A/B Testing Best Practices: 7 Tips to Follow
If you’re a business owner and are not A/B testing, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to improve your website traffic and conversions.
In this case, A/B testing compares two versions of a piece of marketing collateral to see which one performs better in terms of key metrics such as conversion rate. Also known as split testing, A/B testing is an essential tool in a marketer’s toolkit.
In this post, I’ll go over the basics of A/B testing and share 7 essential tips on how to get started.
The Basics: What is A/B Testing?
The “A” version is the control – usually, this is the existing piece, while the “B” version is the variation you want to test.
A/B testing can be used to test anything – from the color of a button to the copy on a landing page. The goal is always the same: to find the version that performs better in terms of conversion rate or other key metrics.
A/B testing is essential for any marketer who wants to improve. By running experiments, you can make data-driven decisions about what changes will have the biggest impact.
What is the Purpose of A/B Testing for Marketers and B2b advertising?
The purpose of A/B testing marketing is to help marketers and businesses make data-driven decisions about their websites. By running experiments, you can identify which changes to your website will have the biggest impact on conversion rates or other key metrics.
A/B testing is a powerful tool that can be used to improve a wide variety of online experiences, including:
- Landing pages
- Product pages
- Checkout flows
- Email campaigns
- Ad campaigns
For instance, you might want to test different headlines on your landing page to see which one leads to more people filling out your form. Or, you might want to test different call-to-action buttons to see which color results in more clicks.
When it comes to testing B2B marketing efforts, the options and possibilities are endless. You can test different ad copy, call-to-action buttons, images, and more to see what drives the best results.
A/B testing can be used to test anything on your website. The sky is the limit! The key is to always be testing something and to never stop learning. By constantly running experiments, you can continue to improve your website and conversions over time.
When you are considering running your next A/B test, take the time to figure out your goals both for your website and your test. Some of the ways you can do this are by:
- Identifying your key metric
- Creating a hypothesis
- Deciding on a treatment duration
- Selecting a confidence level
Let’s take a deeper look at these.
Identifying your key metric
The first step in any A/B test is to identify your key metric. This is the metric that you want to improve with your experiment. Common key metrics include:
- Conversion rate
- Click-through rate
- Bounce rate
- Time on site
- Pages per visit
- Engagement (shares, likes, comments)
For instance, if you’re testing a landing page, your key metric might be the conversion rate – that is, the percentage of people who fill out your form. Or, if you’re testing an email campaign, your key metric might be the click-through rate – that is, the percentage of people who click on your link.
Creating a hypothesis
Once you’ve identified your key metric, you need to create a hypothesis. This is a statement of what you think will happen as a result of your experiment. You set up a hypothesis, or a leading question, to keep your experiment and your analysis on track. Your hypothesis should be specific and testable. For instance, if you’re testing a new headline on your landing page, your hypothesis might be something like, “The new headline will result in a higher conversion rate.”
To formulate a strong hypothesis, you need to have a good understanding of your customers and what motivates them. This will help you to come up with ideas for treatments that are likely to be successful.
Deciding on a treatment duration
After you’ve created your hypothesis, your next step is to decide how long you want to run your experiment. This is important because you want to make sure that you have enough data to make a statistically significant conclusion.
- The treatment duration will depend on several factors, including:
- The key metric you’re measuring
- The size of your website traffic
- The amount of variability in your data
- Your desired confidence level
For instance, if you’re testing a landing page with a conversion rate of 2%, you’ll need a longer treatment duration than if you’re testing a landing page with a conversion rate of 20%.
To calculate the minimum treatment duration for your experiment, you can use this online tool.
Selecting a confidence level
In any A/B test, there is always a chance that the results you see are due to chance. To account for this, you need to select a confidence level for your experiment.
A common confidence level is 95%. This means that there is a 95% chance that the results of your experiment are not due to chance.
You can use this online calculator to determine the minimum sample size you need for your experiment, based on your desired confidence level.
When you are running an A/B test, it is important to keep track of your results so that you can make informed decisions about your website. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Creating a data table
- Creating a graph
- Using statistical software
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of A/B testing let’s dive into some essential tips for running successful experiments.
7 Best Practices for A/B testing
If you work in SEO, you know that the world of Google rankings is always changing. What worked last year may not work this year. And what works for one company may not work for another. The only way to keep up with the latest A/B testing trends is to constantly experiment and try new things.
Here are 7 of the best practices for A/B testing that we’ve found to be effective:
1. Do not A/B test everything
While A/B testing is a powerful tool, you should know that it’s not always necessary. Sometimes, you might just need to make a decision and go with it.
If you’re unsure whether or not you should A/B test something, ask yourself if the test results are worth the time and effort. If the answer is no, then it’s probably not worth testing.
Start by looking at your website’s goals. What do you want people to do when they visit your site? You can figure this out by looking at your Google Analytics data.
Then, look at the pages on your site that are designed to achieve those goals. These are the pages that you should focus on testing. Once you know what to test, you can start thinking about which elements on your site are there for reaching those goals.
For example, if you want people to sign up for your email list, then your sign-up form is one of the elements that need to be highly effective. If you want people to buy your product, then your pricing page needs to be highly effective.
If you do need to test, you should focus on one thing at a time. This way, you will be able to easily see the results of your testing and know definitively which version, A or B, performed objectively better.
2. Test your landing pages
Your landing page is one of the most important pages on your website, and it’s worth taking the time to test different versions of it. Try different headlines, images, and copy to see what works best for your business.
To do this effectively, you’ll need to set up a separate landing page for each variation you want to test. You can then use Google Analytics to track the results and see which version performs better.
3. Test your CTA buttons
Your CTA button is a critical element on your website, so be sure that it’s the most effective one. Try testing different colors, sizes, and fonts to see what gets more people to click.
There is a very precise science behind CTA buttons and how they flow in webpage design, so do your research before you start testing.
4. Test your pricing
If you’re selling products or services online, testing different pricing options is a good idea. It will help show which pricing option is more effective.
5. Test independently of your preconceptions
While you’re A/B testing, be open to the fact that your original idea might not be the best. Be prepared to change your mind based on the results of your tests.
This can be difficult to do. Gaining objectivity is key, and you’ll need to be sure to analyze the data objectively to make the right decision. Ensure you trust your data and the process.
6. Set up your tests properly
Once you’ve figured out what you want to test, it’s time to set up your tests properly. This means creating a hypothesis, or an educated guess, about what you think will happen when you change your site. As discussed earlier, let’s say you want to test whether or not a green CTA button is more effective than a red CTA button. You would create a hypothesis that says, “I think the green CTA button will be more effective because it will stand out more on the page.” You then need to send traffic to both versions of your site and see which performs better.
Once you have a hypothesis, you need to set up your test so that you can track the results. This means creating two versions of your site: the original (which is called the control) and the variation (which is called the treatment).
7. Analyze your results
Once you’ve collected enough data, it’s time to analyze the results. This means studying the data to see which version of your site performed better.
There are a few things you’ll want to look at, including:
- Overall conversion rate: This is the percentage of people who took the action you’re tracking (such as signing up for your email list or buying your product).
- Revenue: If you’re selling a product, you’ll want to look at how much revenue each version of your site generated.
- Average order value: This is the average amount of money that people spent when they bought your product.
- Time on site: This is the average amount of time that people spend on your site.
- Bounce rate: This is the percentage of people who left your site after viewing only one page.
Once you’ve looked at all these data points, you can decide which version of your site is better.
The Bottom Line
A/B testing is a powerful tool that can help you improve your website and achieve your goals. However, it’s important to use it properly.
To recap, here are the seven best practices for A/B testing:
- Do not A/B test everything
- Test your landing pages
- Test your CTA buttons
- Test your pricing
- Test independently of your preconceptions
- Set up your tests properly
- Analyze your results
If you follow these best practices, you’ll be well on your way to A/B testing success! If you need a professional writer to help with copy, contact us.
Katherine has 10+ years of experience as an SEO specialist, copywriter, and editor across multiple industries. She is also a TEFL-certified language curriculum developer and academic manuscript editor.