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Intelligent Agents: An A.I. View of Optimization

As a digital analyst or marketer, you know the importance of analytical decision making.

Go to any industry conference, blog, meet up, or even just read the popular press, and you will hear and see topics like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics everywhere.

Because many of us don’t come from a technical/statistical background, this can be both a little confusing and intimidating.

But don’t sweat it, in this post, I will try to clear up a some of this confusion by introducing a simple, yet powerful framework – the intelligent agent – which will help link these new ideas with familiar tools and concepts like A/B Testing and Optimization.

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Are You Optimizing Your Site When You Should Be Optimizing Your Traffic?

If you’re like most marketers, you don’t live in an ivory tower.

You try to follow “best practices” with your marketing campaigns and site, but with your limited resources, you have to spend your time on the tactics that make the biggest difference.

Unfortunately, most best practice recommendations don’t take real life into account. Not every company has a well-managed CRM, a call tracking platform, a solid testing strategy and a big testing budget to boot.

While this sort of setup is obviously ideal, most marketers have to make do with far less.

Their CRM is a joke, calls aren’t being tracked and their testing strategy and budget is…well, let’s just say it’s hypothetical.

If this sounds like you at all, at some point you may have found yourself wondering, “What should be my top priority—the one thing that will get me the most bang for my buck?”

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The Hard Life of an Optimizer - Yuan Wright [Video]

Here’s another presentation from CXL Live 2015 (sign up for the 2016 list to get tickets at pre-release prices).

While optimization is fun, it’s also really hard. We’re asking a lot of questions.

Why do users do what they do? Is X actually influencing Y, or is it a mere correlation? The test bombed – but why? Yuan Wright, Director of Analytics at Electronic Arts, will lead you through an open discussion about the challenges we all face – optimizer to optimizer.

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Lies Your Optimization Guru Told You

Before you get out your pitchforks, I want to stress that this article does not represent Peep’s views.

The easiest lies to believe are the ones we want to be true, and nothing speaks to us more than validation of the work we are doing or what we already believe.  Due to this we become naturally defensive when someone challenges that world view.

The “truth” is that there is no single state of truth and that all actions, disciplines, and behaviors can and should be evaluated for growth opportunities.  It doesn’t matter if we are designers, optimizers, product managers, marketers, executives, or engineers, we all come from our own disciplines and will naturally defend to the death if we feel threatened even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

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Where Should You Start Testing?

You should split test the headline first! Bollocks. The images! What a load of crap.

That’s the kind of advice most articles out there would give you. The truth is that answering “what to test first” is like answering “how much does a car cost?” – it depends.

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