AB Testing

The Basic ABC’s Of A/B Testing

The concept behind A/B testing, sometimes referred to as split testing is very simple.  A/B testing is a method of web optimization through changes in web design while measuring the effectiveness of the change.

The basic principle is that a single design element is changed, then the effect is tracked and measured.  Remember only one design element is changed at a time.  If more than one design element changes, then it is not A/B testing it is multivariate testing.  We’ll discuss multivariate testing at a later date.

The original design is used as the ‘A’ version, while the new design with the changed element is used as the ‘B’ version.   Website traffic is split equally between the two versions of the webpages while analytics capture the traffic statistics on each version.

The graphic below illustrates an example of how changing the design (ad image placement) in the ‘B’ version affects the customer conversion rate.

This is an oversimplified example, but just imagine the potential impact a small change could make to a large online retailer.

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In continuing the optimization, this version ‘B’ would become the new version ‘A’ and an updated design (remember only 1 design element change) would become the new version ‘B’ while the analytics are captured and the measurements are taken.

The process of A/B testing would continue on a given design until the the webpage is fully optimized, meaning that any additional changes would only decrease its effectiveness.

A/B testing can be used not only webpages, but on also a variety of your business’ marketing materials. It can be used to optimize advertising headlines, advertising content, email marketing campaign subjects, email marketing campaign messages, infographics, and also on blog headlines.

The late Peter Drucker, a famous business management consultant is well-known for his brilliant quote: “What gets measured gets managed.”

Don’t leave the effectiveness of your business’ online marketing up for chance.  Be sure to incorporate A/B testing as a part of your online marketing strategy to maximize your ROI.

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