The Top 5 Marketing Discoveries in 2013: The last 50,000+ hours of research distilled into 60 minutes

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By the end of this year, MarketingExperiments will have run approximately 260 controlled experiments. That equates to around 50,000 total hours of research. With the sheer volume of work done this year, it’s almost impossible for marketers in the field to keep up.
In our next Web clinic, we’ll walk through the most important discoveries of the year so you can learn the progress MECLABS analysts and scientists have made. You’ll discover actual research-grounded answers to the following questions:
• When is the best time to send an email?
• How should I design my website navigation?
• Can a brand really make an impact on conversion?
• Is my page missing critical copy?
• And more …
You’ll also receive access to the broadest array of researchers from our lab so far this year. They’ll be talking through the experiments and answering your questions live from the MarketingExperiments broadcast studio.

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  • Quite an informative webinar. The insight about letter-style emails performing well was certainly surprising. We will be incorporating these learnings into our strategies!
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The Top 5 Marketing Discoveries in 2013: The last 50,000+ hours of research distilled into 60 minutes

  1. 1. The Top 5 Marketing Discoveries in 2013 The last 50,000+ hours of research distilled into 60 minutes
  2. 2. We’re sharing on Twitter! #WebClinic
  3. 3. Today’s speakers Austin McCraw Senior Editorial Analyst MECLABS Pamela Markey Senior Director Marketing MECLABS Jon Powell Senior Manager Research and Strategy MECLABS Adam Lapp Director Services Operations MECLABS Ben Filip Senior Manager Data Sciences MECLABS
  4. 4. Research sampling published in 2013 275% Conversion 48% Conversion 109% Conversion 155% Conversion 188% Conversion 68% Revenue/Visit ec < op < ct < lp © 220% Conversion C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) - 2a © 17% Clickthrough 36% Conversion 101% Conversion eme = rv(of+ i) – (f + a) © 87% Conversion 97% Conversion fSC = lT + dT © Opr > Oprn > Ocnn © 43% Conversion
  5. 5. Today, we are going to distill all of this research into a 60minute walkthrough of the top five discoveries in 2013.
  6. 6. Discovery #1: There are Five Consistent Factors that Impact Customer Response to Email Timing
  7. 7. Experiment: Background Experiment ID: TP2087 Record Location: MarketingExperiments Research Library Research Partner: Protected Research Notes: Background: A large financial institution offering a financial service requiring an application to consumers. Goal: To increase the amount of completed applications. Primary Research Question: Of the send times tested, which time will result in the highest rate of completed applications to delivered emails? Approach: A/B multifactor sequential test
  8. 8. Experiment: Design 14 Total Email Sends During Week of Test Monday Tuesday AM Email 1 AM Email 3 PM Email 2 Wednesday AM Email 5 PM Email 4 Thursday AM Email PM Email 8 AM Email 9 7 PM Email 6 Friday Saturday AM Email 11 PM Email 10 Sunday AM Email 13 PM Email 12 PM Email 14 The test had a total 14 treatment paths – each path had the same subject line and email. The treatment values included sending two emails each day of the week, Monday through Sunday, at 3 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  9. 9. ? Which Time of Day Will Perform Best? 3 a.m. or 3 p.m.?
  10. 10. Results 13.5% increase in clickthrough Sending at 3 p.m. increased clickthrough rate by at least 13.5%. Clickthrough Rate 3:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m. Percent Relative Change ! 1.076% 1.220% 13.5% What You Need to Understand: Recipients were 13.5% more likely to click in an email sent at 3 p.m.
  11. 11. ? Which Day of the Week Will Perform Best? Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., Sun.
  12. 12. Experiment: Clickthrough rate by day Clickthrough Rate By Day Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
  13. 13. Experiment: Clickthrough rate by day 23.2% increase in clickthrough Sending on Sunday increased clickthrough rate by 23.2% over Tuesday. Treatments (in order of performance) Percent Relative Change LOC Tuesday 10.47% - - Monday 10.90% 4.1% 72% Thursday 11.01% 5.1% 82% Friday 11.59% 10.7% 99% Wednesday 11.64% 11.2% 99% Saturday 11.84% 13.1% 99% Sunday ! Clickthrough 12.90% 23.2% 99% What You Need to Understand: Recipients were 23.2% more likely to click in an email sent on Sunday than one sent on Tuesday. Sunday also significantly outperformed every other day of the week.
  14. 14. Experiment: Interpretation Sunday Reader Possible Reasons for Higher Clickthrough on Sunday • Less distractions on Sunday • Advent of mobile attaches recipients to email 24/7 • Personal nature of financial product causes higher clickthrough outside of work
  15. 15. Experiment: Interpretation Weekday Reader Possible Reasons for Lower Clickthrough During Week: • Higher level of distraction • Customers are in “work” mode and less likely to be interested in financial application
  16. 16. What we discovered F Key Principles 1. There is no “one-size-fits-all” time or frequency for an email send. 2. However, the universal goal of email timing is to synchronize your email’s delivery with the cognitive psychology of the customer’s purchase cycle. 3. There are five consistent factors from campaign to campaign that will impact your customers’ purchase cycle: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Decision cycle – (How often a decision is required) Utility – (How useful the email is perceived) Relevance – (How relevant the email is externally and internally) Nature of product – (How the product affects the customer emotionally) Expectations – (How the email matches customer expectations) View the Full Clinic Here: MarketingExperiments.com/EmailTiming
  17. 17. Discovery #2: Brand Does Not Make a Promise, It Creates an Expectation
  18. 18. Experiment: Background Experiment ID: TP1651 Record Location: MECLABS Research Library Research Partner: The Boston Globe Research Notes: Background: One of the largest metropolitan print news sources in the United States. Goal: To increase the number of home delivery subscriptions. Research Question: Which offer page will result in the highest subscription rate? Test Design: A/B variable cluster test
  19. 19. Experiment: Control • The goal of the original page was to get people into the subscription process. • The original page used a template CMS structure that did very little to leverage the brand of The Boston Globe.
  20. 20. Experiment: Control Offer Page Step 1 • The unbranded template is used throughout the entire conversion process. Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
  21. 21. Experiment: Treatment • The treatment slightly adjusts the CMS template to emphasize The Boston Globe brand.
  22. 22. Experiment: Treatment • Boston Globe branding is made prominent throughout the entire conversion process.
  23. 23. Experiment: Side-by-side Will emphasizing a well-known brand in the online subscription process generate more response?
  24. 24. Experiment: Results 40% increase in total subscribers The branded subscription path increased the rate of subscriptions by 40.3% Clickthrough Rate Control (Non-Branded) Treatment (Branded) Percent Relative Change ! 1.32% 1.86% 40.3% What You Need to Understand: By simply emphasizing the well-known brand of The Boston Globe, the treatment subscription path generated 40.3% more subscriptions than the generically branded control.
  25. 25. What we discovered Key Definition Brand is the aggregate experience of the value proposition
  26. 26. What we discovered F Key Principles 1. Brand represents the sum total of experiences in the market place, particularly those that connect to you. 2. Brand exists in the mind. It represents a form of mental shorthand. It stands for a decision collective and represents the default choice. As such, it implies expectation. 3. Brand does not make a promise; it creates an expectation. The strength of the brand is derived not from declaration, but through expectation. View the Full Clinic Here: MarketingExperiments.com/DoesBrandMatter
  27. 27. Discovery #3: Usability Does Not Equal “Buyability”; All Usability Claims Must Be Tested
  28. 28. Experiment: Background Experiment ID: TP1283 Record Location: MECLABS Research Library Research Partner: Protected Research Notes: Background: Italian e-commerce website offering cosmetics. The researchers were focusing on testing different approaches to the “body” category page. Goal: To increase the rate of conversion. Primary Research Question: Which page will generate the highest rate of conversion? Approach: A/B variable cluster test
  29. 29. Experiment: Control Control – Category List • The control listed all of the main categories of “body” products: • • • • • • • • • • • Deodorants Moisturizers Toner Skin Hair remover Feet Hands Mouth Scrubs and specials Accessories Combination offers • Products are all listed below by category as selected
  30. 30. Experiment: Control Control – Category List Is the category list at the top of the page the most user-friendly way to present the information?
  31. 31. Experiment: Treatment 1 T1 – Configurator • Treatment 1 seeks to make the page easier to use by adding an interactive configurator that enables the visitor to customize the products that show up below. • By Category • By Objective • By Product Line
  32. 32. Experiment: Treatment 2 T2 – Visual Categories • Treatment 2 seeks to make the page easier to use by removing the category links and simply featuring the main categories with images.
  33. 33. Experiment: Treatment 3 T3 – Navigation Links (text) • Treatment 3 is a radical approach that seeks to make the process easier by removing the “body” category page altogether, enabling the visitor to choose their category within the navigation of the homepage.
  34. 34. Experiment: Treatment 4 T4 – Navigation Links (visual) • Treatment 4 is similar to Treatment 3, only it integrates a more visual approach to the categories within the navigation.
  35. 35. Experiment: Test your intuition Control – Category List T1 – Configurator T3 – Navigation Links (text) T2 – Visual Categories T4 – Navigation Links (visual)
  36. 36. Results 20% increase in total conversions Treatment 1 category page increased conversion rate by 20%. Treatments Clickthrough Percent Relative Change Control – Category List 1.04% - T1 – Configurator 1.25% 20% T2 – Visual Categories 1.10% 6% T3 – Navigation Links (text) 1.10% 5% T4 – Navigation Links (visual) 1.10% 5%
  37. 37. Experiment: Results Why did the configurator beat all of the other methods? Was it the usability? If so, what made it more usable than the other methods? Control – Category List T1 – Configurator
  38. 38. What we discovered F Key Principles 1. Focusing on usability can hinder an effective approach to optimization. It often undermines the micro-yes approach and can ultimately hinder results. 2. An overemphasis on usability confuses the means with the end. The goal of our website is not usability, but rather “buyability.” 3. Usability, when viewed properly, can be a valuable tool for helping marketers identify hidden psychological costs in their conversion processes. 4. All usability claims must be tested. View the Full Clinic Here: MarketingExperiments.com/UsabilityMyth
  39. 39. Discovery #4: Letter-Style Emails are More Effective than Promotional Emails
  40. 40. Experiment: Background Experiment ID: TP2137 Record Location: MECLABS Research Library Research Partner: [Protected] Research Notes: Background: A large international media company focusing on increasing subscription rates. Goal: To increase the number of conversions based on the value proposition conveyed through the email. Primary Research Question: Which email will generate the highest conversion rate? Approach: A/B multifactor split test
  41. 41. Experiment: Control CONTROL: Promotional-style email • Uses popular design principles to create balance and hierarchy on the page. • Heavy use of images and graphics to catch the reader’s attention. • Multiple call-to-action buttons for increased points of entry. Subject Line: Open this now for Special Savings
  42. 42. Experiment: Treatment TREATMENT: Letter-style email • Designed to look and feel more like a personal letter. • Limited use of graphics and images. • One call-to-action button. Subject Line: Get Unlimited Access to [Product] with Home Delivery
  43. 43. Experiment: Side-by-side Treatment Control Subject Line: Get Unlimited Access to [Product] with Home Delivery Subject Line: Open this now for Special Savings VS.
  44. 44. Experiment: Results 181% increase in conversion The overall conversion rate increased 181% due to a clearly stated value proposition. Conversion Rate Treatment – Letter-Style Email 0.04% 0.12% Relative Difference 181% Control – Standard Email ! What You Need to Understand: By limiting the amount of graphics, and focusing on engaging the customer in a conversation, the treatment outperformed the control by 181%.
  45. 45. Why did the letter-style win? Subject Line: Get Unlimited Access to [Product] with Home Delivery Why did the letter-style email win?
  46. 46. What we discovered F Key Learnings 1. An email message is not a monologue; it is a dialog. People don’t buy from emails; people buy from people. 2. If the marketer can learn to participate with the prospect’s conversation, they can guide it (with messaging) toward a satisfactory conclusion (the purchase). 3. Therefore, effective email messaging requires one often overlooked skill on the part of the marketer: empathy. View the Full Clinic Here: MarketingExperiments.com/LetterEmails
  47. 47. What we discovered Empathy: For the marketer, empathy is their ability to discern – through listening and hearing – the ontology (nature or being) of the customer. • Selfishness, if a benign version, is the primary driver of sales velocity. It is the selfishness of the prospect which empowers the transaction. • The concept, selfishness, has a negative connotation. But this can be unfortunate – how can a self be faulted for being self(ish)? In one sense, selfishness is essence(tial). • Empathy enables the marketer to identify with the market and experience its “selfishness.” Empathy is the marketer’s intuition.
  48. 48. Discovery #5: Copy Should Establish the Problem before Presenting the Solution
  49. 49. Experiment: Background Experiment ID: TP1700 Record Location: MECLABS Research Library Research Partner: [Protected] Research Notes: Background: A medium-sized company selling a single auto repair product. Goal: To increase the number of purchases. Primary Research Question: Which landing page will generate the highest conversion rate? Approach: A/B multifactor split test
  50. 50. Experiment: Control Logo Brand
  51. 51. Experiment: Treatment Logo Brand
  52. 52. Experiment: Side-by-side Control Treatment
  53. 53. Experiment: Results 36% increase in purchases Product purchases increased by 36% over the control. Conversion Rate Control Treatment Relative Difference ! 1.33% 1.81% 36% What You Need to Understand: By clarifying the problem before presenting the solution, the treatment generated a 36% higher purchase rate than the control.
  54. 54. What we discovered F Key Principles 1. Simply identifying a customer need does not inspire the need to act. The problem must be intensified so that it is properly felt by customers. 2. To inspire action, your copy must sufficiently transform a customer need into a customer want. This can be achieved by using one or more of three problem intensifiers: • • • Relevance: the degree to which an offer is connected to a recipient’s situational motivations. Importance: the degree to which an offer is essential to a recipient’s livelihood. Urgency: the degree of immediacy associated with an offer. View the Full Clinic Here: MarketingExperiments.com/MissingCopy
  55. 55. Upcoming Research in 2014
  56. 56. EARLY BIRD SAVINGS
  57. 57. Experiment: Background Experiment ID: TP1933 Record Location: MECLABS Research Library Research Partner: [Protected] Research Notes: Background: A large news media organization trying to determine whether they should invest in responsive mobile design Goal: To increase the number of free trial sign-ups. Primary Research Question: Which design will generate the highest rate of free trial sign-ups: responsive or unresponsive? Approach: A/B multifactor split test
  58. 58. Experiment: Control (Unresponsive) Desktop Mobile
  59. 59. Experiment: Treatment (Responsive) Desktop iPhone
  60. 60. Experiment: Side-by-side Unresponsive Responsive
  61. 61. Coming up in January 2014 Does Responsive Mobile Design Actually Convert Better?
  62. 62. Summary: Putting it all together Discovery #1: There are Five Consistent Factors that Impact Customer Response to Email Timing Discovery #2: Brand Does Not Make a Promise, It Creates an Expectation Discovery #3: Usability Does Not Equal “Buyability”; All Usability Claims Must Be Tested Discovery #4: Letter-Style Emails are More Effective than Promotional Emails Discovery #5: Copy Should Establish the Problem before Presenting the Solution

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