Consider Internet Marketing Experiments

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Split A/B TestingAs you should know, marketing is the essential lifeblood of any business. Sometimes knowing about something is never enough to get us into taking the necessary steps to make things happen. In some cases what you need to do is try an experiment.

There are several forms of marketing, but I am a big fan of Internet Marketing. Internet marketing is not only cost effective but also ideally suited for setting up the tests you need for an experiment.

Why The Need For An Experiment

Experiments set up the kind of controlled environment in which you can test out your hypotheses.

What are hypotheses? Hypotheses are those assumptions you make regarding a situation which are based in part on your intuition and experience. These are just hunches for which would have to prove either right or wrong.

For example, if you have heard that Facebook Ads are an effective way to market your product or service and you have a feeling that this could be true, you can set up a hypothesis along the lines of, “Facebook Ads are an effective way to market our product”.

You can also set up several hypotheses, some of them counter to each other. Another counter hypothesis to the one above may be to say that, “Google Adwords is a more effective way to market our product or service than Facebook”.

What is important to note is that these are just statements you have made around an effective approach to marketing your product or service. They are not facts, or rather they have no basis in fact. 

This is why you would need experiments in your Internet Marketing approach so that you can obtain tangible data on which to base your  final statement of analysis. Experiments follow the scientific method of evaluating the variables involved in a controlled environment and analysing the results to produce statements of fact.

Every Business Is Unique

If you are to be practical about it, you may not take the results of an Internet Marketing experiment from one business and transplant them to apply to the situation of another business. Every business is unique in its own right.

Taking the hypothesis of Facebook Ads and Google Adwords mentioned earlier, one may be effective for a certain company whilst the other may be effective for another. It is even possible that none may be effective at all, or even both may be effective. That is why it is important to carry out experiments designed test the statements for each particular business.

Some of the factors that may determine different results for different businesses are the type of business as well as the characteristics and demographics of its customers. If the business has a strong offline dependence and its customers are predominantly offline, neither of the platforms may work.

Experimental Approaches

Internet Marketing experiments can be set up with the objective of proving or disproving a hypothesis. In order to ensure that strict guidelines are followed, a control needs to be set up. The purpose of the control is to allow you to be able to make a determination about the experiment with the control as a basis.

The control can be data collected under certain circumstances or situation which are then compared to data collected with the objective of testing out a hypothesis. The control may also be a fixed data point which is used to compare and contrast two data sets. 

Continuing with the example of Facebook Ads vs Google Adwords, results may be compared of ads ran on both platforms whilst keeping the budget fixed at a certain amount for each to determine whether Adwords is more effective than Facebook Ads, or not.

Another experimental approach that is mainly used for comparing closely similar situations such as two variations of a web page that customers visit or two types of slightly varied Ads running on the same platform, is A/B testing.

In the A/B testing approach two versions of a web page or an ad are set up with one variation on the original and the original serves as the control for the experiment. The two data sets are then compared. The variation may be a certain element on a web page or using a different image for an Ad. 

Analysing Experimental Results

It is important to remember that the purpose of the Internet Marketing Experiments you carry out is to aid you in making decisions for your business. Do not make the mistake of carrying out experiments for the sake of experimenting.

It is also critical to always stay objective. Sometimes you fall prey to your own biases and compromise the analysis of the experiment. Even if you initially favour a certain hypothesis, do not get tempted into letting your emotional attachment to the hypothesis cloud your judgement. 

Why Not Try It out?

Internet Marketing experiments are a great way to venture out and test the waters. They allow you to try out your ideas under controlled circumstances. For example, if you think your business can benefit from Internet Marketing, particularly with a certain platform, you can try it out without committing yourself. Initially try it out with a small budget in the experiment and see how it works out without going all in.

Testing with a small budget greatly reduces the risk of losing out by overcommitting funds to a marketing campaign for which the outcome is totally unknown. By taking the experimental approach, you minimize this risk and can decide to fully commit funds if the experiment demonstrated positive results.

What are your thoughts on experiments and experimenting with marketing approaches? Let us know in the comment section below.

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