A/B testing is the process of comparing two versions of marketing assets such as a web page, email, and measuring the difference in performance. The aim is to compare two versions of an asset against one another to see which one works best. Knowing which marketing asset works better can help inform future decisions when it comes to web pages, email copy, or anything else.
With A/B testing, you know what words, phrases, images, videos, testimonials, and other elements work best. The simplest changes you note from the testing can impact conversion rates to a very large extent.
Split Testing vs A/B Testing
Split testing is often used interchangeably with A/B testing even though they are two different types of tests. A/B testing involves a comparison of two versions of your marketing asset based on changing one element, such as the CTA text or image on a landing page.
Split testing involves comparing two distinct designs. A/B testing allows you to know which elements contribute to the differences in data.
How to Do A/B Testing
To do A/B testing, you need a strategy first. You need to know the various versions of your marketing assets that you believe will work and know why they will work. It will be a great disadvantage to run an A/B test without understanding how your pages are performing.
You can use various tools available to track traffic, referral sources, and test how visitors interact with your site. Knowing what works best and where your visitors are getting frustrated will give you additional insights.
Understanding how your customers are responding to your current marketing strategy and insights on the areas that need improvement will enable your A/B testing to boost conversion rates and bring in more revenue.
- Identify your Buyer Persona
Before you get into brainstorming for ideas to test you need to have an understanding of your buyer persona. They give you the right structure for defining your testing hypotheses and the framework that will help you understand your results better. Your buyer persona should cover the demographic information (age, gender, location, race, etc), budget, motivations (responsibilities, goals, interests, etc), pain points, and how your business intends to resolve the pain points.
- Identify what needs testing
You can start by identifying a single element you want to test and ensure it’s relevant to the metric you plan to improve. If the aim is to increase the conversion rate, you might start with testing your CTA or creatives. If the plan is to generate more organic traffic, then you can focus on blog posts and other elements that impact SEO.
- Set goals
Focusing on a single metric at first, you have to know and understand what you hope to achieve with your A/B test. Focusing on one thing at a time ensures that you can concentrate and get clearer data that helps you understand what success looks like, the steps your customers take and the specific results your test will produce that makes it successful.
- Analyze data
Look at the current data you have before starting out your tests, understand the insights you can derive from it and what it translates into for your business. Knowing this will further help you understand what needs improvement and what is currently working well. Like they say, data never lies.
- Select the page that you want to test
Identify the most important page, a landing page that is highly trafficked or your homepage that contains your most vital information. The page must be one that has a significant impact on your business, depending on the goal you have in mind.
- Set the elements to A/B test
Choose the elements you want to run your A/B test on and create a structure for them so you know what test goes out first and the one that should follow. Remember to start with the elements that are most likely to influence and have a great impact on your goal.
- Create a variant
An A/B test isn’t complete without a variant. You need to make changes to the elements you have identified above but ensure that you have a key element that stays unchanged in the variants you will create. For instance, if the aim is to test your CTA, you will need to make changes to the elements around the CTA like the background color, font color, or button size. Your CTA must retain the original message it intends to pass across.
- Choose the best A/B testing tools and design your test
The right A/B testing tool depends on what you’re testing. If you’re A/B testing emails, most email service providers have built-in testing tools. Make your research and understand how testing works for the various elements you intend testing for.
Depending on the tool you’re using, you can then go ahead to design your test in the way that is either suggested or suits what you feel would work best.
- Accumulate data and analyze.
Some A/B testing softwares collects data automatically and with some, you might have to be specific about the data you want. Once your test is concluded you should be able to measure the variations used and how well they have worked for you.
From this, you can draw conclusions from the winning variation and get an understanding of what your audience prefers.
How Long Should Your A/B Tests Run?
For most A/B tests you want the test to run long enough to make the results from the two variants are clear enough. There has to be a significant difference between the two variants. A/B testing for several weeks will give you good results as long as the flow of traffic to your website is steady.
Which Are the Best Elements to A/B Test?
Some elements of a marketing asset contribute more to conversions than others and since you have limited time, you have to focus on the elements that are most likely to make the most impact.
Some effective A/B testing elements.
1. Headlines and copy
The first thing people see when they arrive on your web page is the headline. If it doesn’t grab your visitors’ attention then they most likely won’t stick around. Your copies also have a great impact on your conversion rate. Knowing what kind of texts your audience category likes and would relate to is very important. Knowing the appropriate text to use for your anchor text is also very important. Test various paragraph lengths and use various persuasive copy and understand the kind of approach that works best for your audience.
Visitors get to understand the message you are communicating with your call to action. You have to ensure it carries an offer that is too valuable to resist as that is the way to entice your readers. Characteristics such as button color, text color, contrast, size, and shape also have an impact on the performance of your CTA and that is why it is important to test the various characteristics and know the one that best suits your audience.
3. Creative assets; Images, audio, and video
Testing video assets can be tricky at times especially when you don’t know the exact content type your audience prefers. As such testing video testimonials against written ones or short infographics against longer versions is advisable.
Your image choice also plays an important role in your conversion rate so testing to know how best it will serve you is important. If you must use a stock image, getting one that will naturally direct users’ attention to your CTA. Using a hero shot even works more magic and portrays originality to a very large extent that can produce major results. even stock images can impact your A/B testing. Testing various assets will help you understand what your audience responds better to.
4. Subject lines
The subject lines you choose for your email have a direct impact on the open rates. If the subject line doesn’t interest the reader enough to open it, your email will probably end up in the trash. A/B testing various subject lines can increase your chances of getting more people to click. Try questions in place of statements, and test various subject lines in the way you think will suit your audience best.
5. Product descriptions and designs.
Most times, especially with regards to e-commerce, short product descriptions are said to work best. Consumers are either searching with intent or just having fun online, as such the best way to get their attention is with a simple, easy-to-digest content that gives them the highlights about a product. Another thing you can test is the product description design.
6. Landing pages
Your landing pages need to convert users on whatever offer you present them with. If they lose interest from the details on your landing page, you lose a potential sale. Knowing and understanding what works best for and on your landing page will help to solve conversion and increase sales.
A/B testing is one of the most powerful ways to collect information about your design elements and other marketing choices. Following the right steps and knowing what to test will help you learn more on what convinces your audience to convert, as such improving your conversion rates and making more sales.