What is AB testing

What is A/B testing, & why is it an absolute must?

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing is a way to test changes or implementations of your website, app, or marketing materials against one another. To see which performs better and which doesn’t perform at all.

A/B testing explained
A/B Testing

Let’s say you have an eCommerce website. You then use A/B testing to determine which combination of value propositions or copy works best. If you are a SaaS company, A/B testing can tell you whether

New sign-ups get their first month free

or

Sign up now for your free trial

will drive more sign-ups.

A/B testing is also known as “split testing”. Since your comparing two versions of the same thing to find out which one performs better and you’re splitting your traffic between them. So that you can figure out which version works well for conversions! The version with the higher conversion rate wins and rolls out to the rest of your site.

Why you should use A/B testing for your business?

One quick aside before we move on. If A/B testing seems too obvious for you, it’s worth noting that many companies don’t utilize it. Or believe they have bigger fish to fry. It’s actually surprising how many businesses do not use A/B testing. To make their website or app more attractive, engaging, and ultimately valuable. And the costs of neglecting it are high!

on. If A/B testing seems too obvious for you, it's worth noting that many companies don't utilize it. #abtesting Click To Tweet
  • It makes you less competitive (ignoring potential optimizations to your messaging and customer acquisition)
  • You could be losing out on revenue (more sales, more sign-ups, etc.)
  • Know which of your strategies give you the best return (and by extension where to direct future budgets)
  • You might be falsely assessing the success of an initiative.

The point here is that A/B testing helps you learn which marketing channels are most effective. Whether a new feature is being used correctly. If your conversion funnel is optimized for sales or sign-ups. And how to improve the effectiveness of your customer acquisition.

How to set up an A/B test using Google Analytics  Content Experiments

Setting up an A/B test in Google Analytics Content Experiments couldn’t be easier.

First, you’ll need to navigate to the Content section of your Google Analytics property. From here, click on “Experiments” and then “Create Experiment”:

Next, you’ll be prompted to name your experiment and select a goal for it. In the example case, we’re going to name our experiment “optimized homepage” and select a “Sale or Signup” as the goal:

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be prompted to choose your original page and your variation. We’ll go with the standard homepage for now:

After clicking next, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can select the type of traffic split, the percentage of traffic you want to assign, and the duration of your experiment. In our case, we’ll go for a 50/50 split over 7 days:

You’ll then need to name each variation (in this case “homepage with benefits” and “homepage with features”) and choose the content that each variation will use. We’ll go with our standard “homepage with benefits” for now:

The last thing you’ll need to do is click publish, then activate your experiment, adjust your traffic allocation if needed, and finally run the test by clicking on start experiment. You can also view the results of the experiment and configure the experiment to stop early if one of your variations performs better.

There you have it, one successful A/B test! Of course, it goes without saying that the different variants (i.e., benefits vs features) of a homepage will need to be tested many times to get an accurate picture.

The benefits of using this technique for conversion rate optimization.

split testing

The best way to determine if your site design is improving conversions is to run an A/B test. Especially before making major changes. You could never know if your new website design was beneficial for driving conversions unless you did a test.

If your business isn’t using A/B testing to increase conversions, you’re missing huge opportunities for rapid growth. Your competitors who do use this technique will be much more likely to achieve greater success and surpass you in the race for more customers and sales. And we don’t want that to happen, do we?

If your business isn't using A/B testing to increase conversions, you're missing huge opportunities for rapid growth. #splittesting Click To Tweet

A/B testing can help you…

  • determine which marketing channels are most effective.
  • determine whether a new feature is correctly used.
  • improve the effectiveness of your customer acquisition.
  • determine the best split-testing frequency to use for different tests.
  • to show you how users interact with specific content and help you optimize accordingly.
  • to see which areas of your site need improvement and can make the changes needed to increase conversions.

Tips on how to get the most out of your A/B tests

Keep a close eye on your successes, but don’t ignore failures:

Failed tests

Sometimes the test you were most confident about will disappoint you. This is still valuable information, as it also says something about your audience.

Use tools to track extra data:

A/b testing tools

Google Analytics offers social network integration so you can see which social platforms send you the most traffic, while tools like Hotjar offer heat maps that tell you where visitors are clicking on your site.

Don’t overstate results:

Overstate a/b test results

Saying “our variation increased conversions by 40%” is misleading when the test was only run for a day. It’s not statistically significant yet. Always aim for statistical significance, regardless of the duration of your test.

Gain trust in your testing:

Trust

A/B testing can be daunting due to the number of variables involved and the fear that you might lose money if it fails. This is why gaining solid knowledge about statistics and how they work. Will help you gain trust and confidence in your testing.

Test more:

More testing

A/B tests can be run at any stage of the design process; it’s even possible to test different homepage layouts before you’ve even designed anything! This is noteworthy, as it means nothing gets wasted. And you’ll discover which option works best as soon as possible.

Get other people involved:

Work together

The more the better! Gaining the help of colleagues or other companies in your industry can be a valuable way to gain even more insight.

Periodically review your tests:

Test Periodically

Even after you’ve published your test, done your analysis, and gained results, you should continue to review the test every few weeks or months. This is because usage patterns change over time, and your analysis could be incorrect. If a test was performed in a different season or longer than it should’ve been. The more changes in your industry, the further back you’ll want to look at existing tests.

Remember that every test is an experiment:

Remember

A/B testing involves experimenting with different options to see which one performs better. Therefore, remember that the results of every test are only a snapshot of time. And may not continue in the future.

Make sure it’s worth it:

Worthless test

If you don’t see any meaningful changes to your conversion rates or don’t get the results you expected, then there’s no point in continuing. Either change it back or scrap the test and try something else instead.

Be wary of small changes:

Small changes

It can seem obvious that changing one word from “Free” to “Get My Free Trial Now” would make a difference, but you must remember that each element of your design has an effect on how people react to it. As a result, changing one word might not have a huge impact compared with changing a picture or color scheme.

Make sure there are enough visitors to your site:

Visitors

No test can be accurate if you don’t have enough data, so it’s important to aim for at least 300 visitors per variant over the course of a month.

Test one thing at a time:

One

Don’t mix up different things like button colors and headline fonts because this will make it impossible to know which element influenced the test results.

Common mistakes people make when setting up their tests and how to avoid them

  • Set up your tests for the wrong reason: There are many reasons why you might want to start A/B testing, but what matters most is that you have a specific goal in mind. Without this, it’s easy to be distracted by other elements and lose focus on what’s important. Because it doesn’t appear like an immense change. To avoid this, make sure you define what success looks like. Before you begin the test, stick to it throughout.
  • Ignore other factors: You need to consider a range of elements when planning an A/B test, but don’t ignore upcoming events or other parts of your website that might also affect how well a page performs. If a test is only a photo or a word change, it might not have the same effect as you expect. Because there are other factors like the Cyber Monday event that could influence your visitors’ behavior.
  • Get too distracted by shiny objects: If you notice something wrong with one of your pages and add a quick fix, you might find this is enough to make a significant difference. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when it comes to testing. Because you must test control groups to isolate the influence of one element rather than other variables.
  • Change everything at once: It can seem tempting to create a page with several new elements. But remember that each of these contributes to how users behave towards your site. Putting everything together means you won’t be able to work out which individual changes have had the biggest impact. So test them one at a time, if possible.
  • Fail to define success: It‘s important to define what success looks like before you start a test, and this will vary depending on the goal of your page. Success can be defined as an increase in revenue, a decrease in bounce rate, or anything else important to you and your company. Whatever it is, make sure your definition is specific, so everyone knows what they’re looking for before they start.

The elements you can A/B test to improve your website performance?

  • Text: The words you use are obviously crucial when it comes to directing the actions of your visitors, so changing them can have a positive effect on conversions. This is particularly important if you’re using some type of sales copy on your site. Because you want to encourage people to click through to buy or sign up for more information.
  • Calls to action: The CTA buttons on your site are the big, visible buttons on your page. Where they click on to complete an action, like subscribing or ordering your product. They’re almost always in a contrasting color to the rest of the text. Therefore, stand out from everything else on the screen because they’re designed specifically for grabbing attention. Changing this button can have a surprisingly big impact on the conversion rate. Yes, sometimes people leave because they couldnt find a way to order. (The button was too blending into the rest of the page.)
  • Graphics: It sounds simple, but sometimes a quick change to a photo or illustration can have a positive effect on the way visitors behave towards your site. As long as the image is relevant and doesn’t distract from the essential message of your site. Changing a photo can encourage more people to browse further.
  • Layout: The layout of a page is surprisingly influential in website performance, especially if there’s a lot going on in one small area that could be split into something simpler. This doesn’t include essential information like navigation bars. However, it can be valuable to consider changing the layout of secondary elements, like your header or footer.
  • Writing style: If you’ve ever read two different articles on the same subject written by two different people, you’ll probably have noticed a difference in writing style. Even if the content is accurate, using a conversational tone can help to build a relationship with the reader on an emotional level and encourage them to stay longer.
  • Product descriptions: If you want people to buy your products, it’s important that they understand how they work and what they can do for them. It might seem obvious, but some companies tend to use technical language that fails to connect with visitors. A test could reveal whether simpler terms are more effective in converting website traffic into sales.

There are many more elements that you could test on your website. However, these are the most common and likely to have a major impact with minimal effort. By carrying out regular tests, you can work out which elements of your site needs to be updated to improve performance. And convert more visitors into leads or customers.

Conclusion.

A/B testing is an essential step for any company that wants to improve the performance of its website. It’s not difficult to set up. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You can even do some of it with your current website without having to make any permanent changes. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start split-testing!

A/B testing is an essential step for any company that wants to improve the performance of its website. #abtesting Click To Tweet