The process that the scientific method uses for answering questions is the same one business owners can use during marketing analysis. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method for measuring the success of a marketing maneuver using two testing groups: a control group (A) and a variable group (B).
Also known as split testing or bucket testing, A/B testing compares two versions of something to determine which performs better.A/B testing can be a valuable tool to gauge what is and isn’t working in their marketing strategies.
How The A/B Testing Process Works
The first step toward successful A/B testing is identifying what you want to test. You’ll either conduct an onsite or an offsite test. An offsite test examines elements such as advertising or sales emails. Onsite tests look at the sales-related aspects of your website for flaws or holes. Once you know your test subject, it’s time to assign variables.
If you discover that your call to action isn’t quite doing the trick, for example, one variable could be to use a different CTA. Another variable may be to put the CTA in a different location, or to change the color of the button you use. Keep your desired results in mind, and compare actual results with what you’re hoping to achieve. Run multiple tests at the same time to account for timing variations. That way, you don’t risk a C variable affecting your results.
How to Successfully A/B Test
To perform successful A/B tests, you need the right A/B testing tool. Many different websites offer A/B testing services, but you can run an A/B testing experiment on your own following the scientific process. Running an A/B test can be a fun way to optimize your website for your exact audience rather than a hypothetical audience that you hope will react the way you want. Here’s how this is done:
1. Analyze your website data
Use a tool like Google Analytics or a free digital assessment with an expert online marketing company. This will evaluate your current website to detect problem areas. You may have gaps in your conversion funnel that allow customers to slip out of your hands. Pinpoint pages with high bounce rates, for example, and focus your A/B testing tool on these.
2. Observe your users
Using analysis tools such as site heat maps (or the help of an experienced company), track user behavior and learn what’s inhibiting conversions. It may be the size of your CTA button or the layout of your products page. This will be the specific variable that you change.
3. Create a hypothesis
Come up with a hypothesis for how to fix the inefficiencies you found on your website, such as “If I make the CTA button larger, more people will convert.” Feel free to create as many hypotheses with different variables as you want.
4. Test the hypothesis
Make the desired changes on your website and A/B test it against the control or your original page. Record visitor behavior during the test and compare it to data gleaned from your control website.
5. Draw conclusions
It should be easy to compare the two sets of data between your A and B variables to determine which had the highest conversions. Once you find the ideal variables for each element of your website, make the appropriate changes and enjoy your optimized website.
If you want to partner with a website for A/B testing tools, there are several options. Optimizely.com offers one, as does Visual Website Optimizer and SendGrid. Browse the features of each company’s solution for A/B testing tools and compare each option. Consider your budget, end results, and overall goals for the testing when choosing a website to work with.