The Basics of A/B Testing and How It Can Benefit Your Business

female-865073_640-300x182  If you offered various versions of the same products, you would obviously know which one was selling the best. If there were a way you could gauge how well your website was doing based on another version of it, there’s no doubt you’d incorporate it as part of your success strategy.

This success strategy does in fact exist and is known as A/B testing. Also known as split testing, A/B testing is a method that compares two different versions of a website to see which one implements better. Not just limited to websites, A/B testing can be used for email campaigns, newsletters, and search ads.

No one can help you optimize your online content more than the people who are viewing it. With A/B testing the guesswork is taken out of what strategies are working best by actually being able to see what your viewers prefer with a side by side comparison. So while you might have an idea what your viewers would prefer, A/B testing gives you quantified insight as to what they really prefer.

How Does A/B Testing Work?

Basically A/B testing boils down to taking two different versions of your site and testing them against one another. You’ve got version A and version B which offer the same information, but vary in their approach to the way this information is displayed.

Before A/B testing even begins it is vital to establish a goal you wish to see for the increased success of your company. Once you’ve formed a solid idea on exactly what this goal will come the decision on which of your website pages would help you best reach this goal.

Using A/B testing you can “ask” your visitors what they like best by offering them different versions of the same page. It could be as simple as offering different homepage images and various options for opting into your newsletters. You can also make it as complex as you wish by offering completely different versions of a page in order to more easily gauge what is more popular amongst your viewers. Clear analytics of each page will show you which variant triumphs over the other in terms of conversion rate.

Once you have a clear idea of which variant gains the most interest from your audience, you can further adjust that page for increased results. A/B testing doesn’t have to stop once one version is found preferable over the next. You can absolutely take your success a step further by offering different layouts of the preferred variable and see which achieves the greatest amount of concentration of positive feedback.

By offering an A/B test you are essentially looking to improve your website’s performance, which in turn benefits your business by bringing more people to your site. When they like what they see when they get there (which they will since you’ve performed you’re A/B testing), they’ll be more apt to sign up for your service or buy your product.

Another area of A/B testing that is extremely beneficial is the way it allows you to test out an idea before committing to it. Say for instance you have an idea for your site that you think your audience can benefit from, but you’re not quite sure if it will be successful. A/B testing can take the guesswork out of this by giving you a notion if your idea is going to work without taking any risks by committing to launce one specific version of your page.

4 Basic Examples of A/B Testing

  1. Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?The use of images on our websites is a given. Web visitors have become highly visual creatures and the right image can engage your audience more quickly. On the other hand, the wrong image can drive traffic away. How do you know though, which image you should use?

    This is a great example of where A/B testing is extremely beneficial. Say for instance, you have a landing page that has a call to action encouraging people to sign up for your newsletter. To see if your audience responds to the image you want to put on your landing page, offer page A with the picture and page B (the variant) without the picture.

    You might be surprised which option your audience prefers. While some pictures will entice viewers to take further action by signing up for your newsletter, some will see the image as a distraction. When you offer both it is far easier to gauge which option your viewers prefer. This will be the one to use for your permanent landing page.

  2. What Heading is More Enticing?You’ve literally got only a few seconds of people landing on your page before they decide if they’re going to stay or click to something better. What does your heading say about what action you want people to take? While you may think you’ve got the most brilliant heading a site could ever offer, this is one of the biggest places where businesses fail. In order to really entice your viewers to stay on your site, you’ve got to have the right heading.

    Offer two different options in an A/B test and you’ll easily be able to see what words resonated deeper with your audience. Offer two different headings and sub-headings and let your audience tell you which one works and which one doesn’t. Performing an A/B test is one of the best ways you can possibly measure what will work the best for the heading on your website.

  3. Should You Add Testimonial?If you’ve got a product or service, people love to see what others have to say about it. Adding testimonials can seriously increase your business, but only if they’re put in the right place. If you think that adding reviews or testimony of your business might help, running an A/B test will quickly give you your answer.

    You might think of running one test with page A clearly displaying testimonials and page B with them somewhere not so visible. You could also run a test where one page has testimonials and one doesn’t. Wherever you get the most response will give you the go ahead to include this as a permanent part of your webpage.

  4. What Color is Your Button?This could be one of the simplest A/B tests you could perform, but is one that comes with excellent results. A single change in one simple element on your page can have dramatic conversion results. What color is your opt-in button that people will click on when they sign up on your page? Although not something we really give much thought to, it’s important to test out which option your audience likes better. Try two different versions of the same page with the only thing different being the opt-in button. You’ll be able to see which color resonates with people more which will in turn drive more people to what you’re offering.

A/B testing is a must for anyone business site no matter what niche you happen to be in. From cake decorators to software developers, anyone that has a business can benefit from running split testing. Your audience is who will ultimately decide your success, so you’re obviously going to want to give them what they want, and A/B testing lets you do this with ease.

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