If you aren’t doing A/B testing for your digital marketing tactics, you can be missing out on conversions and sales!
But if you’re new to digital marketing and don't understand the importance of A/B testing, we’re here to help.
This beginner guide will show you what is A/B testing, why it's important, and how to complete one!
So let’s get right into it.
What is A/B Testing
A/B testing, or also known as bucket and split testing, refers to comparing two versions of different elements of your digital marketing tactics and measuring the effectiveness and performance of each.
You show each variant to your customers and see how each performs and reacts to them. You’re testing to see which version your customers react better to.
Knowing which one works best will allow you to decide which version to use for the future for other marketing campaigns and tactics.
How does A/B testing work?
How A/B testing works is you show two variants of an element to your customers and based on analytics and statistics decide which one is the better version. Conversions, how they interact, and impressions are just some of the aspects that will help you decide.
This can be 2 versions of headlines, copy, colour, CTA and many more. Whichever provides the best results will allow your business to optimize your marketing campaigns for conversions.
Look at it as a blind taste test. You give your customers 2 flavours to try, flavour A and Flavour B. 40% of your customers choose Flavour A and 60% of them choose Flavour B. Since the majority of customers chose flavour B, that is the better version of the two flavours.
A/B testing allows you to test different versions to decide the better option.
Why do we do A/B testing?
In today’s digital marketing world, A/B testing plays a crucial role in a brand's growth, sales and conversions.
We do A/B testing because all customers will interact with your brand differently. It can be hard to decide which headline or colour will appeal to the majority of your customers.
That’s where A/B testing comes in handy. Since you're trying to decide which heading, colour, button, subject line, will cause more excitement and interaction!
It allows you to optimize your conversion rate for your digital marketing campaigns. When your conversion rate increases, so will your sales and brand awareness!
Which elements should you do A/B testing on
Now that you understand what A/B testing is, what elements of your website and marketing campaign should you test? It can be hard to decide which elements to test since there's so many.
In a perfect world, you should try and test everything, but since it's not, here are the most important elements to complete A/B Testing.
Headings and Copy
Your headings are what attracts users to continue to keep reading. Your headline should cause interest and action. Consider looking at your bounce rate (visitors leaving right away). If your headline doesn't cause interest or action you should test other headlines.
You may need to do some keyword research to determine your headings so that your landing pages are optimized for search engines and answer visitors' search queries. However, you want to ensure your headlines are made for humans, meaning to make a connection between you and the reader.
For your copy, test different lengths and formats. Consider removing anything that does not fulfil the purpose of the page or causes distractions.
Your CTAs determine how well your conversion rate is. Your CTA can be anything that causes action. So these can be buttons to contact you, signup forms, downloads and many more. When testing your CTA test different colours, words, signup process, etc.
For example, say your CTA is to get users to register for an event you're hosting. What button would work the best, an “RSVP” button or a “Signup” button? It’s little things like this that can make a big difference in your conversions.
Even placements of your CTA will have different results. Should you add the button at the top or bottom of the page, or maybe on the left or right side? Test many variants of your CTA to see which one will create more conversions and revenue.
Complete A/B testing for the media that’s on your website. This could be images, infographics, videos and audio. Is there any media that doesn't have a purpose or causes distractions? If one of your pages isn't getting the results you want. It can because of the media that's on it.
You may have the best content, heading and CTA, but if users are distracted by any unnecessary media on the page, this could be the result.
Be sure to test different placements, try different forms of media, or even consider removing them. You want to make sure that your media has a purpose and can help you achieve your goals.
You can even test your stock images, do images with people do better or worse? The person on the stock image attracts the user's attention? There are many different stock images on the internet so be sure to choose the one that has the best results.
If you're an eCommerce website, one major element to test is your product descriptions. Do your descriptions influence the buyer? Are they too long or too short?
Your product description should be informative but also brief just so the consumer knows exactly what they're getting, but does not take too long to read as they may lose interest.
Test different formats for your descriptions. Maybe try a paragraph format instead of point form. Paragraph forms are great to create scenarios for the use of the product and add more personality (not so much robotic), point form works well if your products are more complex and need more details that would make a paragraph too long.
Shorter descriptions tend to do better but test different lengths as every target market will react differently.
The page title and meta description
The page title and meta description play a crucial role in your CTR (click-through rate). When users are searching on search engines, users will look at the different titles and meta descriptions that are displayed.
An important rule is to include the keyword in the page title to show users that their search query will be fulfilled when they click on your link. However you want to make sure your page title and meta description will influence the users to click on yours instead of your competitors.
Websites on search engines are trying to “win” the click. That's why it’s important to test different page titles and meta descriptions. When testing, look at factors like your ranking for that keyword and your click-through rate. You can use a free tool like Google search console to determine your click-through rate.
Your page title and meta description should create excitement, curiosity and trust!
Design / navigation
The design and navigation of your website play a key role in your company’s growth. Test different designs like colour, layout, or even logo. The look and feel of your marketing campaigns have a direct impact on how users feel about your brand.
Are the colours or design too intimidating for the product or service that you’re offering? Consumers will relate to colour to different feelings as color and emotions are closely linked together.
For example, customers relate blue to trustworthy, and green to health. When you understand what kind of target market you want to attract, the design and feel of your website and marketing campaigns will have an impact on your brand recognition.
If you have any pages that aren't getting the visits you would expect, you can test different navigation layouts. Your navigation should be easy to understand and have a nice flow from one page to another.
Consider moving a page to the main menu instead of a submenu page. If your website is difficult to navigate, this could result in your having a poor customer experience and leaving your website.
How to do a/b testing
Now that we know what to test, how do you complete a/b testing? There are many ways to complete A/B testing but these are the main steps that need to be followed to complete a successful test.
1. Determine which variable you want to test
First, we will need to decide which variable we want to test. This can be your CTA, buttons, navigation, headlines or anything mentioned above. Be sure to test one thing at a time to avoid any confusion.
2. Create a goal
Before you create your test, determine what your goal for the test is. If you were to create a test with no goal, you wouldn't be able to decide which one is the better option. An example is “which button will have higher clicks”. You can create and if and then a hypothesis.
To put it in terms of the button example “If the button is blue, then it should generate higher clicks”.
Once you create your goal and hypothesis, you’ll know what exactly to look for when testing your variables.
3. Determine which one will be your control and challenger
Now that you’ve determined what you want to test and what kind of result you're looking for, you’ll have to decide which one will be the control (option A) and which one will be the challenger (option B).
This could be different colours, text, or placement. Be sure to note which element is being changed. To avoid any confusion, only test one variant at a time. For example, option A and B are on the top of the page, both are blue, but option A says “get your free e-book” and option b says “download your free e-book”.
4. Analyze your results
You’ll need to track the performance of each variant, you can use tools like Google analytics, heat map, and live session replays software. You’ll need to see how users are interacting with each variant. When analyzing your data, be sure to keep an eye on the number of users who see the variants. This way you can make a decision that is on the same level.
Since you know what your goal is for the test, you can look at your results and determine which variant is the better option.
After you complete these 4 main steps, you can now implement the same steps to each variable you want to test. A/B testing will allow you to determine which combination of variables will allow you to gain the most conversion and sales.
How long should you run an a/b testing?
Experts say that your A/B testing should be 1 to 2 weeks. Ideally, you want to test the first variable for 7 days, then the next variable for the other 7 days. However long you choose to run your A/B testing, be sure the sample size and duration are the same for both variables so you can analyze your results on an equal level.
Tools for A/b Testing
There are some tools you can use to properly analyze your data when completing A/B testing. You can use free tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to see the performance of each variable.
If you want more of a visual tool to help you decide which variable users are interacting with, you can use a session recordings. It gives you a visual representation of how users are interacting with your website. You can see where users are getting distracted, which pages they interact with, and what may have caused them to leave or convert.
For session recording replays, we think you’ll enjoy Moment, not only is it free to use, but you also get live chat, email software, and is an easy to use CRM platform. You can register to Moment for free.
A/B testing is an important part of digital marketing. It allows you to choose the best versions that will allow you to increase your conversion rate, brand awareness, and revenue. Since all customers are different, A/B testing allows you to see how your customers interact with your brand and marketing campaigns that will appeal to the majority of your target audience.
Be sure to test multiple elements of your website to have a combination of all the best variables. This will have a great impact on your customer’s experience and user interaction.
What will you do A/B testing on?