How A/B Testing Can Help You Figure out What Your Customers Want
Everyone’s different and unique in their own way, we all know that. But when it comes to setting up a retail site or launching a new online advertising campaign, this doesn’t really make things any easier.
You can take a generic approach with regards to the whole process, but the point is that somewhere down the line, you’re going to have to test the waters and figure out what works best with your visitors.
Some marketers and website managers get too hung up on the issue of generating loads of traffic. Don’t get me wrong, site traffic is good. However, what’s also as important as traffic generation is to make sure that you’re making the most of this traffic by converting them into paying customers. That’s where A/B testing comes in.
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What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing is a relatively simple technique that will help you figure out which content and design will generate more conversions and what will entice more customers to purchase more.
One can view A/B testing as a systematic approach to determine the effects that manipulating a certain variable has against a control.
A/B Testing On Your Website
Let’s consider the technique as it’s applied to your web page. On a basic website, there are four main parts: the header, the navigation menus, the content, and the footer. You might have already followed measures to optimize your site in terms of SEO and site loading time—and this is what we meant with generic earlier on. Applying A/B testing will be like putting your finished and optimized website to the test and seeing what type of specific text, content, or images will hit it off with your user base.
What will catch the eye of your site visitors will differ. For some, it could be the images that you’re using. For others, it might be the text or the headlines on your page. Regardless of all the differences, there are also bound to be similarities. And the answer to what works lies in these similarities.
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How Do You Do A/B Testing?
First of all, you have to decide which element you’re going to be testing. You might have a lot of things that you may want to test out at a time, especially during your first few rounds of testing. However, for later tests, it’s better to modify or change only one element at a time so you will know the reason behind the differences in conversion or the results that you were able to gather.
For example, you could try serving two versions of a banner ad on your web page. One could feature images of the products being put on sale, while the other could have the goods in the background while the word “Sale!” takes center stage.
You can then use a script on your server to display the two versions of the banner ad randomly to your site visitors for a specific period of time. When the duration for your testing is over, you can review the results and see which campaign was able to garner more clicks.
A helpful tool that you can use to get started is Google’s Website Optimizer. It’s a free resource you can access online to conduct basic A/B testing and multivariate testing on your website.
What To Make Of The Results From A/B Testing
When you have gathered sufficient data from your tests, it’s time to interpret the results. Note that there are many ways you can interpret what you’ve gathered. In the case of the previous example, you could gauge which ad was better in terms of the number of clicks, the total sales each was able to lead to or generate, and so on. After you’ve collated the results, then you can use the ad format that was able to get you better results for your succeeding campaigns.
But the testing doesn’t end there. Although you’ve already got the banner ads down, there remains a whole lot of other elements on your web page that can be tested: the positioning of the ads, the text accompanying the actual ads, the type of color theme of your website, and so on and so forth. After you’re done testing these out, you can go deeper and modify elements within these elements. For example, for headers, you can test out what type of positioning, size, or color scheme would work best for your site visitors.
With an AB Test, you will be able to change certain parts of your site in order to improve conversions and increase sales, one element at a time.