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Guide | October 18, 2017

AB Testing The Hidden Weapon of Online Retailers

Have you ever thought that your website is not as perfect as it could be? Though you may have spent a lot of time deliberating over every little piece of content on your website, there is never the certainty that it is the most optimal version when it comes to achieving your targets. The best way find this out is by performing an A/B test.

A/B testing is about finding the most appealing and engaging content for your target audience. This is done by testing different ways of presenting content to your customers and seeing how they react and what works best. Conducting the test takes a lot of time to do effectively, but offers a lot of potential for improving KPIs and increasing customer engagement. Friso, for example, conducted A/B tests on their website as part of their drive to improve their brand experience.

Why Should I Be A/B Testing My Website?

To Boost Conversions

The ultimate goal of A/B testing is optimizing your content, using data-driven evidence, to be as effective as possible at boosting conversion rates. There is always room for improvement on your website, and A/B testing can be an effective way of finding out the better version, while requiring minimal effort and resources. Ideally, all elements on a website that may lead to a conversion should be tested to create the optimal customer experience.

To Stay Relevant

The key to A/B testing is carefully researching both keywords that can be used, and your audience. You need to think laterally when deciding on these possible variants, and consider what your targeted audience are likely to respond to. It is a more covert way of gathering data directly from users, finding what engages them more. It can be very demoralizing to conduct an A/B test only to find that the original content was preferred and that all that time and effort was not put to better use. Saying that, it can still be worthwhile to test your content and see if it is still relevant, as responses can begin to decline as complacency sets in. With all this, the content becomes much more reflective of the user's desires.

OK, So How Do I Conduct An A/B Test?

What Is It?

The process of A/B testing involves creating multiple varieties of a single element, whether it be a button, text, or image. While the original should be kept the same as a control, each variant should have some characteristic manipulated for the test such as color, size, copy or layout. Each version of the element is then systematically distributed to a specified proportion of random users of the website.

What Should I Do With The Results?

To judge the effectiveness of the changes, data is closely monitored to see how customers respond to the changes through certain criteria. This data will the be used as the basis for comparison. On a web page, this would usually be the click rate. After a period of time, the data is then compared to find the best performing version, which can then be applied permanently to the website for all users.

What Do I Need?

To facilitate and conduct your tests, there are a number of programs that will keep track and present data to you, some of which are even available for free. Most content management systems and e-commerce platforms now include built in a/b testing facilities, making things easier to manage directly from the back-end. Another option is to use an agency to test for you. This option will save you the time and resources needed for the test, which is especially useful for larger-scale projects.

What Should I Be Testing?

A/B testing is not just limited to your website. There is also plenty of opportunity to test and optimize your content in emails, newsletters and social media pages. This content is posted directly to customers, and so involves a more direct approach. The process is very much similar to testing your website, by sending each version of the email to a certain proportion of your customers. After a certain time period, seeing how they respond, the most popular version is then sent out to the rest of your email list.

As a more observational experiment, A/B testing does not require many resources to conduct. It can become very time intensive however. Time is an important investment for the test, as the longer it is run, the more customers will see and interact with it, leading to richer, more accurate results. Due to this, it is a much better investment of your time to test elements that stand out the most and that customers are likely to respond to.

A/B testing should be an important part of your marketing arsenal. At a relatively small cost, you are able to revitalize your website. With the goal of keeping your website optimized for converting customers, A/B testing can help you to achieve your targets.

If you want to try A/B testing on your website, get in touch


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