Headline Optimization at Scale: Conductrics Macros

Conductrics has a history of providing innovative approaches to experimentation, testing and optimization.  In 2010, we introduced one of the industry’s first REST API for experimentation which also supported multi-arm bandits and predictive targeting.  Continuing our goal to provide innovative solutions, we’ve developed Express Macros and Templates to safely and easily build tests at scale.

To illustrate, let’s say you frequently run headline testing on a news page or change certain areas of a landing page over and over. In such situations, you don’t want test authors to have full page-editing capabilities – you just want them to have access to specific sections of the page or the site. Additionally, because variations of the same basic test will be conducted over and over, it is imperative that the test setup is simple, easy to repeat and scaleable.

Conductrics Templates and Express Macros

Conductrics Templates and Express Macros are an answer to this. They are an easy way to create reusable forms that allow your team to set up and run multiple versions of similar tests just by filling out a simple form and a click of a button. 

EXAMPLE: When to Use Conductrics Express Macros

One of our national media clients wanted to optimize News headlines for their news homepage. This meant that rather than just provide a single Headline for each news article, the client wanted to try out several potential Headlines for each story, see which worked best, and then use the winning headline going forward. To do this, they wanted to take advantage of Conductrics multi-armed bandits, which automatically discover, and deploy the most effective Headline for each story. 

However, they have scores of articles each day, so they needed to be able to run hundreds of these tests every month. In addition, these tests needed to be set up by multiple, non-technical editors safely, so as to not risk breaking the homepage. 

This is where Express Macros helped. Macros let the client extend and customize the Conductrics test creation process by:

1) creating simple custom forms to make it easy to set up each test; and

2) applying custom JavaScript to that form in order for the test to execute properly. 

How the Express Macro Works

For example, this macro will create a form with two input fields, “Post Id” and “Article Headline”. You can, of course, create any number of fields that are needed.

Now that we have specified what data to request from the test creator, we now just need to provide the JavaScript that will use the values taken in by the Macro’s form to run the test. In this case we will want to use the ‘Post Id’ (alternatively, this could be a URL or some other identifier) to tell Conductrics on which article to run the test. We also include in our JavaScript logic to swap in the alternative Headline(s) for the test. 

Here is an example of what that might look like: 

While this might look complicated if you don’t know JavaScript, don’t worry, this is something any front-end developer can do easily (or you can just ask us for help). 

All that there is left to do is to name and save it. I have named it ‘Headline Optimization’.

There is just one last step before we can let our Headline editors start to run tests, and that is to assign the Macro to a Template. 

Template Example

Express Macros was developed to bridge the workflows of programmers and non-technical users.  So now that the Macro has been created by the programmer, it has been assigned/converted to a template for use by non-technical users. This makes the process easy-to-use, scaleable, reproducible, and secure.  

Creating a Template is just like setting up any Conductrics Agent. The only difference is that by assigning the Agent to a Macro, it will become a Template that can be used to generate new tests easily. 

For example, here I have created an Agent name ‘Headline Optimization’. In the bottom portion of the set-up page, I select ‘Template’. This brings up a list of all of the Macros I am authorized to use. In this case, there is just the ‘Headline Optimization’ Macro we just created. By selecting this Macro, the Agent will be converted into a Template for all of the ‘Headline Optimization’ tests going forward. 

Now comes the amazing part. All the test creator needs to do is go to the Conductrics Agent List Page, and they will see the custom button created for Headline Tests. 

Clicking the ‘Headline Optimization’ button will bring up the custom form. For our simple ‘Headline Optimization’ example, it looks like this:

Notice that it asks for two pieces of information, the Post Id and the alternative Article Headline to test (you can add multiple alternative headlines to each test using the ‘Add Another’ option).

Once the Post Id and the alternative headline are entered, the test author just clicks ‘Create’ and that’s it! The test will be scheduled and pushed live. 

Not only does this make it super simple for non-technical users to set up hundreds of these tests easily, but it also provides guard rails to prevent accidental, or unintended, selections of erroneous page sections. 


Communication of test results are automated with Conductrics notification streams.  Users receive top-level results of each ‘Headline Optimization’ test directly to their Slack channel including company members who are not Conductrics users.  So all relevant stakeholders can also be part of the discussion around what types of Headlines seem to be most compelling and effective.

Here is a simple example – once the Conductrics bandit algorithm has selected a winner, a notification like the following is sent to the client’s Slack with the following summary information.

The winning variation is noted, along with the number of visitors and the click through rate for each headline. 


In this example, the client was able to scale from a handful of tests per month to hundreds of tests per month, and the guard rails allowed multiple non-technical users to have more control over the testing while freeing the developers to work on more complex problems. 

Express Macros and Templates are the ideal solution for digital marketers and CX professionals who have multiple, repeatable versions of a particular test design. They streamline the process, allow for set up in an easy-to-use form, and ensure compliance by controlling what can be modified. Express Macros solve the problem of so many ideas, so little time. If you would like to learn more about Conductrics Express Macros and Templates, please contact us.

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