Spicy Nugget: In Digital Marketing, Test Everything
“Just because you tested something once doesn’t mean you discovered a new Law of Physics. Don’t get cocky and equate a win with a rule that works under any and every circumstance. You don’t have the next Nobel Prize in the bag just yet!
-Adam A. Sene, CEO
When it comes to marketing campaigns, test everything: special offers, landing pages, keywords, creatives, all of it. Nothing is certain until tested. Even then it may only be certain for that specific set of variables.
Offer A worked and Offer B worked, but both offers together in the same ad may create confusion.
Then again, maybe not… So test everything.”
Let’s talk about your brilliant marketing ideas.
You know, the ones where in your mind you thought something like, “I’ve got it! I’ll target women in Tulsa like I did before with much success, but this time I’ll use a picture of a baby. Holding a kitten! They won’t be able to resist my products then.” And you practically booked a one-way ticket to the Maldives because you expected your retirement to come early, right?
Wham. Turns out that brilliant marketing idea… Well it didn’t really work out, did it? But why?
Rule #1: Every Single Thing You Do in Marketing is a Test
Any marketer that’s been at it for a long time will tell you—coming up with new “bright” ideas for marketing is both tiring and kind of useless. The reason it’s exhausting is because most great ideas sound great in theory, but usually they don’t pan out all that well.
“Wow, you guys are so negative,” you say.
Ok, fine. Let’s say you had a great idea and it did pan out. Woo hoo! The baby holding a kitten targeting women in Tulsa WORKED! So you take that same exact formula and you target women in Denver instead of Tulsa. Wham. Failure. What does this mean?
All it means is you got a little over-excited, and you need to keep testing. Don’t assume that your first idea is your best one. Try it against some different parameters, a different audience or a refreshed creative, and continue to try new things.
Everything is a test, and everything must be watched carefully for performance. If it’s working, do more of it. If it’s not working, well… duh.
Be especially careful with agencies who don’t admit to this fact, but be even more careful with agencies who tell you that “failure is inevitable.” Testing, optimizing and scaling an ads budget can be a rapid fire activity and you shouldn’t be experiencing months of financial loss. (If you are, please let us do a free account audit.)
Rule #2: Testing Produces Data, Not Laws
The results of a single test do not make a rule that applies to everything.
If you tested an ad with success using landing page A, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work on landing page B. You have to test it.
Your targeting parameters may have worked with that one design, one audience, pointed at that one landing page. It may not work on all audiences, all the time.
Testing produces results and data. Testing does not produce laws. If you test with success, fantastic. Identify what worked if you can, scale your budget and keep on testing.
Avoid Dumpster Fires (Like This One!)
As you come up with brilliant ideas, you might start to see these bleed together in your campaigns. For example, you saw some great results using a five-star customer testimonial. Great! You also concurrently saw great results with an ad using starburst graphics and the words “Free Lunch.” And in yet another test, you told your company story and it worked even better, and another with a picture of your CEO in a diaper, and so on, and so on.
Condense everything that ever worked into a single promotional campaign, and before you know it you’ve got ALL of those things in one super ugly, muddled message piece of garbage. (Like this one!) Your dumpster fire of a design will likely have become too convoluted and complex with too much to look at, all of which undermines the campaign message completely.
As a rule of thumb for campaign design of all kinds, always simplify the message. Something clean and easy to understand beats out all of those “great ideas,” and certainly all of them combined.
In Digital Marketing, Test Everything
We believe everything in marketing is a test. We don’t claim to know it all, and this sense of explorative willingness is what drives us to constantly improve, keep learning and do better for our clients. If you’re tired of not seeing results and need some support, give us a shout. We’d love to help!