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What is Layout Tester?
Every web property has millions of potential variables that are directly responsible for a user's experience. These elements include everything from menu and ad locations to the way content is organised and formatted. It stands to reason that certain combinations perform better than others. What's more, all web visitors are different and actually require unique combinations catered to their specific attributes.
Ezoic’s Layout Tester puts the power of artificial intelligence into the hands of publishers interested in testing all of these variables on a per user basis. This technology allows web property owners to apply multivariate testing to all of these website elements using machine learning. This means Layout Tester will automatically test and deliver the optimal website layouts and formats to each individual site visitor; resulting in lower bounce rates, greater time on site, more page views per visit, and higher ad revenue. It allows you to select what layouts you would like to test from an extensive library. Ezoic will test your existing site content with these layouts, measure how they perform, and show the best layouts to each user based upon a number of factors.
Layout Tester provides publishers with complete visibility into how each layout is performing and allows them to achieve extraordinary results using the power of artificial intelligence. Layout Tester also works with all content management systems (WordPress, Joomla, etc.), hosting providers, programming languages, and site structures.
How Does Layout Tester Work?
Quick Summary -
Putting it very simply, Ezoic sits between your current host and your users, allowing our system to show all the existing content in new layouts.
In more detail...
Essentially, Ezoic looks at your site, indexes all the files and dynamically re-serves them in many different layouts to your visitors via Ezoic's technology and name servers.
As you know, when a user visits a website, their browser looks for the content at the name servers stored with the domain name registrar. By changing your name servers to Ezoic's, your website visitors' browser requests go to the Ezoic system. When we receive a request, our system then calls back to your original server using the IP address of your host, grabs the content for the web page that the user is requesting, modifies the layout into the chosen experiment for that screen-size and user and displays it.
So, you keep your website content exactly where it is and keep adding content in the same way you always have. Ezoic acts like a proxy between your server and the end users which enables us to adjust the website layout, test it and measure the results. The system measures time on site, page views per visitor, bounce rates and of course, ad revenue as the main metrics for comparison.
Ezoic indexes your content just like a browser. This means that your original code is untouched and there is no need for any time-consuming technical integration. You set the parameters of success and by measuring the results of each experiment, the system starts to promote 'winning' layouts, leading to more income and improved user experience metrics.
What is Multivariate Testing?
Ezoic is a website improvement platform that includes the ability to test and improve using multivariate testing.
Multivariate testing is when you test multiple versions against each other at the same time. Typically, that means testing ‘the new’ against ‘the old’. In this case, many new site layouts are being tested against your old layout, to see which your visitors prefer.
Testing might mean changing the menu, page columns, colors, fonts and hundreds of other things that might be getting in the way of your users enjoying and accessing the content.
Instead of having to build your own experiments, the Ezoic system does it all for you and automatically creates test layouts, adjusts them and improves them in response to your users' behavior. The platform does this simultaneously on desktop, mobile and tablet and reports back on visitor behavior for each experiment.
Winning layouts get more traffic, which means overall improvement adding to your bottom line (more revenue) as well as a lift in user experience metrics. You get to set your goals for your testing program yourself, and the system promotes the layouts that achieve those metrics. You can choose user experience focus, revenue focus, or a mixture of both, which is 'balanced').
Your original site & code are never ever changed by the Ezoic process.
The initial optimization period for a site using the tool is typically 12 weeks (although the system often finds improvements in revenue and user experience much more quickly than this). Here’s a timeline of what you can typically expect to see: Understanding Ezoic Optimization - Timeline
What Are the Benefits of Using Layout Tester?
The results for this app are astonishing - most long term users see a 42% improvement in user experience metrics, and an 141% improvement in revenue compared to their original setup. The SEO benefits of Layout Tester are well publicized. If you would like to see some case studies of sites using Layout Tester, please take a look at the following article: Ezoic - Layout Tester Case Study
Most importantly, no technical expertise is necessary to use Layout Tester.
How Do I Get Started With Layout Tester?
Sites that have been using Ezoic's Ad Tester for 12 weeks are eligible to try our Layout tester. Layout Tester can take up to a few weeks to set up as it is all done by our tech team - they translate your content into a number of new templates to test on Ezoic versions. However, this process doesn't interfere with the site and there is no downtime during setup. Publishers continue to work on their site as they've always done, and the original site is never affected. This also has to be activated in the back end by an Ezoic staff member.
If you would like to get started with this Ezoic feature, you will need to reach out to your designated Onboarding Specialist or Publisher Success Manager. You cannot access Layout Tester within your Dashboard until an Ezoic member activates this feature for you on their end.
When you begin setting up our Layout Tester app, you will go through the enhanced integration process. This additional setup will give you access to a range of apps such as the Mobile Friendly app, the Sidebar Widgets app and the PWA app.
How Do I Turn On/Off Layout Tester?
If you already have Layout Tester Set up on your site, you can very easily turn this feature on or off for your traffic. You are in complete control of this process. All you need to do is navigate to the Design Tab in your Dashboard. From there, you have a few options...
Turn off Layout Tester for a specific device:
1. Next to the Layout Tester App, click "Update Settings" as seen in the screenshot above.
2. From there, toggle on/off between depending on which device you want layout tester to be active on:
3. Then, navigate to the Default Traffic to Ad Tester tab as seen below and toggle on/off which devices you want to send traffic to Ad Tester when Layout Tester is unavailable:
5. Be sure to click "save" when you are done!
Turning off Layout Tester for certain devices will send all of your users back to your unchanged original site, unless you decide to send traffic to Ad Tester on certain devices.
Completely disable Layout Tester:
1. Navigate to the Layout Tester app and select "Disable Layout Tester":
2. You will then be asked to confirm whether you want to disable Layout Tester or not.
If you decide to disable Layout Tester completely, all of your traffic will be sent to your original site layouts with Ad Tester, unless you have Ad Tester turned off in the Ad Tester app settings.For more information on how to turn on/off Ad Tester, please take a look here: How to Turn Ezoic Ad Tester On/Off
How Can I Preview Layouts or Block Certain Layouts from Showing?
You can preview all of the potential templates in the Layout Tester app or disable any that you do not like or are causing technical problems. We recommend avoiding this as far as possible, as the system will automatically eliminate anything which doesn’t objectively work for your users (and sometimes the results are surprising!)
To preview your enabled layouts, navigate to the Design tab in your Dashboard and click "Manage Templates":
1. You can preview as many layouts as you like by clicking "View":
2. Enable/Disable any layouts you need to by clicking "Enabled/Disabled".
3. Or choose whether you want to automatically allow new templates to show to your users as seen in the image above.
Remember that you might be seeing something different to the next person - each user is cookied into a single template to ensure they see the same layout each time. If you want to see the site as a new user might, feel free to use an incognito window (or clear your cookies).
Layout Tester Caching
Layout Tester uses it’s own caching system apart from the default caching settings in the caching app. You can create various caching rules for your layout tester pages within the Caching app, as well as clear the cache for any URL that is running through Layout Tester.
For more information on how you can clear the cache while using Layout Tester or create a specific caching rule, please visit this following support article: How does Ezoic Caching App work?
Additionally, the system caches each template as it is visited in order to boost site speed with Ezoic’s worldwide CDN. This means that for the first couple of visits to a new template, it may feel sluggish when Layout Tester first goes live. It’s only temporary, and has big site speed benefits for all your users, so stick with it.
Why Can't You Just Use My Existing Ad Code?
Whilst using layout tester, you are also able to show ads on your page or use Ad Tester to automate the combination of different ads that show for each individual visitor to your site. These will be served in locations appropriate to the new templates. Ezoic
"What Ezoic can do in a day may take a human a 100 years to do… literally, what Ezoic’s A.I does with Layout Tester, we simply couldn’t do this ourselves…”
- Bill Phelan, CEO BrightHub & CollegeFactual