Beginner’s Guide for Marketers to A/B Testing
Most marketers become too focused on drumming up traffic for their sites that they forget another important thing that they should consider: increasing conversion rates. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to increase the traffic that your sites are getting. In fact, it’s a great idea to employ methods and continue to find more ways to increase your site’s number of hits. However, it’s crucial to optimize various elements in your site design to ensure that you’re also converting on these site visits as well.
One method to employ for this purpose is A/B testing. It’s a relatively simple technique that’s being used by blogs, online retailers, news providers, and corporate sites to increase their sales and conversion rates.
A/B Testing: the Method Defined
You can pretty much get a good idea of what A/B testing is based on its name alone. A/B testing is a method that presents two versions of a certain element to site visitors: either A or B. The better version is then determined using a criteria or a specific set of metrics. For example, a webmaster might choose to gauge the success or failure of an element based on the number of clicks it gets or the number of sales that it makes.
One distinguishing feature of A/B tests is that it recommends the testing of only one element at a time. However, many actually conduct tests on a number of elements at a time to save time and come up with an optimized site design in a shorter span of time. However, the downside to this is that the cause for the results cannot be determined or attributed to a specific design element change.
Who Uses A/B Testing?
A number of sites can benefit from A/B testing. Some big names that use it include Google, eBay, Amazon, Microsoft, BBC, and Netflix. Aside from optimizing website design, A/B testing can also be used in email copies for email marketing and in the ad copy for advertising campaigns.
How to Do an A/B Test
The process of conducting an A/B test can be broken down in several steps. The instructions have been generalized so you can develop a better understanding of A/B testing:
Step One. Choose which elements to test. Make a list of the different elements that you can test on your web page or email copies. Once you’ve come up with the list, rank the elements according to priority so you will know which element to conduct a test on first.
Step Two. Create two variations of the element that you want to test. Come up with two versions of the element you will be testing. You can also use existing designs to test if you have not yet been able to make up your mind about which one to use for the final version of your site.
Step Three. Conduct the A/B test. For websites, you can set up a simple script on your server so that it will randomly display one of the two versions of your website to your visitors. You can also use tools like Google Webmaster Tools or Maximyser to conduct the actual test.
Step Four. Interpret the results from your A/B test. When the test period is done, obtain the test results from your service provider or with use of an analytics program. The design that is able to give you better results in terms of the metrics that you have set, such as number of sales or conversions should then be the version you will implement.
Step Five. Repeat the A/B test for the next element. Move on to test other elements on your site after completing each test. Conduct as many A/B tests as needed in order to optimize your site fully.