in a sales context.

However, when Carpenter completed his meta-analysis, he found that the effect of BYAF on a target was equal for both prosocial requests (compliance benefits some worthy cause rather than the requester) and self-interested requests (compliance benefits the requestor) e.g. a sales request.

The BYAF technique has the virtue of being adaptable to potentially any context. That the effect size was consistent for both prosocial and self-interested requests in a variety of contexts…is reflective of a technique that has widespread value. All that is required for the BYAF technique is that the key phrase is added to the request.

– Christopher Carpenter

So, is BYAF a compliance gaining technique you can use when you’re talking to your prospects? Quite possibly. You should test that!

A BYAF spin-off test

Have you heard the term “Locus of Control”?

In personality psychology, individuals with an internal locus of control believe that their behavior and actions are guided by their decisions and efforts, while individuals with an external locus of control believe their behaviors and actions are guided by external forces.

People with an internal locus of control are more proactive and self-motivated, while those with an external locus of control are often more passive.

compliance gaining-locus-of-control
Internal vs. External Locus of Control

One theory as to why BYAF works is that the requester is giving control back to the target by adding the phrase “but you are free to _____” to a request.

For one WiderFunnel client, DMV.org, our Strategy team wanted to test giving control back to the prospect, just like the BYAF technique does. Rather than emphasizing a prospect’s freedom to refuse, however, the team wanted to emphasize the prospect’s freedom to choose.

DMV.org is a privately owned publisher of helpful information about the DMV. The company earns revenue through performance-based advertising on their thousands of content pages. For example, on a license renewal information page, a banner within the content offers visitors an opportunity to check car insurance rates.

When we tested the BYAF spin-off, we were testing on the second step of DMV.org’s funnel, where visitors select a provider.

We tested a single sub-headline isolation on this page, adding the phrase “The one you choose is up to you!” This phrase was meant to remind visitors that they are in control, they are free to choose exactly what they want to choose. Our Strategists were targeting the same mental sweet spot that the BYAF technique targets.

compliance-gaining_choose
“The one you choose is up to you!”

The addition of this phrase led to a conversion rate lift of 28.9% for DMV.org.

Testing compliance gaining in your marketing

Persuasion principles and compliance gaining techniques are extremely helpful to consider when you’re planning your digital experiments. Of course, persuasion principles are just one source of information you should look to when planning a test.

Related: For more sources of information, check out Chris Goward’s post outlining WiderFunnel’s Infinity Optimization Process. Pay particular attention to the section on “The Explore Phase”.

It is always helpful to de-construct the persuasion principle or psychological trigger itself to try to get at the heart of what is actually motivating someone to act. In the case of BYAF and “the one you choose is up to you”, the motivating factor might be the simple fact of reminding a visitor that they are in control of their decision.

What might your users respond to?

What are your favorite compliance gaining techniques to test? Have you seen success with the BYAF technique in your testing? Tell us about it in the comments!

The post How to get your users to take action with compliance gaining appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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How to get your users to take action with compliance gaining

11 ways to stop FOOC’ing your A/B tests

Work long enough in Conversion Optimization and you will hear this phrase:

“We tried [insert popular a/b testing tool], but there was a latency issue so we stopped testing.”

In 95% of cases, by “latency issue” they’re referring to the noticeable flicker or flash of the original version of a website before test changes are seen. It even has its own acronym: FOOC (Flash of Original Content)*. Here’s a beautiful example I created on the WiderFunnel home page:

An example of FOOC I created. This is not how you want to be A/B Testing.

Why does FOOC matter?

According to a team of MIT neuroscientists, the human brain can identify images in as little as 13 milliseconds.

FOOC can take longer — from 100 ms up to a whole second. Your website visitors will notice.

Is that always a bad thing? No, as David Hauser of Grasshopper discovered:

“Our A/B testing tool had a bug that delayed the $25 activation fee from being crossed out until a few seconds after the page loaded. This error ended up creating a much larger uplift than having it already crossed out on load, when the bug was fixed. The result now is that the activation fee shows, and then is crossed out after a few seconds.”

Sometimes, FOOC is a good thing as seen on the Grasshopper pricing page. Source: Unbounce

That insight came from a lucky side-effect of the FOOC error, but most times it’s not a good thing.

Whether good or bad, you need to get a handle on your FOOC. It hinders your ability to run controlled experiments. If your variation content is appearing with a flicker every time your page loads, how do you know what effect that’s having on your results?

You don’t, unless you isolate the flicker.

Why does FOOC happen in the first place?

All client-side A/B testing tools are inherently susceptible to FOOC.

“Client-side” means that the changes in your test are being applied as your web page loads, through a tag on your website. This is how the most popular tools on the market do it.

AB testing Optimizely snippet A diagram showing how Optimizely’s snippet works. Source: Optimizely

The client-side nature of these tools is what makes them so easy to get started with: a solo marketer has the ability to launch experiments without the need for a development team. It’s what makes the WYSIWYG Visual Editor a reality.

But that selling point comes at a price. For page changes to occur, a couple things must happen: the snippet of the tool must load and the page elements being modified must load. If either takes too long, your A/B test is in the gutter.

Luckily for us all, there are ways around the challenges of client-side tools.

Follow the eleven tips below, and even if you’re a noob jQuery dabbler, you’ll be able to launch FOOC-free experiments.

1. Speed up your website

Besides being one of the proven ways to increase conversion rates, speeding up your website is a first step in helping prevent flickering or long waits during A/B tests. My favorite tool for this has always been WebpageTest.org. Simple, free, effective. Have your front-end development team look into some of the issues and track performance over time.

abtesting-fooc-5Continue to check your site over time, as small changes can have a big impact on speed.

2. Put your snippet where it needs to go

I’ve seen snippets in footers and I’ve seen them served via Google Tag Manager. Don’t do either. For example, Optimizely’s needs to go as high up as possible in the <head>.

abtesting-fooc-6Whenever possible, move your snippet up to the top of your <head>, assuming you have trimmed jQuery in the snippet.

The drawback is that, yes, Optimizely will be adding a few milliseconds of load time to your pages when loaded for the first time. We haven’t found it to be an issue unless the remaining suggestions aren’t followed.

3. Reduce the size of your snippet

Archive any paused experiments and draft experiments that you don’t need the preview links to and load only a trimmed version of jQuery (this is especially important when loading your snippet at the top of your <head> tag). This will reduce the size of the snippet being loaded on your website, mostly affecting first time visitors.

abtesting-fooc-7

Archive those experiments taking up space in your snippet.

4. Roll up hotfixes

If you’re using your testing tool as a way to make fixes to your website, roll those changes up into project code rather than running them in a separate experiment. If you’re one of many who don’t have access to project-level code, then implement that code along with your current experiment.

abtesting-fooc-8Put “hotfix” code into your project code rather than in an individual experiment.

5. Order your variation code to match your website code

If you’re changing something at the top of your web page, position that change at the top of your variation code. jQuery waits until it finds the element on the page to make the change. If that element comes earlier than later, it will move on to the next line.

This way the content at the top of your website gets changed as quickly as possible.

abtesting-fooc-9

If using jQuery in your variation code, order it so that you’re making changes in the same order that elements load on your website.

6. Consolidate your variation code

If you want to up the size of your headline and change the color, do so in one swift line. If you decide later that you want to reduce the size of the headline, update your existing code rather than adding another line of code to make the reduction in size.

abtesting-fooc-10Group changes into one and remove unused changes.

In conjunction to consolidating code, when making changes via the Visual Editor, keep the scope of your changes to the most specific HTML element possible. Rather than selecting “#mainbody” to modify the attributes of a sub-element, select that sub-element to begin with.

7. Temporarily hide the <body>

No matter how fast your website is, if your original content is loading before your variation code has time to run, you will experience FOOC. To get around this, you’ll need to quickly hide, then show the <body> of your page.

In your experiment-level JavaScript, force Optimizely to run the following:

abtesting-fooc-11Hide the body of the page as quickly as possible by forcing it at the experiment-level.

This hides the <body> as fast as possible, assuming you’ve placed the snippet at the top of the <head>. Then, in your variation code, put a fail-safe (say 3 seconds) to show the body again if something goes wrong.

Insert your variation code after that.

Finally, make the body visible again. Note the 500 millisecond timer on this one. Keep it as low as possible, just enough to avoid a flicker. After all, FOOC is still better than a really slow loading website.
abtesting-fooc-12

Be sure to customize your timers to make sense for your website and the test you’re running.

This gets rid of any flashing of original content (assuming your snippet is not loading asynchronously or too late on the page). The potential drawback is a perceived slowness of the website on first load. That’s why you set a timer to make sure the body is shown before a set threshold.

8. Learn front-end development fundamentals

For those of us who never made it past the “Hello World” lesson in JavaScript 101, it’s a good idea to round out your front-end development knowledge. You don’t need to become a coder, you just need to be able to understand how it works.

It takes no more than a weekend to learn the basics of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery — the building blocks of DOM manipulation. Head to a free (and fun!) resource like Codecademy to get started.

abtesting-fooc-13Brush up on your front-end development.


Starting here, most of us will need a front-end developer’s help (I’ll admit, I got help from our dev team for this part). If that’s not an option, don’t worry: with the tips above, you should be able to launch FOOC-free tests. Like this article so far? Let me know! 


Now on to steps 9 through 11:

9. Use CSS as much as possible

By default, Optimizely and VWO visual editors produce your edits via jQuery, even for simple things like changing colors. CSS is a faster way to go, whenever feasible.

Instead of this:

abtesting-fooc-14
Do this in the Edit Code window:

abtesting-fooc-15
And add this to the Experiment CSS (or an external stylesheet):

abtesting-fooc-16
10. Cache your selectors

The DOM is slow. To avoid making redundant calls to it, store selectors you’ll be re-using as jQuery objects. In the example below, 3 changes are being made to the same selector.

abtesting-fooc-17Cache selectors you’ll be re-using to avoid going back into the DOM.

11. Code your variations in raw JavaScript

A/B testing visual editors spit jQuery into the code window. jQuery was created to overcome cross-browser issues and save development time. It’s a library of JavaScript shortcuts.

To change the background color of an element in jQuery it goes something like this:

$('.cta').css('background', 'red');

Now the same thing in raw JavaScript:

document.querySelectorAll(".cta")[0].style.backgroundColor = "red";

While the development time savings is significant, it comes at a cost. As with any JavaScript library, jQuery code runs slower than raw JavaScript.

How much slower? Depends on what you’re doing. Without much digging, I found a non-scientific test that resulted in a difference of 60x in performance between jQuery and JavaScript. It’s not significant evidence, but it points to potential speed gains.

Coding some or parts of your variations in raw JavaScript also means that your dev team will have to put in extra time to produce your A/B tests. You’ll want to strike a balance between improving code efficiency and productivity. For more on the topic of JavaScript and jQuery, I urge you to check out this very informative thread on StackExchange.

If you’re using one of the newer schmancy JavaScript frameworks, there are options for writing variation code. Here are some resources to help:

Watch the accompanying Opticon presentation here.

  • Optimizely has published quite a bit on how to deal with sites using angular or other single page app-type situations.

Are those all of the ways to reduce the chances of FOOC? Certainly not. Feel free to add suggestions or questions in the comments below. We can make this an AMA of sorts, regarding FOOC.

FAQs about FOOC

  • Can I use asynchronous loading to avoid FOOC? You can try, but it probably won’t work. Asynchronous loading addresses a separate issue: helping with overall site speed, not FOOC. Given the speed of modern CDNs, snippets loading synchronously should be the least of your concerns. But, if you’re like our neighbors here in Vancouver, PlentyOfFish, with a bajillion users hitting their site at the same time, you may want to be considerate of what and how things load on your pages.
  • Can I use a server-side / proxy testing tool to avoid FOOC? You could, but say good-bye to most of the benefits of a client-side tool.
  • I noticed a major slow down when I added XYZ A/B testing tool on my website. Should I switch to a more popular tool like Optimizely or VWO? Perhaps. There are some tools out there that don’t use distributed CDNs and that include jQuery by default in their snippet. Yes, some will slow down your website.

PS: If you’re an Optimizely power-user, consider checking out a project by WiderFunnel Labs, Liftmap, a great way to increase your A/B testing velocity by managing your CRO workflow.

* As opposed to Flash of Unstyled Content, which refers to a separate problem, usually unrelated to A/B testing.

The post 11 ways to stop FOOC’ing your A/B tests appeared first on WiderFunnel.

Link:   11 ways to stop FOOC’ing your A/B tests

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A/B Testing Copy on Homepage Increased Leads by 69% [Case Study]

The Company

VenueSphere is an online third-party referral business that helps individuals and companies find a perfect venue for parties, meetings, conferences and other events. They are based out of London and their service is completely free for visitors.

To capture leads, they have a neat and simple form above the fold on their homepage. The headline, just above the form, “Looking for a venue in London?” describes the value proposition aptly. The headline is accompanied by a sub-headline that originally read, “Call us or fill in a form to speak to a dedicated venue coordinator”. This is how it looked on their homepage:

VenueSphere A/B testing control

The Test

Quoting Ben at Venue Sphere, “Our homepage is fairly broad – it doesn’t perform brilliantly in getting conversions because it’s not very focused. So I wanted to get people’s attention, so they read more about what we do.” And so he decided to play around with the sub-headline in an attempt to increase the leads they were getting. He wanted to try something more dynamic and attention-grabbing. The new sub-headline read, “Stop right now! Call us or fill in the form and we’ll do the hard work for you for free” which he set up for test with VWO.

The goal that they were tracking with VWO was the visit to the thank-you page (that appears when people fill the contact form), which is equal to the number of leads from the form.

This is how the new sub-headline looked on the homepage:

variation1

The Result

Close to 1200 visitors became a part of this test and the variation emerged as the winner. The new sub-headline recorded a whopping 69% increase in leads.

Ben had also integrated the test with Google Analytics and he also added, “I was also able to see that our phone conversions were better with the variation, as was time on site, pages per visit and bounce rate.”

Here’s a quick comparison image showing the control and variation:

VenueSphere A/B testing comparison image

Why the Variation Won

To understand why the variation was able to get 69% more leads, let’s deconstruct the new sub-headline into three parts:

Part 1: “Stop right now! Call us or fill in the form”

After reading the headline, this part in the sub-headline clearly directs the visitors what do they have to do next. The “Stop right now” phrase with an exclamation at the end though sounds abrupt or forceful but it definitely got visitors’ attention. Quoting Ben, “I was concerned that it might be too forceful, that it might put people off, but that didn’t seem to be the case. I think that there is a strong case for saying that users want to be told what to do in certain situations”

Part 2: “and we’ll do the hard work”

This phrase assures the user that VenueSphere takes complete responsibility of helping them find the perfect venue. It also directly lets the visitors know that finding the most delightful venue could be lot of hard work and VenueSphere would do it all for them.

Part 3: “for free.”

And comes my favorite and the game-changing part! The magical word “free” finally lets the visitors know that they just have to fill the form and the company will help them find the perfect venue. At absolutely no cost.

Another customer of VWO was able to increase their conversion rate by 28% by adding the word “free”. Read the full A/B testing case study here.

I am not sure which part motivated the visitors most. The first where they were directed what-next, or next when the company took complete responsibility for them, or the last — that it was all for free! But I would definitely love to see VenueSphere perform more tests where they test these messages and understand what is it that their visitors care about most — the fact that the service is free or that they don’t have to do absolutely anything to find a venue.

Tell me what do you think! Let’s talk in the comments section below.

Bonus: You should also read this absolutely insightful article from the VWO blog where Anand gives 10 tips to write headlines that convert.

The post A/B Testing Copy on Homepage Increased Leads by 69% [Case Study] appeared first on VWO Blog.

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A/B Testing Copy on Homepage Increased Leads by 69% [Case Study]

A Guide To Validating Product Ideas With Quick And Simple Experiments

You probably know by now that you should speak with customers and test your idea before building a product. What you probably don’t know is that you might be making some of the most common mistakes when running your experiments.
Mistakes include testing the wrong aspect of your business, asking the wrong questions and neglecting to define a criterion for success. This article is your guide to designing quick, effective, low-cost experiments.

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A Guide To Validating Product Ideas With Quick And Simple Experiments

An Introduction To Object Oriented CSS (OOCSS)

Have you ever heard the phrase “Content is King”? Being a Web developer, and therefore having a job that’s often linked to content creation, it’s likely you have. It’s a fairly overused but true statement about what draws visitors to a site.
From a Web developer’s perspective, however, some may argue that speed is king. More and more, I’m starting to favour that stance. In recent years many experienced front-end engineers have offered their suggestions on how we can improve the user experience by means of some performance best practices.

Original link: 

An Introduction To Object Oriented CSS (OOCSS)

Defending The Generalists In The Web Design Industry

In recent years there has been a move away from generalist Web designers to specialists such as content strategists, user experience architects and front-end coders. Where once there was a single job, there are now many, with ever-narrower spheres of responsibility.
While my peers are becoming more specialized, I have stoically refused to do so, remaining a generalist. If anything, my interests have broadened, encompassing subjects such as marketing, psychology and business strategy.

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Defending The Generalists In The Web Design Industry