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A/B testing which can also be referred to as split testing, is a technique used to determine if a specific change made on a webpage will influence conversions. It is a crucial part of the conversion rate optimisation process and is implemented through the creation of a variation page. Results are then compared with the data from the original version. Whichever page performs better in terms of conversion, be it the control or variation page wins the challenge.
In A/B testing, a control version is compared to a second page, which is usually called the variation. This variation will feature slightly minor, contextual changes of the main version. The main objective of A/B testing is to find the winning variation; the one that will positively impact conversions and help you most with your online marketing efforts. Knowing which marketing asset works better can help inform future decisions when it comes to web pages, email copy and anything else.
Why is it important?
A/B testing conducts experiments which will lead to improvements in the user’s experience; whilst also collecting valuable data from the results. No audience acts the same. We all behave differently and this will give an in-depth understanding of the user’s behaviour and which elements impact it most – be it a CTA or text featured on the website. A/B testing also allows you to better reach your conversion goals and to improve any given experience on the site.
The marketing improvements that come from A/B testing are benefits such as; improvements in SEO, and marketing materials such as newsletters or sponsored Ads. Marketing and A/B testing go hand in hand and are very similar as both of them are trial and error processes that base information off existing customer behaviour. A/B testing can also improve the page speed of your site; which is an extremely important element of any webpage. A delay in loading time by one second can significantly reduce conversion rates.
Website features that should be tested
It is a good idea to virtually test all marketing materials featured on your website. These can be headlines, CTA’s, body copy and images. However, as this can be time consuming it is best to focus on the features that are most likely to have an impact rather than testing every little element which could take months.
On a website, this could include: headlines, a call to action, any graphic/images used that are related to sales, sales copy and product descriptions.
These would typically be elements to focus on no matter what product or service is being tested. For example, an email would be tested on its headline and sales copy as would a text ad. When offering products/services in any marketing collateral it is useful to test different offers. For example, one group could be offered a free gift and the other group could be offered a considerable discount. However, it is crucial to ensure that there is procedures in place to ensure that each person is always offered the same incentive for optimal results.
Advantages of A/B testing
A/B testing has a multitude of benefits to a marketing team. Above all, these tests are valuable to any business as they are low in cost but high in reward. However, there are numerous other advantages that go beyond user experience, such as:
Using an online A/B testing tool or software is a good start to figure out what adjustments are needed and will make customers take desired actions in your favour. In a constantly changing environment where websites need to keep up to date with customer preferences and online behaviour, it is important that these tests are conducted on a regular basis.
For further information on ways The Smart Group can improve your website please contact Aoife Gainsford, Head of Creative Services: firstname.lastname@example.org