A / B checks: definition, the way it works, examples and instruments

A / B testing is a fantastic way to find out the best online advertising and marketing strategies for your business. It can be used to test anything from website copy to sales emails to searching for ads. While this can be time consuming, the benefits of A / B testing are enough to make up for the extra time that is required.

Well-planned testing can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. By narrowing down the most effective elements of a promotion and then combining them, you can create a far more effective marketing plan.

What is A / B testing and why is it important?

A / B testing is a marketing strategy that pits two different versions of a website, ad, email, popup, or landing page against each other to determine which is most effective.

For example, you can test two different pop-ups to see which generate more webinar signups, or two different Google ads to see which generate more purchases.

On my own website, I spent some time A / B testing my popup to see what encouraged users to engage with my brand.

Neil Patel A / B test sample

Over time, we've found that offering free website analytics (which offers a ton of value) is the most effective way to build expertise and show visitors the value we offer.

Why is A / B testing important?

Accurate A / B testing can make a huge difference to your bottom line. With the help of controlled testing and the collection of empirical data, you can find out exactly which marketing strategies are best for your company and your product.

When you imagine one variant working two, three, or even four times better than another, the idea that you would run promotions without testing seems a bit ridiculous.

When done consistently, testing can vastly improve your bottom line. Knowing what works and what doesn't (and has evidence of it) makes it easier to make decisions and develop more effective marketing strategies.

Here are some other benefits of having regular testing on your website and in marketing collateral:

  • Helps you better understand your target audience: Seeing the types of emails, headlines, and other features your audience is responding to can help you understand who your audience is and what they want.
  • Higher conversion rates: A / B testing is the most effective way to increase conversion rates. Knowing what works and what doesn't give you actionable data that you can use to streamline the conversion process.
  • Stay up to date on changing trends: It's hard to predict what kind of content, images, or other features users will respond to. Regular testing will help you stay one step ahead of changes in consumer behavior.
  • Reduce the bounce rates: When website visitors see content they like, they'll stay on your website longer. Testing what kind of content and marketing collateral your users enjoy can help you create a better website – and one that users will want to stay on.

How do you plan an A / B test?

The first step in planning an A / B test is to find out what you want to test. Are you doing an on-site test or an off-site test? The best way to do an on-site test is to think about all of the sales-related parts of your website and then figure out which elements to test.

For example, you could test:

  • Headlines
  • Calls for the action text
  • Calls to the site of action
  • pop up
  • featured images
  • Copy
  • the number of fields on a form

If you're testing off-site, you're likely testing either an ad or a sales email. You can focus your advertising efforts by testing the ad copy to see which ad is converting more. Once you know your ad is converting the best it can, it's easier to justify spending more money on it.

The same goes for emails. If you send two versions to your list (randomly picking which half will get which email) and then keep track of which one converts better, you can only send that version next time.

When you know what to test, make a list of all the variables to be tested. For example, if you've decided to test your call to action, here are some things you can test:

  • the site
  • the exact text used
  • the button color or the surrounding space

It's a process, and it's common for several A / B tests to be done before a final decision or change is made.

Before testing, make sure you have a clear idea of ​​the results you want. You should already know your baseline result. These are the results you are currently getting. You want to test option A and B against each other, but also want to know that whoever does better on the test will also do better than your current results.

Alternatively, you can use A as a control (leave whatever you're using right now) and then use something new for B.

Tests need to be run concurrently to account for timing discrepancies. You cannot test one variant today and the other tomorrow because you cannot consider variables that may have changed between today and tomorrow. Instead, you need to split the traffic and see your variations at the same time.

Here is an A / B test checklist to review before running your first test:

  • Decide what to test.
  • Create two versions of the same ad, landing page, etc.
  • Decide how long you want your test to run (I suggest at least two weeks, but it can be longer or slightly shorter depending on traffic and industry).
  • Choose a testing tool that you can use to run your test. (More on that later.)
  • Start!
  • After about two weeks, take a look at the results. Which version won?
  • Rinse and repeat. A / B testing is most effective when done continuously.

What to do about testing with A / B testing

You can test practically anything in your marketing collateral or on your website: headlines, calls-to-action, copies of text, images, and so on. If you can change it, you can test it.

That doesn't mean you should spend months testing every little thing. Instead, focus on changes that are most likely to have a big impact on traffic and conversions.

On your website, this likely includes:

  • the headline
  • Your call to action
  • Any graphic that you use in direct relation to your sales effort
  • the sales copy or product descriptions
  • Functional picture

In an email, you can test titles, images, links, CTAs, or segmentation options. In a paid ad, especially a text ad (like a search ad), there are fewer changes to be made. Therefore, you can test the main headline, offer, or targeting.

Testing different offers is also important. Just make sure that each person is always offered the same promotion. For example, if Group A is offered a free gift and Group B is offered a discount, you want to make sure that Group A always has the same visitors as Group B.

You can also test the full conversion path. For example, you can test newsletter A with target page A and newsletter B with target page B. Later you may want to test newsletter A with landing page B and vice versa.

This can give you a better idea of ​​what is working, especially if you are getting mixed results or if the results are very close together. Here are some other tests you can run.

How much time does an A / B test take?

A / B testing is not an overnight project. Depending on the amount of traffic you are receiving, you may want to do tests for a few days to a few weeks. Remember, you will only want to run one test at a time for the most accurate results.

If you don't run a test long enough, the results can be skewed because the visitor group isn't big enough to be statistically correct. However, running a test for too long can also produce skewed results because there are more variables that you cannot control over a long period of time.

Make sure you stay up to date on what could affect your test results so that you can account for statistical anomalies in your results. If in doubt, perform the test again.

Given the impact A / B testing can have on your bottom line, it is worth taking a few weeks to run the tests properly. Test one variable at a time and give each test sufficient time to run.

Can I test more than one thing at a time?

There are two approaches to this question. For example, let's say you just want to test your headline, but you have three possible variations. In this case, it makes sense to run a single test and split your visitors (or recipients in the case of an email) into three groups instead of two, and is likely still considered an A / B test.

This is more efficient than running three separate tests (A versus B, B versus C, and A versus C). You may want to give your test a few extra days so you have enough results to see what actually works.

Testing more than one thing at the same time, such as B. Headings and calls to action is known as a multi-variate test and is more complicated to perform. There are many resources available for multi-variate testing, but we won't cover this when we talk about A / B testing.

FAQs about testing A / B.

What is A / B testing and why is it important?

A / B testing is a marketing strategy that pits two different versions of a website, ad, email, popup, or landing page against each other to determine which is most effective. This is one of the most effective ways to increase conversion rates.

How do you plan an A / B test?

Decide what to test, make two versions, decide how long to run the test, choose a tool and see what works!

What to do about testing with A / B testing

Any part of a paid ad, website, or marketing material, including (but not limited to) pop-ups, emails, landing pages, and featured images.

How much time does an A / B test take?

Most tests should be done for at least two weeks, but A / B testing should be continuous.

Can I test more than one thing at a time?

Yes, in some cases. In general, it's best to stick with two versions of the same asset.

Which A / B testing tools should I use?

Google Optimize is a free, powerful A / B testing tool. Your email platform, landing page tools, or website plugins may also offer this feature. For paid tools, consider Optimizely.

Conclusion

A / B testing is a marketer's best friend. For example, you can see which ads are getting the most conversions, what offers your target audience is responding to, or which blog headings are getting the most traffic.

There are a variety of tools to get you started, including Google Optimize (free!) And Optimizely.

If you want to get started with A / B testing, first of all, learn how to do A / B testing in Google Analytics.

Are you thinking about doing A / B testing? What is holding you back


COMMENTS