What is Sitecore testing?

What is Sitecore testing?
21st September 2020

Sitecore testing helps organisations find out what aspects of their content is effective and what could be improved to help drive engagement. How can businesses get more from Sitecore testing?

Sitecore testing is the capability that enables you to uncover what’s working and what’s not on your website. It’s a key driver in ensuring your marketing efforts are working to achieve your goals.

Marketers are tasked with identifying their customers, their online behaviour and pinpointing the what kind of information they want, when they want it, and how they want to consume it. Unless marketing teams have a magic eight ball to shake for this information on demand, it’s more important to take steps in evolving your strategy towards gathering this intel. Then create hypotheses from it and test your content against them. It’s nearly impossible to know how to best reach customers when starting from a blank slate in which you don’t have useful data. Even if your content is “always on”, if you’re not testing it and incorporating what you learn, then it’s Groundhog Day; with each new piece of content you’re resetting, starting from scratch, wiping the slate clean. A ‘test and learn’ mindset is key, but alongside this strategy you need the right technology to do it effectively.

There are thousands of studies on the psychology of successful marketing, which shows the sheer complexity surrounding the topic. But you don’t have time to go off and read, digest, and incorporate academic findings into what you do. The world will have moved on by the time you come to do anything. Content creators sit and argue for hours over “Click here to subscribe to our newsletter” or “Subscribe now!”. And We find that the more complex arguments focus around the arrangement of information. Where do you put the call to action? What’s the best configuration of displaying service descriptions? From these questions, additional complexity arises when deciding the tone or image that’s to be used. Having the ability to try out different versions of content on visitors to see which performs better helps marketers better understand their audience quicker and create content that resonates. In order to remain agile and quick to respond to the ever-changing needs and behaviours of your audience, use your technology to help you test and learn. Results will be realised much quicker.

Sitecore supports A/B testing and multivariate testing (M/V), which can then be applied to either specific components on a page:

  • Header banner
  • Hero image
  • Subscribe CTA
  • or to entire pages.

The tests can be focused around the content displayed and/or applied to your Sitecore personalisation strategies.

Sitecore testing success stories

Working with one of the UK’s leading car leasing companies, Inchcape, we reviewed and optimised their sales funnel to gain insight. Based on this, we optimised the layout usability, changed the wording of CTAs, amended current designs and tested different colour options and CTA offer positioning.

After six months this resulted in a 50% increase in user sessions and a 79% increase in goal conversion rate.

For finance specialists, Together, our team identified some hypotheses for improvement relating to calls to action and form elements across the site. This included improvements to messaging, content and the User Interface. We produced alternative designs for these elements and began a series of A/B tests to measure the effectiveness of our improvements against the performance of the original elements.

By quickly demonstrating improvements, Together was able to validate that investing in an improved user interface across key pages was going to generate ROI.

The campaign resulted in a 547% increase in submitted enquiry forms over a 6-month period. When secondary calls to action were included the site experienced a 1,089% increase in goal completions.

To take this to the next level, M/V testing, encourages several testing points within a page or within a component. This has two results. When there are multivariate tests configured, there is increased data collected to better understand customer behaviour. The second result is the cascading effects of wanting additional Sitecore personalisation rules, creating the numerous versions of personalised content and tracking metrics for each personalised instance.

Sitecore testing and AI

One of the activities of Sitecore testing is the job of creating each variation of content that is to be configured. Often marketers are bogged down with time consuming task of managing and maintaining content creation and configuring personalisation strategies, all of which feeds the process of testing content.

Sitecore offers features and products to help reduce the churn and we work with our clients to prioritise focus areas and develop hypotheses for testing. Marketing AI (artificial intelligence) is an exciting new development and adds the ability for marketers to lean on the platform, which will suggest tips on where to set up A/B tests. Furthermore, Sitecore’s  AI Personalisation has the ability to automate personalisation and A/B tests, removing the need for marketers to focus heavily on the management and creation of the testing and personalisation strategy. While Sitecore AI is a powerful tool, setting up is time intensive and requires a high enough number of visits and engagement data to be able to provide statistically relevant recommendations.

Despite the challenges of initial set up for the A/B and personalisation strategies, the time returned to marketers once Sitecore AI can be engaged allows for organisations to reinvest in identifying and expanding to new markets and finding new and exciting ways to connect with their audience.

The most effective organisations reach their audience with a highly efficient and effective digital presence. It is vital that the marketing team follows a process that supports those goals, all while striving for innovation. With the day-to-day tasks marketers have, it’s easy to get lost in deadlines, managing content creation and running campaigns. By implementing a process of repeated testing and learning, marketers can improve their content in measurable and demonstrable ways and get ahead of the how their organisation connects meaningfully with customers.

How do you know if you’ve got Sitecore testing right?

What do you do if your content is not connecting with your customers? It’s a reality that content doesn’t always bring about the results you anticipated.  We work with our clients to put continuous improvement at the centre of their content strategies. Using Sitecore testing to boost conversions with each new version, built upon the last, nurtures greater engagement and customer conversion. This enables your team to be more strategic and not feel like they’re just churning out the same kind of content time after time.

Is your business getting the most from Sitecore?

Speak to us to build your marketing strategy and brand loyalty with Sitecore testing. Customer needs are a constant moving target, evolving with the seasons, global, and local events, and ever-changing emotions. Giving marketers the ability to start from a broad point, to being able to calibrate their content is the best method to creating strong websites to meet customer needs.

We’d love to speak to you today about how our team of Sitecore experts can help you increase interaction, sales and revenue through a strong digital brand experience.

Contact us, we can give you a Sitecore demo and audit.