What You Missed Last Month in Google

It’s time for that March lion to roar onto the scene. Time for St. Patrick’s Day, the first signs of spring, and the end of Q1.

February is coming to a close.

And being that it’s a shorter month, February seems to have flown by. A lot happened in the world of tech, much of the news coming from Google.

We’ve put together another list of the major highlights from Google — this time, for the month of February. Read on for the full recap.

1. Double Featured Snippets Are Coming

Google announced today that it will be rolling out a new element to its search engine results page (SERP): featured snippets.Click here to get everything you need to get your website ranking in search.

The announcement comes somewhat on the heels of a recent post on Google’s official blog took a deep dive into how its featured snippets work, where Danny Sullivan, public liaison for search, explained that while this piece of the SERP has been helpful to many, it isn’t quite perfect.

One item to be addressed, Google Search Product Management Director Emily Moxley wrote today, is the concept of nuanced queries: the ones that could be seeking multiple answers on a given issue. Using the example of a query like “tooth pain after a filling,” Moxley explains that user could be looking to find out if this type of pain is normal (the “why”), or learn about the duration of the pain (the “how” or “how long”). 

For that reason, Google will begin rolling out the display of more than one featured snippet in the SERP that could answer the user’s question, depending on the words used in the search — what Moxley calls “multi-intent queries.”


Source: The Keyword

As we wrote earlier this month, displaying more featured snippets in the SERP introduces a higher barrier to earning clicks, especially if the snippets answer the query sufficiently enough that the user doesn’t need to look — or click — any further.

“Testing methods to maximize featured snippet exposure is going to become the norm in SEO,” says Victor Pan, HubSpot’s Manager of SEO. “But being able to turn that view to a click, an engagement with content, and trust with your website has, and will always be the tougher problem.”

2. Better Ads Standards Take Effect

Last summer, Google announced that on its Chrome browser, it would be removing ads from sites that don’t meet the Better Ads Standards. The initiative launched on February 15, and Google began blocking ads that did not meet the criteria.

The goal was not to do away with ads completely. Rather, it was to discourage webmasters from creating and placing digital ads that interrupt a user’s content consumption — characteristics like automatically playing loudly, or not allowing users to navigate away from the ad until a certain amount of time has passed.

Coalition for Better Ads_Better Ads StandardsSource: Coalition for Better Ads

However, Google also wanted to ensure that critical ad revenue wouldn’t be lost as a result of these changes. In fact, better ads would actually boost those efforts, as intrusive ones motivated users to install browser plugins that block ads altogether — which would remove any ad engagement and the resulting income from its display.

According to Chris Bentzel, Google’s Engineering Manager, early tests of this feature showed that it was, for the most part, effective. The 42% of tested sites that failed the Better Ads Standards actively took the initiative to remove their intrusive ads and, three days before the launch, passed and met the criteria for a better user experience.

It sounds as though webmasters will be notified by Google if their sites contain non-compliant ad experiences. If, they have not addressed and modified the ads to meet the new standards within 30 days of notification, Chrome will actively block ads on that site.

Sites with such intrusive ads will display the following message:

Untitled-44 Source: Google Chromium Blog

3. AI Comes to AdSense

We’ve written a lot about the things that a bot can do (albeit, not always well): write a screenplay, compose a classical masterpiece, name paint colors. And now, it seems, AI can help you build an ad campaign.

Last month, Google AdSense introduced a new feature called “Auto ads,” in which machine learning helps marketers place and monetize ads with smart automation.

With Auto ads, the AI behind the feature crawls your site to find the best pages and areas for potential ad placements, and displays them only when the probability of both a strong performance and user experience are high.

It does this, as the name suggests, automatically — all the ad manager has to do is select the ad formats she wants to use in her AdSense settings, then copy and paste the generated code on the pages where ads can be displayed.

To emphasize, copying the code onto all pages doesn’t mean ads will actually display there. That’s where the machine learning comes in to determine if it’s an optimal location for ad placement.

newblogpicSource: Inside AdSense

4. AMP’d Up Emails

The AMP initiative — or Accelerated Mobile Pages — was first introduced by Google to help webmasters create sites and ads that provide a rich experience, but also load quickly and maintain a high performance across different browsing platforms. That, as the name suggests, includes mobile.

Until recently, the open-source AMP initiative only applied to websites. But early this month, Google announced that it would be launching a preview of “AMP for Email” for Gmail developers, which is slated to bring those same fast, rich, and high-performing experiences to email.

One of the primary goals, according to the official announcement, is to allow users to complete more tasks without navigating away from their inboxes — things like RSVPing to events for which they receive HTML email invites, completing a survey, or managing email subscriptions.

Source: The Keyword

Email marketers and developers can sign up for a preview here.

5. Other Google News You May Have Missed

Clips Is Now Available for Purchase

Google Clips, the wireless smart camera announced at the company’s October 2017 #MadeByGoogle event, was officially released for purchase last month — only to receive less-than-stellar reviews.

Many were confused about the camera’s purpose when it was first released, The Verge reporter Sean O’Kane describing it as a “deeply weird product.” On Tuesday, his colleague Dan Seifert didn’t have much better to say, reviewing Clips as something that “just doesn’t work that well.”

Android Announcements From Mobile World Congress

At Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC), Google announced it will be introducing two new Android programs to smartphones: The Go edition of Android Oreo, and Android One.

The former — which will be built into select phones from Alcatel and Huawei, among others — boasts a more optimized experience with higher speeds for devices with a memory capacity of less than 1 GB. The latter will introduce an entirely new suite of devices, primarily from Nokia.

Source: The Keyword

A Further Foray Into the Internet of Things

Google is no stranger to the internet of things (IoT), with the ability to control Smart Home lighting and more with Google Assistant-enabled devices. And with its recent acquisition of Xively, it appears that the company has grander plans for that sector.

Xively, previously a division of LogMeIn, is largely known for its device management capabilities. But rather than contributing toward future buildout of consumer IoT products, this “addition of Xively’s robust, enterprise-ready IoT platform,” wrote Google’s IoT Product Manager Antony Passemard in a statement, “can accelerate our customers’ timeline from IoT vision to product, as they look to build their connected business,” making it a logical fit for Google’s Cloud IoT Core team.

Until Next Month

As always, we’re watching all things Google. We’ll continue to pick out top news items, algorithm updates, and trends that can aid your marketing.

Until the month goes out like a lamb, have a great March.


Click here to get everything you need to get your website ranking in search.

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/this-month-in-google-news


Exploring New Worlds In March: The Smashing Creativity Submissions And Winner

Everybody’s an artist. That was the idea behind the Smashing Creativity Challenge which we announced at the beginning of the month. We asked the community to get their creative ideas flowing, and design a desktop wallpaper for March 2018. The only requirement: The wallpaper had to somehow relate to the theme “Exploring New Worlds”. How? Well, only your imagination was the limit.
Today, we are happy to present the result of this creative experiment, and the lucky winner, too, of course.

from Marketing https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/02/desktop-wallpaper-calendars-march-2018/

Here’s What Your Subscribers Really Think About These Email Strategies

Sometimes, email marketing can feel like a guessing game: will they open this, will they read that?

If you’re an email marketer, you care about open and click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and conversions.

But your subscribers don’t share these incentives when receiving marketing emails. They don’t open your emails because they know you’ll appreciate the CTR, and they don’t subscribe because they want to help you out.Click here to download our free ebook featuring 104 email marketing myths,  experiments, and inspiration.

So why do subscribers open marketing emails? Why do they subscribe to one channel over another, or click on one CTR but avoid another? And, beyond subscribing and opening, what magical email elements are needed to convert subscribers into customers?

Marketers often misunderstand how subscribers perceive emails, which is why the folks at Email Monks created this helpful infographic to highlight discrepancies between what marketers think when they send an email, and how subscribers feel when they receive it.

This can help you eliminate destructive elements in your email marketing campaigns, and increase the satisfaction of your subscribers.


email-perception-1.jpg email-perception-2.jpgemail-perception-4.jpgemail-perception-6.jpgemail-perception-9.jpgemail-perception-10.jpg

104 email marketing myths, experiments, and inspiration

Free Download 104 Email Myths

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-perceptions-vs-reality

How to Write Facebook Messenger Copy That Converts

Facebook Messenger marketing is more straightforward than you might think. I’ve built countless bots and ran marketing campaigns at scale that drove great results. Along the way, I learned a big ugly truth that most companies don’t realize until it’s too late:

Most users don’t know how to interact with bots on Messenger yet. But they will.

During the course of a conversation, there’s a good chance that they’re going to stray away from how you want them to interact with your bot. When that happens, you have a choice:

  1. Lose them as potential customer forever.
  2. Delight them and drive value to your business.

“Well duh, easy choice. But easier said than done — right?”

Let’s walk through my three-part formula for writing error messages that drive conversions.Download our free guide here for tips to become a better writer. 

Along the way, I’ll share free tools that I use every day to create incredible Messenger experiences. Here’s what you need to remember:

“Acknowledge + Rephrase + Prompt”

0. Map

Before you do anything — step away from the keyboard! You need to figure out what might go wrong before you decide how to make it better. Grab a whiteboard or pen and paper — it’s mapping time. Write out every point where the user needs to take an action inside your bot. Ask yourself these three questions as you do it:

  • What am I asking the user to do?
  • Which ways might they get it wrong?
  • How can I be more clear?

That exercise will open your mind to getting them back on track. Alright, onto the formula itself.

1. Acknowledge

The first part of writing good error messages is to acknowledge the problem. Being more specific when something goes wrong gives users a better clue into what you want them to do. But if we just told someone what’s wrong without giving them a path to making it better, it wouldn’t be all that helpful. Take this example of an invalid email below:

Um, rude and unhelpful.

To make error messages work for Messenger bots, you need all three parts. It’s not just about telling them what’s wrong — but show them how to make it right.

Tool tip: Dashbot is a free chatbot analytics platform to show where users get lost.

2. Rephrase

There’s no foolproof way to know if an error was a miscommunication or a misclick. Unlike a web form, you can’t show users if something is incorrect before they hit submit. But you can give them an example of a successful interaction after the fact so they have a better idea of what you need.

I see what I did wrong, but now what?

By adding this one sentence, we’ve already made it more likely that users will finish taking the action we want them to. There’s now a clear path back into the core experience. Remember that most people have never used a bot before. It’s not always intuitive what the next step should be. That’s where the third piece of the formula comes in.

If you want to go the extra mile, set up your bot with several variations of the same hint. This way, people who don’t get it right after the second try aren’t getting frustrated with a repetitive message.

Tool tip: Botsociety has heatmaps and screencasts so you can iron out confusing flows ahead of time.

3. Prompt

We’re almost there, but listen close. This is the most overlooked piece of copywriting for Messenger marketing. At this point, your user knows what went wrong and how to make it better — so ask them to do it! Prompt them in a direct and polite way. More often than not, they’ll make it right and keep engaging with your bot.

There we go. It all comes together.

Tool tip: ManyChat is a Messenger marketing platform that makes it easy to build tailored conversations with users.

The formula works best when all three pieces work together. Look at how we’ve handled a conversation that almost went off the rails:

  1. Acknowledged the exact problem.
  2. Rephrased it to make it clear how to move forward.
  3. Prompted the user to try again.

It’s the little things that add up when writing copy for bots. The way that we chat with businesses should match how we talk to our friends or order a coffee. By making every step — even error messages — delightful, your bot can have a big impact on the bottom line. Bots and Messenger work even better when you pair them with email marketing, too. Follow my three-part formula and you’ll create delightful bots in 2018 and beyond.

Want to chat with me on Messenger about bots? Click here.

free guide to writing well

free guide to writing well

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-write-facebook-messenger-copy-that-converts

Smashing Newsletter #200: The Things We Learned

When we share our lessons learned, we can’t predict who is going to read them, but it can make all the difference in the world. I still vividly remember that day when I received an email from a school teacher in Johannesburg, South Africa, five or six years ago. Back then, they didn’t have any teaching materials available at their school, and interaction design was often taught on paper with a few outdated books from the 90s.

from Marketing https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/02/smashing-newsletter-200/

How to Be More Adaptable at Work: 6 Exercises to Try

13 years ago, content marketing didn’t really exist. Now it’s the top hiring area in the creative job market, with 25% of executives planning to grow their team this year.

If you work in content marketing, you probably know that its booming growth and ever-evolving ecosystem forces us to learn new skills quickly, and constantly be on the lookout for the next big thing. One day we’re creating pillar pages and topic clusters to please the Google gods, and then the next, we’re overhauling our entire social strategy because another Facebook algorithm update will flatten our organic reach even more than before.Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.

That’s why adaptability is arguably the most important skill for marketers to possess. If you know how to learn how to learn and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you’ll be the expert generalist on your team who can tackle almost any task and take on the many new challenges coming our way.

Adaptability is key to success in the digital marketing world, so read on to learn six exercises that’ll keep you learning forever, making you a marketing superstar.

How to Be More Adaptable at Work: 6 Exercises to Try

1. Read one blog post from different industry thought leaders everyday

You can learn almost anything online today. So if you want to master new skills, the quickest way to start is by reading content from industry leaders everyday. I’m an economics major at a liberal arts school, so, naturally, when I stumbled upon my first digital marketing internship, I had no idea what content marketing was. I decided to Google it, and that’s when I found HubSpot’s marketing blog.

Two years later, after reading blog posts about the digital marketing industry everyday, I learned enough skills to land an inbound marketing internship at HubSpot. I’m lucky enough to be returning to HubSpot as a junior staff writer, and I owe it all to my habit of reading one marketing blog post everyday for the last two and half years.

If you just take one hour out of your day to learn something new, you can eventually master it in the long-run. My story is proof.

2. Read books outside of your core discipline.

Reading is one of the best ways to grasp new concepts and ideas. And the reason why Elon Musk is the most adaptable executive on the planet is because he reads — a lot. When he was a teenager, Musk would read two books a day in various disciplines like science fiction, philosophy, religion, programming, science, engineering, and entrepreneurship. That’s 730 books a year.

When he got older, his reading genres spanned to physics, product design, business, technology, and energy. His hunger for knowledge and voracious reading habits exposed him to information that he never learned in school. And he applied concepts from each disciple to each other, crystallizing every discipline in his mind. This enables him to run wildly successful companies in five different industries.

You don’t have to finish two books per day to reach peak adaptability, but it’s important to consistently read and learn new things. If you discipline yourself, you can read one book per week. And it’ll only take you 45 minutes each day.

3. Shadow colleagues on other teams.

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in a new discipline is by going into the field and seeing what your colleagues actually do. You’ll learn what skills they use and how they use them to produce excellent work.

You’ll also learn if you’re actually interested in working for that team, which can help you get a head start on learning the skills required for a job. Shadowing other teams also helps you understand how each department affects each other and needs to work together to achieve company goals. This’ll help you improve your team’s collaboration efforts with others too.

4. Take classes.

It’s simple: if you want to hone a certain skill, you need to put in the reps. Classes have a distinct advantage over reading and shadowing — not only do you have to learn new material, but you have to apply your learnings to real world situations. Practicing something is always a better teacher than just thinking about how to do it. Real world application better solidifies your grasp of new learnings and teaches you even more about the subject.

For instance, if you want to hone your Excel skills, you could spend all your time reading and acquiring as much knowledge as possible on the subject, which will improve your skills. But doing an excel project that covers the same concepts as your reading will force you to actually operate excel and apply your learnings to a real case. Through your practice, you’ll also learn even more about excel, which will further enhance your skills.

5. Meditate.

To successfully learn new skills, you usually need two traits: 1) an optimistic outlook on life that drives a strong belief in yourself, and 2) mental ability that allows you to learn new skills.

Meditation can develop both traits. Studies show that people who meditated for 30-60 minutes everyday for 8 weeks had increased grey matter density in their hippocampus, which boosts learning and memory capabilities, and decreased grey matter density in the amygdala, which lowers anxiety and fear of psychological threats, like failure and rejection. These people also experienced more optimistic thoughts and less intrusive, negative thoughts.

By meditating consistently, you can rewire your brain to boost your self-confidence and believe that you will succeed in mastering new skills, curb the negative thoughts and fear of failure that can cripple you from trying new things, and sharpen your mental acuity enough to actually learn new skills.

6. When you get the opportunity, travel.

Not only is traveling fun and exciting, but it can also help you grow into a more adaptable worker. According to Psychology Today, traveling pushes you out of your comfort zone. And to adapt to your new environment, you need to engage with new people and cultural practices. This make you more open to new experiences, which increases your willingness to try new things in the future.

Traveling also improves your brain’s reaction to change. When you travel, the stress of navigating a novel and complex place sprouts dendrites in your brain. These dangling extensions increase your brain’s capacity and attentiveness in future situations that are new and challenging.

In a nutshell, traveling strengthens your desire and ability to learn new skills.

New Call-to-action

New Call-to-action

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-be-more-adaptable

How GDPR Will Change The Way You Develop

Europe’s imminent privacy overhaul means that we all have to become more diligent about what data we collect, how we collect it, and what we do with it. In our turbulent times, these privacy obligations are about ethics as well as law.
Web developers have a major role to play here. After all, healthy data protection practice is as much about the development side — code, data, and security — as it is about the business side of process, information, and strategy.

from Marketing https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/02/gdpr-for-web-developers/

How to Do A/B Testing: A Checklist You’ll Want to Bookmark

When marketers like us create landing pages, write email copy, or design call-to-action buttons, it can be tempting to use our intuition to predict what will make people click and convert.

But basing marketing decisions off of a “feeling” can be pretty detrimental to results. Rather than relying on guesses or assumptions to make these decisions, you’re much better off running conversion rate optimization (CRO) tests — sometimes called A/B tests.

CRO testing can be valuable because different audiences behave, well, differently. Something that works for one company may not necessarily work for another. In fact, CRO experts hate the term “best practices” because it may not actually be the best practice for you.Learn how to run effective A/B experimentation in 2018 here.

But these tests can also be complex. If you’re not careful, you could make incorrect assumptions about what people like and what makes them click — decisions that could easily misinform other parts of your strategy.

Keep reading to learn how to do A/B testing before, during, and after data collection so you can make the best decisions from your results.

What Is A/B Testing?

One of the easier (and most common) types of CRO tests is called an A/B test. Also known as split testing, A/B testing holds back part of your audience to test a number of variations of a campaign. In other words, you’re observing how one version of a piece of marketing content performs alongside another, like a green call-to-action button versus a red one, to see which performs better.

To run an A/B test, you need to create two different versions of one piece of content, with changes to a single variable. Then, you’ll show these two versions to two similarly sized audiences, and analyze which one performed better.

For example, let’s say you want to see if moving a certain call-to-action button to the top of your homepage instead of keeping it in the sidebar will improve its conversion rate.

To A/B test this change, you’d create another, alternative web page that reflected that CTA placement change. The existing design — or the “control” — is Version A. Version B is the “challenger.”

explanation of what a/b testing is

Image Credit: ConversionXL

Then, you’d test these two versions by showing each of them to a predetermined percentage of site visitors. (To learn more about A/B testing, download our free intoductory guide here.)

Now, let’s walk through the checklist for setting up, running, and measuring an A/B test.

How to Conduct A/B Testing

Before the A/B Test

1. Pick one variable to test.

As you optimize your web pages and emails, you might find there are a number of variables you want to test. But to evaluate how effective a change is, you’ll want to isolate one “independent variable” and measure its performance — otherwise, you can’t be sure which one was responsible for changes in performance.

You can test more than one variable for a single web page or email; just be sure you’re testing them one at a time.

Look at the various elements in your marketing resources and their possible alternatives for design, wording, and layout. Other things you might test include email subject lines, sender names, and different ways to personalize your emails.

Keep in mind that even simple changes, like changing the image in your email or the words on your call-to-action button, can drive big improvements. In fact, these sorts of changes are usually easier to measure than the bigger ones.

Note: There are some times when it makes more sense to test multiple variables rather than a single variable. This is a process called multivariate testing. If you’re wondering whether you should run an A/B test versus a multivariate test, here’s a helpful article from Optimizely that compares the two.

2. Identify your goal.

Although you’ll measure a number of metrics for every one test, choose a primary metric to focus on — before you run the test. In fact, do it before you even set up the second variation. This is your “dependent variable.”

Think about where you want this variable to be at the end of the split test. You might state an official hypothesis and examine your results based on this prediction.

If you wait until afterward to think about which metrics are important to you, what your goals are, and how the changes you’re proposing might affect user behavior, then you might not set up the test in the most effective way.

3. Create a ‘control’ and a ‘challenger.’

You now have your independent variable, your dependent variable, and your desired outcome. Use this information to set up the unaltered version of whatever you’re testing as your “control.” If you’re testing a web page, this is the unaltered web page as it exists already. If you’re testing a landing page, this would be the landing page design and copy you would normally use.

From there, build a variation, or a “challenger” — the website, landing page, or email you’ll test against your control. For example, if you’re wondering whether including a testimonial on a landing page would make a difference, set up your control page with no testimonials. Then, create your variation with a testimonial.

4. Split your sample groups equally and randomly.

For tests where you have more control over the audience — like with emails — you need to test with two or more audiences that are equal in order to have conclusive results.

How you do this will vary depending on the A/B testing tool you use. If you’re a HubSpot Enterprise customer conducting an A/B test on an email, for example, HubSpot will automatically split traffic to your variations so that each variation gets a random sampling of visitors.

5. Determine your sample size (if applicable).

How you determine your sample size will also vary depending on your A/B testing tool, as well as the type of A/B test you’re running.

If you’re A/B testing an email, you’ll probably want to send an A/B test to a smaller portion of your list to get statistically significant results. Eventually, you’ll pick a winner and send the winning variation on to the rest of the list. (See “The Science of Split Testing” ebook at the end of this article for more on calculating your sample size.)

If you’re a HubSpot Enterprise customer, you’ll have some help determining the size of your sample group using a slider. It’ll let you do a 50/50 A/B test of any sample size — although all other sample splits require a list of at least 1,000 recipients.

a/b testing sample size slider

If you’re testing something that doesn’t have a finite audience, like a web page, then how long you keep your test running will directly affect your sample size. You’ll need to let your test run long enough to obtain a substantial number of views, otherwise it’ll be hard to tell whether there was a statistically significant difference between the two variations.

6. Decide how significant your results need to be.

Once you’ve picked your goal metric, think about how significant your results need to be to justify choosing one variation over another. Statistical significance is a super important part of A/B testing process that’s often misunderstood. If you need a refresher on statistical significance from a marketing standpoint, I recommend reading this blog post.

The higher the percentage of your confidence level, the more sure you can be about your results. In most cases, you’ll want a confidence level of 95% minimum — preferably even 98% — especially if it was a time-intensive experiment to set up. However, sometimes it makes sense to use a lower confidence rate if you don’t need the test to be as stringent.

Matt Rheault, a senior software engineer at HubSpot, likes to think of statistical significance like placing a bet. What odds are you comfortable placing a bet on? Saying “I’m 80% sure this is the right design and I’m willing to bet everything on it” is similar to running an A/B test to 80% significance and then declaring a winner.

Rheault also says you’ll likely want a higher confidence threshold when testing for something that only slightly improves conversation rate. Why? Because random variance is more likely to play a bigger role.

An example where we could feel safer lowering our confidence threshold is an experiment that will likely improve conversion rate by 10% or more, such as a redesigned hero section,” he explained. “The takeaway here is that the more radical the change, the less scientific we need to be process-wise. The more specific the change (button color, micro copy, etc.), the more scientific we should be because the change is less likely to have a large and noticeable impact on conversion rate.”

7. Make sure you’re only running one test at a time on any campaign.

Testing more than one thing for a single campaign — even if it’s not on the same exact asset — can complicate your results. For example, if you A/B test an email campaign that directs to a landing page at the same time that you’re A/B testing that landing page … how can you know which change caused the increase in leads?

During the A/B Test

8. Use an A/B testing tool.

To do an A/B test on your website or in an email, you’ll need to use an A/B testing tool. If you’re a HubSpot Enterprise customer, the HubSpot software has features that let you A/B test emails (learn how here), calls-to-action (learn how here), and landing pages (learn how here).

For non-HubSpot Enterprise customers, other options include Google Analytics’ Experiments, which lets you A/B test up to 10 full versions of a single web page and compare their performance using a random sample of users.

9. Test both variations simultaneously.

Timing plays a significant role in your marketing campaign’s results, whether it’s time of day, day of the week, or month of the year. If you were to run Version A during one month and Version B a month later, how would you know whether the performance change was caused by the different design or the different month?

When you run A/B tests, you’ll need to run the two variations at the same time, otherwise you may be left second-guessing your results.

The only exception here is if you’re testing timing itself, like finding the optimal times for sending out emails. This is a great thing to test because depending on what your business offers and who your subscribers are, the optimal time for subscriber engagement can vary significantly by industry and target market.

10. Give the A/B test enough time to produce useful data.

Again, you’ll want to make sure that you let your test run long enough in order to obtain a substantial sample size. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to tell whether there was a statistically significant difference between the two variations.

How long is long enough? Depending on your company and how you execute the A/B test, getting statistically significant results could happen in hours … or days … or weeks. A big part of how long it takes to get statistically significant results is how much traffic you get — so if your business doesn’t get a lot of traffic to your website, it’ll take much longer for you to run an A/B test.

In theory, you shouldn’t restrict the time in which you’re gathering results. (Read this blog post to learn more about sample size and timing.)

11. Ask for feedback from real users.

A/B testing has a lot to do with quantitative data … but that won’t necessarily help you understand why people take certain actions over others. While you’re running your A/B test, why not collect qualitative feedback from real users?

One of the best ways to ask people for their opinions is through a survey or poll. You might add an exit survey on your site that asks visitors why they didn’t click on a certain CTA, or one on your thank-you pages that asks visitors why they clicked a button or filled out a form.

You might find, for example, that a lot of people clicked on a call-to-action leading them to an ebook, but once they saw the price, they didn’t convert. That kind of information will give you a lot of insight into why your users are behaving in certain ways.

After the A/B Test

12. Focus on your goal metric.

Again, although you’ll be measuring multiple metrics, keep your focus on that primary goal metric when you do your analysis.

For example, if you tested two variations of an email and chose leads as your primary metric, don’t get caught up on open rate or clickthrough rate. You might see a high clickthrough rate and poor conversion rates, in which case you might end up choosing the variation that had a lower clickthrough rate in the end.

13. Measure the significance of your results using our A/B testing calculator.

Now that you’ve determined which variation performs the best, it’s time to determine whether or not your results statistically significant. In other words, are they enough to justify a change?

To find out, you’ll need to conduct a test of statistical significance. You could do that manually … or you could just plug in the results from your experiment to our free A/B testing calculator. For each variation you tested, you’ll be prompted to input the total number of tries, like emails sent or impressions seen. Then, enter the number of goals it completed — generally you’ll look at clicks, but this could also be other types of conversions.


The calculator will spit out the confidence level your data produces for the winning variation. Then, measure that number against the value you chose to determine statistical significance.

14. Take action based on your results.

If one variation is statistically better than the other, you have a winner. Complete your test by disabling the losing variation in your A/B testing tool.

If neither variation is statistically better, you’ve just learned that the variable you tested didn’t impact results, and you’ll have to mark the test as inconclusive. In this case, stick with the original variation — or run another test. You can use the failed data to help you figure out a new iteration on your new test.

While A/B tests help you impact results on a case-by-case basis, you can also apply the lessons you learn from each test and apply it to future efforts. For example, if you’ve conducted A/B tests in your email marketing and have repeatedly found that using numbers in email subject lines generates better clickthrough rates, you might want to consider using that tactic in more of your emails.

15. Plan your next A/B test.

The A/B test you just finished may have helped you discover a new way to make your marketing content more effective — but don’t stop there. There’s always room for more optimization.

You can even try conducting an A/B test on another feature of the same web page or email you just did a test on. For example, if you just tested a headline on a landing page, why not do a new test on body copy? Or color scheme? Or images? Always keep an eye out for opportunities to increase conversion rates and leads.

Learn how to best carry out some of the steps above using the free ebook below.

Science of Split Testing

Science of Split Testing

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-do-a-b-testing

At Mobile World Congress, 5G Is All the Rage. So What’s the Big Deal?

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 is underway in Barcelona, with major announcements emerging from the likes of Samsung, Huawei, and more.

And while the former’s latest generation of smartphone, the S9 — which is really being positioned less as a phone, and more as a camera — stole most of the spotlight yesterday, Samsung and its counterparts all seem to be vying for the starring role in a certain emerging technology.

That former technology, it seems, is 5G: the latest generation in wireless connectivity.

Throughout the MWC’s short span thus far, there have been numerous announcements and claims made about 5G. Samsung unveiled “the world’s first 5G FAW [fixed wireless access] commercial solutions” for smart homes, cities, and transportation.

Rajeev Suri, Nokia’s CEO, announced partnerships with carriers like Vodafone to deploy 5G in certain regions. Intel previewed 5G commercial deployments for the 2020 Olympic Games. Ericsson pointed to potential new 5G-powered revenue streams. And to cap it off, GSMA — the organization behind MWC — noted in its annual Mobile Economy Report that by 2025, 5G networks will account for 14% of global connections (for context, 4G accounted for 23% in 2017).

So what, in the name of all things mobile, is all the 5G fuss about? And why should it matter to us?

What Is 5G?

5G is the soon-to-be latest generation of wireless technology. The “G” stands for generation, in that this is the fifth generation of this type of connectivity. Currently, 4G powers cellular connectivity like LTE. The goal of 5G is to support the rising number of mobile internet users, by providing better speed, handling more data, greater responsiveness, and connectivity to smart devices.

How 5G Will Affect SEO

As with most evolving technologies, one major reason for progressive generations of wireless connectivity is to meet growing demand and users.

According to Pew Research Center, more than one of every 10 U.S. adults use the internet via mobile only — that is, they own a smartphone, but don’t have or use a home high-speed internet connection. And HubSpot’s own research shows that for 50% of consumers in the U.S., mobile is their preferred online device.

graph showing consumers' preferred device for browsing internet is mobile, indicating the need for 5G connectivity

That growing demand is two-fold. First, there are more users for networks and providers to support, since more data is being exchanged, downloaded, and consumed. Then, there’s the competitive aspect: As more users turn to mobile, it’s an opportunity for brands to say, “But wait — here’s what else you can do, right from your palm.”

That’s how we’ve evolved into multiple generations of connectivity. People don’t just demand mobile online access anymore. They don’t just want to check their email. They want to be able to do those things, browse, use apps, message their friends, watch a movie, make dinner reservations, and more. And, they want to be able to do those things quickly.

At the foundation of all of those mobile capabilities is the ability to seek and discover information or content. That means it also changes the way that we search for it.

We’ve written quite a bit about the general shift toward voice search and activation. Take my experience with three different smart home speakers, for instance, and how I used voice commands to get different information or experiences from each one. These smart speaker capabilities are rooted in voice search tools like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant — the fact that they are now being built into branded, assistive ecosystem is just one indication of changes in the way we search.

list of companies that offer artificial intelligence solutions such as robotics, machine learning, and voice assistants.

Source: GSMA, “Key areas of innovation – major players and use cases” for 5G

All of these developments point to a growing reliance on wireless technology, and the improvements made to it in response. “Ultimately, the faster mobile internet speeds become, the more advanced web experiences become,” says Matt Barby, HubSpot’s Director of Acquisition. “Creating richer and more load-intensive experiences on mobile — without the additional load time — is what will dramatically increase the usage of mobile devices.”

And that increased usage, Barby explains, also means “an increase in mobile searches. And an increase in mobile searches means more focus from Google to tailor the entire search ecosystem towards mobile searching patterns. This will also increase voice searches.”

Incorporating mobile into ranking factors isn’t exactly new territory for Google. That began in 2015, when the search engine updated its algorithm to favor mobile-friendly sites for searches performed on such devices. That continued to evolve last year, when it penalized sites with interstitials that would interfere with the mobile browsing experience.

Barby says that users should only continue to expect these types of updates. “Google has already started shifting to a ‘mobile-first’ search index this year,” he says. “So don’t be surprised if we see more and more web experiences being developed to cater for mobile-specific user experience patterns.”

How We Connect to Things and Interact With Them (and Each Other)

There’s another element to aforementioned smart home speakers. Not only are their origins rooted in voice search and assistant capabilities, but users can also control them remotely from their mobile devices.

And the connectivity of our devices — these “smart things,” as they’ve come to be known — has largely influenced this fifth generation of wireless connectivity.

Last fall, at the Samsung Developer Conference, the internet of things (IoT) permeated many of the conversations and sessions taking place. Soon, it would be possible to turn any appliance or electronic device in one’s home, from lamps to washing machines, into a smart, connected device that could be controlled not only remotely from one’s mobile device, but also with the help of Bixby, Samsung’s digital voice assistant.

And again, at CES in January, IoT was frequently the topic du jour, with more than one brand exhibiting its own ecosystem of smart, connected things. We were looking at a future, it seems, where everything was online and could be controlled remotely via mobile. But that requires a high level of communication both between the devices themselves and the mobile platform being used to control it. That involves the exchange of a massive amount of data, which requires particularly strong and fast connectivity.

Enter — you guessed it — Bixby.

“If you thought the world was already connected, sit tight,” says Connor Cirillo, HubSpot’s conversational marketing manager. “5G will improve the way we interact with our devices. But more important, it will be a massive leap in how machines communicate with each other.”

samsung's bixby voice assistant uses 5G connectivity

Samsung 5G FWA commercial solutions


Cirillo, who specializes in the evolution of digital communication like messaging and bots, also points to the way 5G will change the way the human users of 5G connect — and is personally following the technology that will make it easier for people to interact with each other and brands through wireless devices.

“There are big implications here,” he says, “of more people being able to talk to more people, on more devices, to do more things.”

That interaction with brands is a key element of many IoT ecosystems. A growing number of consumers are already turning to messaging — onsite or via third-party apps like Messenger — to connect with businesses for things like customer service. And at CES, for example, some brands suggested that such capabilities will be built into appliances themselves, some of which can detect mechanical issues and remotely repairing them before the user even knows about them.

While we haven’t seen too much in the way of customers directly communicating with brands through their appliances for service needs, there are many signs that we’re heading in that direction — potentially eliminating the need for messaging apps and introducing a new platform for this type of communication, whether with a human representative or an AI-powered bot.

But such communication still requires a powerful network to support it. And as 5G permeates the mainstream — the first commercial networks are expected to launch in 2018 — our reliance on this generation of connectivity is likely to grow.

“Everything We Have Now, but More”

When I asked my colleague, HubSpot Marketing Fellow Sam Mallikarjunan for his take on 5G, he pointed to three key elements he expects to see from it:

“Less reliance on apps. More reliance on smooth native web experiences. More flexibility for rich media.”

Remember what I said about the possible elimination of third-party platforms like Messenger to communicate with brands? From Mallikarjunan’s perspective, that’s only one piece of a decreased need for such apps that could come from the introduction and growth of 5G connectivity.

The-Mobile-Economy-Global-2018 IoT

Source: GSMA, “Key areas of innovation – major players and use cases” for 5G

It makes sense. While this type of network will help us do things that require more data and quicker speeds from our smartphones, it will also help to build the ability to do similar things directly from an appliance itself that are currently controlled by a mobile device. Here’s where something like the Google Home is a good example. While I can control it remotely from my phone, for most purposes, I don’t have to. I can just tell it what to do.

The exception is if I need help using it. Right now, I have to turn elsewhere to troubleshoot, usually through the app on my phone or through Google’s online support pages. But soon, it seems, I’ll be able to ask the smart speaker for help with whatever I’m having trouble getting it to do, whether I’m speaking to a human representative or Google Assistant’s AI.

It’s an elaboration of how Mallikarjunan summarized what 5G will bring.

“Everything we have now,” he predicts, “but more.” 

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/mobile-world-congress-5g

A Comprehensive Website Planning Guide (Part 2)

In Part 1, I emphasized on the importance of recognizing the purpose of your website, and why planning for the web is just as important as planning for anything else associated with your business. Today, I’d like to go into more detail of evaluating a plan, choosing web professionals, and determining your site structure.
Writing The Plan (Or Proposal) Note: The following section is for designers, but everyone ought to understand this part of the process.

from Marketing https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/02/comprehensive-website-planning-guide-part2/