Picture this: You head into a clothing retailer to buy a new shirt. While the store has a bunch of different styles, they only have one color – blue. You don’t have any other choice for a color – that’s it. The retailer has assumed that everyone likes the color blue, so all shirts in that store are blue. No choices here – so you move onto a store with something you actually want.
Now, apply this mindset to your website. There certainly isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” mantra when it comes to your website. What may work for some people won’t work for others. But the best way to discover what works best for most people is through A/B testing.
Various case studies have found that, when companies tailor content according to A/B testing results, they saw:
- A major decrease in bounce rates
- A jump in conversion rates
- An increase in conversion value, and
- A boost in sales.
A/B testing has one big goal and benefit: Your content will be improved.
And while you might feel like you hear the words thrown around a lot, more often than not, businesses aren’t doing much with A/B testing. But it’s a critical part of your company’s success, because it gives you a leg up on your competition.
Unfortunately, we aren’t able to read a customer’s mind. If we could, we wouldn’t have to wonder if they’re more likely to click the button that reads “free shipping for orders over $30” or the one that says “20% off your $30 order.” Luckily, A/B testing takes the guessing out of the guessing game.
When your company begins the process of A/B testing, you’ll have better website content. In fact, as you come up with the list of various variables to test, you are also creating an entire list of ways to improve your content.
More profit all around
Not only are you improving your website’s content, but A/B testing can jumpstart shifts within your organization that can create new profits. Since your resources are being focused on implementing, not just debating opinions, you’re focusing on the data rather than the opinions.
These types of companies are quick on their feet and more much more likely to adapt to changes that might occur in the data or the market. Since you’re armed with the right kind of data, you’re able to make decisions quickly and thoroughly, and adjust your course as needed.
Another benefits: You’re cutting out the risk of making the wrong decision when it comes to things like pricing and your strategy. Since you can test your customer’s behavior before you make a decision, you’re more likely to hit the nail on the head, instead of stabbing in the dark hoping you hit the target.
A/B testing can help you utilize your resources for the best results, as your ROI increases. Whether it’s a long or short term success, a success is a success. You might end up gaining a customer long-term loyalty or scoring a one-time big scale. Either way, A/B testing ensures your company comes out on top.
Stepping into your customer’s shoes
And perhaps one of the biggest benefits of A/B testing is the fact that you get to see which type of content makes users spend even more time on your website. You’ll see which keywords make them go onto other pages and if there are certain phrases or promises that makes them sign up for additional information. Plus, you will be able to clearly see a purchasing pattern, so there’s no more guessing which methods or processes will stick out most with them – you’ll have data derived completely from real-life experiences.
Let’s say you want to see which type of lead causes the most people to sign up for your mailing list. Instead of trying to guess based on your current knowledge, gather some more. Try various call-to-action designs to see which one works better than the other. None of them might work. Or maybe all of them will work, meaning you will be able to bank a few for later use. Either way, you come out with information and even more knowledge about your target audience. You’re slowly but surely getting to know their needs and wants even better than you already do.
Until you’re able to fully read the mind of your customer, A/B testing is the way to go. You’re able to see what type of content speaks directly to your customer, as they spend more and more time on your site. You’ll gather priceless information on their preferences as they sign up for additional information and make even more purchases.
In this Insivia Insight, Patrick talks about the process of A/B testing and how it can be used to increase conversions on your website. A/B testing is a surefire way to identify strengths and weaknesses in your digital marketing strategy.
In a nutshell, A/B testing is a process used to determine optimal design, content, or functional elements on a website. But A/B testing is not limited just to that. Some of the other applications include:
- Landing pages
- Menu design
- Video/digital media content
- Conversion/contact forms & popups
The process is quite simple. First, you choose a “sample” or number of intended recipients. A sampling error occurs when the sample is too small, which provides results that don’t represent the population as a whole. There is no magic number, but a good rule of thumb is to keep your sample size around 100.
Another mistake is to try and test multiple variables simultaneously. In order to do a true A/B test, you need two versions, or variables, to compare to one another. Adding a third (or more) simply muddles the results. In the event that there are in fact multiple items that need to be evaluated or optimized, they need to be tested independently of one another.
Once you have your sample size and variable chosen, the next step is to collect data. Here’s a hypothetical example:
Janet, a marketing manager at the law offices of Evans, Smith, & Wessen is interested in finding out if increasing the size of a call to action button on her homepage will lead to more clicks. Her colleague, Randy, argues that, “common sense dictates that making a button bigger will entice more people to click on it.”
Janet is wise enough to know that it’s flawed logic to base decisions purely on assumptions, so she decides to split the next 100 site visitors into two groups:
- Group A (50 people) will view the original site
- Group B (50 people) will see the alternate site with a larger call to action button
After they finish collecting data, they discover that Randy’s assumption was wrong. Group B, the one with the larger button, actually clicked it less. Furthermore, the bounce rate increased by 12%. As a result of the test, Janet concluded that she shouldn’t change the button size, and started to explore other ideas, such as changing its shape or color.
Why go through all this trouble? Technically you don’t have to. We do A/B testing as part of our conversion optimization services, so you don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty details. Identifying the elements of a website that will increase your conversions is important, but as the above example illustrates, learning about what decreases conversions is equally (if not more) important.