A/B Testing: A Beginner’s Guide
Research is an important part of marketing. But your success does not entirely depends on it. You have to dig deeper. You have to find tools and methods that will help you get positive results.
That’s where A/B testing comes in. It helps you calculate the best marketing strategies for your business.
Website copy, sales email, landing page design… You name it! It can be used to test a lot of things. The best part is that you save money. How? By finding the best-performing version of your campaign before spending your entire budget on marketing materials that don’t work.
I know what you’re thinking? Another time-consuming method. I agree. It’s time-consuming. But its advantages are enough to offset the time investment. Overall, your marketing efforts will be empowered.
What Is A/B Testing and Why Does it Matter?
Did you know that a little change in a headline can bring you around 5 to 10 times more results? But how would you make that change? And how do you compare the results? A/B testing is at your service.
You can pit two different versions of a website, advert, email, popup, or landing page against each other. The goal of this marketing strategy is to find out which version is more effective.
Let’s take a couple of examples. If you have a popup on your website, you may want to create a second version of it to see which one drives more webinar sign-ups. Similarly, you might have two different Google Ads to see which one drives more purchases. In both of these cases, A/B testing will help you. It will give you key insights that can be used to take decisions.
For example, a top digital marketer, Neil Patel, A/B tested the popup on his site. The goal was to find out what encouraged users to engage with his company. For him, it was offering a free website analysis. That appealed the most to his audience and was the most effective way to establish expertise. By applying this method, he found out which header would be more impactful to keeping users on his site.
How Does A/B Testing Work?
You randomly show two versions of the same asset. It can an ad, a website, a popup, or an offer. Pay attention to the word “randomly” because that’s how you get more accurate information.
One version is already in use. The second version gets a slight tweak in it. Multiple elements can be tested. Tut you’ll find it difficult to see results that way.
Let’s take the example of a call-to-action button. First, you’ll show half of your website visitors a blue “buy now” button. The other half visitors will be show a red “buy now” button. Then, you’ll wait some time (around two week). Then, it’s time to compare the results and see which color brought more conversion rates.
Why Is A/B Testing Important?
To maximize the results of your campaigns! Here’s what marketing legends have to say about testing:
“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”
— David Ogilvy
“Tests are important and help us understand our customers. Good selling is based on good testing.”
“Almost any question can be answered cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. And that’s the way to answer them — not by arguments around a table.”
“It is not uncommon for a change in headlines to multiply returns from five to ten times over.”
— Claude Hopkins
These tests can boost your return on investment. The data gathered from these tests help you figure out what’s working and where to put more efforts.
Let’s say you put $1,000 on an ad campaign without testing the ad copy. If a little tweak in the copy can three to four times results, why wouldn’t you run a test?
This might seem like a hypothetical situation. But if you do it consistently, you’ll see an improvement substantially. The knowledge of what works and what doesn’t is a huge factor in the marketing decision-making process. A/B tests empower you with that knowledge.
Let’s look at a few more benefits of this method:
- You get to know your target audience: A person without the knowledge of their target audience has nothing to do with marketing. They may excel at another field. But marketing is not for them. With A/B testing, one gets insights into who your audience is and what they want.
- Higher conversion rates: These tests can help with what types of emails, headlines, and other features your audience responds to. It’s probably the most effective way to increase conversion rates.
- Stay on top of changing trends: You can’t guess what people will respond to. Stop the guess work. Get down to testing.
- Reduce bounce rates: If people like what they see, they’ll stay on your site longer. That means low bounce rates.
A/B Testing Checklist to Get Started
Here’s an A/B testing checklist to review before running your first test:
- Decide what feature you want to test.
- Create two versions of the same ad, landing page, app, etc.
- Decide how long your test will run. I suggest at least two weeks, but it may be longer or slightly shorter depending on your traffic and industry.
- Choose a testing tool to help you run your test (more on that later).
- After a couple of weeks, take a look at the results. Which version won?
- Rinse and repeat. A/B testing is most effective when done continually.
So do you consistently run A/B tests? If so, how effective are they in you experience? Let me know in the comments below!