A/B testing is an excellent method to boost your website. It’s a simple method to ensure your changes have a natural effect and can help you objectively determine which adjustments are worth executing. In this article, we’ll walk you through 5 simple steps to produce and run an A/B examination on your website to aid you in fulfilling your efficiency goals.
What is an A/B test?
Simply put, an A/B test compares two website versions to see which version performs better. An A/B test is used to improve the conversion rate of your website or landing page, and it can be used for almost any conversion metric: Clicks, Sales, Leads generated, or Sign-ups.
You can use numerous tools to perform A/B testing on your website or landing page. Examples: Optimizely (a cloud-based tool), VWO (a cloud-based tool), and Google Optimize (natively integrated with Google Analytics).
Why AB testing?
A/B testing is a simple and effective way to test new ideas and understand what works and what doesn’t. This way, you learn more about your customers and gain insight into what they expect from your website.
Let’s look at an example: You have two versions of an email sign-up form on your website: plain text and text and graphics. Which version should you use?
Of course, knowing which method is best for getting people on board is very difficult. Often, many opinions are thrown around when deciding on an approach, and it’s hard to think objectively about what will best help you reach your goal. Instead of endlessly debating and going back and forth, you can set up an A/B test.
1. Choose what you want to test
When it involves A/B testing, the first step is to be clear about what you want to test. Think about what insights you might gain that add significant value. Among the essential elements of a superb A/B examination is a clear, concise hypothesis that can be objectively tested and is directly related to your overall business goals.
That is an excellent time to be creative and develop something that “moves the needle.” It’s also vital that you can measure the results. If you want to test whether green or blue buttons are more effective, you should have a way to measure how many people clicked on each button.
When finding the proper A/B test, you must consider your website’s goal first. Is it a SaaS tool? An e-commerce store? A blog that wants more visitors and social media shares? You can use an A/B test as an opportunity to improve several things:
- Navigation: Have your visitors need help finding information on your website? Could they save time by accessing specific resources through different menus? Try creating new navigation menus and see how they compare to old ones.
- Content: do users understand what your site is about or need clarification on the terms or language used? If so, consider using different text and images on your site to see which performs better on your key metrics.
- CTA (call to action): Does your page layout encourage site visitors to act and exchange consumers? Try changing where call-to-action buttons are placed and how you direct users to them.
For example, suppose your site’s goal is to generate leads. In that case, an A/B test might be to change the text on a page from “Send” to “Contact Us” and include information about how many people have already contacted you this month to encourage visitors who haven’t yet done so (but may be interested). That is an effect known as social proof. If you run an e-commerce website, you could also experiment with the scarcity effect. That could be implemented with something as simple as an indicator that shows which products are almost out of stock. The scarcity effect creates the feeling that people need to act now because otherwise, they will miss out.
2. Determine your testing methodology
Now you’ve determined what to test and why it’s crucial to your business. Currently, it’s time to take the next step – how will you conduct the test? You can keep it simple and make the images of a few essential products listed on your site more oversized on separate pages.
For example, let’s say you want to change some of the product images on your e-commerce website. You assume that a more extensive product image will attract more attention and thus increase product sales. Next, you must determine which images you want to change for which products. Of course, if you change all the product images on your site, you will need to find out if making them larger has made a difference in sales.
When A/B testing, it’s essential that you only change one variable at a time. If you change multiple elements of your website and page, you won’t be able to distinguish which change affects your conversion metrics. That makes it harder to draw meaningful conclusions for the future.
How long should you run an experiment?
When deciding how long to run an experiment, consider a few things. The longer you run an experiment, the more reliable your results will be. A great rule of thumb is that if your website has more than 100 visitors per day, the experiment should last at least 14 days. That gives users enough time to get to know both versions of your website, and it leaves enough time to collect data and get accurate results.
Finding a suitable duration can be tricky, as more extended tests have opportunity costs. If you test a minor feature for two months, it also means that you can only test any other features on that site for two months once the first experiment is complete.
Otherwise, you could compromise the validity of your test results. However, running too many tests can also be expensive – you need to research and find ideas for things to test, design the changes, and implement them on the live site. That can mean several hours of work for developers and designers. And of course, not every experiment has a positive outcome, so you must choose wisely!
So what is the best length for your A/B test? It depends. If you’re looking for a quick answer, aim for at least 14 days. That will give you enough time to collect data and get accurate results while minimizing costs. However, this depends heavily on the regular traffic to your website.
3. Choose your A/B testing tool
Having a reasonable hypothesis and methodology is excellent, but they will only do you a little good if you have the tools to implement them! Fortunately, there are many solid A/B testing tools on the market. To select the right one for your needs, you first need to consider the following factors:
First (and most important): Does the functionality meet the requirements of your experiment? Let’s say our hypothetical A/B tester wants to change the navigation of his website: Does the tool allow him to edit it with minimal development assistance? Or is it more focused on changing text and images? That is often hard to anticipate, but keeping that in mind, finding a tool that can test several variables in different settings is good. It’s also good to think about what kind of experiments you want to use in the future.
How easy is it to use? Can you set up an A/B test in a few minutes, or will it take you hours? That is a significant factor, especially considering the available resources and expertise. Start with a relatively simple solution if you are a small business or a startup.
How easy is it to integrate the tool into your website? Does this tool require technical knowledge beyond your skill set? Again, if you have developers helping you implement your A/B testing tool, that’s great. You can tailor your setup to meet the exact needs of your business.
However, if you don’t have the luxury of having developers available, you should look for a simple tool that requires little or no code to set up.
What kind of customer support does the tool offer? Is there a live chat feature or just email responses? There’s nothing more frustrating than when something goes wrong with your test data, and you have no one to answer when you need them most! If something goes wrong with your A/B test and you don’t have anyone to talk to immediately about solving the problem, then it mayn’t make sense to use that solution in the first place.
Finding the correct tool for the job is essential to obtaining the most out of the tests you want to run. It can be challenging to select the correct tool since there are so many options on the market, but if you consider the 4 points above, you should be informed enough to make a solid choice for your website.
4. Setting up an A/B test
Setting up an A/B test can be simple, but it depends significantly on what you want to test and your available tools. For instance, if you wish to change the color of an element or the text on a page, most no/low code tools can help you do that. However, if you want to change more complex things like the navigation structure of your site, you may need the help of a developer. Once you’ve decided on your goals, chosen the best metric, and found the right time to test, you’re ready to go.
The first step is to create two versions of a website – the control version and the test version. For example, if you want to test whether your messaging has improved conversion rates compared to the original version of your homepage, create two different homepages with different messaging concepts: one with the headline “Free Shipping” and the other with “Save Money.”
Your goal would be to have visitors who see each page (control group vs. variant group) convert to customers at similar rates to those who previously visited that page without any changes (i.e., no free shipping vs. no savings).
In a simple A/B test, you would take a 50/50 split of all traffic to the page you are testing. However, you can also set the exact percentage using tools like Google Optimize. Remember that you should choose the test group at a manageable size, as you still need a large enough data sample. Then, you need to measure how many people from each group converted into customers after visiting either version of that page. Based on the results of this measurement, determine which version works better than the other when converting users into paying subscribers.
5. Interpret your results
You hypothesize that the new red button will increase the conversion rate by 15% compared to the current conversion rate. You run an A/B test and get the following results:
- Control (original page layout) – 20% conversion rate.
- Intervention (red button) – 26% conversion rate.
In terms of the conversion rate of the original layout, the intervention was 33% better! That means that your hypothesis was correct, and you should ensure this red button is published on your live website for all visitors. If your hypothesis needs to be corrected, you must return to the drawing board and analyze where and why you are losing your visitors.
Remember that many potential extraneous variables can affect the results of your A/B test. You can only sometimes control who goes to your website and why. For this reason, we generally recommend using as large a sample as possible for your A/B tests. This way, you can spot trends and have a higher level of confidence in the validity of your results.
What are the most effective practices for A/B testing?
Getting good results with A/B tests can be difficult, and you need to familiarize yourself with the best practices to get a better boost in conversion rate (and more sales or leads). Here are some of them:
- First, run A/B tests on elements on your key pages, such as your homepage, landing pages, and checkout or sign-up flow.
- Don’t just guess what needs improvement or listen to your boss’s opinion – that often leads to poor A/B testing results.
- Use your web analytics tool to gain critical insights and ideas for A/B testing (e.g., poor-performing pages that you should improve first).
- Solicit feedback from your visitors to discover problems and develop ideas for more effective A/B testing (e.g., through surveys and usability sessions).
- Run A/B tests with page elements above the page fold – these are seen more often and significantly impact conversions.
- Use sales or leads as the target for your A/B tests, not just revenue – showing management the impact on revenue is essential.
- Always wait at least seven days before declaring an A/B test a winner. That allows daily fluctuations in traffic to even out.
- Get A/B testing ideas and perspectives from conversion rate optimization and A/B testing experts for even better results.
Do you have to A/B test everything you want to improve?
You don’t have to A/B test every improvement you want to make to your website. Often there needs to be more traffic to A/B test everything. Below is a list of crucial elements that can make a significant impact through A/B testing and elements that should be introduced without A/B testing.
➤ A/B Testing – Website elements are always worth A/B testing
Whenever it’s unclear which improved version will perform better, especially regarding psychological and influencing elements, A/B testing is worthwhile to find the version with the highest conversion rate. Here are some examples:
- Headlines (these have a significant impact on visitor engagement).
- Website texts on essential pages like the homepage and service/product pages
- Main images on the homepage
- Call-to-action wording on buttons
- Incentives to capture email addresses (discounts or instructions, etc.)
- Influence and persuasion elements that indicate scarcity or urgency
➤ Launch it – website improvements for launch instead of A/B testing
These elements are considered best practices and improve any website, so they should be launched without requiring A/B testing first. That leaves more time for A/B testing and other elements worth A/B testing. Here are some examples of elements that should be quickly introduced:
- Usability fixes and improvements (improving confusing or difficult navigation).
- Highlighting elements of the unique value proposition on crucial entry pages
- Reducing the risk of purchase such as warranties, free shipping, and free returns
- Suitable filters and sorting options on category pages
- Increasing the number and quality of product or service images
- Social proof such as reviews and ratings, “as featured in” and third-party reviews
- Secure messaging and icons in the checkout or sign-up process
You can certainly run more A/B tests to fine-tune or revise the exact positioning or style, but the most important thing is to introduce them first because they are so important.
The benefits of A/B testing
A/B testing has numerous benefits, especially in the realm of online marketing. Businesses are eager to maintain a solid online presence and attract more customers. They need the best solution for their websites – one that can lead to maximum conversions.
Some of the critical benefits of A/B testing include the following.
- It can measure the effectiveness of a solution that might otherwise be insignificant and impossible to measure.
- The data obtained from the results of A/B testing helps develop effective marketing strategies.
- They can improve a website’s performance and increase conversion rates.
- They can increase the overall user experience by incorporating feedback from the target audience into the design of a solution.
- It is an affordable solution that does not cost money and delivers remarkable results.
Frequently asked questions about A/B testing
What is the meaning of A/B testing?
A/B testing involves comparing two variations of a page element, usually testing user response to Variation A and Variation B to determine which is more effective.
What is A/B testing in digital advertising?
In digital advertising, A/B testing is the procedure of showing two versions of the same web page concurrently to different segments of website visitors and then comparing which version improves website conversions.
Why do we do A/B testing?
There are several reasons why we conduct A/B testing. Some of them are to solve visitor issues, increase the conversion rate or leads, and decrease the bounce rate.
What are A/B testing and multivariate screening?
A/B testing involves splitting traffic between two or more web page versions. Multivariate testing involves testing multiple combinations of some critical elements of a page against each other to see which combination works best for the goal of the test.
A/B testing is invaluable for improving your website’s conversion rates. After reading this comprehensive post on A/B testing, you should be well-equipped to plan your optimization roadmap. Follow each step diligently and watch out for any major or minor mistakes you may commit if you don’t give the data the importance it deserves.
Running A/B tests with total commitment and the knowledge you have now will help you mitigate many of the risks associated with an optimization program. It will also assist you in significantly improving your website’s usability by eliminating all the weak points and finding the best-optimized version of your website.
We offer a range of services to give your business an online presence, allowing you to focus your time and energy on the rest of your company, contact us at MyFunnelScript.com
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