There is more than one solution to a problem, especially in the online world. For example, you can keep the website menu in the banner, use a hamburger icon to keep it hidden at the side, or create any other variation. Not all of these will give the same results.
When creating a webpage or designing a mobile application, giving users what they want is crucial. That’s why you need to test ideas with real users, gather valuable data, and ensure that your chosen solution is the best.
That is where A/B testing comes into play.
So, what is A/B testing? A/B testing, also called split testing, is a way to compare different versions of a solution to find out what works best. It is a method that marketing, communication, and design professionals use to improve their metrics, such as conversion and click-through rate.
A/B testing is a structured method to perform a controlled experiment. But here’s the good news — the testing process can be simplified by breaking it down into steps. Read on to discover the process and best practices for A/B testing.
The purpose of A/B testing is to define a problem, find multiple possible solutions, test them with real users and then pick the best option.
The problem can be as small as the color of an action button or the choice of text for a call to action (CTA). You’ll be surprised to see how users react differently to such minor changes.
Experts can get feedback from users based on a series of tests. The A/B testing statistics are then analyzed using qualitative and quantitative techniques. These results can help devise an effective strategy for the future, resulting in improved metrics.
- Identify the problem
- Define your goals
- Create at least two solutions to test
- Gather feedback from real users in a real-world environment
- Collect enough data to perform the analysis
- Analyze the metrics and formulate results
- Take action based on the results
A/B testing is a structured approach with well-defined end goals. Although the exact nature of the test can vary based on the product or service you’re working on, the overall pattern remains the same.
The following steps can serve as the A/B testing guide to simplify the process for you.
The first step in A/B testing is identifying the problem you want to solve. For example, if your webpage is not giving the desired conversion rate, you need to find out the problem. The same applies if your online shop has high cart abandonment rates.
If your website does not have a good user experience, you need to understand the audience’s pain points.
When figuring out how to do A/B testing, it is vital to have a clear understanding of the problem. This step will guide the entire process, adding to the benefits of A/B testing.
Once you know the problem, the next step is to define your goals. If, for example, you want to improve the conversion rate, you must specify the ideal rate that your solution should give.
That will help you come up with realistic and achievable targets.
The clarity in your goals will help you develop a test hypothesis you can then use to formulate an effective A/B test. In statistical terms, this will help you define your independent and dependent variables that can then be analyzed.
When you know the problem and have a clear idea of what you want to test, the next step is to work on the solutions for split testing. To conduct A/B testing, you need two or more possible solutions.
For example, when creating a signup page, you can include input fields for email and password at the top or provide one-click signup options first. The landing page of LinkedIn uses the former, while Twitter’s homepage adopts the latter strategy.
Sometimes, you may want to test more than one solution for a given problem. Such methods are an extension of the A/B tests and are referred to as multivariate tests. What is important is testing these variants with real users.
The next step in A/B testing is to gather feedback from real users. Remember, the purpose of A/B testing is to resolve the target audience’s problems and make their lives easier.
You should have a representative sample that reflects the target audience and is diverse. Present the alternatives to your users and observe their performance. For example, if you want an improvement in the conversion rate, note which variant gives you better conversion.
Another important thing to consider is you should always test for one solution at a given instant. That way, you’ll stay focused, and the users will not get overwhelmed.
Gather adequate amounts of data that can be used to perform statistical analyses. If a small sample cannot give you enough information, then a study consisting of a huge sample is not feasible. Therefore, choose your sample with care.
It is also essential to have a balance between the alternative solutions. For example, if five people are using variant 1, then a similar number of people should use variant 2. That way, you will benefit from the feedback and identify some statistical significance in your results.
Once you have gathered the data from the tests, you can now analyze the metrics. The metrics should be clear and well-defined to get the best results.
Statistical software such as SPSS can be used as A/B testing tools to perform quantitative analysis. Google Analytics and Hotjar are also excellent tools that can be helpful in the analysis.
You can compare the metrics of the variants you’re testing and then formulate A/B test results. If a blue-colored button gives you a 20% conversion rate and a red-colored alternative gives 40%, you would want to focus on the latter.
The process does not end with the test results. As a professional, you need to create an effective strategy for the future. Data gathered through A/B testing methods can be of extreme help in conversion optimization for websites and improve your business.
When devising a roadmap for the future, it is vital to keep an eye on the problem identified in step 1 and the goals defined in step 2.
A/B testing has numerous benefits, especially in the online marketing domain. Organizations try hard to maintain a strong online presence and attract more customers. They need the best solution for their websites — one that can result in maximum conversions.
Some of the most important benefits of A/B testing are as follows:
- It can measure the efficacy of a solution that may otherwise seem insignificant and impossible to measure.
- The data obtained from A/B testing results are beneficial in creating effective marketing strategies.
- It can improve the performance of a website and increase conversions.
- It can increase the overall usability by incorporating the target audience’s feedback in designing a solution.
- It is an affordable solution that does not cost a lot of money and yields remarkable results.
A good example of A/B testing is the presentation of a newsletter sent via email.
An email newsletter has a lot of potential for A/B testing. From the subject line to button colors, a content creator can run tests and gather insightful information, thus improving digital marketing strategies.
For instance, you can create two versions of a newsletter — one with attractive images and the other without images.
The clicks on the CTA button and the number of website visitors from both versions will tell you which strategy was successful.
Make sure to stick to the best practices of A/B testing where you have a good sample size and focus on the target audience. If you focus on user behavior, it will lead you in the right direction.
According to 99firms, around 77% of companies run A/B tests on their websites. That shows that most leading organizations trust A/B testing and benefit from it. If you want to improve your marketing or advertising campaigns, A/B tests are the best place to start.
A/B tests can test new features on a website or improve customer experience by taking care of their issues. In the online world, a website can greatly benefit from A/B tests. The results of such tests serve as social proof, giving you quality feedback on your campaigns.
Building useful and usable websites can be a tricky task. This task, however, can be made a lot easier with the Bluehost Full-Service Website solution.
Request a consultation today and make your online business shine in no time. Bluehost will assist you throughout the testing process and make sure that you get the best solution.