A/B split testing is an effective way to optimise your marketing materials and tweak them for best results. It is a straightforward way to take two different options for web pages, emails, and the like and find out which one will deliver the best results. That way, you can make sure you use the best one going forward and take the guesswork out of deciding which one will appeal to customers more. When even changing the colour of a call to action button can make a real difference to results, these decisions are much easier to make properly with real-world tests than without.
How Split Testing Works
The concept of A/B split testing is simple. If you have two variants of a webpage, email, or other piece of marketing material and you aren’t sure which one will deliver the better performance, then you start off by using both. Of course, you keep them separate rather than using them in conjunction, and this allows you to compare how they perform in real terms.
Simply provide variant A and variant B to different group of customers, and see which one gets more people to buy your products, sign up for your newsletter, or do whatever else you are trying to achieve. For web pages, this is usually done in relation to PPC campaigns. Have two adverts or campaigns (usually identical) live, one pointing to landing page A and one pointing to landing page B. Assuming the adverts are set up with similar budgets and keywords, this should push roughly 50% of traffic to one site and 50% to the other. With emails, the process involves simply splitting your mailing list in half and sending each of those halves a different version. Bear in mind that with emails, it’s not just different designs or content you might want to test but also different sending times or subject lines.
Tracking Split Testing Results
Setting up the split between A and B is not difficult, but this won’t do you any good without a method of tracking results. Obviously, as a bare minimum, you have to know how many customers are coming from landing page A and how many from Landing Page B in order to form a useful comparison. Ideally, you need more information than that.
For web pages, the best method is to use Google Analytics or a similar analytical package. If you aren’t already using these kinds of tools then there are plenty of reasons to start besides reading the results of your A/B split test. Your analytics package will help you to assess the conversion rates of the two sites as a percentage of the people who visited (even if the PPC adverts are identical the exact number of page views probably won’t be. It will also tell you how long people spent on each version of the page before losing interest, and how many clicked through to other parts of your site to find out more before making a decision.
For emails, many business mail clients offer special tools to provide you with similar data for your emails, and even specialist tools for A/B split testing. Alternatively, use different referral links or even different URLs to help build separate data profiles in your site’s analytics tool.