It is a very natural thing to go with intuition and do what feels right instinctively. But in today’s world merely relying on your gut instincts is not enough.
Everything has become practical, meticulous, and systematic. Even marketing. Decisions are more planned and tested rather than being a result of intuition. And that is the order of our times as well.
We are no more in the ancient Greek world where philosophers would get path-breaking ideas in their bathtubs and dreams and they would be recognized as formal truths and theories.
In our times, even a basic thesis needs to be academically proved. A/B testing is just another way we do things around the world. And it has proven to be effective as well.
Studies show that 60% of organizations find A/B testing to be highly valuable for optimizing their conversion rates. Not to mention that by 2025, the global A/B testing software market is projected to be worth $1.08 billion.
A/B testing is something worth looking into and in this blog, we will do just that! Here, we will delve into its meaning, importance, steps involved, and some real-life examples. So, let’s dive right in, shall we?
What is A/B Testing? (Definition)
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a marketing experiment in which you divide your market audience into different parts and try different variations of a particular campaign to understand which one works the best for your business.
Basically, you test version A of your marketing campaign on a part of your audience and then test version B on another to find out which one works better. Hence, the name A/B testing.In essence, A/B testing is all about taking away all the guesswork and allowing us to make data-backed decisions. It not only allows you to test different versions of your marketing campaign but also helps you understand which part of your audience likes what kind of campaign.
Thus, A/B testing is something that helps you understand the efficiency of different campaigns as well the mood of your audience.
Now that you know what A/B testing is, it’s time for you to understand just what makes it such an important element in the marketing wheel.
Benefits of Conducting an A/B Test!
1. Better User Engagement
The elements of the page that are effectively tested through A/B testing include imagery, headline or subject line, imagery, layout, call-to-action (CTA) forms, etc. They are crucial in deciding the improved rate of user engagement. Testing each of those important elements will help you pinpoint which one of the versions positively improves the users’ behavior and which does not. After this, making the required changes for the desired results will go a long way in improving the user experience aggregate which will eventually lead to a successful campaign.
2. Improved ROI
Getting quality traffic on your website is a real boon for any organization. With the help of A/B testing, you will be able to make the most of your existing traffic and increase your conversions without spending any extra money to acquire new traffic. A/B testing can indeed give you high ROI as even the smallest of changes on your site can lead to a noticeable increase in the overall business conversions.
3. Reduction in the Bounce Rate
An important metric that helps in analyzing the performance of your website is its bounce rate. But because various websites have different goals and cater to a variety of audiences, there is no one metric to reduce the bounce rate. However, by running an A/B test, you can understand which element or aspect of your website works best for your audience and then work accordingly to reduce your bounce rate. You can keep testing to come to the right conclusion that helps you improve with A/B testing.
4. Make Low-Risk Modifications
You will be able to make incremental changes to your website with the help of A/B testing instead of redesigning the entire page. This helps reduce the risk of negatively affecting the current conversion rate of your website.
With the help of A/B testing, you will be able to target your resources and gain maximum output with minute modifications, which will lead to an increased ROI.
5. Spontaneous Results
In the business world, time is money. The sooner you can optimize your marketing plan and campaign, the better and faster results you get. With the help of A/B testing, you eliminate any delay in profits as you can quickly understand and eliminate the flaws of the marketing campaign.
Even a very small sample size in an A/B test will give you a significant, and actionable result and recommend the changes that lead to more user engagement. This will eventually allow you to have short-order optimization of new apps, new sites, and low-converting pages at the same time.
Now that you have understood the several benefits of A/B testing, let’s go over the steps involved in conducting one!
How To Conduct A/B Testing in 5 Steps?
Step 1. Conduct Research and Analysis of the Website
Before starting your A/B testing you need to conduct proper research on the current functioning of your website, its performance, the different elements it has, and how well it has worked for the audience. You should collect ample data on things like the number of users coming to the site, the web pages that help in driving the most amount of traffic, and the various conversion goals of these web pages.
The A/B testing tools used in this part of the process will have quantitative website analytics tools like Omniture, Mixpanel, Google Analytics, etc. This will help you in recognising your best-performing web pages, pages where the audience spends the most time as well as the pages that have a higher bounce rate.
You should also test the qualitative aspects of your website and gather data there as well. This will help you in understanding the user journey and fill in whatever is missing from the website. Collecting all of this data will help you do well in the next step in the process, which is using these observations and turning them into worthwhile actions.
Read More: Top Competitor Analysis and Research Tools
Step 2. Formulate an Action Plan
Without a proper hypothesis, you will be like a directionless car. So set and achieve your business goals by tracking the research-driven data and using it to form the hypothesis that will help in increasing your conversions.
With the collected data, it becomes your duty to understand it, analyze it, and use it in the best possible manner. You should be able to make a data-driven hypothesis with the help of your user insights.
After formulating the right hypothesis, you should keep in mind some important factors like the amount of effort it will take for you to put it into action and figure out if it is worth it. You should also calculate the impact it will have on your goals on a macro level. Sorting these things out will keep you in good stead concerning your future performance.
Step 3. Test the Process
This is the real deal – the actual A/B testing of our process. Here, you need to create an alternative, version B, for your version A. This will be done based on your research. You can make many such “B” versions with a minute or subtle change and test all of them with the A version.
Doing this will help you test each and every aspect and element of your website and understand which one works better than the rest.
For example, you can test a version from a user experience (UX) perspective. You can create different forms for your carrying out a survey and see how the audience responds to them. You can then analyze which survey form works better and then go with that version. It is this trial-and-error mechanism of A/B testing that forms its core and makes it realistically profitable in a sound way for any organization.
Step 4. Select the Right Testing Method
Choosing the right method of testing is super important in A/B testing. The test you choose will depend on the needs of the website as well as the business goals of the organization.
You should also have the patience to wait for the required amount of time to achieve the results you seek to achieve. In the end, picking the right method and having statistical accuracy is what will determine the success of A/B testing.
While calculating the test duration you should remember to take into account the estimated existing conversion rate, average daily and monthly visitors, the minimum improvement in conversion rate you are expecting, and the total number of variations in the test.
Step 5. Analyze and Correct
The last, but by no means the least step of the A/B testing process is analyzing and finding out the right version that works the best for you. This is the step that unravels the whole journey that you have taken.
After the completion of the tests, you will have to sit down and analyze the results based on aspects and metrics, such as the percentage increase in numbers and audience, the direct and indirect impact on the website, etc.
After careful consideration and analysis of the numbers, you will be able to conclude whether the test has succeeded and therefore pick the right variation or the right combination of variations. If for some reason the test does not succeed and remains inconclusive, you can still take insights from it and use them for future tests.
Now that we have gone over the several steps involved in conducting an A/B test, let us try to understand A/B testing through some examples and see how they have positively impacted a website.
3 Examples of A/B Testing!
1. A/B Testing in Media
Let us take the example of Netflix. A majority of its users appreciate its streaming and user experience. Netflix achieves this through a very structured and systematic A/B testing program.
Every change that Netflix makes to its website goes through a rigorous process of A/B testing. For example, Netflix can personalize its homepage specifically for every user. They do this based on the profile and data of every user. Every minute thing from deciding the number of rows on the homepage to the movies and shows mentioned there is a result of proper testing and research data.
2. A/B Testing for Fashion Retailers
Zalora, an online fashion retailer, was able to improve the design of its product page because of A/B testing. This eventually led to a better user experience which improved their checkout rate by over 12%.
In this particular A/B testing, the organization found out through its research data that its customers remained unaware of the free return policy provided by Zalora because it was not properly visible on its products page.
The team then made some changes to the page and ran an experiment to understand customer reactions. They were able to determine that the new variation was outperforming the older and there was a remarkable change in customer satisfaction.
3. A/B Testing for Fin-Tech Companies
PayU, a fin-tech company was able to improve its conversion by nearly 6 percent with the help of A/B testing. Through their research, they found that a lot of customers were just dropping off from their page which was negatively affecting their sales graph.
They realized that their checkout page required the users to put in their mobile numbers as well as email ids to complete a purchase. They changed a page so that it now only required the mobile number of the customer. This new variant of the checkout page was able to solve the users’ issue and noted a marked improvement in the conversion rate of the webpage. Therefore, by simply eliminating the required field of email id on their checkout page, PayU was able to improve its sales.
A/B testing is a very structured and systematic method of understanding and analyzing what does and does not work for your marketing campaign. It is as close to being a research study as possible.
From improving the technical aspect of the website to thereby improving the sales and profits, it’s all one beautiful cycle with A/B testing. It’s simply an enticing opportunity for every organization to improve itself.
We hope that this post has helped you learn everything you need to know about A/B testing and also help you successfully incorporate it within your business. Best of luck and adios!