A/B Testing is one of the most used and frequent types of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tests. Commonly known as “split testing,” A/B testing is a analytical testing tool that produces data used to make informed marketing decisions for online business owners and vendors.
For E-Commerce websites, A/B testing can be an invaluable tool used to help improve your bottom line. A/B testing works by using controlled tests on your audience to test variations to a single campaign variable. From these tests you gather valuable empirical data that helps you make informed decisions on what marketing strategies work best for your business’ goals.
What A/B Testing Is
Put simply, when you are running an A/B test you are observing how one version of content (eg. call-to-action, button, email campaign, landing page etc) performs with a change to a single variable. For example, you’re a business owner who wants to see if changing your CTA (call-to-action) button will foster greater engagement and increase your CTR (click-through rate).
To A/B test this change, you’d create another web page that featured the change you are wanting to test. This alternative web page would serve as the “challenger” to the current page. Following this testing period, you then analyze and assess the statistical significance of the information collected through these tests; and based off of this significance whether or not a change is warranted. Data directly affecting the call for a change includes the rate of conversion on each version of the web page.
Prior to Testing
Once you know what you’ll test for your website, make a list of the variables you will be testing. Do not run multiple tests at the same time as this could affect your test results. Next, you’ll show the change made to two equally sized audiences, and analyze which one performed better. You do this by taking 100% of your web traffic and splitting it evenly into different versions (one reflecting the challenger and one staying the same).
Version A your Control will have 50% of your website's traffic and Version B your Challenger will have remaining 50% of your website’s traffic. A/B tests need to be run simultaneously to account for any variations in timing that could affect the results. The length of time you run your tests for depends on the amount of traffic your website receives. This aspect of A/B testing is intuitive and depends on what you consider a valuable sample size of your company’s audience. Tests can typically last anywhere between a few days to a couple of weeks depending on company size and web traffic.
Finally, ensure that when you’re A/B testing, you are not over-testing when you should actually be optimizing user experience. A great way to stay aligned with your goal is to take the time to ask yourself if these tests align with your goal metric.
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