Getting to Know A / B Testing
What is A/B Testing?A/B testing is a data collection and analysis method based on experimentation. Two versions of a landing page are posted to a website with one item changed. One version is referred to as “A”, or the control; while the second page is “B”, or the variation. Users that visit the site are equally routed to pages A and B. After analyzing the data generated by both pages, you can figure out which option is more successful.
How is A/B Testing Helpful?
- Increases conversion rates
- Boosts sales (if a sales website)
- Ensures user’s understanding of your brand
- Encourages the user to interact with your page in the most ideal way
What Elements Should Be Tested?It’s best practice to test one aspect of the page at at a time so you are sure what piece isn’t working. Here are four elements of the page worth experimenting with
HeadlineYour headline serves as the introduction of your business to the internet world. It should catch user’s attention and generate excitement about what you have to offer.
LayoutMaybe having photos with copy underneath captures your customer’s eye? Or are the photos more effective with the copy to the side? Maybe you simply have too much copy or need larger photos? Figuring out exactly how a user interacts with the content of your page is extremely useful information.
Graphics and ImagesThe purpose of graphics and images is to attract visitors and highlight the benefits of your product or service.They shouldn’t distract users from the action you want them to take. Instead, they should guide visitors towards the next action. This is why it’s crucial that you include graphics and images in your website A/B testing plan.
Call to ActionThe call to action is your sales pitch to the user. It is one of the most important elements to test. The tricky part is that there are several aspects to test for your CTA. Your CTA copy, button color, button size, and button placement, for example, all play important roles. You will want to test all of these CTA elements to improve your conversion rate.
How to run A/B Tests
Now that you have a list of items to test, what’s the best way to go about it?
First, it’s extremely helpful to have basic knowledge about how users interact with your website before tackling A/B testing. There are many options available to help gather this information. You can use heat maps and on-page surveys to do this. Also important is choosing a page that gets enough traffic to generate statistically significant samples.
Choose the tool you're going to use to programmatically alternate your test cases. For Drupal, we recommend the "A/B JS" plugin, which provides a handy interface to control minor page elements. If you're already using Google Analytics / Page Manager (or you aren't using Drupal), Google Optimize has a free tier that will let you run 5 concurrent tests.
Determine how long to let your test run, and make sure you have measurable actions by which to evaluate the outcome of your changes
Make changes, repeat.