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American Idol—my own private landing page test


I love this time of year. It's American Idol time. During which I put my life, my work and my social obligations aside to veg on the couch for up to five hours a week.

Why do I love AI so much? Is it seeing the young talent go from undiscovered to unstoppable in just a few short weeks? It is the pithy commentary and awkward interpersonal dynamics of Nikki, Keith, Mariah and Randy? s it the sparkle in Ryan Seacrest's eye? 

h no. It's really, really, really not any of those things. I really can't stomach the contestants that much (although, I do have a soft spot in my heart for a few— me, Phillip Phillips).What I love about American Idol is watching who wins each week and seeing how it compares to what the judges think. In my world, the contestants are landing pages and the judges are the marketers behind them.

On American Idol, judges spend weeks traveling around, selecting talent. They start the competition, whittling their list down from hundreds of candidates to just 10. Then, they turn it over to America's hands. Each week, the singers perform and favorite moment of all...America votes.

Think about how much this mirrors landing page testing. Marketers make educated guesses & decisions about what type of experience, content and calls to action will influence their visitors to convert. A lot of good thought process goes into those decisions, and a lot of time is spent on layout, design, and copy. Then....they launch. The rubber meets the road. If a test is being run—say two versions of an experience against each other, then in short order educated guesses become reality. One experience will win out over the other. Sometimes, it's the sure thing you would have put your money on. Other times, it's the one you least expected to perform.

In last year's season of American Idol, the judges loved a singer amed Jessica Sanchez. She was a crowd favorite as well, and there was much speculation that she would be the winner. Then one week, in truly shocking fashion, she got the least amount of votes and set to go home. Just like that, from a crowd-pleasing favorite to the chopping block.

It reminded me of how often I've been sure a landing experience would win, only to have it lose against something I judged to be inferior. Hey, it happens. That's why I love testing—we don't need to guess!

Don't cry for Jessica. The judges intervened, saved her and she went on o be the runner up for the season. And don't cry for any lost landing page tests either, just move on to the next one.