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You Can Only Improve What You Measure (Start measuring now!)


As an A/B testing agency, the Brooks Bell methodology is to use a data-driven, scientific approach to get results for our clients. Step 1 of that process is to understand the audience, goals and metrics. Here’s what we typically find: Clients want to improve on their conversion but they do not currently measure it correctly. They may have hunches as to where they can improve their conversion path, but don’t currently track behavior on their path to determine if that hunch holds any merit. You can only improve what you measure!

Last week, I bought the new Jawbone Up for myself. The Up is a wristband and accompanying iPhone app that “tracks your daily activity and inspires you to live healthier.” I have been wearing it 24/7 for over a week now and have been able to track and measure my sleep, movement, and eating habits. Only 7 days in, I have already seen improvements in my amount of activity, quality of sleep, and in my food choices.

This little gadget illustrates a very important fact: You Can Only Improve What You Measure.

I always knew I slept too little, didn’t walk enough, and made less than stellar food choices. But I never had data to back it up. Now I know that I average 5.34 hours of sleep a night (including weekends) and only 2:14 hours of it is REM sleep. Now I know that when I go on my “walking meetings” with my team members, I walk 2854 steps. I also know that almost every time I eat apple cinnamon oatmeal, I feel full and energized for the next 2 hours.

These results did not surprise me. But they did give me a data to build upon, goals to strive for, and– most importantly– a device to capture it all.

Here’s How to Start Measuring Now!


1. Identify your goals and get specific!

If you are sitting there with a goal that reads, “improve conversions,” you need to drill down and get a bunch more specific. This allows you to make smart decisions in where you track behavior. Casting a wide net may not yield the data you need. Which segment of your customer base do you want to measure? Through which channel? What does conversion mean to you?

2. Define the value of a conversion!

Until you understand the value of your target conversion you can’t hope to improve upon it. Defining the value of your conversion will help you structure tests and make educated decisions that point to your goals.

3. Get into the mind of your customer.

Try to go John Malkovich and get into the heads of your customers. Many times, marketers get caught up in speaking to each other instead of to their customers. Step back. Ask yourself, “What is my mindset as I go through this page?” This will help identify areas for you that may be working well and those that may not be.

4. Hypothesize future tests.

At Brooks Bell, we recommend creating a spreadsheet of all the levers and barriers in your conversion path. Keep a list of all those elements and your rationale for why you think it helps or hurts response. This will give you a roadmap for future tests and a checklist for implementing your tracking code.

4. Put in the code.

We won’t get into the technical part of making this happen. What I will advise is to take the time to explain to those putting in the tracking code why you are tracking this specific behavior within the path. Great ideas come from everywhere. The more people you can involve within your organization, the better collective strategy you can get.

My Goal For You


Even if you have no buy-in to start testing and optimizing your conversion path or landing pages right now, put the tracking in place! The data you gather will pay off.