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Report on second Web Analytics Wednesday Manchester

Our second WAW Manchester meetup on 20th August built on the success of the first event , with both some familiar faces as well as people coming along for the first time such as Moo Marketing and Maginus.

George Ioannou, Head of Creative and Strategy from Maginus, presented an overview of the key principles behind multi-variant testing, as well as a comparative look at the range of tools available.


George Ioannou George Ioannou explains mulit-variant testing

George gave two examples of where MVT had proved its value. The first was the implementation of a pop-up encouraging visitors to leave their email address in exchange for a discount off their first order. The consensus, before the test, was that this pop-up would ‘annoy’ visitors and would result in more exits and less sign-ups than the non-pop-up version. Testing proved otherwise, showing that most visitors who didn’t leave their email address simply close pop-ups and carried on with their session. In addition, the level of email sig-ups increased substantially. A second example, was where MVT testing showed that eliminating the ‘trust’ and ‘security’ icons on one particular e-commerce website had an upward impact on conversion levels.

Tools covered included the ubiquitous Google Website Optimizer but also higher-end packages, such as SiteSpect that require no code to be implemented. We discussed why the adoption of multi-variant testing was much slower than in the US. Reasons cited for our slowness in exploiting this approach included the perceived expense, the ‘bureaucracy’ involved in getting simple code applied to website, the relative lack of high volumes of traffic as well institutional lethargy.

Dan Croxen-John raised the point Kevin Hillstrom made in his blog that most MVT tests are evaluated on the basis on the number of conversions or orders, rather than looking at changes in the £/visitor metric. Read the Kevin’s full blog post on “A/B Testing Gone Bad”.

We also discussed the reaction of some designers have had to seeing their designs put into multi-variant tests. While some have been interested to see whether their design will beat the control, others have felt uncomfortable about their work being judged in such a ‘hard-nosed’ fashion.

Before the presentation part of the evening got going, we did a mini-roundtable on tools that people had come across over the last couple of months. Tools that got a mention include Gazehawk (eye tracking for landing pages), Protoshare (wire-framing tool), Which Test Won (website showing results from split tests), Flowtown (shows which social media networks your customers are on), Mindmeister (mind-mapping tool), My Article Network and PR Web (online PR tools), Tagman (universal tagging solution) as well as Zopim (online chat)

Our next meeting will take place at the same location (Bar 38, Great Northern Warehouse, Peter Street, Manchester M2 5GP) on Wednesday 20th October starting at 5.30pm. To sign up click here .

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