Hatice Kaya: Balancing making clients happy while being true to the process

A Conversation with Invesp’s Hatice Kaya about Experimentation

Not every test generates the results we want. While that’s OK, and in fact expected, less-experienced Experimenters can often become frustrated with the grind. I recently spoke to Hatice about how she educates clients on the process of optimization, where the best test ideas come from, and what she would do for a living in another life.

Rommil: Hi Hatice, how are you?

Hatice: Hi Rommil, I’m doing well, thank you. I’m excited to talk with you.

Thank you for chatting with me today. Could you share with our readers a bit about what you do and your career journey thus far?

I’m Hatice Kaya, and I’m the Senior Conversion Optimization Specialist at Invesp?—?have been with the firm since 2017. Our headquarters is in Chicago; I work in our second office in Istanbul, Turkey. Invesp is a Conversion Optimization Agency and a leading international partner for organizations seeking to improve their website usability, engage their visitors, and turn them into lifetime customers. Our team of experts has conducted hundreds of highly successful optimization projects to help clients create visitor-centric designs and improve their bottom line.

I love being a part of client projects because it allows me to be creative, provide unique solutions to many complex problems, and to see the results of our work through AB testing. I think all these challenges are my source of motivation, and they drive me to keep on going in this career of mine.

“Just focusing on increasing conversion rates and ignoring other essential elements is like an unfinished song for me.”

Having worked with so many clients, what are some of the most common objections that you hear about running Experiments, and how do you overcome those barriers?

Just focusing on increasing conversion rates and ignoring other essential elements is like an unfinished song for me. Experimentation needs a holistic approach. So we usually start focusing on short term wins. Then we move on to focus on long-term strategies and making sure that customers feel more comfortable by eliminating prejudices.

Another objection is pausing tests too early without seeing significant results. Some clients do that because of losing revenue concern; however, that prevents us from seeing the real effect of changes in the long term and with enough samples.

Most clients want to see ROI right away, but most Experiments don’t yield positive results?—?how do you explain this for clients?

At the beginning of every client project, we educate our clients on the optimization process that we use. At Invesp, we have our optimization process, which we abbreviated as SHIP?—?Scrutinize, Hypothesize, Implement, and Propagate.

When the client clearly understands every step of our optimization process, we then involve them and make sure they are part of the optimization process –this makes us transparent every step of the way.

Before launching any test, we also make sure that the tests’ hypothesis and goals are clear to our client so that they know the ROI to expect once all the tests have been done. So it’s like showing them the bigger picture of the whole experimentation process, instead of focusing on one test.

Since every test idea is based on robust research data and is aligned to primary and secondary goals, we don’t just throw away the test when it fails in the first release. We have to present it differently.

By closely monitoring the underperforming tests’ results, we give updates to the client every week with iteration test ideas based on video recording, heatmap, and secondary goals’ data, before we declare a test to have wholly failed.

Additionally, at the beginning of the project, we look for a quick win to give the client a confidence boost in the process. We launch anywhere between 6–12 tests a month. All of those factors impact the success of the project and, of course, the happiness of the client 😉 There’s a balance when you conduct these projects; you want to ensure that the client is happy, but you are following the process to data-driven results.

“Talking to customers is gold, and it’s so inspirational.”

In your opinion, where do the best ideas come from for Experiments?

Talking to customers is gold, and it’s so inspirational. Learning the nature of their needs and how they came about is revealing that it tells me which criteria are more essential to them, and what makes their lives easier. When you merge all these triggers that prompt customers to hire a service or buy a product: you create a website experience that customers love.

You’ve worked in many industries?—?could you share with us your favourite Experiment?

I can mention one of our latest experiments. We got that test idea through customer interviews and understanding some of their objections and motivations. Our client sells online dancing instructional videos. The headline was so straightforward. Just showing before and after images of couples’ relationships and highlighting the value of the product on intimacy with a new headline resulted in a 17.14% increase in conversions. Instead of a product, considering the value of the product from customers’ eyes and highlighting the reasons to be hired by customers, improved engagement and conversion rates.

“Optimization is here to stay…”

Where do you think the optimization/Experimentation industry will be in 5 years?

I think optimization is a never-ending learning process; CRO will turn from project-based investment to ongoing company culture. Optimization is here to stay, and you can say it is something marketers have done from the beginning. So what’s important if you’re in this industry is to adapt to the technological advancements.

Additionally, the industry and processes frequently need to be finetuned. Just sticking to the process without improving it or optimizing it will impact your success as an agency. And the optimization industry will spread out into every point of our life.

It’s time for the Lightning Round! Frequentist or Bayesian?


If you couldn’t work in Experimentation/Optimization, what would you do?

Archaeologist! There is a systematic digging involved where you try to understand why and how. Bringing human history back to life is so stirring. I want to work on the restoration of historic buildings one day. You should see Termessos’ ancient city, where Alexander the Great failed to conquer, to understand me!

Describe Hatice in 5 words or less.

Dedicated, Ambitious, Honest, Competitive, Curious,

Hatice, thank you for joining the conversation!

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Rommil Santiago