Fire Your A/B Testing Team

When optimizing a landing page, it’s hard to argue with the fact that your team is doing a great job as long as the A/B tests they are running are delivering conversion rate growth. But the truth is that even then your team could actually be losing you money. Why? Because of having the wrong approach towards landing page optimization.

As the CEO, CMO or a Product Manager you should be aware of the fact that optimizing for a local maximum (which all the things described above come down to) is the biggest mistake that your team can make. Actually, they are probably making right now. You will understand the problem better if you take a look at the graph below:

The Local Maximum Point indicates the highest conversion rate that you could achieve with your current landing page design by just changing the headlines, CTAs etc. To move to the next level, which is indicated by the Global Maximum, you need to first test totally different kinds of landing pages and find the type of design that can get you the highest conversion rates. And only then – when you spot the best – is it time to start working on the details.

The concept has been discussed in the book Always Be Testing by Brian Eisenberg & John Quarto-vonTivadar. You can also read about it in this great article by Lars Lofgren from KISSmetrics.

Click to Tweet: Got winning A/B test results, but not satisfied with the number of conversions? Your landing page is just a pile of crap.

Optimizing for a global maximum is a bit like considering your salary in a specific industry. After five years of hard work, your salary is around $30k. But what if you had at first moved to a wealthier country or even changed the industry for a better paid one? Your starting position could be $40k before you have even started to gain any experience. You would go with the second option, wouldn’t you?

If this seems so obvious, then why are a lot of conversion optimization teams doing it the other way around? Well, we all know how easy it is to focus on a particular idea and forget about everything else. It’s hard to let go of the time spent on designing a certain landing page. That’s why your team probably keeps on giving the same sloppy landing page a lot of minor tweaks. But the problem is that changing the CTA color is not going to bring you a homerun or two.

This kind of behaviour is hard to keep in check if the team lacks an external perspective. It’s bad if there is no one who would convince them to leave the old project behind and test a totally different site. Because if your team is not prepared to do that, you should be anxious by now. Especially if they keep on getting winning A/B tests, but you are still not happy with the overall number of conversions. This could mean your landing page is actually nothing more than a pile of crap; giving an easy way to conduct winning tests, but at the same time having a conversion rate potential so low that it will never bring you satisfactory results.

Your business suffers from local maximum optimization

If your team is optimizing for a local maximum, it could provide A/B test wins, but you could still fall behind your competitors (even if their testing results are way worse). Why? Because the starting point of your competitors‘ landing pages could be set way above yours. And guess which one of you is destined to become the star of your industry?

Even more importantly, your company will have to bear extra costs. Wasting your time and resources on implementing minor changes on your landing page means that you could be losing a lot of opportunities for rapid growth in revenue.

If your team has decided to just polish the current landing page before testing out a lot of different ones first, it means that they are making a really bad use of their time and resources. It also means you are paying these people for work they shouldn’t be doing right now! You are actually losing money that you should invest in A/B tests, which could give you a huge boost in revenue.

Is your team optimizing for a local maximum? Quick test!

Now think about what your team has been doing for the last couple of months in the case of landing page optimization, and answer these four simple questions:

1. Have they been testing CTA text and/or color?
2. Have they been conducting multivariate tests?
3. Have they been testing out multiple headlines?
4. Are they getting a small conversion rate lift or statistically insignificant results?

If you answered “yes” for at least two of the questions above, then the time for your team is nigh! You need to go and fire them, because your landing page optimization process is suffering.

Click to Tweet: Your team is A/B testing the CTA color? Fire them now!

So fire your team now…

…and then try to hire new guys. Well, good luck with that!

Perhaps, in fact, you should start by telling them to optimize for the global maximum first. Trust me – the arguments are rock solid. First of all, it will be a real eye-opener for your team and will give them a whole new perspective on how the landing page could be structured and designed. It is definitely going to make them more creative and open-minded about testing ideas.

Secondly, when optimizing for the global maximum, you will most probably end up reaching a new, higher level of conversion rate, something which was previously unattainable.

Click to Tweet: Optimize for the global maximum and you will certainly reach a higher level of conversion rate

What’s more, testing out totally different landing page designs means that your team can now test all those bold and crazy ideas (which may actually work out quite well – you never know, that’s why you’re testing), which they were having to turn down before because they “couldn’t be done within the current landing page design”. And this could lead to a whole new way of achieving the maximum possible revenue.

And finally – it’s simple and risk-free! You are testing a landing page, it’s not rocket science. You don’t have to worry about affecting the other pages with your dramatic changes. Landing pages exist as separate units and this fact gives you so much freedom and simplicity when testing them. So make good use of it!

Get a huge conversion rate lift on your landing page now

Don’t wait – go and talk to your conversion optimization team right now. Tell them about the advantages of optimizing for the global maximum. You could start by building two totally different landing pages – a short one and a really long one with a lot of content. Put different elements on it and measure how users interact with them to decide what works well and what doesn’t.

Remember – it is you who has to speak to your team. Because of the aforementioned entrenchment effect, it’s crucial to give them a shot in the arm from the outside. Stop wasting your time and resources on minor tweaks giving insignificant results. Find your global maximum and take your landing page conversion rate to a whole new level. And don’t forget to let me know how it went in the comments below!

If you want to gain a competitive advantage by increasing your conversion rate and grow your revenue and profits without spending an additional dime on advertising, contact Mavenec today to learn more about our approach to conversion rate optimization. You can also learn more about conversion rate optimization by downloading our Ultimate Conversion Rate Optimization Toolkit.

Author: Damian Rams

I apply conversion rate optimization techniques to make sure that our clients get more sales and leads without spending an additional dime on traffic acquisition. I combine analytical and UX skills with experience in psychology to substantially grow digital businesses. I am a lecturer at Warsaw School of Economics.


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