An All-inclusive Guide on A/B Testing (With Examples)

The higher the visitors on the website, the more will be the opportunities for the business expansion (acquiring new customers and improving relationships with the existing ones). It’s conversion funnel that decides whether your website will drift massive traffic or not. And, the main motive of the businesses is to take an action (conversion) from the visitors on their website. Note it, if the funnel is well- optimized, then it maximizes the chances of the visitors to convert.

One of the promising ways for optimizing the website’s funnel is to do A/B testing. Those who are not well-acquainted with this term will get a crystal-clear understanding when they will go through this comprehensive guide.

So, let’s start with the basics.

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing (sometimes termed as split testing) involves a comparison of two versions of the similar webpage to analyze which one is the best in terms of the performance.

In ab testing, you run tests on 2 versions of your webpage to compare the impact of the changes made. You take the original version of a webpage (known as the control) and modify it to create a second version of the same page (the variation) (source).

This process aids you in answering all the relevant business questions, generating higher revenue from the website’s traffic, and laying the foundation for a data-driven marketing strategy.

The conversion metrics are totally different for each website. For instance, it is the product’s sale for an eCommerce portal, while for B2B, it’s the generation of the quality leads for a business.

Why Should You Perform A/B Testing?

Every business is dealing with some sort of problems like a media house may facing low viewership, an eCommerce store may be having a high cart abandonment rate, while a B2B business might be filled with the unqualified leads.

Well, these conversion metrics are greatly affected by the problems like drop-off on the checkout page, conversion funnel leaks, etc.

Let’s read why you should carry out A/B testing to deal with these issues:

Address pain points of the visitors

The visitors on a website come with a set goal, which they want to accomplish. It may be understanding the services, to purchase a product, to get a gist of any specific topic, or simply to surf for something. Whatsoever their goal is, but they face general pain points while meeting their goals: it may be a confusing CTA button, poorly written headline or other things. When their goals are not achieved, it leads to a bad user-experience and hampers the conversion rate as well.

Version A and version B are two identical pages except for the headline and subhead wording. The result – version A has increased visitors form fills by 27.76%. It shows that the headline has a significant impact on visitors (source).

Let’s take an example of A/B testing on the website’s headline. The first version of the website displays “Create Successful Marketing Campaign With XYZ Tool” while the second version shows “Marketing Campaign With XYZ Tool”. The visitors will most likely to choose the first one as it clearly depicts the purpose.

Drive ROI from the existing traffic

Today, marketers are well-versed with the importance of acquiring quality traffic. With the aid of A/B testing, you can increase the conversion rate without spending on acquiring the new traffic. This testing will surely help you to attain better ROI, as even a minor change can reap the astounding results.

You need to devote time in performing the landing page optimization. The layout, colors, content, buttons, and graphics need to be optimized as it helps to convert the visitors. But, remember that one size doesn’t suit all. So, you need different landing pages for the visitors who come through organic search and email marketing. With A/B testing, you can keep an eye on the conversion rates for the different versions.

Reduce bounce rate

To judge the website’s performance, the bounce rate is the most effective metric that you can consider. Many reasons contribute towards the higher bounce rate like slow website speed, misleading meta tag/description, poor-quality content, and so on. As different websites cater to a different audience, there is no fixed way for reducing the bounce rate.

An ideal way is to use A/B testing. Through this, you can easily test the multiple versions of your website till you get the right one. This can improve the user experience, make visitors to stay on the page for long, and decreases the bounce rate.

Version A with prominent promotional message had dramatically less bounce rate than Version B (with the sidebar) – As a result, it reduces the website bounce rate of 21% (source)

You add and remove certain elements from your webpage for testing such as CTA button, text in the message or sidebar. You can even use power words with action words to see if the that reduces the bounce rate.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution but you can define and track your own metrics when conducting the tests which lead us to the next section.

How does A/B Testing work?

Thanks to A/B testing, it becomes convenient to figure out what will work or what will not in a given marketing campaign. The marketing activities are solely done to increase the traffic, but as the traffic acquisition is becoming tough and costly, it is now imperative to give the users the best experience (so they can cherish for long).

By adopting a structured A/B testing program, you can make the marketing efforts highly profitable- by addressing the website areas that need the proper optimization. Given below are the sequential steps for the A/B testing. Let’s take a rundown:

1. Research

Before devising an A/B testing plan, you’ve to conduct in-depth research on the current website’s performance. You’ve to gather information like the visitors’ count for the website, which page is getting high traffic, etc.

2. Observation & Hypothesis

Get one step closer towards accomplishing your business goals by crafting an effective data-backed hypothesis, and logging research observations for improving the conversion rate of your website. In the absence of these, the test campaign will be directionless.

3. Variation Building

The third step in your testing program is the creation of a variation as per the hypothesis, and A/B will test it against the current version.

4. Testing

Within this step, there are two statistical approaches: Frequentist and Bayesian. In Frequentist, you can utilize the data from your current experiment. While in the Bayesian approach, you need to refer to previous experiments to gain information and implement that specific data into your present one.

5. Analysis of results & deploying the best variation

This is the final step where you can get your hands on the campaign winner. As A/B testing requires proper data collection and analysis, your total work will be reflected in this step.

How to A/B test: Research > Observe > Build Variations > Test > Analyse and repeat - learn more and find testing ideas Click To Tweet

What you can test with A/B testing?

The website’s conversion funnel decides the future of the business. So, it is vital that each and every piece of the content present on the website should be highly optimized. This is applied to the elements that affect visitor behavior and conversion rate. When you begin the optimization program, these key elements should undergo an A/B testing.

Design & Layout

A lot of businesses face difficulty in deciding the most essential elements to keep on their websites and their suitable location for placing. This issue can be resolved easily by using the A/B testing.

For example- in the website analytics, you’ve figured out that your site’s visitors are visiting the navigating area less where the sign-up form is kept. Then, you can do A/B testing to learn that area where traffic is more. So, you can place your form in that location to get more submission.

Navigation

Navigation is the next thing that can be optimized with the help of A/B testing. It is the crucial element for rendering a fabulous user-experience. You need to have a well-planned website’s structure that offers seamless navigation to the users.

Yuppiechef’s AB testing results prove that by removing the navigation bar, it actually led to a 100% increase in conversions (source).

For this, you should definitely try removing the navigation as it gives a boost to the conversion rate- A/B testing clearly proves it. A slight change has increased the conversion by 100%. This is mainly because it least distracts the users.

Forms

These are the perfect medium for the customers to connect with the business. Just like two websites can’t be the same, no two forms targeting different audience can be similar. So, you’ve to find out which form is suitable for your audience, and A/B testing can help you do so.

Let’s take two variations of a form for A/B testing- one with a simple sign-up form having a plain design, and others with the more steps having an attractive design. The new sign-up process stresses the importance of each and every question. And users are required to opt one out of several images for answering the question. That will look more engaging for the users, and they will most probably sign-up the form.

Studies show that reducing forms fields actually had a negative impact on conversions although we know there many frictions that can affect the form completion (source).

 

Checkout Process

The average global cart abandonment rate in Q3 of 2018 was 76.9%. If you are one of the online store owners, reducing shopping cart abandoned rate is the quickest way to increase your sales.

There are elements where you can test during the checkout process such as showing free-shipping in the checkout, shorten the checkout process, having a security badge or an SSL certification, etc. With A/B testing, you can tell which elements are working well with your store.

For example – Removing distraction during the checkout. A redesign of the checkout process (the bottom) that removes the offer and moves the calculator closer to the order total box, turns out to be the right move (source).

 

Call To Action (CTA)

The real action takes place with the help of CTA- signing up, purchasing, and many more. By using A/B testing, you can A/B test colors, sizes, placements, wordings, etc. until you get the winning variation, and then optimizing it furthermore to make it even better.

The button color actually affects the conversion rate. A test result shows that the red button outperformed the green button by 21%. More people clicked on the red button than on the green button (source).

Let’s understand this with another example. We take two CTA variations for SEO services– one with request a quote and other with request pricing.  The second variation might outperform the first, and result in an increase in conversion.

A case study shows that the changed from “Request a quote” to “Request pricing” resulted in an increase in CTR of almost 161% (source).

This is because the idea of getting a “quote” isn’t particularly appealing to many users.  So, these are a few main elements which you can A/B test to make your website optimized.

Wrapping Up

After reading this comprehensive post, we’re sure that you’ve understood all the ins and outs of the A/B testing. Now, it’s the right time to create your own roadmap for the optimization. Don’t miss out a single thing while performing the process mentioned here, and you can see a drastic change in the conversion rate.

Clearly, A/B testing is fruitful in enhancing the conversion rate of a website, which you should definitely opt for your business.


Guest post by Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy is a deft quality analyst, working at Sparx IT Solutions for many years. He possesses rich experience of handling the intricate projects of a diverse mix of verticals. With his write-ups, he likes to spread knowledge on the best app testing practices.

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