Benefits of Website A/B Testing
Last Updated on April 20, 2021
The beauty of digital marketing is that it’s flexible and agile compared to other marketing tactics like printed materials or billboards. With digital marketing, you aren’t locked into one headline the way you are if you’ve just spent a lot of money and printed thousands of brochures.
The problem is, too many companies create a website and leave it. Companies and their marketing agencies design and develop websites, emails, and ads based on best practices. However, how do you know what resonates best on your website if you only pick one option and run with it? You don’t, which is why all companies, big or small, should learn the benefits of website A/B testing and begin optimizing their digital marketing.
Table of Contents
What is A/B Testing?
Let’s start with a simple definition. According to VWO, “A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) is comparing two versions of a web page to see which one performs better. You compare two web pages by showing the two variants (let’s call them A and B) to similar visitors at the same time. The one that gives a better conversion rate wins!” While A/B testing can be applied to emails and digital ads, the focus of this post will be specifically on website A/B testing. A website A/B test allows you to test headlines, subheadlines, paragraph copy, calls to action, images, and more. Half of your website traffic will see version A, while the other half sees version B.
Why A/B Test?
Maybe your website is struggling to retain visitors, experiencing high bounce rates, or losing customers in the sales funnel journey. It can be difficult to know what’s converting and not converting on your website. That’s where an A/B test comes in.
Companies should A/B test websites for a simple reason – to take out the guesswork! If you have evidence to prove what works and what doesn’t, you’ll not only grow your business, but you’ll also make better decisions when creating new marketing materials down the road.
What are the benefits of website A/B Testing?
Let’s break down some of the benefits of A/B testing (in case you weren’t sold on it already).
A/B testing reduces bounce rates
If your customers are bouncing off your website, in other words, leaving it without any clicks, an A/B test can help. Whether it is changing a headline, rewording a call-to-action, or tweaking the design layout, an A/B test can help identify what’s causing the bounces. After the test has run, you’ll be able to see which variation got the most interaction from customers and the least amount of bounces.
A/B testing helps to increase conversion rates
An A/B test brings to light what’s converting customers and what’s not. By presenting two versions of your website, an A/B test can help to filter out what doesn’t resonate with your audience and show what does resonate and is bringing about more conversions.
The results of an A/B test are easy to understand
Not a digital analyst? Don’t worry. The results of an A/B test are simple and relatively easy to understand. Examine the results and see which page, A or B, got more customer clicks and conversions.
A/B testing is inexpensive
A/B testing is a fairly cheap and easy way to continue making improvements to your digital marketing. Think of A/B testing as a way to continue validating decisions on your current website. In the long run, the ROI can be huge because the cost to test is relatively small but can result in significant increases in leads, sales, and revenue.
What makes a good A/B test?
In the grand scheme of things, A/B testing is a quick and easy way to figure out what’s working and what’s not. However, don’t just test for the sake of testing. To reap the benefits of website A/B testing, there should be strategy and planning involved.
Start with a goal
Before jumping into an A/B test, what do you want the user to do? Click a button? Sign up for a free trial? Buy a product? Make sure you know what you’re measuring before you create a variation.
Focus on a specific element
An A/B test should be specific. Focus on one element of the page that you’d like to test. Maybe that’s the call-to-action button, the featured image, or the text. While you can test almost anything on a site, we’d recommend only one change per test. If A and B have multiple different elements, it can be difficult to measure results and pinpoint what element or change truly increased conversions.
Generate and run the test
Keep your current website page as version A, implement a B variation, and execute the test. You want to run it long enough to collect a large amount of traffic, otherwise, the results of the A/B test won’t have enough data to be accurate. 1,000 site visits or more is a good number to start with. The duration of the test will depend on the amount of traffic to your website.
Analyze results and come to a conclusion
After the test has reached a significant enough audience, you’ll be able to see which variation performed best and if it was statistically significant. Based on those results, you can determine the next steps for your current website.
Determine the next steps
You’ll want to implement the variation that performed best and identify other elements to test to continue increasing conversions.
If you aren’t satisfied with the results of the test or are looking to collect even more data before making decisions, run another test. With the second test, try changing a different element. For example, maybe you first A/B test the heading on your website and then conduct a second A/B test for the call to action.
“Don’t just test for the sake of testing. To really reap the benefits of website A/B testing, there should be strategy and planning involved.”
Other things to keep in mind when A/B testing
- Test points closest to the conversion, which will have the biggest impact. For example, testing the messaging on a “sign up” button will likely be more effective than a secondary link far down on the homepage.
- You can test things big and small, as long as you think it will have an impact.
- There might not always be a significant result, and that’s ok. Analyze secondary metrics, like bounce rate, pages/session, and session duration to see if there is any variety to indicate success.
- Use A/B testing software to implement and measure the test.
A/B testing platforms
You may be sold on the idea of A/B testing but have no idea how to do it. Before you even start an A/B test, it’s a great idea to use tools like Google Analytics, Clicky, or other web analytics platforms to look at your existing data. This will help you determine goals and hypotheses for A/B tests.
Luckily, there’s software there that specializes in testing and optimizing. A few examples include Optimizely, Google Optimize, Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), and KISSmetrics. Software ranges in price and features, so it’s important to select based on your current and future needs.
Sold on the benefits of website A/B testing?
A/B testing takes the guesswork out of digital marketing and gives you helpful data to improve conversion rates with your existing traffic.
If you’re ready to start A/B testing, we’d be more than happy to partner with you to put together and execute a plan.