3 Reasons to Love Visual Website Optimizer for A/B Testing

Why do people buy Bayer Aspirin when you can buy the CVS generic or the Kirkland generic at about 1/3 of the cost? It’s the identical product – identical dosage, identical ingredients. What gives?

It seems that once we trust a product, we just don’t look further. Maybe it’s habit. Maybe it’s laziness. Maybe it’s because we trust brand advertising. Whatever the reason, once satisfied we tend be reluctant to try alternative products.

A little over a year ago we started working with a client who was using Visual Website Optimizer. Up until then all of our testing had been on the Google platform – first Website Optimizer, and more recently Experiments. I’d read about alternative testing platforms,and even checked out their websites, but just never got around to trying them out.

This client wanted to continue to use VWO, and we were forced to learn a new system. We scrambled around, ran a few tests and learned the platform. And surprise, surprise… we’ve never looked back. 

Here’s why we switched to Visual Website Optimizer 

1. Easy traffic segmentation
2. Multiple goals
3. Heat maps and click data

Why traffic segmentation is important.

We get a fair number of clients that are not using landing pages for their AdWords campaigns. They’re sending their ad traffic to their home page or to one of their services page. We’re big believers in dedicated landing pages but I didn’t know if we could test just the Adwords traffic coming to the site.

A few emails with the Wingify support staff and we were all set up. The system allows you to target a specific referral source like Facebook or a specific advertising campaign. We’ve also segmented the traffic to test only certain states and cities

Example of segmenting traffic to include only visitors from Adwords

Example of segmenting traffic to include only visitors from Adwords

Although you can segment traffic using Google Analytics Experiments, you need to create a separate profile and filter segment your traffic. Not impossible to do, but I found the VWO solution to be easier. And with the Wingify support staff help, you have someone to back you up if you get stuck or have a problem.

Why we use multiple goals on a test.

Many of our client’s landing pages let visitors navigate to their websites. In these cases we’ve found it interesting to track behavior once they move off the landing page. Our primary goal for the test is always a call to action on the landing page – usually completing a sign-up form.

But I’m always curious about the behavior of prospects that don’t complete the sign-up form. If they don’t bounce off the landing page and click through to another page, what are they doing? Did they click on a secondary goal/call to action on the landing page? Did they convert on a different page? Did they visit a “further information” page we directed them to?

With visual website optimizer we can set up a primary goal and several secondary goals and monitor the results of each. Good test insights come from a lot of different sources and being able to set multiple goals can yield insights that might not be obvious otherwise.

Test set up with 3 separate goals

Test set up with 3 separate goals

How heat maps and click through data keep me out of trouble

Sample VWO Heat Map

Sample VWO Heat Map

I’m totally addicted to heat maps and click data. Seeing how prospects react to a page, where they click, and how far down the page then go, are questions that heat maps and click data can answer.

I’ve been ready to get rid of links at the bottom of the page, only to discover that prospects were clicking on them. I’ve learned that sometimes “more information” links kill the conversion – sometimes too much information bogs people down and overwhelms them.

Why go with a testing platform that isn’t free? 

The obvious objection with VWO is the cost. Clients say “Why should I use VWO when I can test on Google for free?” Not a problem. Some tests should be performed on Google’s platform. Free is always good, if it meets your needs.

However if you need an easy way to segment traffic or want to have multiple goals or see heat maps of your test results – you may find that Visual Website Optimizer is worth the expense. Another problem you might experience on VWO is the time lag.

Customer support is good but it’s overseas, so response times can lag.

Once a client decides to start testing, they want the test to be up and running immediately. With complicated tests, or when the platform doesn’t mix well with a site, it can take some time to get a test up and running.

Wingify, the parent company of Visual Website Optimizer is located in India as is their support staff. The people at Wingify are unfailingly helpful and responsive, but there is a time differential. It’s not the same as communicating with someone in your local area where problems can be resolved in a matter of hours.

At least initially, and with complicated tests, you’ll need to budget time for communication back and forth which can take 24 -48 hours to complete. I’m always in a hurry and want things done yesterday (not an ideal client – that’s for sure) and found myself getting frustrated when I first started dealing with them. Now when I know that that a set-up could be complex, I prepare the client for some delays and take a deep breath.

Here again are the three reasons I love Visual Website Optimizer

You’ll find Visual Website Optimizer easy to set up and work with, but in my mind that’s not where it really shines. Being able to easily segment traffic is invaluable and allows for more nuanced testing. Multiple goals give me more insights into customer behavior. Heat maps and click data provide another layer of behavioral information that will help you generate ideas for your next tests.

Over to you…. What’s been your experience trying a new platform or products when you’re completely comfortable with your current one? Do you find it easy to switch? Tell us what you think.

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Comments

  1. Testing like that is one of the things that I have yet to master much less learn. Testing traffic, testing conversions, testing testing. I know its important but I don’t know just yet how to implement it.
    Clint Butler recently posted…Copywriting For The Web Is Your Worst Enemy. 7 Ways To Defeat ItMy Profile

  2. Well, although your specific topic sounds a bit over my head, I must agree that I usually find something and if I like it , i’m not too easily swayed to switch.. But the method you have mentioned sounds like it is good one to try.. However i’m impatient with taking the time to learn it all so that would be my down fall! There are always up and coming new things, so I will likely have to become more comfortable with change!!
    Holly recently posted…You Can Lengthen Your Health Span Part 9My Profile

    • Hi Holly – Getting comfortable with testing is a process that can take some time – naturally I think it’s worth the effort – but understand that it’s not for everyone. But you’re actually testing (whether you know it or not) every time you write a blog post. If you go back and look at your Google Analytics you’ll see which topics attracted the most readers. You can also see which posts got people to look at another page – and which posts people spent the longest time on (on average). From there you can see which topics/titles drew the most readers/time/engagement – and can use that information to do more of the same. It also let’s you see which were not as successful and on those you can go back and re-read them to figure out how to improve this type of article in the future. It’s a great way to get started without any expense.
      Marty Diamond recently posted…3 Reasons to Love Visual Website Optimizer for A/B Testing My Profile

  3. Marty,
    as Holly above, I must say up front (and I am certain by now you know it anyway:-) your topic above is by far a bit over my 67 years young head haha :-).

    That does not stop me to agree 100% with you that the method you have written about is a great one to implement if I want to figure out what is going on with what I do in my IM biz.

    My patience to learn all what I need to learn is very low, since I can only absorb very little when someone want to teach me anything new on the Internet… so my friend, I love to read about, and imagine that some days I will implement it at some degree… but that “some days” may be a little far away haha :-)

    Thanks so much for sharing such great and important information to use in our biz… hope others will read and they are able to implement it better and sooner then me.
    _nickc
    nick catricala recently posted…Overcoming Pressure… the how-toMy Profile

    • Hi Nick – You don’t need to start with testing to learn about your customers – you can also run a survey (many are free) to find out topics that your readers are the most interested in – so you can continue to deliver posts that meet the needs of your audience – or follow your analytics like I suggested to Holly – Marty
      Marty Diamond recently posted…3 Reasons to Love Visual Website Optimizer for A/B Testing My Profile

      • Hey Marty,
        I knew that once I place the comment, you would share with me what I need to do right now… you are so experienced and love it.

        Yes, a survey is much more on my pathway.. I done a couple before, but I must say that I had no clue what I was doing and so did not get to far, but now, with you around and many others in our great B3 group.. I may venture again and in case I get stuck one of you will help me get unstuck… so in case I venture, do not be surprised if I knock on your door haha :-)

        Thanks so much for all you share with all of us Marty… you are a professional and I am grateful to have contact with you.
        _nickc
        nick catricala recently posted…Overcoming Pressure… the how-toMy Profile

  4. Marty,
    Thanks for sharing this alternative and preparing us for the fact that it may take a little time to set it up with the tech support in India should we decide to go with them. I have never tried the heat maps, but the whole concept totally intrigues me. I would love to have a better idea of where people are looking on my pages. In response to your final question, people sometimes ask me why I like to use statcounter to track my stats instead of only using Google Analytics. For me the layout and graphics with the statcounter stats make more sense and are easier to read, even though I have to pay $7 per month. I like google stats because, unlike statcounter, google analytics keeps all my data until I delete it!

    Thanks for another great post!

    ~ Jupiter Jim
    Jupiter Jim recently posted…How to Install TubePress Video Gallery Plugin in WordPressMy Profile

  5. Hi Marty,

    You sold me! I’ve used Website Optimizer (Experiments now), and after reading this post, I really want to try Visual Website Optimizer. I’ve read a few articles about heat maps and they are intriguing. It makes sense to see what people do when they get to your landing page.

    I’ll open my mind and make a trial switch and see how it works. The heat map concept is convincing. But I like the statement, “Although you can segment traffic using Google Analytics Experiments, you need to create a separate profile and filter segment your traffic. Not impossible to do, but I found the VWO solution to be easier.” I have not been able to do it with Experiments so I will definitely try this alternative. I trust your recommendations. I also appreciate the heads up with the support time difference. Thanks Marty :)

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn recently posted…Make Money Online With My Top Tier Business (MTTB)My Profile

  6. I’m going to check out the Google stuff you mentioned to Clint. Great to get new ideas, thanks :)

  7. I have to admit, Marty, I often go the “intuitive” route when figuring out campaigns. But nothing substitutes for clear testing and analytics like you describe. And I have to agree that segmentation is essential.

    I’ll certainly take your analytical tips, particularly Visual Website Optimizer to heart when putting together my future campaigns.
    David Merrill 101 recently posted…Lead Magnet Creation | BootcampsMy Profile

    • Hi Marty,

      David does all this “stuff” for me. I go the “intuitive” route when figuring out campaigns.

      This is a bit over my five foot head, but I’m sure David understands this more that I do and it seems to me that we will implement this in the future.

      I just had to reply to David because he is my “better half” and we work on everything together.

      I also read Raena’s reply and I know her well and know how great she is when it comes to these things.

      Again, thanks for introducing this to us,

      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted…SocializeMy Profile

      • HI Donna – I like to think about testing like I think about cooking. I like to cook and I like to experiment with new recipes – So maybe the first time I make something I’ll follow the recipe pretty closely – then after I’ve made it a few times I’ll make some changes to see if it makes the dish better or worse – or relatively unchanged – or if it makes it easier to make – or if it takes less time. So I’m constantly fiddling around with what I’m cooking.

        It’s the same thing on your website – Visual Website Optimizer is like your stove and your pots and pans when you’re cooking – it’s just a tool (one of many choices) to use to test your website.

        The important thing is to be testing – so just like I make small changes to a recipe in an effort to make a recipe better (or take less time to prepare, or make it easier to make) you test too make your website better (easier to use, more engaging, etc.) It allows you to take your intuition and put it to the test – to see if what you think will help your website actually does.

        I think that if you ever started testing – you’d find it so fascinating that you wouldn’t be able to stop – it sounds so technical – but once you get into it you’ll see that it’s all about seeing what people actually do – getting a better understanding of your customers/prospects behavior.

        Marty
        Marty Diamond recently posted…3 Reasons to Love Visual Website Optimizer for A/B Testing My Profile

    • Hi David – It’s one of those things you need to try out – I’ve found VWO and Optimizly both really easy to work with – they both have free trials – so you can test before you have to start paying. If you have questions once you start working with them let me know – happy to help you set things up the first time – Marty
      Marty Diamond recently posted…3 Reasons to Love Visual Website Optimizer for A/B Testing My Profile

  8. Hey Marty I did sit in on a training call a while back on Website Optimizer. At the time I was curious to find out what pages my readers were on. I found it to be very interesting, but as I did everything else in the past I took the training and did nothing with it. Thanks for the great review.. Chery :)
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Do What You Do!My Profile

  9. Continuing with your analogy at the beginning of your post, my own experience tells me the generic brands (especially of food) are NOT always the same as the brand name ones, and are often inferior in taste, texture or appearance. I have no way of knowing without testing. That’s why I tend to stick with something I know I like, rather than trying something new.

    It’s always good to read what’s been discovered by those who HAVE stepped onto a new path and found something that works better than the old one. Thanks for the info, Marty.

    Willena
    Willena Flewelling recently posted…I’m Not Afraid of Spiders or Mice or SnakesMy Profile

  10. Testing traffic sources, in face testing of any kind, is not my forte. I enjoy the blogging and commenting and sharing and education, but I would love someone else to do my testing for me. Although this product seems to do a lot of really useful testing, for me it would just be another task to complete.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…Relationship Healing Question – Ask … What Matters to You?My Profile

  11. Hi Marty,
    this is very in depth information.
    I never heard of traffic segmentation.
    What you said about the support taking a long time because it is in another country made me think in regards to having the host for my website in the States while I am in New Zealand.
    I will bookmark this post for when I am ready to ‘go up a level’.

    Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!
    Cheers,
    Yorinda
    Yorinda Wanner recently posted…It is All done for UsMy Profile

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