There’s a joke in the marketing world that A/B testing actually stands for “Always Be Testing.” It’s a good way to remember that you can’t get the best results until you compare one strategy to another. A/B testing can help you visualize a strategy in order to obtain the best results. The importance of A/B testing is to understand the user behavior and how to use that behavior to drive traffic to a site. This will generate more leads and profitability. A/B tests can reveal weaknesses in your marketing strategy, but they can also show you what you’re doing right and confirm your hypotheses.
Without data, you won’t know how effective your marketing assets truly are. Using only a few small tweaks to a form or call-to-action may have a huge impact on the number of leads your company attracts.
Understanding A/B testing
An A/B test is a comparison between two versions of the same marketing asset, such as a web page or email, which you expose to equal halves of your audience. Based on conversion rates or other metrics, you can decide which one performs best. For example, you change the call to action on a landing page. You can A/B test variations of the CTA content by incorporating different verbs and adjectives, or changing the font style and size. An A/B test runs until you have enough data to make a solid decision.
If you’re testing the headline on a landing page, you might also want to test the subject line for your latest email. Changing just one variable at a time ensures that you know what had an impact on your audience’s responses.
You might want to test the same variable multiple times. As the audience evolves and the business grows, you’ll discover that you will have new needs to meet. It’s an ever-changing process that can result in a huge impact on your bottom line.
Making aesthetic changes to your landing pages, emails or display ads can have a huge impact on conversions.
For email campaigns you can set up two variations of the campaign and send them to a small percentage of the subscribers. The success is measured by the open or click through rate. This determines the right campaign to send to the remaining subscribers.
- Subject lines – Test two different subject lines against each other to increase your open rates.
- CTA – Testing two calls-to-action will help you determine which version increases conversion rates.
On landing pages there are several areas that you can begin testing to see how they impact conversion. You can change around the layout, adjust the color or font and try different navigations to determine how users prefer to interact with your website. These last-minute edits can affect your conversation rate both negatively or positively. Testing is the only way to see the effect of these changes.
Additional edits to consider for testing:
- Images – Images can have a huge impact on the way a user feels. Testing two completely different images can help you determine which image resonates with the audience.
- Content – If the content is too lengthy, users may be overwhelmed before reaching the CTA. On the other hand, if the content is too short, the user may be left confused without the necessary information. Testing the length will help determine which will be more successful.
It is important to note that you don’t have to test everything – focus on what elements you think will make a difference. You may not receive the results you were hoping for and that is ok. Learn from the testing and try again with a new strategy.
What to measure
There are a few elements that you should be monitoring. After you deploy your A/B testing you will want to review the results. These metrics include:
- Conversion rate: Most important metric in testing. Measure conversions per unique visit.
- Time spent on page: Measuring the amount of time spent on a page will give insight into the user’s interest in the product.
- Bounce rate: If you have a high bounce rate, you will need to review why.
- Unique visitors: This shows you how many new people are visiting the page.
A/B testing is a crucial part of any marketing campaign. It will help ensure you run the best possible version to achieve the highest results.
Example 1: Humana
Humana created an A/B test on a banner with a simple headline and CTA as well as an image. After two rounds of A/B testing, they saw that they needed to adjust a couple of elements.
The initial banner had a lot of text while the second variation reduced the copy significantly. Additionally, the CTA changed from “Shop Medicare Plans” to “Get Started Now.” A couple other changes included the image and color scheme.
These small changes led to a 433 percent increase in CTR. After changing the CTA text, the company experienced an additional 192 percent boost.
Example 2: Highrise
Highrise tested different headline and sub headline combinations to see if this affected the sign up. The testing showed that the variation that said the sign up was quick, produced a 30% increase in click through rates.
Example 3: Groove
Groove spoke to their customers to find out what wording speaks to them as well as setting up a questionnaire to find out why they signed up. Using this feedback, they developed a landing page test changing up the content with their findings. The conversion rate with this test increased from 2.3% to 4.3%.
To increase conversion and ultimately sales, you need the data to make informed decisions on how to change the marketing. Using the results obtained from A/B testing, you know what elements within the campaign contribute to conversions. You will have an understanding on what changes will positively affect the audience and affect conversion rates. And remember “Always be testing”.