Steve's blog

A blog about what's going on in Analysis UK...

AB testing with clear results

Like me you've probably heard various voices on the internet speaking of the importance of A/B testing. I've listened and agreed and tried a few bits here and there, but I've never seen such an obvious result as with my latest Adwords.

You may have noticed I recently launched, a reminder service so you don't forget to put the bin out. Initially I set up a Google Adwords campaign with one advert and that didn't get much interest at all so I added a second very similar ad.

Here are my two ads:

Initially these ads were getting served equally, fortunately Google has kicked in and realised it's not making money from the second one so stopped serving it so often.

The “Free SMS, Twitter and email reminders to put the bin out” ad was my first shot and am I glad I decided to do an A/B test on it. Talk about a useless ad. No clicks what so ever, zero, nothing, nada, zilcho and that's over about a month!

It's interesting to note how similar the text of the two ad's are and how different the responses are, they both have the same keywords, cost and even the same words!

My question to you is this: Are you running AdWords, or even SEO, or specific landing pages? Have you tried AB testing? If not, go, go now and try!  I'll wait for you...

Which brings me nicely onto the SEO AB testing. That's a lot more difficult and time consuming because you want the search engines to update their index with what you want them to see. Instead invest some cash in Google AdWords and play with the AB testing through that and see what people click on, what gets served more, then use that information in your SEO campaign.


Remember The Bin - Preview

I thought I would share a preview of my x-mas/new year holiday work. 

RememberTheBin is a site I've put together to help me remember which bin I'm supposed to be putting out and when.  For some reason I get confused about putting my bins out for Wednesday collections.  It should be simple, Tuesday evening I put them out, but if I'm not in the routine of returning home from work and seeing everybody elses bin then I forget to do my own. 

Just to help matters Cambridge have recently introduced blue recycling bins, they look very much like the black bins in streetlights so trying to figure out what bin goes out from the others on the street is also a nightmare.

I figured I'm not the only person who will forget or get confused, and missing a bin day can result in a months worth of garbage overflowing the bin which isn't pleasant - so I figured I'd release RememberTheBin to the world.

Now I've got a few bugs to iron out, a few style issues to resolve, some spell checking and typos to sort and the small issue of buying some sms credits(1), but for now here's a brief preview.


It's an off the shelf template from, it took a bit of re-work to make it go with ASP.NET MVC, sadly hardly any template providers make their templates for ASP.NET masterpages which is a shame and they generally need a fair bit of work to clean them up.

I've got a twitter feed set up for RememberTheBin so it can send you tweets to remind you to put out the bin, depending on which operator your with you can get those sent as sms to your phone, failing that you can have RememberTheBin txt you directly, however for now we only supply 10 credits, you have to request a top up when they get low - but thats a simple button click on the website.

You might notice I'm signed in using OpenId, RememberTheBin will also support other authentication providers such as FaceBook so you won't need to create a userid/password and I don't have to store your password which is a huge help.

<Geeky Bit>

The underlying application is based on ASP.NET MVC V2 which rocks.  I'm not using too much of the new stuff in V2, but validation through the view model alone has been a huge bonus and the MVC pattern is a must.  Under the covers RememberTheBin is using StructureMap for IoC, NHibernate for data access going against a MySQL database hosted by Amazon RDS, authentication is done through RpxNow, Twitter integration uses TweetSharp, most of these are open source projects so a huge thanks to every one involved in them - it makes building something like so much simpler and quicker and a huge amount of fun.

</Geeky Bit>

Hopefully the site should be live in a few days, please leave feedback if you like/hate it or any ideas you have.  I've got a few feature's yet to be implemented as well.


(1) Would you believe, I have to wait for someone to go into the office on Monday before I can buy some sms credits from intellisms.  I found that out on Saturday.  It's like they don't want my money.  I also signed up with BulkSms who did manage to figure out that by sending a code via sms they could verify me, however their SDK for .Net is rubbish so I haven't implemented the code to use them, if intellisms havn't sorted it out on Monday then I'll go with BulkSms, and if all that fails, well I've got a GSM modem on order and 3 sims on their way but that's a lot more work to implement.

Remember The Bin Graphics

Sometimes my graphics skills amaze me, they are like my spelling, terrible, truly terrible!

So, here for your amusement is the first pass graphic for, a website I'm currently working on, it will be a reminder service for those of us that forget to put the bin out, or can't remember which bin we are supposed to be putting out.

Now if any of you readers know of a way to get dustbin collection details from the council in a automated style (I.e. not scraping the various council websites) and especially how to get the list of changes that occur because of bank holidays please get in touch.

You can fine me on Twitter @BookSwapSteve or the new twitter account @RememberTheBin

Failing that give me a call on 0800 612 4699 (0800 61 Binzz) – which by the way is my new business number.