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Test and learn

What is Test and Learn

One of the core attributes of effective marketing is a focus on creating a Test and Learn approach to marketing.

Test and Learn is where you put an emphasis on testing your assumptions about your marketing activities, learning from those tests, and then focusing on the areas that work.  Overall Test and learn leads to an improved ROI and is a major part of effective marketing.


Data is Key

To implement a test and learn a program you need data. You need to understand which data is critical to your campaign’s success and to achieve this you need to define the elements of your campaign’s success measures.

Understanding success

What are your conversions?

A conversion in this case is a required action and should be the main objective of your marketing.  Conversions and conversions drivers can take place both on your website and off your website.  Depending on what you are trying to achieve conversions can be many things.  Do you want them to make a purchase on your website or mobile app or even in your store?  Are you prospect building and want contact details? Do you want them to download something, join or register?  Each is equally valid and provides a key building block for creating a test and learn the culture.

How much are those conversions worth to your business?

If you’ve got an eCommerce site, how much is a typical transaction worth to you?

If you’re using lead generation tactics, what’s a lead worth? (If you don’t know the answer to that, think about what a customer is worth, then multiply by the rate you convert leads to paying customers. If you don’t know the answer to that, start by dividing your new customers added by the number of leads generated each month.)

Understanding your site traffic

Which web pages are landing pages and which are destination pages, ie where do visitors arrive on your site and where are trying to get them too, Does your planned journey match the actual journey users are taking, if not then what remedial action do you need to take?

How often do customers reach your conversion page from each of your top entry points? You’ll use this data to assign an economic value to each entry page and to determine the potential value each test can deliver.

What other pages send customers deeper into your purchase funnel? Most analytics tools can tell you how often any given page leads to a specific conversion action. You’ll use this data to learn which pages contribute to conversions even if they’re not top entry pages.

Measuring conversions

How will you measure your conversion – do you have the correct tracking in place?  It is worth remembering that conversions can take place both on and offline and difficult to measure offline conversions take the most consideration.

Test and learn matrix

test and learn



This is a simplified version of a more in-depth approach. It usually also takes some work to collect and refine the data necessary to answer each of these 5 questions for each of your top entry pages as well as the top pages leading to conversions. However the most successful marketers tend to follow the Pareto principle — that is putting most of your efforts into the areas that will get you 80% of your return. It’s not about following a complicated process; it’s about focusing on the areas with the greatest return.

Creating a test and learn culture starts and ends with data. But in the middle it depends on using that data to ask the right questions about your customer needs and generate the greatest return on your efforts.