Welcome to A/B testing 101! We’re going to walk through A/B testing by defining it and then discussing the three steps of how to A/B test effectively: prep work, what to do during testing, and post-A/B testing. Then we’ll discuss the benefits – one of which is how A/B testing can CYA.
A/B testing 101
Are you writing an email, creating a call-to-action (CTA), or writing landing page copy? First, congratulations on taking action – a lot of people are afraid to take the first step. We hope, however, you aren’t acting on gut feelings, because that can sabotage your hard work creating content. Don’t rely on guesses or assumptions to make your decisions.
Instead, run A/B tests (also known as split tests). The beauty of A/B testing is that you can hold back part of your audience to test variations of a campaign. You can see how one version of a piece of content performs versus another by showing the two versions to two audiences.
Example: you can analyze how one image performs on a landing page vs. a different image on the same landing page. In other words, you’ll have one piece of content but two different versions, with only a single variable different.
The true value of A/B testing is our knowledge that audiences behave differently. Content that attracts one customer or the director of operations may not resonate with a purchaser or a CFO.
So each version of the website page has a different CTA, and you’ll measure the results to see who likes what – A/B testing provides concrete, actionable data to analyze the value of your marketing campaigns.
How to A/B test
Now that we’ve talking about what A/B testing IS, we’re going to outline the three phases of A/B testing. (We’ve included bullet points for your reference. Sort of an A/B testing cheat sheet.)
- Decide what you want to test
- What’s your goal?
- Create a control (this could be a landing page)
- Create a variation (the landing page with ONE change)
- Is it significant enough?
- Keep it focused
- Decide on the tool you’ll use (Google Analytics? HubSpot?)
- Test the control and the variation at the same time
- Don’t rush – you need to give the A/B test sufficient time
- Analyze website recordings with tools such as LuckyOrange or Hotjar
Post A/B Testing
- Focus on the results of your initial goal
- Choose a time to act on your results
The Benefits of A/B Testing
A/B testing has numerous benefits:
- Analysis – simple/easy to analyze results
- Increased sales
- Reduced bounce rates
- Increased conversion rates
- Reduce risk before you commit
- Better customer engagement
How to Use A/B Testing to CYA
One of the many hats we wear is that of a nurturing consultant to marketing individuals and teams of clients. Recently we were speaking with a team about the value of A/B testing, and they said they didn’t need to A/B test because they liked our variation on one of their website pages. We explained the other advantage of A/B testing is to cover your ass…ets (aka CYA). Rather than rushing in and making a change based on their gut feeling that our advice was right, we suggested A/B testing for a month with weekly check-in analyses along the way to provide concrete data that showed if the adjustment was an improvement based on fact.
A/B testing can help you create truly meaningful content so you can attract your ideal customer. Your business and your clients are unique, and A/B testing is a way to focus your message and analysis. The A/B testing process will also help you deliver better experiences for your customers based on data, not your gut.