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Is ad testing keeping pace with the online advertising revolution?

No expe­ri­enced busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er would dis­pute that inter­net adver­tis­ing has seen explo­sive growth. In the 90’s, when the term “online adver­tis­ing sales” was still rel­a­tive­ly incom­pre­hen­si­ble and sta­t­ic ban­ner ads ruled the day, it was prob­a­bly impos­si­ble for most ordi­nary mor­tals to fore­see the Adland land­scape of 2013. We now live in an era in which what was unimag­in­able twen­ty years ago – flam­boy­ant­ly inter­ac­tive cross-plat­form com­mer­cial expe­ri­ences – is com­mon­place. But has effec­tive­ness test­ing kept pace with adver­tis­ing innovation?

Out­mod­ed methodology

Writ­ing in iMe­dia Con­nec­tion, Life Street Media’s CEO and co-founder Mitchell Weis­man says the answer is, blunt­ly, “no.” We’re stuck in method­ol­o­gy that belongs to the era of Dawson’s Creek and Mel­rose Place. Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, most mar­keters reserve a lit­tle inven­to­ry to set up test pan­els or sam­ple groups, who are then invit­ed to give their ver­dict on the new con­cepts con­tained in the inven­to­ry. This method is used on every­thing from TV show line-ups to the qual­i­ty of online ad cam­paigns. If you’re a busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er and you rec­og­nize this prac­tice, Weis­man has some uncom­pro­mis­ing words. He writes:

“Test­ing in this form is painful, slow and expen­sive. As a result, many ele­ments of ads that should be test­ed – because they clear­ly impact results and rev­enue – are not test­ed. As a result, too many deci­sions in online adver­tis­ing are based on gut and intu­ition instead of hard test­ing and sound results.”

The Life Street answer

But he has a solu­tion which har­ness­es cut­ting edge tech­nol­o­gy to over­come the short­com­ings of lim­it­ed inven­to­ries. Life Street Media’s “RevJet” rev­enue max­i­miza­tion plat­form doesn’t just test a frag­ment of inven­to­ry, it tests every avail­able impres­sion. And it does so again and again and again.

The plat­form tests dif­fer­ent dimen­sions of the same visu­al objects, includ­ing head­lines, back­ground col­ors, fonts, images and calls-to-action. At one and the same time, it tests log­i­cal objects too, like bid­ding and tar­get­ing algo­rithms, as well as traf­fick­ing deci­sions. For­get allo­cat­ing a mere por­tion of inven­to­ry for test­ing; RevJet can test the lot across mul­ti­ple dimen­sions, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly (it’s offi­cial­ly called “Iter­a­tive High Veloc­i­ty Test­ing” or IHVT).

Accord­ing to Weis­man, the results are aston­ish­ing. He says, “[D]ozens of tests are often con­duct­ed on a giv­en cam­paign, result­ing in hun­dreds of per­cent­age points improve­ments in yield conversions.”

No busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er would scoff at that.

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