A/B testing, also called split testing and bucket testing, is an analytically-based method of determining which version of a particular marketing asset performs better according to your chosen metrics. Yet, although most marketers understand how and why you should perform A/B testing, just a little over half of companies that use landing forms, for instance, try to improve them using the test.
The rest are missing out on increasing their conversion rates, sometimes exponentially.
To perform A/B testing, you create two nearly identical marketing assets, one (the Variation) with a single difference from the other (the Control). You provide a version of each for a predetermined period. Once both pages have run for the required time, you compare which version of the asset converted the most customers, received the most clicks, or performed better for whatever metric you are measuring.
The Benefits of A/B Testing
There’s no reason to do something if it doesn’t provide benefits. Here is what A/B testing can do for your business:
- A/B testing helps you improve your conversion rates by showing you which version of an asset, such as a CTA button, headline, or form works better.
- It is easy to run, unlike a multivariate test that requires substantial expertise and set-up time.
- Even a failed A/B test gathers important information to help you improve the next iteration.
- A/B testing improves your most important metric: conversions.
A/B testing is one of the most used conversion optimization tactics today. Along with its popularity, the growth of tools that help you perform A/B testing and analyze the results also continues to grow.
Before You Begin A/B Testing
Before you can A/B test, you need to do research and make decisions. There is no end to items you can test, but you need to select those with the best payoff and then prioritize which is tested first. Also, you need to set the parameters of your test, so each version is treated the same.
Answer the following questions:
- What is your end date?
- What variable are you testing?
- How big is your sample size?
- What is your success metric?
You need to weed out as many “gut feelings” and assumptions as you can when performing your testing. The best way to keep from seeing false results is to define your constants and variable ahead of time.
Tips for Setting Up A/B Testing
A/B testing is not difficult, but there are a few things you can do to improve your results.
Tip #1: Work to Achieve Relevance
A/B testing may uncover how relevant your campaign is to your target audience. You already know your content must be relevant to generate traffic, but maybe you will find a variation that outperforms your control because it presents the information in a more relevant form.
Tip #2: Build a Repeatable Process
For the best results, you need to have an A/B testing process that treats each pair of controls and variables the same way. You can’t control the internet environment, but you can keep variability out of your testing protocols.
The process should cover every variable aspect of your marketing asset including the headline, position of the pictures, and color of the CTA button. Everything on the page that can be reasonably changed is ripe for testing. However, only change one variable at a time; otherwise, you won’t know which change made the impact.
Tip #3: Make Sure Your Objective Is Clear
Conversion optimization site CXL uses an acronym to evaluate objectives. They say an objective should be DUMB.
- D – Doable
- U – Understandable
- M – Manageable
- B – Beneficial
We would add that your objective should be measurable, otherwise how will you know you have reached it?
A/B testing is the single most effective way to improve your conversion rates. When you monitor your analytics, you are measuring how a particular page is performing in terms of visitors, clicks, bounce rates, and conversions. But you do not have anything to show you that a particular page could perform better until you test a change you hope will make it work better.
Before you make a change, try it out by creating a variation with the change and measure performance against the original. If the change is negative or too small to be worth the effort, you remain with the original and try to determine another variable that might make a bigger impact on your conversion rates.
If you never experiment, you will never know that if you put an image of a person on your page, your conversion rate would jump 60%. Or that a CTA button that says something other than Submit or Click Here would improve conversions.
A/B testing provides an easy, repeatable, cost-effective process for boosting the performance of your website, landing pages, email, and other marketing assets.