A/B Testing: What Is It and How Do I Optimize it for My Business?

Why You Should do A/B Testing and How to Optimize it for your Business

When digital marketers create landing pages, design call-to-action buttons, or write email copy, it can be tempting to use your own intuition to predict what will urge people to click and convert.

However, basing marketing decisions on assumptions or feelings can be detrimental to the results. Rather than relying on intuition or smart guesses to fully optimize your strategy, it’s much better to do a split test, or commonly known as A/B testing.

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing is simply the method used to compare two variables of a marketing strategy to determine which one performs best. For instance, you can apply it to producing blog content. Imagine that you are mulling over which type of visual resource to incorporate in your articles. Would videos generate more engagement or is it better to use images to illustrate the ideas or concepts? By running an A/B test between two blog posts, one with videos and the other with images, you can quickly gain a sense of your audience’s preference.

Many digital marketers also apply A/B testing to SEO using Google Analytics. Insights from Google Analytics helps them get details on the most interacted content, numbers of users, click-through rate, etc. They use the various features on Google Analytics to compare multiple variations of websites to discover the best outcomes.

Why Should You Do A/B Testing?

Ask any SEO agency and they’ll say A/B testing has a multitude of benefits to a marketing team. While it depends on the variable you want to test, A/B testing is valuable to a business because they’re low in cost but high in reward.

Here are some common goals digital marketers have when they conduct A/B testing:

Increased Website Traffic

Testing different meta titles or webpage titles can change the number of people who click on the hyperlink to get to your site from the search results page. As a result, this can increase website traffic.

Lower Bounce Rate

If your website’s visitors leave or “bounce” quickly after visiting your website, you may be able to reduce the bounce rate and retain more visitors by testing different fonts, blog post introductions, or feature images.

Higher Conversion Rate

Testing different colors, locations, or even anchor text on your CTA buttons can change the number of people who click on these to get to your landing page. This will increase the number of  people who submit their contact details to you, fill out forms on your website, and convert into a lead.

Lower Cart Abandonment

Are you an Ecommerce business? According to recent statistics, 88.05% of online shopping orders are abandoned or not converted into a purchase. Testing different check-out page designs, product photos, and payment options can lower this abandonment rate. 

How to Perform a Successful A/B Test

When conducting an A/B test, you’re not always going to get your desired results the first time. However, keep in mind that even if the test doesn’t deliver the results you need, the data you collect can still help inform your next A/B test. Since your decisions have been shaped by insights you’ve obtained, you won’t be shooting in the dark anymore.

1. Identify Test Variables

Begin by determining the factors you want to test. To start, are they off-site or on-site variables?

Off-site tests assess variables such as email copies and social media ads. On the other hand, on-site variables are found on your website. These include headlines, website copy, CTA buttons, landing pages, and the like.

Don’t forget to establish your current benchmarks such as your email open rates or your website traffic. Afterwards, proceed to step two.

2. Create a Challenger

When conducting A/ testing, you’re individually measuring two versions of the same variable. But you need to alter a single variable.

For instance, let’s say you’re testing the CTA button on your homepage. Option A is the current CTA you’re using or your control variable. Meanwhile, option B is the revised version or the “challenger.” The revisions could be the typeface, the color scheme, the location of the CTA button, or simply its size.

Both CTA versions will be randomly shown to your website visitors. Conduct a statistical analysis to see which version performs better.

3. Run the A/B Test

Of course, you’ll have to run the A/B test itself. The test’s duration will typically run anywhere between a few days to two weeks, which will give you enough time to gather sufficient data and results. 

4. Focus on a Single Variable

If you’re testing the effectiveness of a CTA button on your webpage, make sure to focus on one variable at a time. If you’re testing the typeface, focus on that. Don’t make any changes to the color scheme or the size at the same time. 

When you focus on a single variable, it’s easier for you to identify the specific change that influenced the desired results.

5. Determine the Statistical Significance

This plays a crucial role in the data that an A/ test provides as it measures the difference between your control and challenger variables. 

For instance, if you run an A/B test and receive a 90% confidence level, it means you can be 90% sure that the differences are real. In turn, it will help you determine which variable is ultimately better after the A/B test. 

6. Implement the Changes

After you’ve performed your A/B test and determined which variable performs better, you can now replace the past version. However, if the challenger fails to perform better than your control variable, that means the changes you’ve made are not effective.

That should urge you to continue testing. Don’t feel discouraged! As we mentioned before, you can still use the results to guide your next A/B test. 

Improve Your Bottom Line with A/B Testing

Whenever you wish to revamp your current website, don’t overlook the benefits of conducting an A/B test. A/B testing lets you get a clearer picture of what content and marketing your audience wants to see. As a technique, A/B testing has enormous potential to optimize your conversion rate. As long as you use reliable data, you can apply it to different variables until your website is fully optimized. 

Moreover, it will also help you keep up with the digital marketing world’s ever-changing, dynamic nature. After all, what works today isn’t always a guranteed to be a success tomorrow. So, regularly perform A/B tests to make more informed marketing decisions, understand your audience better, and ultimately increase your bottom line.

Author Bio

Marc Bartolome is a strategist and enabler of hundreds of successful digital marketing campaigns. Always looking out for the little guys, he specialises in helping SMEs create a bigger impact online – which is why he writes blog posts like this.