A/B testing which can also be referred to as split testing, is a technique used to determine if a specific change made on a webpage will influence conversions. It is a crucial part of the conversion rate optimisation process and is implemented through the creation of a variation page. Results are then compared with the data from the original version. Whichever page performs better in terms of conversion, be it the control or variation page wins the challenge.
In A/B testing, a control version is compared to a second page, which is usually called the variation. This variation will feature slightly minor, contextual changes of the main version. The main objective of A/B testing is to find the winning variation; the one that will positively impact conversions and help you most with your online marketing efforts. Knowing which marketing asset works better can help inform future decisions when it comes to web pages, email copy and anything else.
Why is it important?
A/B testing conducts experiments which will lead to improvements in the user’s experience; whilst also collecting valuable data from the results. No audience acts the same. We all behave differently and this will give an in-depth understanding of the user’s behaviour and which elements impact it most – be it a CTA or text featured on the website. A/B testing also allows you to better reach your conversion goals and to improve any given experience on the site.
The marketing improvements that come from A/B testing are benefits such as; improvements in SEO, and marketing materials such as newsletters or sponsored Ads. Marketing and A/B testing go hand in hand and are very similar as both of them are trial and error processes that base information off existing customer behaviour. A/B testing can also improve the page speed of your site; which is an extremely important element of any webpage. A delay in loading time by one second can significantly reduce conversion rates.
Website features that should be tested
It is a good idea to virtually test all marketing materials featured on your website. These can be headlines, CTA’s, body copy and images. However, as this can be time consuming it is best to focus on the features that are most likely to have an impact rather than testing every little element which could take months.
On a website, this could include: headlines, a call to action, any graphic/images used that are related to sales, sales copy and product descriptions.
These would typically be elements to focus on no matter what product or service is being tested. For example, an email would be tested on its headline and sales copy as would a text ad. When offering products/services in any marketing collateral it is useful to test different offers. For example, one group could be offered a free gift and the other group could be offered a considerable discount. However, it is crucial to ensure that there is procedures in place to ensure that each person is always offered the same incentive for optimal results.
Advantages of A/B testing
A/B testing has a multitude of benefits to a marketing team. Above all, these tests are valuable to any business as they are low in cost but high in reward. However, there are numerous other advantages that go beyond user experience, such as:
- Improved user engagement – all elements of a page such as ads, text, emails or CTA’s, testing one change at a time will show which affected user’s behaviour and which did not. Updating the experience with the winning changes will improve the overall user experience and optimize it for success.
- Gain more conversion by investing less – There is no need to invest more money into advertising. It is best to focus on obtaining more qualified leads. A/B testing helps you to get the most out of your existing traffic as even slight changes can have a significant impact on your conversion rate. Knowing what works and what doesn’t, helps to convert more leads.
- Reduce bounce rates on your website – The longer a user stays on your website, results in a higher chance of them performing the action you want them to. Whether it is getting them to subscribe to your mailing list, or filling out a contact form in exchange for booking a demo or purchasing a product. Reduced bounce rates will help with your chances of making a good impression on users.
- Get a sense of how you can profitably redesign your site – A/B testing can give you useful insight into features such as colour schemes, font styles and button sizes and colours that work best. They can be used as a helpful starting point if reconsidering the design of your site.
- Reach your objectives faster – By conducting these tests, you can gradually modify more elements on your website and your landing pages by making them more appealing and relevant to users.
- Remove any pain points from your users journey – In order for your audience to perform the action that they are supposed to or to fulfil the need they came onto your website, its essential to make the experience as straight forward as it can be. Implementing a more user-friendly design such as clear product descriptions and a visible CTA button can go a long way.
Using an online A/B testing tool or software is a good start to figure out what adjustments are needed and will make customers take desired actions in your favour. In a constantly changing environment where websites need to keep up to date with customer preferences and online behaviour, it is important that these tests are conducted on a regular basis.
This blog post by hubspot gives a clear insight into the best online A/B testing tools to achieve your marketing goals.