What do you need to know about A/B testing?

By Testing

One of the main priorities for any business with an online presence is to continually increase conversions and strive to outdo the competition. If there was a miracle strategy to achieve these lofty outcomes, then everyone would be on board, but there is in fact, a very simple and low cost technique easily available to marketers.

This strategy is called A/B testing and is an easy and fast way for you to test differences in web copy, ads and even emails, to see which versions convert better than others. Sometimes all you need is a simple tweak to make a huge difference in your conversions and at other times you need a new design completely.

A/B testing takes away all of the guess work, giving you hard evidence of what does and doesn’t work to increase conversions. For example, you might have an opt-in page on your website, which doesn’t receive many conversions. Simply adding the words “It’s FREE” to the opt-in box has dramatically increased conversions for many businesses.

This is one of the easy techniques you can test on your website, ads or emails to see if you can increase your conversions without increasing your traffic. So let’s take a look at some of the online elements you can test.

  • Shape, size, placement and colour of BUY NOW, ADD TO CART, SUBSCRIBE NOW buttons.
  • Colour and placement of opt-in boxes.
  • Headlines, images, on-page text, pricing and on-page design.
  • Content of emails and promotions.
  • Website navigation and call to actions.
  • Product descriptions.

These are just some of the different elements on your website, emails and landing pages that you can test to see which versions increase conversions.

How do you perform A/B testing?

If we focus on A/B testing for your website, the first step is to decide what element needs to be tested.  For example, you might want to completely change the copy on a landing page, because you think it is too long and confusing or you might want to address your call to action buttons on your sales pages.

For the landing page you might test the original page against a much shorter and more concise version, and for the ADD TO CART button you might change the colour of the button from yellow to red. It is important that you already know how well the original landing page or call to action button converts, so you can make comparisons before and after testing.

It is also important to test both the original and the revamped landing page or button at the same time. There is not much point in testing one version one day and another the next day, as there can be lots of other causes for differences in conversions between days.

What you want is to send 50% of your traffic to the original landing page with the original ADD TO CART button and the other 50% to the new version. This way you can perform an accurate test and be sure of your results.

Here are 6 steps for successfully A/B testing your website:

  1. Identify low conversion rates: Look for landing pages, offers, promotions or call to actions that have a good amount of traffic, but either have poor conversions or conversions that are reducing over time.
  2. Identify the elements: Once you know where you want to increase conversions on your website, you need to decide what exactly you will test. So do you need to change the location, size or colour of a BUY NOW or SUBSCRIBE button? Maybe add ‘Secure download’ to a download button, change the copy on a landing page or relocate an opt-in box above the fold?
  3. Create the second version: You can use software that is easily available online and do this yourself or you can ask your web master/developer to do this for you. Whatever you decide to do, it is easier to keep the original version and create a second version to test, than try to test two new versions against one another. This is because you can certainly test which of two new versions converts better, but you are not testing them against the original – which is the whole purpose of A/B testing.
  4. Run the test: You will most probably need help to do this because you need to send half of your traffic to the original page and the other half to the new version. If you don’t know what you are doing it can become complicated, but this is actually quite easy to set up. Don’t forget to decide on the length of the test, and with a lot of traffic you might only need to run the test for a day or so. With poor traffic, you might need to run the test for longer and your web master or developer will be able to help you make this decision.
  5. Analyse the results: The software that is used to run A/B testing will also provide you with data on the amount of traffic to each version and the conversion rates. This is where you can decide keeping on one version or another, or even continue testing with yet a different version, if you didn’t see the results you anticipated.

A/B testing is an easy way to increase your on-page conversion rates and if you want help for your website, contact us on 02 8097 7957, email us at hello@conversionworx.com.au or complete our online enquiry form.