DB - Google and Yahoo Educate Marketers About Testing :
The growth in online advertising has led marketers to test spots before they are released and online media firms to start offering testing as a value-add for Internet ad buys. In general, there are two ways to test online ads: (1) use a select group of paid respondents; and, (2) discreet launches that are aimed at a small portion of the Web-surfing audience. While agencies like OTX Research and Dynamic Logic, and online media firm MSN, use the former, Yahoo! and Google advocate the latter. Read the article and answer the following questions:
Todd, W. "Google, Yahoo! Educate Marketers About Testing " , Brandweek 48 issue 3 (15 Jan 2007): 5
What types of products/services are suitable for online testing?
Many marketers are starting to employ testing to evaluate the creative in their banner advertisements and pay-per-click campaigns. This is merely the tip of the iceberg. Testing provides the evidence that should guide every marketing solution; it ensures qualified traffic arrives on your site so you can begin and conclude your dialogue. For marketers, testing is at the heart of improving conversion, measuring is at the heart of holding these conversion improvements to an increasing standard, and optimization is at the heart of persuasion. People do not cause defects, systems do. Thus, when an organisation creates products or services online where visitors must navigate, it should be tested, measured, and optimised. The organisation needs to know whether the assumptions that went into creating its site meet the needs and expectations of its audience. More important, it needs to know how to optimise its system so it can market more effectively.
When one test, one compare elements on the site or in the campaigns to see which variation best persuades visitors to complete certain steps it wants them to take. That steps or action might include online purchases or generate a lead, signing up for a newsletter or clicking on the next step in the selling process or buying process.
For example, when you measure, you monitor what visitors do as they navigate your site. Using a web analytics program, you can determine key performance indicators such as site traffic, overall conversion rate, page rejections, length of time spent on a page, and so forth. These analytics—measurements —help you evaluate where you have problems, which in turn helps you prioritize your testing.
For example, Amazon.com did not create its current site just through major overhauls and redesigns. Marketers persistently tested small pieces of the big picture repeatedly like in the case of its "ready-to-buy" or "add-to-cart" area  is subjected to ongoing test.
Add a Note HereTargeting strategies must be developed to support marketing objective that work toward achieving its branding goals, prompting direct response actions or stimulating offline sales. These targeting approaches should be tied to main objectives that can include customer acquisition, new product rollout, increase favorability and purchase intention or customer retention etc. The more information it has on customers or potential customers, the more innovative, cost-effective, and successful its targeting strategies can be.
Suggest other ways to test online ads.
A proven technique to achieve consistent relevance in any online marketing effort is persona creation. A persona is a fictional customer that represents a company's audience segments. In other words, a set of personas when properly designed will represent the entirety of a company's potential buyers . These personas can provide the organisation with a framework for engaging customers that leaves no segment unengaged. Furthermore, personas help businesses realise better marketing opportunities . By creating visitor profiles, the organization can create a predictive model of customer behavior. With this model in place, it allows the organization to test its campaigns more efficiently.
Add a Note HereIn addition to profiles/personas, the other piece of testing framework that needs to focus on is creating scent trails. Scent is essentially about relevance and continuity in the process, although that relevance may not be the same for all visitors . When carefully chosen, the right scent can capture the interest of a customer. By maintaining an online scent trail with words and pictures, it reinforces the scent and clicks that take the customer closer to the goal. If one does not interrupt the scent trail, it will lead the customer where he or she wants to go hich also happens to be where you want him or her to go.
 Eisenberg, Bryan, John Quarto-Vontivadar, and Lisa T. Davis. "Chapter 1 - Always Be Testing?". Always Be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer. Sybex. © 2008.