Our 5 key takeaways from Experimentation Elite December Conference
Last week we sponsored, presented, and attended, the second Experimentation Elite conference of the year. Talks ranged in topic from copywriting to code breaking, but here were my top 5 takeaways.
1. “Cross team collaboration” is the future
Our own Chris and Paul presented their experience with developing a ‘Centre of Excellence’, along with our fantastic colleague Ibrahim from YOOX Net-A-Porter. However, it turned out that this proved even more pertinent than expected, with the topic of “omni-team” or “decentralised” optimisation featuring in quite a few presentations. It’s clear that many leaders in the industry are already pushing for this structure, which will likely mark a change in many company roles and the general hiring process.
2. It takes time to figure out your niche
Bhavik Patel is a familiar name for many of us – creator and host of the fantastic CRAP talks (which we definitely recommend checking out!). Rather than speaking on a particular topic or feature, Bhav took us through (some of) his life story. It was reassuring to see that such a successful person has had the same struggles with bad managers, slow upskilling and many, many jobs before reaching the point he is now. His talk was honest and full of insightful tips, and made me appreciate the larger picture. In particular, it’s not just about learning to celebrate the wins and learn from the failures, but the way learning from all your experiences in the industry will help shape and refine your passion.
3. Words matter
Eden Bidani, from Green Light Copy, gave a fantastic talk on the topic of copy. This is often overlooked in experimentation in favour of more flashy tests, but actually can have a huge impact if done right. Some of our own copy tests have seen much larger uplifts, for less effort, than those bigger functional changes. Eden’s talk showcased some powerful use cases, with a clear framework for how to consider and improve your own copy; maybe you’ve already thought about who the audience is and where they’ve come from, but what about their next steps and if they have enough information to complete this? Eden’s talk gave us a lot to discuss, and an eagerness to include more of these copy tests into current roadmaps.
4. Appreciate app audiences
Gabriela Szpalerska from ASOS gave a fantastic talk on the topic of App Optimisation. Often overlooked, she highlighted the unique opportunity that app optimisation provides, as long as you are able to deal with the drawbacks. App customers are typically more loyal than web visitors, having already committed to downloading the app. You therefore don’t need to account for new visitors or brand recognition. App traffic is less likely to contain bots, and the general set up can be a lot cleaner. However, sales cycles are less regular and conversion rates can vary greatly week to week. It also takes longer for releases (i.e tests) to be adopted by the traffic as it requires customers to update their apps. Tests can therefore take longer to start delivering results, and tracking between native and non-native journeys can be problematic. Our key takeaway from the talk would be to not ignore, or be afraid of, testing on app, but rather to make an effort to spend time with your engineers and understand their particular challenges with app to figure out a strategy together.
5. It’s ok to fail
The final slot of the day, starting at 5pm, can often be a struggle, but luckily this was filled by the uncompromising Craig Sullivan. Rather than discussing a specific topic, the majority of Craig’s talk focused on various experiments, failures, and stubborn persistence through history and their amazing results. It was easy to forget this was meant to be a talk on experimentation, as it was so informative and entertaining! My particular favourite example was that of “Chemcor” – super strong glass that was first created, by accident, in 1952. After 20 years of attempting to market and sell it, the company ‘mothballed’ the product until it was resurrected in 2007 by Apple for their new phones! Many stories like this helped to emphasise the importance of creative experimentation on progress, and that sometimes failure leads to more interesting results.
If you’re interested in learning more, or would like help applying these learnings to your own strategies, get in touch. Otherwise, we hope to see you at the next Experimentation Elite conference in June 2023 (tickets on sale now)!