Because editors are often seen as unnecessary, we at IBM conducted a study to demonstrate their value for some of our marketing pages. We took a sample of unedited pages with high traffic from across our various business units and ran them through Dave Harlan, the editing lead for the group that creates a lot of our marketing content. We then ran an A/B test, where we served the unedited versions to a random sample of users and the edited versions to the rest of the users. We then measured engagement (defined as clicks to desired links on the page) on those pages over the course of a month.
The results were astonishing. The mean difference in engagement was 30 percent across the set of pages. And the standard deviation was one percent–we got a 30 percent improvement on the desired call to action for the pages across the board. Now it was just one test and it needs to be replicated before we draw strong conclusions. Your mileage may vary depending on the quality of your editors (Dave is exceptional, by all accounts). But we can provisionally conclude that well edited pages do 30 percent better than unedited pages.
What would 30 percent better engagement do to your bottom line? I’m going to let you draw your own conclusions about how 30 percent better engagement might affect your business. But let’s put an end to all the talk about editors being unnecessary.
(from A Fourth of July lesson in the value of editors by jamesmathewson)
I’m a part of a self-publishing group on Facebook and someone in the group posted a link to this article. I found it very interesting, and if you’ve ever wondered about the value of an editor in the publishing process (ebooks, blogs, etc.) I think you’ll find it enlightening.