What is A/B Testing, How It Works & How to Use It to Boost Sales?
Generic and brazenly promotional content is a death wish for businesses, big and small. You’d be surprised to find, however, that sometimes, it’s not the content that’s responsible for a downward slope in your sales metrics—it’s the way you place and present it on your website that’s to blame!
With brilliant innovations in SEO services, accompanied by technological progress and software upgrades to make your commercial website more accessible, new optimization tactics have single-handedly revolutionized the entire landscape of modern-day business.
You could be the owner of a start-up company or an established agency with an impressive sales record, courtesy of a dynamic marketing team and a service that stands out. Bear in mind, your dream of one day sitting on the throne of your own commercial empire with the likes of Virgin or Apple, will not reach fruition without a website that’s as business-savvy as your marketing campaign.
What exactly do we mean by “business-savvy”, you ask?
Sure, there’s the layout and content, the web design and CTA.
But to really get to the crux of the biscuit, you need to invest uncompromisingly on one stand-alone variable: traffic – knowing how to drive it to your website, so you can convert clicks into sales.
And that’s precisely where A/B testing comes in!
What is A/B Testing & How A/B Testing Works?
You ever visit a website that captivates you on first glance? Speaking to you in a language that’s relatable and friendly, replete with images that are inviting, and a sales-pitch that’s impactful enough to attract the most skeptical visitor?
You might be compelled to explore more of the website and learn a thing or two about the unique features of its product or service. But at some point in your aimless net-surfing adventures, you’ll lose interest and click on the cross button—altogether closing the window of opportunity, literally and figuratively!
Now, let’s be fair. It was a decent product and the web designers clearly worked hard to build a snazzy website with compelling content. So, what happened?
As with running a business, running a corporate website is a process of constant trial and error. A/B testing (also known as split testing or bucket testing) is the online equivalent of a marketing experiment to help determine which marketing strategy is more effective in converting frivolous views into productive sales.
Through a comparative analysis between a control website (A) and a modified website (B), A/B testing lets you experiment with subtle and advanced changes in a single variable within your website. Half your traffic uses the original version, while the other half has access to the alternate version.
So, what does A B testing statistical significance mean for your business?
To put it briefly, when you measure user response to A versus B, you gain access to insightful analytics that reveal which variation is most likely to attract the highest conversion rates!
Ultimately, you’re adhering to a statistically reliable method of attracting a larger volume of traffic to your website—traffic that actually indicates profit as opposed to mere views. Let’s see is details what is AB testing in digital marketing!
Laying Down the Groundwork
So if A/B testing statistical significance is such a massive success, why aren’t all the big companies using it?
You may be a bit late to the party; not only has A/B testing been around for a while, but used actively by influential MNCs and brand names, with Google being one of its leading pioneers.
Of course, first-timers run into foreseeable glitches conducting A/B tests, the methods for testing digital marketing campaigns, and it’s not uncommon for businesses to experience technological hold-ups when taking a new optimization tool for a test drive. Just take the example of Google’s series of initial tests, which led to lengthy loading times and generally low viewership on its first attempt.
In 2011, however, Google gave it another go by running some 7,000 A/B tests on its website. No biggie, right?
Want to know how much value it placed on the results?
Let’s just say one of the tests involved trying a variation of fifty shades of blue on the CTA button in order to determine which one bore the greatest capacity to trigger the highest conversions!
Indeed this set the precedent for other companies like Amazon and eBay, who soon took a page out of Google’s optimization book and ran some A/B tests of their own—shortly becoming two of the biggest frontrunners in A/B testing today.
If you’re interested in reaping the rewards of A/B testing, do what you do before undertaking a conventional marketing strategy: plan your goals and objectives by:
- Defining your target metrics
- Outlining your key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Focusing on setting clear goals in Google Analytics.
- Observing trends in customer feedback.
What’s important to note here is that making the most of your A/B tests relies on two factors. You need not only to measure the results between the control website and the modified website, but also—and perhaps more importantly—against the results of your current optimization strategy.
With that in mind, you’re likely to run tests revealing that your current strategy is performing significantly better than the alternate version!
Now, you might think this could put a damper on your business, but in reality, it can be a turning point for your optimization strategy—as in the case of veteran oil and gas company, AMBA.
After witnessing a conversion decline post-A/B testing, their recovery-oriented A/B experiments led to a whopping 42.89 per cent rise in conversion!
Talk about a comeback!
Conversely, A/B tests could also indicate a very minor percentage worth of gains, which may seem relatively insignificant considering the risks involved.
Most tests do indeed amount to an estimated 5% change in conversion rates. But it’s worth remembering that incremental gains go a long way in amounting to a substantial rise in conversion rates.
Just ask Google.
Bottom line: Be patient with the results and remember—slow and steady wins the race.
So, you’ve created a framework for your goals and objectives, and you’re ready to kick-start your first ever A/B test.
Not so fast.
What you’re about to do is a lot like conducting a scientific experiment.
1. Collect Data
A/B testing works efficiently when you know exactly what your experiment entails and what you expect to find. This means having access to data analytics that represent the results of your current optimization strategy.
Based on the latest available SEO data and metrics for your website, you must decide which aspect or feature of your webpage you need to test. This is a crucial element of the testing process as it then allows you to generate hypotheses for variation ideas and why they could possibly lead to higher conversions.
2. Design a Reasonable Hypothesis
Once you have your data in hand, you have the grounds to entertain the idea of possible variations to your web pages. This can be backed by statistical information indicating a high volume of traffic on certain pages as opposed to others; or alternatively, a low volume of traffic on certain parts of your website.
Keep in mind: it’s all about the details and using an expert eye to detect shifting patterns of behavior.
This is where the funnel drop-off rates will play a pivotal role by drawing your attention to valuable split testing information. To take an example, if you’re running a website on an eBook website, your sales funnel will most likely indicate a drop-off rate between “Add to Cart” (step 1) and “Check Out” (step 2).
- Where is your traffic coming from?
- What were they expecting to find on the following web page?
- Why weren’t they motivated to proceed with the transaction?
- What happened that caused prospective customers to change course?
This is the kind of information that helps you generate ideas for possible variations – variations that are customized to bridge the gap between the two statistical figures.
3. Create Variations
With a number of observations based on your data analytics, coupled with a concrete statistically-sound foundation for making logical suggestions, you’re in a position to create variations. This can range anywhere between switching the color of your CTA button from red to blue and re-arranging the images on your web page, to editing the length of your content and changing font types.
Once you know what you want to test, you’re ready to begin the test. And for this, you’ll need specialized A/B testing optimizing software from a credible SEO company.
Popular Ideas for A/B tests
If it’s your first time steering the wheel of A/B testing software, it’s important to set realistic expectations and run a set of simple tests to get the hang of it. If it all seems too complex, you could simply take advantage of a prioritization model that narrows down your options so you can focus on testing variations that are likely to illustrate meaningful results. For a simple foray into the world of A/B testing, here are a few suggestions:
Playing With Color
There’s got to be a reason why the geniuses behind Google thought it’s important enough to test 50 different shades of the color for their CTA button.
The fact of the matter is, there is no universal color-winner in the world of SEO. What works for one website might not for another; and while you’re testing out your color options, closely observing its impact on metrics, you’ll find that consumer trends are incredibly volatile. This is, of course, due to changes in preferences and how they affect consumer psychology.
To take an example, HubSpot witnessed a 21 percent rise in its click-through rate (CTR) by simply switching the color of its CTA button from green to red. The same can’t be said for other websites, simply because it’s all contextual.
This is where engaging content writing gets an opportunity to shine through.
Your headlines are quite literally similar to a newspaper headline—it’s got to be informative, but compelling enough to draw in the reader and make them stay.
Say, for instance, you’re running a website that sells energy drinks. How will your headline determine your CTR?
This one’s a no-brainer: simply value originality and creativity over something that’s blatantly clichéd and uninspiring.
Emphasize on what makes your product unique—in this case being “energy drink”—and why the visitor should invest in your product over countless other companies that manufacture energy drinks.
Quality writing can make the difference between “Drink Red Bull” and “Red Bull Gives You Wings”. We’ll let you decide which one is more likely to trigger sales.
Phrasing Your Navigation Bar
This is arguably one of the most commonly dismissed aspects of SEO tactics. Your navigation bar is perhaps one of the most resourceful tools for users. Depending on how you phrase it, you can either create an opportunity to add more value to your website, or conversely, demonstrate the shortcomings of your service (by making it relatively inaccessible).
Remember, your website is your chance to not just introduce your product or service, but make it more appealing and accessible to the market. Experiment as much as possible with your navigation bar; you’d be surprised how big a difference it can make!
Shift it to the top, re-phrase the titles, make it bolder or smaller, more prominent or subtle: the cyber world is your oyster!
Don’t underestimate the power of simple features present on your webpage—they can make or break the flow of traffic!
Limiting the Number of Form Fields
It’s no rocket science. If you add more form fields to your web page, it automatically means more physical effort for your user—and in case you hadn’t noticed, users like to take it easy.
Of course, there are times when you need more information; in which case, extra form fields are a necessity rather than a choice. Regardless, it helps to experiment by increasing or decreasing the number of form fields depending on the type of information required.
Rewording the Subject of Your Marketing Emails
Here’s the thing: no one likes spam. So, your job is to make sure that the promotional emails for your website sound as little like a promotion as possible.
The trick, of course, is to find a balance between sounding personable and professional, so that prospective clients are compelled to click just by virtue of the friendly, non-commercial email subject.
Placing Images in a Different Order
It’s like advertising—you need to put a lot of thought and consideration into who or what gets to represent your web page, including the images you choose to incorporate into your landing-page.
Some businesses, for instance, tend to experiment with the same image using a different model. The results are generally astonishing, instantly raising conversion rates without having to resort to a dramatic deviation in optimization strategy.
The Duration of Your Product Trial
Most marketing tools tend to run a product trial for a standard period of 14 days. You might think that reducing the length of the duration would most likely lower conversion—not so.
In many cases, shorter product trials are likely to convince users to make a swift purchase, rather than taking for granted a service that lasts about 30 days, by the time they’ve grown bored of it.
If your hypothesis for running a series of A/B tests is goal-oriented, testable and based on reliable data analytics from your website, chances are, your analysis will reveal a positive difference in conversion through proposed variations.
This, however, will be determined after the tests have been completed and the results are in. Some key SEO considerations should always play a part in the process of A/B testing, such as making sure your A/B test doesn’t run longer than absolutely necessary. This could be detrimental to the overall health of your business.
It’s equally important to integrate your A/B tests within a conversion rate optimization framework. This means hiring a Web SEO Company that specializes in designing a process that allows you to raise your conversion rate.
There are a number of theoretical CRO models that are designed specifically to optimize your website in order to trigger conversions. Do your research and find one that works best for your business!
The take-home message here is that your A/B tests are most productive when they work in conjunction with conversion rate optimization solutions, so that the variations implemented on your web page have a significant chance of bearing fruit.
Learning and Evaluating
Regardless of the results of your A/B tests, it’s important to keep in mind that the more you experiment and research, the better you’ll get at understanding and navigating the complex world of web optimization.
Whatever you do, no matter what your results indicate, never stop testing!
The only way you can improve upon your business is to be curious, take risks, discover more and take advantage of the continually evolving nature of optimization.
Remember how we drew parallels between A/B testing significance formula and conducting a scientific experiment? Well, it rings true more so in the field of business and technology than anywhere else.
With the dawning of a new age defined by advanced research and astounding developments in technology, the face of business and marketing has never been the same.
One of the greatest reasons underlying the sudden stagnation of once-thriving industries is their failure to keep up with the changing pace of the times. Fortunately, we’re living in the era of technological triumph, unprecedented achievements that have carved a path for businesses and entrepreneurs, previously unthinkable.
What are we, if not lazy, for not taking advantage of the limitless opportunities made possible by the brilliant minds of our own generation?
The fact of the matter is, business is and always has been an incredibly volatile field—constantly reacting to the changing rhythm of science and technology.
If you’re a committed business owner, driven by ambition and a visionary mind, you probably already have an efficient website up and running.
Why not make an effort to go all the way and make a successful foray into the fascinating and highly rewarding world of web optimization?
A/B testing is currently one of the most sought-after optimization tools for virtually every company with the goal to expand its consumer base. Contrary to its generally exclusive association with influential brand names, it creates a unique opportunity for you to gain valuable insight into the internal workings of your website and how powerful it can truly be to convert wandering web-surfers into loyal-customers.
As with any scientific experiment, A/B testing opens a gateway to an endless journey of exploration and discovery. In a similar vein, you must stay focused and continue testing, considering the possibility of having your hypothesis falsified. As anyone in the field of science would tell you, this is a huge learning curve and, as explained above, can ultimately help you devise an optimization strategy that actually ends up being more effective than the one you have at present.
With the right SEO tools such as A/B testing at your disposal, and a strong desire to continually improve your digital marketing strategies, you can turn your Small Business SEO into a strong contender against eminent brand names.
If you’re not sure where to go, simply contact Search Berg, a reputable SEO agency.
Search Berg is a leading name in white label SEO campaigns, with an exceptional reputation for delivering highly effective optimization campaigns for your business.
With a strong focus on quality content writing, we strive to bring you goal-oriented solutions for all your SEO needs.
Besides our commitment to providing premium services in copywriting, we also hold expertise in leading extensive SEO campaigns, with the resources to boost your CTR and deliver flawless optimization solutions that are bound to bring you high conversion rates!
Don’t cling to obsolete traditions that leave no room for innovation. Take a dip into the ocean of web optimization with the guidance of skilled technicians and software professionals with impressive expertise in A/B testing, among several other SEO tools.
Please, call us at 855-444-4777 to star your SEO project with guaranteed results. OR talk to our representatives via Live Chat right now.