Foreward forYou Should Test That!

Be Super Awesome


A few days into my first job on the Web, over a decade ago, our most senior executive said to me: “Our product is so good that we should replace all the text, images and links on our home page with one giant red button that says ‘start now.’ People will just love the product and will convert into paying customers. No need to show them previews, explain the problem it solves, have a product recommendation engine. Just one big red button.”

In that one instant I became a fan of experimentation!

I realized that there was no way I could say no to the idea. I was simply not that important (and our salary differential was too big!). My only option was to figure out how to show the executive that we respected his idea, to try it and measure the results.

We jury-rigged our CMS to split traffic that landed on the home page to go to two different pages (giant red button and no giant red button). Data collection was painful (log file parsing!). Computation of statistical significance was crude (ok, Excel still works!). The result was surprising. To the HiPPO—because the red button performed miserably. To me as well—I realized this was all it took to let your actual customers pick good ideas.

A lot has happened since that early foray. We have a ton of options when it comes to doing A/B testing. We have tools that make it ever easier to deliver the sexy magic of multivariate testing. An increasing number of people are discovering the exhilarating thrill of controlled experimentation—what a magnificent way to answer questions we thus far thought were unanswerable.

Yet experimentation sadly remains less used than it should be. Tools are not the problem anymore—too many and at all price points. Senior leaders are less of a problem every day—they are starting to see the benefits and career enhancing potential. The problem is that experimentation requires a unique mental model. It requires a systematic approach. It requires a distinct analytical rigor. It requires the love of process excellence.

The problem is you, your employees, me, and our peers in digital marketing.

That’s where Chris rides in to save the day. In 13 chapters, he systematically takes us on a journey from the very first basic steps of testing and experimentation, to making a strong and compelling case for conversion optimization, to the critical sections of prioritization the many opportunities in front of us and executing our experiments.

My favorite parts of the book are the ones that address the core reasons experimentation is not an all-subsuming part of our digital existence. Chapter 4 introduces the LIFTTM model (this is not going to let you down as you imagine scaling your testing program!), and chapters 5 through 10 gently hold your hand and provide specific guidance on each element of the model. Any excuse you could come up with to save yourself from being awesome will be gone by this point.

And since just having the knowledge is not sufficient, the 15 real-world case studies included will allow you to tell stories to your management team. Stories that will inspire them to permit you to unleash your wings and go save the day (and then the next day and then the day after) for your business. Regardless of what your company’s size is. Regardless of where you are on the digital evolutionary cycle.

Buy the book. Be super awesome. Then email Chris and thank him.

Good luck!

—Avinash Kaushik
Author: Web Analytics 2.0, Web Analytics: An Hour A Day

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