What is AB Testing?

In today’s complex world of online marketing, A/B testing can be used to determine which variables have more success with your customers. So what is A/B testing? Essentially, it’s like a science experiment for your business, blog, or marketing materials. Below, we’ve outlined how A/B testing can help you to gain more viewers, clicks, and purchases, just by making a few subtle changes to your content.

How does A/B testing work?

Just like in a science lab, you’ll run a test with a “control” webpage or ad (which is the typical version that people see), and another version with some sort of variation. For example, if you’re A/B testing a banner ad for sunglasses, you might try testing a new headline, font color, or image to see what performs better. Ultimately, the goal is finding out which set of variables give you the highest conversion rate. This may require you to run a few different tests with unique variables, and then compile the data.

So, what is A/B testing doing under the hood?

To run a successful A/B test, users are shown the two different versions in equal measure. Half of your traffic sees the control page, and the other half sees the variation. While the test is underway, you’ll gain data about how users engage with each version, and these analytics will help you determine which page is more effective.

Why are A/B tests so important?

A/B tests are an incredibly powerful tool, and any web-based business can benefit from the data. By performing a few thoughtful tests, you’ll learn more about your users’ behavior, the content they crave, and the design cues that engage them. With A/B testing, your product becomes an evolving ecosystem that can be tweaked and improved over time. Best of all, those tiny tweaks can result in massive sales and audience growth. It also allows developers to test out new features on a smaller scale, and see how the user base reacts.

How can I run a successful A/B test?

  1. Pinpoint Your Test: First, find a page that can really benefit from optimization. It might be a home page, social media page, or another high-traffic area of your business that can serve as an accurate testing ground.
  2. Set Realistic Goals: Once you’ve chosen a page, scan through each element on the page (i.e. images, text, buttons, etc) and determine an end-goal for user growth. For example, you might want more visitors to sign up for your email list, so you can focus on the page’s mailing list section and try a few new variations.
  3. Create Alternatives: Now, you need to come up with the “B” in your A/B test. Start brainstorming a few changes to the page that could potentially boost growth, and then decide what you’re going to test first, in order of priority.
  4. Run the Test: Here’s the fun part! Decide on a reasonable testing period, and then run the A/B test to see how users react to your change. If you’re using an analytics service, you’ll collect a massive data set that allows you to compare both versions in graph and number form.
  5. Act on the Data: After running a few separate A/B tests, you’ll gain insight into what variables perform best on your page. Implement what works, avoid what doesn’t, and then watch your user base grow!
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