Testing & Optimization

A/B Testing – When To Implement And What To Expect?

A/B Testing
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One of the best ways to figure out appropriate content, design and marketing strategies for your online business is through A/B testing. You can use controlled tests and sound empirical data to determine which tactics work for your company and your product. A/B testing is a method that is used to compare two versions of web pages or apps against each other to ascertain which one performs better. Basically, it is an experiment wherein a couple of web page variations are shown to a user and statistical information is used to evaluate the better-performing alternative for a set conversion goal.

A/B testing brings with it a whole horde of advantages. For starters, it removes presumptions out of website optimization and enables data-driven conclusions. By gauging the impact of the changes to your business deliverables, you can consistently ensure that every change garners positive outcomes. A/B testing can make your marketing efforts more lucrative and positively impact business revenues by narrowing down the most effective aspects of a promotional strategy and merging them together.

Why should you A/B test?

Through A/B testing, marketers or website designers can make changes to their website’s user experience and simultaneously collect results for two different options. This enables them to devise the relevant suppositions and figure out how and why certain aspects of the user experience impact user behaviour. In another scenario, the designer’s estimation about the best user experience for a particular goal could be proved wrong through an A/B test. Besides just settling discrepancies, A/B testing can be used to improve specific user experiences and single goal conversions. A/B testing allows you to leverage more out of your current traffic. While the cost of acquiring traffic can be huge, the cost of increasing your conversions is small. Even minor changes on a landing page or website can result in significant sales and revenue increase, which makes A/B testing an extremely profitable technique for online businesses.

What to test?

What to test will depend on what you want to achieve. For instance, if the objective is to increase the number of sign-ups, then the following aspects can be tested: length of the sign-up form, types of fields in the form, display of privacy policy, etc. If you wish to increase conversions, then all the sales-related features of your page have to be paid attention to. The most testable aspects would be the location of the call to action, surrounding space, the button’s wordings, size, colour, content and placement of design elements.

An off-site test is usually applied to an ad or a sales email. Testing an ad copy to evaluate which ad brings in more conversions helps you enhance advertising efforts. For e-mails, two versions are sent to your list and the one that converts better is analysed.

Testing different offers is important to understand the impact of your promotional campaigns. It is essential that while you are testing different offers, each person is always offered the same promotion.

When you implement test changes to two aspects in conjunction with each other, you can acquire more concrete results, especially in cases where there are mixed results or the results are not conclusive.

When to A/B test?

Testing practices vary from industry to industry.  Every vertical has a different set of requirements and a different set of goals to achieve.  When organizations want to improve and accomplish some of the below-mentioned objectives, they can use A/B testing to compare various web page variations against each other to ascertain which one performs better:

  • Increase readership and the time visitors spend on their site
  • Increase engagement
  • Strengthen the reach of their articles with social sharing
  • Up the number of successful bookings on their website or mobile app
  • Increase revenue from subsidiary purchases
  • Increase the number of high-quality leads for sales
  • Increase the number of free trial users
  • Attract a specific type of buyer
  • Increase the number of completed checkouts

What you must do while A/B testing?

  • Test both versions at the same time and segregate the traffic between two versions.
  • If you are testing an integral website feature, include the new visitors and leave the regular visitors out. Avoid surprising your regular visitors, because the variations may end up not being implemented.
  • Display same variations to repeat visitors. Your tool should remember which variation a visitor has seen. This prevents errors, such as showing a user a different price or a different promotional offer.
  • Ensure consistency across the website. Displaying different variations on different pages can compromise with your chance of result-accuracy.
  • Run several A/B tests. When you want to optimize conversion rates, you have to run as many A/B tests as possible. By doing so, you ensure that all positive results add up to a significant sales increase and achieved deliverables.

What to expect from A/B tests?

You may or may not achieve what you wanted to through A/B tests. It is best to wait before concluding your results, especially if there are only a few conversions or visitors. If the results are not statistically significant, then it’s time to wait it out before you achieve good numbers. It is important to know how long you should run a test before throwing in the towel! A little waiting sometimes can get you concrete results. Beware: too many underperforming variations could cost you conversions and sales. Don’t let your instincts or random judgements take precedence over test results. The results of A/B tests are often surprising, so don’t dismiss the test results outright.

To conclude

Do not think that A/B testing is a one-time activity. Keep doing it consistently for various pages of your site to see overall improvement over a period of time. Rigorous A/B testing has the potential to improve your bottom-line considerably. When you are equipped with the knowledge of what your visitors prefer and what they do not prefer, and when that knowledge is supplemented with data-driven assumptions, it is easy to make the right decisions and devise suitable digital marketing strategies right from the beginning.

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1 Comment
  • jay key Oct 21,2016 at 4:19 pm

    Doing A/B tests is really increases the website visitors. Article explains in detail about the importance of A/B test.

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