3 of the Best Digital Marketing Experiments to Run When it Comes to ROI

By amanda Disilvestro on March 13, 2017

There is a lot of experimenting in digital marketing to see what works, but some experiments are better than others. You always want to use the best experiments possible with the end goal being to determine the best ROI for time spent at your business. Before we get started with 3 of the best digital marketing experiments for ROI, there are a couple of important things to point out before you get started:

Be Realistic with Budgeting. The first rule in ROI is pretty simple: You want to be extremely realistic with your budget and what you are looking to spend. It is true that you need to spend marketing dollars to get leads and make the most of your efforts, but you also need to pay close attention to money in/money out. Having an understanding of the experimental marketing strategy, its cost, and the anticipated profit per conversion will help you get the best ROI possible (and truthful results).

Be Strategically Clear and Organized. You cannot have a good return on investment without having a clear understanding of the campaign or marketing effort you are pursuing and the strategy that is involved to achieve your goal. This is not to say that you need to micromanage every detail constantly, but you do need to have a clear organized strategy to stay on track and measure/optimize your ROI. In other words, you should not be experimenting to determine what your campaign is or what your marketing efforts are—that has to be solid.

Monitor Reports. The last thing to remember before you get started experimenting is that you need to have a way to measure success and track your reports. Whether you are using Google Analytics or some other campaign tracking software, you want to be sure you clearly define how you are going to monitor before you launch into improving your ROI.

Test and Learn Approach. According to the Harvard Business Review (cited by Kissmetrics), one of the best approaches with digital marketing experiments is the “test and learn” approach. Ultimately, you take one action with one targeted group, take a different action (or no action) with a control group, and then compare the results. Focus on the individual and observe their responses to your tests. See if changes you make lead to higher profits.

Keep it Simple. When you are doing ROI experiments you want to think like a scientist, but you also want to keep things simple. Plan out simple adjustments that are easily measured so that results are clear and you can implement changes accordingly. One of the biggest mistakes we see as a email marketing agency is people not having a clear plan of how they will alter their experiment to get the results they want, so they end up all over the board and never get any concrete or useful data.

With all that said, below are three (fairly easy) digital marketing experiments to maximize your ROI and make improvements on your account:

#1: Experiment with Content Adjustments

We all know that content is king. In terms of ROI, keywords and text on your website have more of an impact than you even realize. Keywords clearly impact PPC advertisement and SEO, but more importantly, they also impact the overall impression that visitors get when viewing your site. While impressing the robots behind a search engine is important, you also need to care about the impact you are making on the humans that you ultimately want to impress. Minor experience with voice/tone, writing format, topic, and author are all great experiments to measure what needs to be changed and implemented for your audience. A great way to do this is by using individual blog posts/social media promotions to track and measure success with these minor tweaks. Here are some tips:

  • Focus on one feature at a time. If you want to look at content topic, for example, you might think about experimenting with 10 different posts, 5 of which are organized around one topic genre, and others that focus on another topic genre. See which of the two sets gets the most engagement, clicks, and other measurable impressions. The category that does can be said to have the best ROI. Writing in that topic genre is going to get you more attention from your target audience on your social accounts and on your blog.
  • Research! Before you start experimenting with language, tone, or topic, you want to do some industry research to see what is most likely to impact your audience. Look at other successful blogs and website content to get some ideas about what to test. While taking a shot in the dark could lead you somewhere good, it is better to inform your experiments with industry standards and audience preferences. Google Trends is an excellent way to get the ball rolling. The example below shows that “growth hacking” may be an interesting topic to explore:

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#2 Experiment with Calls to Action & Placement

One of the simplest and most effective digital marketing tests is the placement of your CTA buttons. There is a lot of research on CTA button placement, some of which state that “Welcome Gates” are the best at maximizing conversion (showing a 10-25% conversion rate) as opposed to “side bar” or “end of post” CTAs. However, while these stats are valuable and important to pay attention to before you start experimenting, you need to understand that placement of these important features are going to depend on your audience and industry as well. For example, in some industries visitors might be more likely to leave a site that has a “welcome gate.” These subtle differences could impact lead generation and are definitely worth your time for experimenting and testing!

This is a perfect case to use A/B testing, which is an experiment that allows you to show one version of your website to certain users and another version to other uses so that you can simultaneously collect this data. Below is an example from Optimizely that shows how an A/B test works:

ab testing

#3 Experiment with Website Characteristics and Visuals

Okay this last experiment is a big category that really encompasses a lot of different tests and tweaks you can make to the aesthetics of your site. Color, layout, imagery, and overall navigation can make a huge impact on conversions and ROI. One study found significant differences for online shopping behavior on e-commerce sites based on website characteristics and shopping cart features. Navigation was found to be one of the most important factors of completing a sale. In other words, experimenting with website characteristics (such as navigation) and visual features can make a huge difference in increasing your ROI.

In the following example from James Caldwell, he found that the version you see on the left below caused a 2% increase just because he changed the color. It may not seem like a lot, but a number like that can be a big difference if you can replicate it all across your business.


The Takeaway

Users are at the heart of experimentation, and increasing positive user experiences can lead to increased ROI and conversions. By making content adjustments, tweaking placement—especially CTA placement—and making improvements to website characteristics, navigation, and visuals, you can make your site more unset-specific and see a direct increase in profit. Experimenting allows you to take a variety of existing knowledge and studies in digital marketing and tailor them to fit your audience specifically.

Which of these three experiments are you most excited to try out for your business? Let us know in the comments section below!

About The Author

amanda Disilvestro /