2020-02-07

A/B testing

Avinash Limbu

A/B Testing is not a new concept. From the package design to the entire product design, A/B testing has been part of us ever since marketing has been relevant. However, A/B testing in today’s digital world is a bit different from traditional A/B testing concepts. 

What is A/B Testing? 

A/B testing also known as bucket tests, is a marketing experiment wherein you “split” your randomized experiment into two variations, A and B. In other words, you display version A of marketing experiment to one half of your audience, and version B to another.  

A/B testing today: 

From a single call-to-action button to an entire landing page, everything can be A/B tested. A/B Testing is an essential tool for today’s marketer. If you’re not A/B testing your content, you’re leaving money on the table.  

Today marketers test their digital campaign to optimize for the best result. A/B Testing is one of the only ways you can truly optimize your conversion funnel and get true data directly from your customer in digital marketing.  

A/B Testing in Digital Marketing 

Test: A
Test: B

A/B testing in digital marketing is the scientific experimentation of understanding user behavior through small changes in your randomized experiment with two variants. In other words, A/B testing in digital marketing is the process of comparing two versions of the same content with a little tweak to it. For instance, as in the images above (pop-up content). Here we have two variants of pop-up created with a clear CTA. In this A/B testing, we are experimenting with a test to see as to which positioning (placement) of the pop-up will perform result in the most CTA. You can see Test A’s positioning is towards the bottom left of the screen and as for Test B’s, the pop up is in the center. From small positioning testing to a whole landing page testing, everything today can be tested in digital marketing. 

How is it used in digital marketing? 

A/B testing is used to see how your digital content is being perceived by your users. It helps you build a digital campaign and contents that will influence customer behavior with little fine-tuning that you are able to perform. These fine-tunings that you might be performing can be in the title of your content, the text on a call-to-action, header of your newsletter/email, the layout of your website or the example above (positioning). The basis of A/B testing is that you are able to publish these two variations of experimentation in a controlled group of customers to see which version of the test is the most successful. These tests can be repeated numerous times to see which one performs the best, resulting in a very fine-tuned content that directly speaks to your audience. 

  Why do you really need to do A/B Testing?

Creating a piece of content or designing a website is just the first step in digital marketing. Knowing what type of content and what type of design is working the most for your audience is extremely crucial to determine the success of the content that you created. This is where A/B testing comes to work. A/B testing lets you know which element of your creation is working the best.  

If you can change your conversion rate just by 1% wouldn’t you want that to happen? One experiment on the color of a button showed that the red button outperformed green by 21%.  

Provided that, some minor changes like this can significantly impact your customer’s interaction with your content. 

How to get started with A/B testing 

Starting with A/B testing is simple. Here are the steps that you need to follow: 

  • Select the element you want to test 

The element that you want to test should be related to something that you want to improve i.e. tie it with the goal that you want to achieve.  

If it’s related to generating more organic traffic, then you should focus on the elements that impact Search Engine Metrics, like blog posts. For other goals like Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), you might want to test your video or CTA or the buttons that you are using to optimize your page.  

  • Set goals for the test 

Basis of digital marketing ties with the goals that you want to achieve. It is equally important to set the goals of your test right to get the best possible result for the presented hypothesis.  

The first question to be answered is what do you really want to achieve with your A/B test? Are you looking to improve your conversion rates? Sales? Page Views? 

Distinctly choose a single metric at the beginning. It’s critical to know one single objective you want with the specific test and after that, you can always run A/B tests with other metrics.  

  • Analyze data

Metrics are essential for the success of your test. It’s essential to have some data before starting the tests. Use analytics tools like Ptengine, Google Analytics, etc to gather information about your website in the beginning and mark down the metrics from the time you start to run A/B tests. In this way, you will have concrete data to analyze how your changes have affected your business directly. Knowing which page gets the most visited or which blog performs the best will give you an idea where you can start performing the A/B test. 

  • Make two variant A and B of the content
Variant A and B

Choose a creative design first which you think will be the winner. After selecting the design, create a slight variation of that design. The slight variation can differ based on the goals that you want to achieve. Select the variation of the design that will affect your influence in the metrics. If you are optimizing for page retention of your blog post, you might want to test the length of your blog posts. On the other hand, if you are looking for CTA, change the font, title, or button. Leave everything as it is for other things.

  • Choose the best A/B testing tools 

There are a lot of A/B testing tools out there. If you are looking to do content-based A/B testing tool, you might not get that with you SEO tools, and the same goes for the email A/B testing, you might not get that with your regular email provider. However, MailChimp is well known A/B testing tool for email marketing.   

You can also check out Ptengine to A/B test your pop-ups, landing pages and some other areas of your website. Ptengine helps you creatively design your A/B tests also it comes with many more other functions of web-analytics. 

  • Collect the data 

Setting a deadline to test your result is crucial while doing A/B Testing. The collection of data with a good sample size will give you accurate results on knowing what is working and what is not. Softwares like Ptengine collect data automatically for users. You can also view real-time progress with Ptengine.  

  • Interpret the statics  

Once all the data has been collected you will see the clear winner depending upon the statistics that are provided. Drawing conclusion should be simple in A/B testing, however, if you get 50/50 on your run, you can say that the test did not prove the hypothesis that you were trying to prove.  

Conclusion 

A/B testing is one of the most scientific methods of testing your digital effort in real-time. A/B testing allows you to collect information directly from your users. Further, you can utilize those data and findings to create content that is high performing as well as reaches your digital goals. 

Following the correct path is critical to gain accurate results. Choosing the right partner, setting the goals and testing your hypothesis continuously will eventually optimize your content for your customers.