What do you think the best way to get direct feedback from your customers is? You guessed it; AB testing! Whether it be an email marketing campaign, a landing page, or social media advertisements, no marketing campaign is done perfectly right from the first try. The way in which you write your content or copy plays a huge role in the responses of your customers, whether they engage or not, and ultimately the conversion rates you aim for. Even so, the images, headlines, and design you present to your target audience can impact your conversion rates. This is where AB testing comes into play. Repeat after me; AB testing is my best friend. It really is. AB testing allows your audience to give you instant feedback about which version of whatever it is you are testing is better and more likely to give better conversion results. Okay, enough with all the chit-chat; let’s dive into the world of AB testing and get a clearer idea of what it is, how it works, its importance and benefits, and how to do successful AB testing to get higher conversion rates!
What is AB Testing?
As its name implies, AB testing, which is also commonly referred to as split testing, is a type of test that compares two versions of the same marketing asset and measures the difference in performance. This marketing asset can be an email campaign, a Facebook ad, a landing page, a web page, or anything of that sort that requires testing. AB testing involves separating your target audience into two different groups and publishing one version for one group and another version for the second group. After that, give it some time, then compare the responses and variations of each group to each of the different versions of your asset. That pretty much sums up how AB testing works and how simple it is for any marketer to do.
The Importance of AB Testing
Every marketer should be doing AB testing. Why? Simply because it’s low in cost, high in value to a business, and gives great results to use for optimizing whatever it is that is being tested. Depending on what you decide to test, there are also various benefits of doing AB testing that are usually related to your marketing goals and what you want to achieve. Increasing website traffic is one of those goals. If you decide that you need an effective way to increase your website’s traffic, AB testing on your website pages might be the solution. To do so, start by testing the different blog posts, the webpage title, the headlines, the content, images, and so on, and experiment with this testing to compare results and identify which version works best. As a result, you’ll end up having an increase in website traffic! Your goal might also be to increase your conversion rate, as is any other marketer’s goal. To accomplish this goal, AB testing your call to action (CTA) by testing different colors, locations, or texts can ultimately change the number of people that are clicking this CTA to get to your landing page. Why change and not definitely increase? Because it depends on how you change your CTA to test it; you might end up changing it for the worse instead of, the better, but that’s what AB testing is for! Just keep testing till you find the optimum version of your CTA that will yield higher conversion rates. These AB testing goals are only drops in the ocean; there are endless marketing goals and objectives that AB testing can help with, and that’s why AB testing is so important to marketers. AB testing can help you achieve your goals and compare results of different versions to know which one to choose from and keep going with.
How to Do AB Testing
1. Choose your element of testing
Study the marketing metrics you want to improve and start by AB testing one element at a time. These elements might be related to your website headlines, your email subject lines, your call-to-action buttons, the content or copy you write in your blogs, landing pages, websites, email bodies, etc., and even the images and videos you use along with your content. This all depends on how your metrics are looking and the weak points of your marketing assets that you should work on improving.
2. Set your goals
Goals are critical no matter what you do; they act as guidance to reach your final destination. In this step, ask yourself what you want to achieve out of this AB testing. Remember those goals you read about in the section above? Yeah, these are the types of goals that you need to set. Be careful not to get lost in the chaos of it all and take it one goal at a time. Focus on a single metric at first and decide which marketing metric you need to work on improving, one that will optimize results and increase rewards. You can always do more AB testing for other metrics later on, but for now, focus on running one at a time for more precise data and analysis.
3. Identify a champion & a challenger
Now that you know exactly what you want to test and what your goal is, it’s time to create a champion and a challenger. A champion refers to the existing current piece of marketing asset that you want to test. A challenger, on the other hand, is the altered version of this piece that you want to test against your control. Confused? No need to be. It’s quite simple. Take a Facebook ad, for example; the original version of this ad is the champion as it is unaltered and should already exist on Facebook. The challenger, in this case, should be the altered version that you will test against the control. Still confused? Okay, how about this; you know how it’s called AB testing? Think of A as the first piece of your test and B as the updated version you want to test against A. The changes between A and B can be minor, but the effects on the target audience can vary greatly.
4. Choose an AB testing tool
The AB testing tool you choose depends on what exactly it is that you’re testing. If you want to test two different versions of an email, check to see if the email marketing platform you use already has a built-in testing tool that you can make use of. The same goes for landing pages or social media ads. If you find that there is no AB testing tool, you can always search for the best one for your needs and use that. VWO, Optimizely, and AB Tasty are all great platforms for your AB testing needs. Just do your research and decide on the best one for you. The tool you choose will probably also have a feature that splits your audience into two or more for optimum results.
5. Design your test
In this step, specify the duration you want your AB testing to run for, which devices you want to collect data from, and other details. This might depend on the type of AB testing tool you choose to work with, as some tools give you great control of the designs of the tests while some others give you very minimal control over the design. Also, an important point to be aware of is to make sure never to run tests simultaneously, instead take it one at a time. Testing more than one metric for the same campaign will confuse you and lead to discombobulated results. Yes, discombobulated. For example, if you do AB testing for a landing page and at the same time you do AB testing for an email that is directly connected to this landing page, how are you going to know which change is the reason for the increase in leads? So, keep it simple and take it one at a time to make the process easier and clearer.
6. Analyze your AB testing results
In order to produce valuable data from your AB testing, you need to give it time. Getting statistically significant results depends on your company and how you execute the AB testing. It might take hours, days, or even weeks before you obtain a substantial sample size from your target audience and start seeing accurate results. AB testing is quantitative in nature, but what if you want to get qualitative data and understand why people didn’t click on a certain call to action, for example? Just ask them! It’s called user feedback. Say a visitor goes to your website and leaves without filling a form you were AB testing, you can add an exit survey or poll asking this visitor for a reason as to why this action did not take place. This way, you will have both quantitative numbers demonstrating the statistical results of the AB testing as well as the psychological and emotional aspect of your sample.
Ready to Start AB Testing?
It’s time to take off into the world of AB testing. Don’t feel overwhelmed or confused by all of the information, steps, and procedures. Once you get the hang of AB testing and start implementing it more frequently in your business, you’ll realize all the benefits that come with it and the importance of AB testing to your company. You’ll never not AB test after this!