Very powerful testing tool
September 12, 2018
Very powerful testing tool
Score 9 out of 10
- Test & Segment
Overall Satisfaction with Monetate
We use Monetate to test how well our product display pages convert against 2 different layouts, test conversion rate of our existing menu layout versus a radically different style, test how different promotional banner styles convert against each other, display different product images on our homepage based on a visitor's region/weather/major event, and so many other aspects of our site which has helped us really start understanding our audience better - what works and what doesn't - and apply that across our site and in other areas of our business such as email.
- You can test virtually ANYTHING on your website. Once you know what you're doing, it is really easy to upload assets and really customize the details of your test.
- If you have multiple websites, you can keep all of your website tests separate - for example, we manage two separate brands, both which have 3 environments we can set up tests in: development, staging, and production environments. So, we can easily manage 6 separate test groups and store the various content in the proper section, very easily.
- The design is really clean and easy to navigate. It is easy to organize and filter your experiments, you can tag them to make filtering a lot easier (especially when you have a bunch of experiments running at the same time), and the simple function of duplicating an experiment makes minor changes to a grand experiment SO much quicker.
- The Monetate Inspector tool (I could be using the wrong word, sorry!) also allows you to far more easily identify the unique ID of an experiment so you can find it in Monetate and make any desired changes rather than sifting one by one through your various experiments trying to figure out which one you mean to edit.
- The learning curve is a little steep, especially if you're unfamiliar with HTML/CSS. The tool is so powerful but can be overwhelming at first. The intro instructional videos/content is helpful but it doesn't cover everything. We needed to partner with an optimization company to better understand the tool and get started.
- Setting up an experiment for the first time isn't simple when you're a marketer who is inexperienced with any sort of web development or even just HTML/CSS. While you can easily select the area you want to create a test with, you don't have a way to easily manipulate that section without the use of HTML/CSS.
- The first optimization company Monetate recommended us to was horrible - it really was awful working with them. We had dedicated (paid for!) hours that got wasted after the company wasted our time in each meeting (when we did have one - they often needed to reschedule) and they barely knew what our company even did despite multiple meetings. Those hours, despite the awful experience, were never fulfilled, never reimbursed, never carried over to the new (and far better) company. This left a bad taste in my mouth. While I really like this product and it does everything we need, this awful experience and lack of ownership on their end was highly disappointing. We are moving forward though - and happy with our results.
- We are really starting to understand our audience and what they prefer on our website. One example is on our product display pages, we learned that our visitors convert about 35% more when content is laid out in one fashion versus another. Another example is our promotional banners perform better when it takes up the width of the page versus the margins pulled in more.
- At first, Monetate was a negative ROI - we were paying for a service we weren't getting, and not understanding the full power of the program. With the new optimization firm however, we are now really able to churn out more tests, have a clean and direct test plan, and finally seeing tangible results.
- As an aside, Monetate has helped us just save time and money on creating our promotional banners now so we don't have to get with our development team each time we want to put one up. Even without running a test, it has let us add content to our site when we need to (as we already have the experiments set up as we need it to and we can quickly duplicate it) without our developers getting in there to make those short-lived changes.
You can seriously test anything, and multiple variations of each test. You have the ability to do a clear split A/B test where 50% gets one variation and the other 50% gets the second, OR you can let the test serve up each variation and let whichever is allowing your goal to be reached (e.g., conversion rate) to be served up more frequently. Over time it will show one variation way more than another until it becomes very clear who the winner is. Finally, you can also use Monetate to simply add content to your site without the testing function. We do this when putting up promotional banners on our site. Given how our site is built, it would require a dev to go into the back-end and add the promo banner when we need it. This takes a LOT of time and can cause a banner to not go live for various reasons. Instead, we can quickly hop in there, add the banner etc. ourselves, and keep on working without delay.
It is really easy to segment and target your audience. For example, you can serve up a test based on where someone is located geographically, based on what device they are viewing your site on, the weather, how they interact with your site (e.g., abandoned their cart, or abandoned a specific page), so much more, and even build your own custom data set. It's SO darn easy!
It really is a set-it-and-forget-it tool. Once you get your experiment set up (and you can test it in your production environment before you take it live), as long as you selected the Majority Fit or Individual Fit experience before creating it, it does everything else for you and you can go in and check the analytics (live analytics!) at any point. Anything that has reached significance is separated from the other data points so it is clear it has reached significance, and even those which have not yet reached significance have the ability to show which variation is winning for each data point. It's very easy to read and understand, both graphically and in rows of data.
Monetate reports on virtually everything important: conversion rate, cart abandon rate, page bounce, revenue/AOV, overall sessions, average time on site, average page views, revenue per session, and more. In addition, each of these metrics can be drilled down further to see how much each variation had an impact on the overall goal (and each key metric), how long it took to reach significance/confidence, and how much longer it would have taken to reach significance/confidence if the [ended] experiment were kept running. It's very clear and easy to read/understand. And if you so choose, you can easily re-activate any experiment that has ended - simply change the date and click Activate. It's seriously so easy!
Thus far, we haven't noticed any issues integrating with our site. The data uploads real-time, Monetate doesn't slow down our website load time in any way, and we haven't had any trouble exporting order information or files from our site. I'm not highly technical so I can't speak from the technical standpoint, but we've been using Monetate smoothly for well over a year now and any issues we've gone across on our site or with integrations have not been regarding Monetate.
If your business is online and you have pages your visitors will interact with, Monetate can be a huge asset. You can test virtually anything! But if you don't have much capital to use, Monetate will be an expensive investment that you won't see ROI on for at least a few months. If your site is simple and more informational (i.e., no offer pages, informational-only site, etc.), Monetate will still work for you but it'll be really hard to determine ROI and make your money back.