Testing Shifts into High Gear for Intel

As the Digital Optimization Manager at Intel, Kevin Bartholomew heads the company’s global optimization program. In the short year he’s been in that position, he has seen massive progress, due in large part to instituting standardized processes and workflows for testing.

I had the good fortune of getting a glimpse into that program when I recently spoke with Kevin. Read on for a few highlights from our conversation:

Q: Where did you develop your testing chops?

Kevin: Before I joined Intel, I’d done some A/B testing and optimization work at Nike. There, I learned the importance of testing and targeting and of evangelizing the concept to the business.

Q: What was optimization and personalization like when you started working in that area?

Kevin: Even 18 months ago, optimization and personalization was something that everyone knew was important, but they didn’t quite understand why. It didn’t help that, at that time, you had to write JavaScript and have access to certain IT systems to do testing and targeting.

Q: Has optimization and personalization changed since then? If so, how?

Kevin: Definitely—it’s just now getting to the point where the technology is starting to merge with the mainstream so the everyday Joe can use it. Just as the iPhone made mobile easy for your grandma, that’s what’s now happening in this space.

Q: How has Adobe Target helped make that shift toward the mainstream?

Kevin: In just the last 12 months, Adobe Target has made great strides. Now even a non-back-office-nerd can test and target because of the latest Adobe Target Premium user interface and by merging with the Adobe Marketing Cloud. In less than 5 minutes, I can show a nontechnical person how to do A/B testing, personalization, and targeting. Adobe has made pretty difficult technological stuff a lot easier.

Q: Have you switched completely to using Adobe Target Premium? If so, why?

Kevin: When I came on, we had Adobe Target Classic. The team had used it to run one minor exploratory test of the global menu. I wanted more people involved in testing and I wanted to test a lot more. When I saw and tried out the Adobe Target Premium user interface, the decision to transition was easy.

Q: So has making the switch led to more tests and more people testing?

Kevin: We switched to Adobe Target Premium early last year, and went from running zero tests to 700 in 2015. We’ve already run more than 1,000 tests in the first half of this year. Each country is cranking away on testing. Folks globally are active. It helps that getting people to use the tool was easy.

Most of my team members were familiar with the point-and-click nature of our content management system, Adobe Experience Manager. It’s just the same in Target. It’s a pretty systematic workflow. As I said earlier, I spent 5 minutes walking them through the interface, and they were self-sufficient in a single day.

Q: It sounds like you have a lot of participation in testing. How do you work with your global business partners?

Kevin: My group puts up the testing framework, manages the process, and serves as the hub for implementing the tests. The global business groups submit test ideas to us using a form and provide any necessary test assets. We have a centralized repository for tests and assets. Our program has become a pretty well-oiled machine, but it helps that the six members of my team are incredibly smart and know the toolset. They serve as a hybrid between business analyst and developer for the geography, they speak the local language, and they have the chops to do the work.

Q: Are you taking advantage of any of the automation for personalizing with Adobe Target like Recommendations or Automated Personalization?

Kevin: Yes, with Recommendations now in the newer interface, it’s much more intuitive and easy to understand. We actually just launched our first pilot project of Recommendations to see how it works and scales. You’d think Recommendations is a square peg in a round hole for a nonretail company like Intel, but we believed it could help us address an important challenge: We have a lot of valuable content like white papers, driver downloads, and customer support topics that our customers can’t easily find when they need it. With Recommendations, we can now surface that relevant content. For example, when a visitor is on the Intel core processor family page, we can show them relevant white papers and other content.

Q: Is Intel starting to consider any other initiatives or ideas using Adobe Target?

Kevin: We just got and plan to implement Search and Promote, but the business groups now want omnichannel campaigns that would include email, social, web, .com, and partner sites. We’re thinking about stitching together customer journeys and identifying which phase a visitor or customer is in based on an email campaign they may have received or partner site visited. Those things are next to impossible without the Adobe Analytics ID in place. If you really want to track what visitors are doing wherever they connect, you have to use the full Adobe Marketing Cloud. Adobe Analytics is the bridge to these other solutions; it’s the centralized piece that stitches it all together.

Q: Can you share any recent successes using Adobe Target Premium for testing or targeting?

Kevin: I have many, but I’ll share just a couple. One is a pretty straightforward A/B test: We changed the copy on a call-to-action link to the Intel Shop from the Intel.com homepage in hopes of increasing the number of visitors to the shop. Just changing the copy from “Shop Intel” to “Browse Products” resulted in an 80 percent increase in visitors. We have more than 1 million monthly visitors to the Intel.com homepage, so that small change gives us a giant win.

We recently set up another interesting targeting activity: We wanted to convince Intel.com visitors on older computers to upgrade to newer systems. Based on each visitor’s device OS, we target them with specific imagery, messaging, and a call to action that says “here’s what you get by upgrading today.” We then provide links to opportunities for discounts for a new system from our retail partners.

Since we’ve been doing this targeting, our previous 2 or 3 percent conversion rate of visitors clicking out to our partner sites has jumped to 15 percent. We’ve rolled out that targeted experience globally—in the US, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, South Korea, and elsewhere. Successes like this are leading us to see how we can collaborate with our partners to use Adobe Target to our mutual benefit.

Q: How do you document, share, and evangelize your testing and targeting successes?

Kevin: We maintain a document with the test description, screenshots of what was tested, and the results. I also send out an email blast to stakeholders at all levels that explains, “Here’s what was tested, what we learned, what we gained, and where we’re going as a result.” It works!

**Intel and Adobe Target Premium Going Forward
**Thanks so much for sharing how Intel has been using Adobe Target Premium for optimization and personalization. Those are great examples of how to use the solution’s features and capabilities to meet business goals. It sounds like you also have a great optimization program with processes that really encourage increased use of testing and targeting. We look forward to hearing about future testing and targeting successes at Intel.