What is A/B Testing

31st July 2015

A/B Testing is an effective and efficient method for working out the best methods of online promotion, marketing and content for your business. It can be used to test all manner of things from website copy to search adverts and sales email copy.

Well planned A/B testing can help deliver better results for your business which can convert into more customers, higher sales and much higher effectiveness of your marketing strategies. A/B Testing simply tests changes to your page against your current design or an alternative design and helps you to decide which is likely to produce the best results, based on genuine user experiences.

Planning your A/B Test

Before you begin you need to decide what you want to test and whether it is on or off-site. With on-site tests you’ll need to think about the sales-specific elements of your website and which of those elements you want to test. With off-site tests you’re probably putting together an advert or sales email and therefore you’ll probably be working with different sales ad copy to see which brings in better results. Once you have the proof that your ad is converting well, you can further you investment in this area. The same can be said of your sales emails, when you send out an A and a B email to different recipients you’ll soon have the feedback you need to see which style of email works best.

Common elements of copy/design which are tested include:

• The location of the call to action
• The actual sales copy or informational text
• The colour of the button
• The use of negative space

Best practice dictates that you should carry out a number of A/B tests before making the final decision or change in any campaign.

A/B Testing in Action

As well as knowing what you want to test you need to know the results you are looking for and how to track them. You also need to consider testing different elements together. For example you may want to test sales email A with landing page A and sales email A with landing page A and then switch them around before making your final decisions. The more combinations you can test, the clearer your results will be.

A/B Testing does take time. It is a commitment to your business and in most instances tests will need to be run for a minimum of a few days but often over a number of weeks to get a clear picture. It is also advised only to run one test at a time to deliver the best results. Not giving a test enough time means your result could be skewed as you haven’t got a clear indication of the bigger picture to give statistically viable results and when too long a time is taken you will run the risk of having too many uncontrollable variables to deal with. A/B Testing can impact your business so positively however, it is worth spending the weeks it takes to get it right.



A/B Testing with Google Analytics Content Experiments

Google Analytics offer their own A/B Testing function through Content Experiments, except it is a little different to the traditional methods. Testing via Content Experiments in fact uses the A/B/N model which allows you to test more than just two versions of your website. It allow you to test up to 10 full versions of your page, each delivered to test group via a separate URL. This allows for highly efficient and clearer results and with Content Experiments you get clear result as to which landing page has the greatest improvement in conversions.

However you choose to carry out A/B Testing it can only have positive effects on your business as it allows you to work out which style of sales copy, design and promotion work best for your customers and gives you the opportunity to tailor your content and design to their needs.

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