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What Exactly Is A/B Split Testing & Why It’s Worth Big Money When It’s Done Right!
TL;DR: A/B split testing is a technique used by businesses to better understand how customers interact with their products or services. The test compares two versions of a web page, email, or another document to see which performs better.
Anyone who has run a business knows that there are always new strategies to learn and ways to improve your bottom line. One of the most important things any business can do is split test their advertising and marketing plans. What is split testing, you might ask? And more importantly, why should you care?
In this blog article, we will give you a thorough overview of split testing so that you can understand its importance for your business. Stay tuned!
The marketing era that dealt with billboard advertising and paper media seems like a modern-day marketer’s nightmare. There were no real means of tracking the number of leads generated, and the level of engagement and measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign was all-around rather difficult. Businesses had a hard time figuring out whether a campaign had any impact on the target audience or not let alone whether it had impacted brand awareness and revenues.
Well, times have changed, and we have come far from the traditional methods of advertising. Today, you have some incredible data analysis tools and techniques at your disposal that allow you to understand what effect your designs and campaigns have on your potential clients. Analysing real-time results and the insights from these tools can help locate the strong and weak points of your marketing activities to assist in getting to delivering successful marketing campaigns faster.
One of the tools businesses rely on for data insights today is A/B split testing. This article is an introductory guide for anyone willing to learn about the methods, uses and benefits of A/B split testing.
What Is A/B Split Testing? 🤔❓
A/B split testing is a powerful method used for the measurement and analysis of user experience, engagement and satisfaction. The concept of A/B testing is simple and can be used on landing pages, websites, mobile apps and anything else that involves user engagement online. You simply change specific attributes of your website or a landing page, like a headline or the colour of a button and check whether the site visitors react positively or negatively to the change by analysing the conversion rate.
For this, you create two copies of the same content and change a single variable in one of these copies. The original copy is called ‘control’, and the change is called ‘variation’. Now you present these copies to a considerable sample size of site visitors over a specified period.
With analysis tools, you can note the users’ changes in behaviour to the different samples provided. If there is a notable reaction to the variation, you can make permanent changes on the website in response to those findings and this, in turn, can result in higher conversion rates.
Now one may think, why are these small details so important? To increase the conversion rates and understand the end consumer’s needs, one must go through such testing phases. In most scenarios, the results are overwhelming. For some companies, minor changes on a landing page can increase the conversion rate by 50%.
Why Is A/B Split Testing Important? 🛎️🤵
As marketers, we aim to increase the conversion rate. We want to drive traffic to our website and get visitors to engage with us. And that is why A/B testing comes in handy. Here are a few reasons why you need to start testing today!
Increase Conversion Rate
A/B testing allows you to question your judgement about what your clients may prefer. Sometimes we manage to push away others’ input and focus on marketing to match our personal preferences. Through this testing method, you can see whether the sample page you created attracts more consumers or fails to do so.
Change the colour, texts, and positioning of your website’s variables to your client’s preferences based on the test results. You will notice an increase in conversion rates with a higher number of clients clicking on your CTA or subscribing to your newsletter.
Increase Consumer Engagement
A/B testing helps to tweak your landing pages according to the preferences of the majority of visitors. When you change, as simple as adjusting the CTA button’s position, you can notice an increase in overall consumer engagement. Studies show that 90% of site visitors who read your headline will also go through your CTA copy.
Even the slightest change in colour and text can have an overwhelming impact. As you go along testing more, you will notice that minor variations in text, testimonials, phrases, videos and even the placement of these texts matter in the overall user experience.
Lower Bounce Rate
A bounce rate is a measure of how many visitors leave your site immediately without going through other pages. This means the potential leads of the business are not showing interest in what your website is offering. Eventually, a higher bounce rate can cause considerable financial damage by decreasing the conversion rate.
For most eCommerce sites, the bounce rate falls in the range of 20% to 45%. If the numbers for your site are higher than this, you have a problem. In most cases, this is because of the layout or design factor of your page. Visitors can be annoyed or repulsed by the slightest flaw in the design.
An easy way to fix this issue is by analysing your site visitor’s preferences through A/B testing. Use the findings of the test to make adjustments to your website design. Ultimately, this will lead to lower bounce rates and can help increase traffic to your site.
Increase Website Traffic
Every consumer has a different experience when they enter a website. While we cannot change things to please everyone, we can find what the majority would favour. Run tests on the fonts, testimonials, banner colours, and feature images to check your design’s effectiveness.
Here’s where A/B testing comes into action. We change multiple aspects of a website by testing the visitors’ response to a page. The analysis tools at hand will let us know which layout and design seem to be better at drawing the visitors’ attention.
With the newfound data, now you can proceed to go with the original plan or make a change. Customise the layout of your website to match the results. It can increase the traffic to your website while also retaining them for a longer time.
Decreased Cart Abandonment
Buyers tend to abandon the cart without checking out and completing the transaction most of the time. Statistics show that 40% to 75% of buyers leave items in their cart at the last minute.
Though there are many reasons for this event, we can do our best to prevent it from happening. A proactive step is to examine the product images and layout of the checkout page. Making meaningful changes to this page may reduce the cart abandonment rate.
How Do You Start A/B Split Testing? 🤷♀️☑️
Anyone interested in starting A/B tests has to have an idea about how it works. Here we have simplified the process and listed out the areas that require your attention.
1. Create Clear Goals
To test out an aspect of your website or email, you want to set out clear goals. These are your expectations about what the results will entail once you run them. You can think about how the users will react to the proposed change and set up a metric to focus on. For instance, you can use the percentage increase in sign-ups or sales as a positive metric for your A/B test.
A/B testing helps choose between two sample copies by collecting and analysing the response from genuine site visitors. Thus you may want to test as many aspects of your eCommerce site as possible. Yes, you can do that, but it may be time-consuming and will squander the resources at hand.
Start by choosing an appropriate variable from a marketing perspective. If you are looking to optimise the landing page, you can take a CTA button placement as a variable. Another factor to test can be the title of the page, the placement of a conversion form, the colour of the buttons and texts, etc.
In the case of emails, you can test the impact of a change of senders’ names, a change in email subject lines and images used. These may seem like minor aspects, but they can bring in the big traffic numbers you desire. Thus you must choose these variables carefully.
2. Create the Variations
Start the second step of A/B testing by creating two samples. The original creation is called ‘Control’, and the sample with the new alteration is called ‘variation’. You can test out as many variations as you think is reasonable. And for all of the tests to conduct, you have to come up with these sample copies.
For example, if you wish to test whether an email’s subject line makes a difference, you can set up an email without it. This will be a variation sample or ‘challenger who will compete against the control sample to let you know which email marketing approach is profitable.
3. Choose the Sample Size
Sample sizes play an important role in determining the outcome of your test. It is not advisable to set up a large sample size to test out a feature if your website does not have enough traffic.
If your site has only 40 visitors in three months, it seems futile to run these tests. In such cases, the testing period can stretch to a span of three months to even a year! An easy fix to this issue is identifying micro conversions by running the test on a smaller sample.
You can test out a new pricing policy and look for the increase in traffic and lowered bounce rate instead of monitoring the trend of sign-ups and sales. Tracking these micro aspects will help you understand the areas that need further optimisation to increase the conversion rate eventually.
4. Run the Test
You are ready with your variations in this stage and have a reasonable sample size to start the test. Depending on your testing and website traffic, these tests can run for longer than three months even! Use your A/B testing tool to help you split the visitors on the site. Some of the most used tools are Optimizely, VWO and Convert Experiences.
5. Analyse the Outcome
Most people tend to analyse the outcome without giving enough time for the test to run. The test may need to run for hours, days, or even months before producing substantial results. This depends highly on the traffic your website handles.
When you get the test results, check the response for the control and the various samples. The one with higher conversion rates is successful. You can analyse the metrics you had set up at the beginning of the test to identify the success rate. The triumphant variant can help optimise the site, eventually encouraging potential leads to engage with your content.
6. Deploy the Decision
After the test is complete and identified the winning variant, start by deploying this feature. You can make the necessary changes to the website and emails and test a new aspect.
In case you find both the samples receiving the same response, you can conclude that these changes will not make any difference in the overall user experience. From each test, you can gather insights about enhancing your emails and website and making them more user-friendly.
Once you make the changes and start experiencing a change, you must continue to test. A/B testing is a continual process where one must carry on with newer elements of the website to boost user engagement.
What Can You A/B Split Test? 👨💻📊
You may want to test all aspects of our website, hoping to increase the incoming traffic. But this is a waste of time and effort. Certain elements tend to have the most impact on a consumer. These are the factors you want to test out. Depending on the business you are in, your priorities may be different.
For eCommerce websites, an increase in traffic may be the motive, whereas, for a B2B, the aim is to attract a new pool of potential leads. You can filter out the elements to test based on your current and future goals. Here is a list of items that prove to be beneficial for most industries.
The call to action button on your website is a guide for your visitors. It nudges them to take the next step. This is one of the most critical aspects of an eCommerce website. Testing the colour, text, placement, and shape of the CTA button is essential in enhancing your website.
Email Subject Lines
Email marketing is a popular means of acquiring and retaining customers. So it makes sense to check the impact of your emails. Testing your email subject lines, names, and even your message format can help improve conversion rates. Having a pleasant subject line can lead to higher opening rates for the emails as well.
Your landing page is the main attraction for most site visitors. They tend to engage with the product and information highly in this type of content. Using a heat map, you can visually check the landing page areas that garner the most attention. Perform regular A/B tests on these aspects to enhance the user experience.
Headlines attract the attention of your audience. Your website may be covering great content, but the visitors will leave if the headlines are unimpressive. You can test some headline variations to determine the ideal title that holds the majority’s attention.
Hoping to grasp the attention of every visitor is pointless. On top of that, hoping that texts and emails solely will help garner new clients is irresponsible. One has to invest in other marketing channels like video creation, live demonstrations, podcasts and infographics to attract clients. You can test out these multimedia tools to see how your target audience responds to them.
Any contact form placed on your website demands the client’s attention. When visitors sign up and engage with your forms, you can start your marketing campaigns and work on identifying your potential leads. You can run tests on these forms to eliminate the factors such as text, colour, size and placement that may be repulsing the visitors.
Design and Layout
Visitors to your website should be pleased with the design and layout you have set up. If there are factors that excite them, there are higher chances of converting them into potential customers. We highly recommend testing your design aspects such as colour, headline placement, text colour and text size to identify any flaws.
Depending on your business, you may need to have in-depth product descriptions or may need to keep it short. Customers tend to purchase products that they can understand easily. It is crucial to test your product description responses to find your site visitors’ preferred content approach.
Social media reviews play an important role in conversion rates and gaining the trust of your customers. 70% of consumers tend to rely on social media testimonials. A/B testing social proof can guide the placement and presentation strategy for your business.
How Can A/B Split Testing Decrease Costs and Increase ROI? 📉💰
All businesses aim to drive traffic to their websites and convert visitors into customers. But doing this can prove to be quite expensive. To acquire a new customer, you invest time and money not only in the marketing aspect but simultaneously use up your office space software and analyse tools and handle your daily expenses.
An easy way to identify how much it costs to introduce a new client to the business is by studying your marketing costs. You can sum that up with your overall overheads. Most businesses are unaware of the crippling costs of this process. This is one reason why 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years of their establishment.
But the key to success is to be looking for the right client for your business continually. With A/B testing, you can diminish these costs by helping to utilise the existing traffic on your website. With continual testing, you will notice an increase in the conversion rates, eventually helping the business gain significant ROI.
Businesses need to engage with their clients and understand the sentiments they have when they visit a website. With continual testing, organisations can achieve an increase in sales through better engagement and higher conversion rates.
These results can save the business a fortune by fully utilising the current levels of website traffic over against spending money for more new leads to enter an inefficient and poorly optimised funnel.
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