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Marketing Experimentation – Engenius

Marketing Involves Calculated Risk


We mentioned in our Marketing Metrics blog how marketers have hundreds of thousands of channels, initiatives and projects to consider when moving a company forward. Facebook Ads, SEO efforts, mailers, postcards, email newsletters, and social media engagement are only the tip of the iceberg before you even begin to consider billboards, commercials, and branding efforts.

The potential is limitless, but just as everyone doesn’t have the same business goals, not every company has the same time, budget, or talent to try new initiatives. Your marketing might be in a rut, or it could be going well, but odds are you’re missing out on potential leads. You need to innovate and try new things in marketing if you want to connect with previously unreached groups…but how do you decide on what marketing to try? The answer might be one you learned in grade school.

Run the Elementary Experiment

There are some great things we learned in elementary school science class that translate well to marketing. Hang with me here and think back to the coolest science experiment you remember doing. Regardless of whether that experiment was an exploding volcano, the creation of a closed ecosystem, or something to do with physics, your teacher probably started by recapping the fundamentals of the scientific method. Those steps looked something like this:


1. Question
2. Research
3. Form a Hypothesis
4. Experiment
5. Analyze
6. Present your findings


If you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume you probably didn’t go into a scientific field. The steps of the scientific method, however, are useful when applied to marketing efforts. Consider this edited version of the list above:

1. Ask the Question and Do Your Research

Asking questions seems simple, but if your efforts are going well you might not think to ask “What could we do better?” “How can we reach more people?” or “What might not be working?” Business is all about growth. You should periodically take a look at your marketing, review what is or isn’t working, then start thinking about what could work when targeting your specific audience.

Ask your sales team for feedback on your audience and use their expertise to target new lead opportunities. Research what your competitors are doing and what seems to be working for them. Read into what marketing experts are saying about your industry and its potential. As you research, consider what options for growth or experimentation may exist for your marketing team.

Caveat: It’s important to be aware of our own confirmation biases. It’s easy to look up stats that validate what you think and feel…but are those stats relevant to your audience and your organization? If your audience doesn’t find it valid, then it’s of no use to you.

2. Form your Hypothesis

Let’s be honest: this is the most creative part of this process. It’s coming up with a different idea and then setting into motion a plan to see if that idea works. Your hypothesis, however, should NOT be a shot in the dark. Risk is a natural part of playing the game of business…but simply firing a shot into the dark with your marketing budget is an easy way to see no returns.

Instead, use the research you’ve done along with your company’s historical data to see what has or hasn’t succeeded in the past. The more research you have and the more data you can review, the more likely you are to guess correctly. Decide what new channel you want to try, what technique you want to use, or what message you want to focus on and move forward.

3. Experiment

Experimentation — the process of taking your hypothesis and executing on it. Enact the plan you created during your hypothesis phase and gather your data to consider if your initiative worked.

4. Analyze, Report and Find a New Hypothesis

When you’ve finished the campaign or exhausted the initiatives, consider what worked and what didn’t. Was your question a good question? Was your hypothesis a solid hypothesis? Be critical and honest about your experiment.

If the experiment was a total fail…own it. We grow from our successes and our failures. A failed initiative tells you something about your audience and their interests just as a success tells you something as well!

Most importantly of all, as you consider the experiment in review, use your findings to propose a new hypothesis and push forward again.

Bonus Tip: The Importance of Perseverance

It’s important to remember that experimentation drives your organization forward by challenging marketing and sales to connect with new, unreached leads.

Because of this, it is vital to keep pushing in your marketing. Be bold and take on a new channel…or experiment with your existing marketing efforts by changing colors and post times or by publishing an extra newsletter. It’s helpful to remember that experimenting in marketing doesn’t have to be costly — little changes can pay large dividends.

And Finally

A successful experiment can level up your marketing and give you a whole new repertoire of marketing efforts that work. Change, while a little scary, creates new growth. To keep our businesses healthy we must continue to guess, test, analyze, and adapt our messaging to reach more people, drive more traffic, and generate more leads for sales.

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Internet Businesses Tips

Why Your Mobile Site Speed Score Is Bad—And Why That’s OK

We hear from clients almost once a week asking us why their site is slow on mobile and what we can do about it. They usually send us a report they pulled from Google Lighthouse or Pagespeed Insights and they are worried why the score is so low on mobile. 98% of the time, here’s how I respond:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Just because you have a low mobile Lighthouse score doesn’t mean your site is slow.
  3. Everything will be okay with your website and your online customers.

So, on that note, let’s find out what we should be doing about these scores!

What Is Lighthouse?

Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. It runs your web page through an audit for performance, but it also has audits for Accessibility, SEO, and more. For the sake of this article, when we refer to Lighthouse, we will only be referring to the Lighthouse Performance Audit.

It’s a helpful supplemental tool to quickly find out how your web page is performing, but because it is an automated audit run by a device, it shouldn’t really take the place of real-life feedback from your customers.

How Does Lighthouse Scoring Work?

Your Lighthouse score will range from 0 to 100 and is calculated by 6 different weighted metrics. These metrics are likely to change over time as the Lighthouse team continues to do research on web performance. As of Lighthouse version 8, here are the metrics and their respective weights:

We won’t go into detail on each metric, but feel free click on the links above to learn more about how each one is scored. As you can see, the two heaviest metrics are Largest Contentful Paint and Total Blocking Time, which makes up over half of your possible score. Here’s a helpful calculator tool of how changing different metrics will affect your score.

Mobile vs. Desktop Scoring

Lighthouse offers two different audits for web performance: one for desktop, and one on mobile. Running the two audits on your web page, you will probably see two vastly different scores for each.

Why is My Mobile Score So Low?

The biggest difference between the Desktop and Mobile audit is that the Mobile audit is run on a slow, 3G cellular connection. How slow is 3G? If you were blessed to have a cell phone when Verizon launched the first third-generation networks in 2002, you will remember it was excruciatingly slow.

Most of the US currently uses 4G/LTE networks, with 5G becoming more widely used every day. As of 2019, only 17% of the US is still using 3G networks. With all that said, the mobile Lighthouse audit probably isn’t representative of the majority of your users.

And if your users do have a slow, 3G connection, I can promise you, your website isn’t the only slow website they are using. The entire internet will crawl.

Your 3G users aren’t going to be turned away because your website takes 12 seconds to load on their phone, right after they waited for 2-3 minutes on Facebook to see photos of their new grandson. 3G is just slow.

Just How Bad Are Other Websites’ Mobile Scores?

Bad. Really Bad. In a look at the top 100 largest-revenue online retailers, the average score is 25.9. That’s 25.9 out of 100. Microsoft held the highest score of 68. Apple maintained a score of 58. But much of the list, including IKEA, Lowe’s, Staples, HP, and more, scored in the 20’s and 30’s. You can see the full article here.

This goes to show that mobile website optimization technology has a long way to go before it becomes standard to see good mobile scores.

Will a High Score Improve My SEO?

Short answer: Not really.

Longer answer: While Google does take Lighthouse scores into consideration for ranking, the amount of time it will take to improve your score to jump up one rank or two on Google Search is just not realistic.

It’s much better to spend your time optimizing other parts of your website, and not just obsess over a perfect performance score. Here’s a free checklist we created to help optimize your website to get better SEO rankings.

Why You Shouldn’t Obsess Over Perfect Lighthouse Scores

We’ve already said many reasons why you shouldn’t waste your time obsessing over improving your mobile scores, including that mobile scores are notoriously low and hard to improve, and they don’t affect your SEO very much at all.

But one more thing we haven’t mentioned is that scores can vary widely from test to test. Go ahead and run multiple tests and you’ll see scores often vary by 10-20 points. This is because of a bunch of different factors including CPU throttling, browser extensions, geography and server location, and even your local network speeds. It makes sense to not put your full trust in the tool, but to use it as a jumping off point to see what your improvement opportunities are.

Why Use Lighthouse At All Then?

Even with its inconsistencies and reliability issues, Lighthouse is still a tool worth having in your toolbox. Once you know the quirks, you can usually work around them by averaging multiple tests. What’s more important than the score and metrics are the list of opportunities for improvement that Lighthouse gives you. Once you know to focus on these items, Lighthouse can be a very valuable resource for optimizing your website.

Still have questions?

The website world can be a little overwhelming. If you have questions, seek out resources to help you learn more. We’re more than happy to answer any questions and, if you already have a web design partner, they should be too! Give us a call or send us an email and let’s chat about your website.

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Internet Businesses Tips

Engenius Partners With NEXT and Clemson

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