ASCEND FAQ

Sentient Ascend is a powerful solution for anyone who wants to improve how their customers and visitors interact with their site. Below are some of the most common questions we get about Ascend’s AI-powered conversion rate optimization solution.

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Product Overview

How does Ascend work?

Ascend leverages evolutionary algorithms (a branch of artificial intelligence that uses the principles of natural selection) to determine which combination of different improvements you’re testing make up the winning design. It tests each individual change, then uses evolutionary algorithms to “breed” new combinations of changes, which in turn are tested. These tests are all automated, and based on the building blocks you provide.

What makes Ascend different from other Conversion Rate Optimization tools?

Here’s what makes Ascend different:

Evolutionary algorithms: Marketers can easily design and simultaneously test dozens of individual optimizations—tens of thousands or more potential combinations. The AI does the math for you, statistically determining which design is best. Other CRO solutions require you to utilize costly data science or statistics resources.

Less time, less traffic and less administration: Because Ascend uses a different branch of statistics, you can do more than with conventional A/B testing or multivariate CRO tools.

Ability to test multi-page funnels: Most other CRO solutions lack this ability. For some companies, this is as important as the ability to test dozens of combinations.

Speed to results: The more ideas you have to test, the faster Ascend is compared to existing tools. You can test dozens of ideas, which might represent tens of thousands of potential designs, in the span of weeks. Completing this level of testing using current tools would take years.

End-to-end test automation: Ascend handles all the staging and management of testing of multiple ideas, to deliver the winning design at the end. Other CRO solutions require a significant investment of time and resources for test management.

What types of KPIs can Ascend Improve?

You provide the building blocks and you designate your desired KPIs. A few examples of what Ascend can maximize:

  • Number of leads
  • Number of sales
  • Revenues
  • Average order size

In addition, using Ascend’s custom event capability, you can define your own goals against which Ascend will produce the best design.

How much does Ascend cost? What is the fee model?

We offer Ascend on a subscription basis, with a monthly investment based on the number of users that are tested in a month. You can start with a risk-free initial trial up to a certain testing level, after which there’s an initial 6-month subscription. Our general pricing is similar to other CRO tools in the market, while providing dramatically greater functionality and value.

Who is using Ascend today?

Sentient Ascend beta customers include major enterprise customers, such as one of the United States’ largest mobile phone reseller, lead-generation sites, and ecommerce sites across home décor, fashion, and other categories.


Test Design and Management

Is there a limit to how many concurrent tests I can run?

Nope, there’s no practical limit. We’ve had customers run tests where Ascend determined the best design out of millions of possible combinations. The more things you test, the longer it may take for the AI to determine the winning design, but, as long as you are testing more than one or two changes, Ascend almost always offer faster results than existing solutions.

How does Ascend help me manage simultaneous tests?

Once you’ve run your first testing program with Ascend, you can either implement the winning changes into a new baseline (control) version of your HTML and move onto your next set of ideas, or keep the test running and restart it with your new ideas to continuously test. In each case, you’ll have insights into what copy, images and designs worked best for your users and can expand on these ideas or try new directions.

Even if you don’t add new changes to test, Ascend will evolve to the best design for your site audience as long as it is running. If your audience changes (due to seasonality or a new acquisition campaign or any other reason), your web site will automatically evolve to the new best design (using your existing building blocks) without any effort on your part.

I’m concerned about brand integrity. Does Ascend’s AI author my headlines and copy?

Ascend does not author copy or suggest specific changes. The specific copy is up to you. Ascend simply works with the building blocks—copy, formatting, images, layouts and interactions—you want to try. Any selected design will comport to your brand standards, since your marketing teams and agencies are the original source for these.

How much website traffic do I need in order to optimize results using Ascend?

The viability and length of a test depend more on the number of conversions (whether sales or leads) than specific traffic. We recommend that you have at least 1,000 conversions during your deployment, which could be a day, a week, a month, or a few months for some smaller sites.

If you have a 2% baseline conversion rate, and want results in a month or so, that would mean about 50,000 users. Other CRO solutions might test on the same traffic, but only be able to test one or two changes, not the number of changes that Ascend can handle.

Current A/B and multivariate testing tools produce statistically significant results. Does Ascend produce statistically significant results?

Yes. Ascend uses evolutionary algorithms to determine the combination of your proposed improvements that deliver the best against your goal. When the evolution process converges on a winning design, it runs that design in front of sufficient traffic to ensure statistical significance.

What type of reporting is provided?

Ascend provides comprehensive reporting throughout testing. You can see how different design candidates perform against the KPI you’ve established and how performance improves over successive generations of candidates. Our highly customizable graphs allow you to look at each individual candidate’s performance. Or you can view performance of the best candidate over time, at any given time.

How do I set up a test?

It’s easy. You can deploy your experiment in six simple steps:

  1. Select the web site and pages that you want to optimize
  2. Define your goal (e.g., improving leads or dollars)
  3. Use Ascend’s editor to enter the copy, image, design and interaction changes you want to test
  4. Add the Ascend-generated code snippet to your web pages
  5. QA your test using Ascend’s QA tools
  6. Deploy and watch how Ascend evolves the designs which best meet your KPIs
How much time and effort is involved in setting up and running tests?

Ascend automates the end-to-end testing process, so you can focus your energies on marketing—better copy, designs, images and UX ideas—not on test administration and statistics. The Ascend test designer GUI gives you both simple WYSIWYG test set-up and the ability to get as deeply into the page code as you want, making it easy to test all your ideas. Our built-in QA tools ensure that you can test even big page changes with minimal risk.

Once you’ve come up with the ideas you want to test, it takes just a few minutes to enter each change. Most customers can set up their tests, even with dozens of changes, within a couple of hours.

Since Ascend compresses what might otherwise be years of testing into a single test, you’ll need to QA the individual changes and review the combinations of changes. Ascend’s tools allow you to complete this process in a few hours. Once you deploy, Ascend runs the entire program and reports on results.

No test administration or data scientist time required!


Company & Customer Overview

What experience does Sentient have in ecommerce, digital marketing or conversion optimization?

Sentient has built the world’s largest and most powerful distributed artificial intelligence platform and is using it to create, develop, and bring to market solutions that enable organizations and individuals to see more, decide better, and act faster.

To date, our solution portfolio includes:

At Sentient, we see conversion optimization technology differently. We view Ascend as a scientific solution for marketers to confidently explore the full range of design and messaging options that can lead to transformative improvements faster, with less risk than A/B testing or any multivariate testing tools.

What types of companies can benefit from Ascend?

Ascend is an ideal CRO solution for any organization focused on driving more conversions from website traffic—whether the goal is online sales or lead generation. To realize the optimal value from Ascend, monthly traffic of 50,000 or more is recommended. But if you have less traffic, Ascend can still optimize your site—it will just take a little longer.


Technical Specifications

What is the implementation process?

Ascend is a SaaS-based solution that requires the implementation of a code snippet in the header of the web page(s) being tested. More advanced users can edit HTML/CSS (and JavaScript). If you want to integrate Ascend with Google Analytics or other analytics tools, there is a small amount of additional integration.

What other tools and platforms can be integrated?

Ascend integrates with Google Analytics, and we will be adding integrations to other popular analytics suites and ecommerce and web site platforms. Need a custom integration? Our solutions team will be happy to help.

Will my page load times be affected?

No. We run on the Amazon cloud and SoftLayer CDN to ensure all variations are loaded within 100ms. Any changes in page load times are undetectable to the human eye.

Is my data protected?

Ascend runs on the Amazon cloud; we use both their security tools and our own to ensure the integrity of test data, which does not contain any personally identifiable data. All test data and results are owned by your company, and are never shared with any other company.


STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?


We love talking about conversion optimization using AI. Let us know the questions you want answered, we’d be happy to arrange a demo, too!

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