New-Channel Tests: How Can You Tell If They’re Working?

by | Oct 10, 2022

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So you’ve decided to expand your channel portfolio, and you’ve zeroed in on a couple of new platforms to test. Before you flip the switch and start your new campaigns, let’s take a minute to make sure you’re setting yourself up for a successful outcome.

When we say “successful outcome,” we mean establishing a very clear understanding of whether or not the new channels are working for you. (While the best-case scenario is a high-performing new option, a test that conclusively shows poor ROI, thereby eliminating a channel from your mix, is also a valuable one.)

In our Complete Guide to Channel Expansion, we outline a number of initiatives you must tackle before you flip the switch on a new channel. In this post, we’ll tackle two of the biggest: KPIs and targeting.

Establish your KPIs

Before you can gauge whether or not your new channels are working, you need to align all parties on what you’re measuring to determine success. 

Start with your objective. For instance, if your goal is to engage lots of new users you can then retarget on other, more DR-focused channels, CTR (to your website) or form-fill CVR (email capture) are possible KPIs. If your goal is to find your most effective value prop messaging without paying for transactional-level engagement costs, clicks/likes/shares on social media can be great KPIs.

Once you’ve established your objective, consider the channel’s place in your mix, and determine how you’ll address some of the harder-to-isolate metrics. Any impression-based channel will likely try to grab credit for view-based conversions (conversions that would have happened anyway), so you’ll need to run a lift test or cohort analysis to understand its true impact. The same is true for any new channels you plan to use for retargeting—you’ll need to be able to assess (using a latency window) how many of the channel’s conversions would have happened anyway, on another channel, to measure truly incremental ROI.

Assess your targeting priorities

Any channels you’re considering as part of your test will have a range of targeting options, from extremely broad to very narrow and specific. Identifying how broad or narrow to go at the start of your test will be an important component of assessing the channel’s performance. Using information pulled from one of our favorite knowledge bases, Reforge, we break down the decision like so:


A concise way to look at it: broad targeting can help you reach a wide new audience quickly, but brands with limited test budgets need to layer in risk-mitigating factors. Narrow targeting should be used when the new channels in scope are themselves a bit unpredictable. 

There’s more to conclusive testing than sound KPIs and smart targeting strategies, but getting those two initiatives right is a big part of the process. To get the full picture, download our complete channel expansion guide, or reach out to inquire about a growth audit that includes channel expansion recommendations for your business. 

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