What is A/B testing and how does it work?The design of a website persuades users for specific reactions. Most websites are designed to accomplish one central goal. A Call-To-Action (CTA) encourages the user to take action to achieve said goal, ie. “Buy now.” A CTA may be on a button or piece of text on a website that the user clicks on. This action, when completed, leads to a conversion. A CTA is most commonly a sale but can include other actions like newsletter signups or whitepaper downloads. The efficacy of the CTA, and hence the likelihood of completing the goal depends on how the user reacts to the content and images on the website. Forward-thinking companies have recognized how important this is for business and are now turning to digital marketing companies to help them A/B test their web designs. Digital Marketing & SEO companies in Toronto have been slow to embrace A/B testing but this is something we believe is going to be HOT in 2013 as the industry begins to fully recognize its value.
What to run A/B tests for?A/B testing is an important tool to have in your kit when deciding which design features work best on your website. It is not only the best way but also really the only way to ultimately find out how users respond to your web design. A users response to how a website is displayed involves several factors. These can include the colour scheme, layout, placement of CTA buttons, or word use. To test for these factors, there must be at least two designs or versions of a landing page. We refer to these two pages as A and B. A/B tests should focus on whether page A or B lead to a greater number of sales. The successful more page may become the sole landing page used moving forward. For better results, it can be tested against another new design to continually improve performance. Ideally, A/B testing is always ongoing.
What makes A/B testing so important?Implementing proper A/B testing protocols are not just “nice-to-haves” as part of your digital marketing strategy. A/B testing has evolved to the point of being considered essential. With A/B testing software, your organization can—in real time—determine whether one design is better than another. Here are just some of the benefits of A/B testing:
- You determine the goal. The most common goal for websites is to have high conversion rates or high performances of the CTA. Whatever the goal or target of your website is, A/B testing gives you the freedom to determine what is most important and to continually test different designs in an effort to convert traffic on your website.
- Problem Solving.A/B test is a good way to discover what is and is not successful in converting customers. It may be that there is a certain CTA that users are not responding positively to. It could be because of the colours used, the word choice, or even the positioning of the button. For example, we worked with a fitness company, and their goal was for users to sign up for a fitness newsletter. If your CTA reads, “Join Free”, that is not very specific, and it is not clear what the user is getting through the CTA. Now imagine if that CTA instead read “Learn More About Improving Your Fitness”. This wording is far more specific and the value proposition associated with clicking compelled more users to sign up.
- Market Research. A/B testing enables customers to let you know which version of a website is best without you having to spend time and money on focus groups. In the brave new world of electronic commerce, the customer is always right— customers should decide what they want to see on your website, and trust us – you will see the benefits. Everyone wins!