If I had twenty dollars for every time I heard, “My site isn’t getting enough traffic,” I wouldn’t have to be here writing to you now. Of course, I’m joking. Mostly.
None the less, use your imagination a bit and let’s play through…
Sometimes it goes a step further and we move on to the topic of A/B testing. What a great technique / tool, right? Yes, but how often is the tool used correctly, in the complete and holistic context of the brand?
If you’ve limiting your view to traffic; if you’re limiting your view to the effectiveness of a given A/B test; well then there’s a good chance you’re well, um, limiting your view. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, as long as you’re aware you’re wearing blinders.
Solving for today does not necessarily mean your individual solutions, lined up end to end, will over the long term translate into a sum of their individual successes. For a 21st century minded brand, 1 + 1 + 1 could equal 3. It’s possible it could equal 2. It’s also possible it could equal 4, or more. The point being, instead of solving for one (and only one) repeatedly (as easy as it might be), doesn’t it make more sense to ask, “What does it take to get to 4 or more?” That’s where the magic happens.
More specifically, you might find that after an A/B test, call to action A is less effective than call to action B. For example, B gets more email list sign-ups than A. Going with B makes sense if your view is limited to building the size of your list this week. However, it’s certainly possible that after six months or twelve months, the net number of subscribers is better with A than B. In other words, B triggers more sign-ups, but it also has a higher percentage of people eventually going for unsubscribed. Is B still superior to A?
Another possibility is A, over time, might have more opens; more clicks from those opens; and/or actually results in more sales. Again, B tested great for sign-ups—and that’s what was tested for—but then B comes up short for other more important metrics. The same can be said for the pursuit of traffic. That is, some traffic is better than other traffic. Growing traffic, even for sites based on a traffic model (i.e., they sell ads), should be done with care and consideration. Are you blowing up or on the cusp of blowing out?
The bottom line…Over-focusing on the wrong things can get you to where you want to go today. However, it might not get you to where you need to go next week, next month; or next year. Once you decide what you want to measure, always be sure to pause and ask why, and if it’s a long term plan builder or a short-sighted feels-good fix.