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Optimization 12-03-2013
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Optimization 12-03-2013


A broad level discussion of optimization. …

A broad level discussion of optimization.

Difference between optimization

How optimization is just making the things we can control better.

Tools and infrastructure needed for optimization.

Published in Technology , Business
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  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Have you been part of a Facebook test?
  • Top was the originalMiddle one was the winner, with a 30% improvementLast one was the runner up, with a 27% improvement.
  • Spent about 20 dollars to capture about 10 clicks.


  • 1. Optimization What’s the #(*#( is “optimization”? David Oh / @davidyoh
  • 2. What is Optimization?  Methodical improvement in any process using what is commonly defined as the “scientific process”.  What can be optimized? – Everything! (it’s called “science” in the real world)
  • 3. How is this different from “growthhacking”  Pat Vlaskovits says growthhacking is "not a mastery of existing and known marketing channels, SEO, SEM, PPC, viral marketing etc etc"  "Growth hacking is true innovation in sales and marketing mediums”  Optimization can be viewed as process in improvement in the things that are known and are controllable. 
  • 4. Optimization is…  What we can do to improve our efforts given the product we have currently  What we should do every day, every hour, with every dollar we spend, every hour we devote to refining our product... While we plan and try for "true" and disruptive innovation
  • 5. Optimization is…  "I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing.
  • 6. Why of Optimization  ... No one has the luxury of knowing if true and disruptive innovation is going to happen. – Maybe the product is awesome, but the marketplace sucks, maybe it’s too ahead of its time, or the company doesn't have the resources to put resources behind this.  And if the marketing execution fails, it might actually ruin a perfectly good product from succeeding. If marketing spends too much money on the wrong channels, the company itself might fail before the product can succeed.
  • 7. The How of Optimization
  • 8. Optimization process  Systematic way of improving yield.  Hypothesize something that would make people click on ads, fill out a form, or pull out their credit cards.  Randomly split people into groups who view a specific version of an ad or a web page. Use statistics to determine significance of finding.  Draw conclusions. Form a new hypothesis. Repeat.
  • 9. Ready, Aim Fire.  Also known as “science”  Military has various versions too:
  • 10. Ready, Aim, Fire.  As does business textbooks – PDCA (plan–do–check–act or plan– do–check–adjust)  As does nursing
  • 11. Act Smart  Also known as acting “smart”.
  • 12. What do I need?
  • 13. Tools and instruments needed  Just like calculators, test tubes, telescopes, microscopes, radar, you’ll need a variety of tools in order to optimize successfully. – Tracking – Attribution – Analytics – Testing platforms
  • 14. Tracking  When I say it, I mean external tracking– “Where did a user come from?” and then what happens afterwards on my site? – Google Analytics, Mixpanel, KISSMetrics, can also all do this  Paid marketing specialized tracking – CampaignEQ, also has cost measurement – Doubleclick – HasOffers
  • 15. Attribution  If a user did X, how do we credit their action (click, purchase), to: – – – – Which paid marketing channel? Which promotional message on the website? Which social channel Which email, etc, etc Attribution = What was the event most responsible for a given action. Important for measuring ROI. Last click is standard– but lots of companies have other attribution models.
  • 16. Analytics  How many clicks? how much time spent on site? How many sales did I receive? Did the user scroll and click on a bunch of things or did the user immediately click on the big button that says “Buy” – – – – In what time period? After how much time? How many did what we wanted them to do? How many did not?
  • 17. Testing platforms  Testing Platforms - Testing platforms at it's core is fundamentally an attempt to remove one of the worst confounding variables: TIME – Medicine - randomized control trials  Site Optimization – Unbounce, Optimizely, VisualWebsite Optimizer, Test & Target  Ad/Banner optimization – Doubleclick, CampaignEQ, Facebook ads, Google Adwords, etc etc  Email optimization – Sailthru, Responsys, Mailchimp, Etc
  • 18. Various Strategies
  • 19. Stratagems  Instrument (Tracking), Prepare, Gather Information (Analytics), Develop a Plan  Start at the area of greatest activity and potential opportunity – Homepage – Any registration walls, or payment walls (carts)  Divide and Conquer. Segment.
  • 20. Types of Tests  Maximizing Local Maxima – Singlevariate – Good for precise education on what variables improve pefformance -  Try to find a bigger Global Maxima: Don’t always test trivially – Good for improving yield rapidly, at a greater risk of reduced performance, and reduced knowledge of which single variable
  • 21. Some things to test  Different pictures and colors on ads and landing pages.  Different style of buttons.  Different “call to action” – Click here now!, Join for FREE, Click and we will give you a backrub, Lose weight NOW!  A different catch-phrase.  Amount of forms to fill out.  Reducing number of pages.
  • 22. Examples
  • 23. Examples
  • 24. Segmentation  Split people up into ever and more specific demographics such as gender, age, or where they are located, or what they may have purchased before.  Airlines, Amazon, Dating Services, Harry Potter  Use automated systems and algorithms to move towards the most optimal pricing for different people. – – – – – – Whether they come from Google, Facebook. If they like listening to country music. If they drive a certain car. If they have a certain degree. If they are looking for a Roomba. If they live in a prestigious zip-code like 90210
  • 25. Segmentation
  • 26. David Oh / @davidyoh