July 20, 2016 by James Roberts

Multivariate Testing in a Programmatic World

Most folks in the digital marketing world are familiar with the practice of a/b or multivariate testing, but the depth and breadth of options for testing and optimizing is evolving rapidly, which is great news for marketers. Here are some trends and technologies that we’re leveraging on behalf of our clients this year.

Real time optimization through Demand Side Providers (DSPs). –We’re working closely with our DSP partners to optimize digital buys with the goal of generating high quality clicks with greater efficiency. We’re leveraging advanced reporting features to gain intelligence about which creative units are performing best by network and by publisher, by ad position and by ad size. We optimize campaigns daily based on the key performance indicators agreed to with the client. At a minimum we manage to cost per thousand impressions and cost per click.  More often than not, we measure cost be action or cost per lead. With more advanced clients, we’re measuring and managing to cost per acquisition and lifetime customer value.

Using dynamic creative to drive better click-through rates and conversions. Enhanced Dynamic Creative Optimization Platforms (DCOs), give marketers the ability to test multiple headlines, images and calls to action in real-time and optimize on the fly. Companies like www.sizmek.com and www.adacado.com have solutions that also build dynamic ads based on behavior or profile. For example, you can serve different ads to users based on their geography, the weather where they are, their exit page from your site, or what category of site the ad is running on. Importantly, these platforms optimize as they go, meaning poorer performing headlines, images and calls to action are quickly marginalized to improve campaign performance.

Using dynamic creative on site and on landing pages to improve conversion and acquisition.Just as with testing dynamic ads to improve click through rates, dynamic landing pages and web content can dramatically improve lead conversion and customer acquisition. We’re tracking several companies in this space including www.unbounce.com a creative management platform that makes it easy to generate multiple landing pages with the goal of increasing conversion. We also like www.optimizely.com that has a set of tools that let you test and personalize your web site to achieve the best conversion rates.

Every multivariate test should adhere to statistically valid samples. That said, with the right-sized total available, and a large enough budget these new tools make it much easier to create, manage, test and optimize. The results for our clients have been impressive.