There are a lot of great tools to help you A/B test your way to success. It’s just a matter of trying them and finding the best fit for your company.
You might think that your website is doing well, but there is always room for improvement. Data-driven companies that A/B test have a fundamental understanding of this notion. A/B testing, also often referred to as split testing, is comparing two versions or elements of a web page to see which one performs better.
Testing your way to delivering better results should be in a company’s DNA because it’s one of the most efficient and cost-effective marketing strategies out there. In the end, why would you not want higher conversions, higher engagement, higher optimization and, ultimately, higher growth and sales?
Often times there are misconceptions on how to optimize your website. You don’t necessarily need the advice of your web designer, graphic designer, your CTO or your CEO. The ones to truly dictate what really works and what doesn’t are: your website visitors. And, to learn what they love best you need to implement A/B testing.
A/B testing allows you to question your long-held assumptions and lets you test your hypothesis using real-time data from results-driven options.
It allows you to take the guesswork out of what you think are the main levers or drivers behind your conversions, by introducing careful changes to the user’s experiences and collecting data on the results.
Comparing the results of these tests with clear analytics lets you see what changes, if any, are making an impact so that you can optimize your page based on the better variant.
Through A/B testing, you can increase conversions and further optimize your pages by testing certain individual items that you believe could be improved or altered to deliver better results. These elements could be, for example, the heading, the call-to-action button, the layout or the subscription form.
In addition, A/B testing can also serve to test and optimize your newsletter, your emails or any other communication channels. Most importantly, you want to do all this and with a great level of certainty know what changes are making an impact. Here is an example of A/B testing a client did on their home page.
The client hypothesized that their homepage was not optimally directing the user to and through the registration process, and they wanted to test several elements to see if conversions could be improved. To accomplish this, they wanted to test these elements live and in production. Rather than focusing on a complete overhaul of the home page or conduct a major redesign, they wanted to start off small.
The main objective here was to simplify the user flow and make it more apparent and easier to sign up and register on their website. Of course one can test many things when it comes to A/B testing, however, they were primarily interested in the above the fold section of their home page and reasoned that it was the poor call-to-action that was causing the low conversion rates. Putting themselves in the shoes of their users, they believed that a clearer and more prominent call-to-action would lead the customer to the signup process.
The client, thus, decided to test a few elements on the home page – testing one change at a time to help them pinpoint what affected their users’ behavior. They decided to test the header image, call-to-action button placement, call-to-action button color, call-to-action button size and lastly the copy. Doing A/B testing for two weeks (to allow for daily and weekly traffic differences) on each of these variables allowed them to analyze and choose the better performing version each time.
In the end, they had what they determined was the best header image, best version of the call-to-action button, and best copy. This all helped them improve the flow and direct users to perform their desired goal: to click on the call-to-action button and arrive at the registration page. In a similar fashion, and as the next step, they ran A/B testing on the registration page, trying different layouts, form fields, and lengths, to arrive at the best version of that page to help improve conversions.
The results from all the tests were significant; they improved conversions (actual registrations) by 14% after the two-week time period.
To conduct their A/B testing the client used the tool Content Experiments within Google Analytics.
1. Content Experiments
Content Experiments is a great tool that is easy to configure, manage and analyze; and best of all it is free. It allows you to split-test page variants within the program as well as to measure their impact on a specific objective. With this tool, you can truly identify the changes worth implementing based on the actual impact they have on the conversions. If you are already using Google Analytics then Content Experiments, which is a part of it, is an excellent framework to help you test basically any change or variation to your website (or app) and see how it performs in optimizing for a specific goal you have set.
You can try it for free and start testing (if you already have a Google Analytics account) here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1745216
If you are interested in other platforms, aside from Content Experiments, that have great features and allow you to do similar A/B testing, both Unbounce and Kissmetrics are popular in the industry, widely used, and definitely worth considering. Let’s break them down to give you a better understanding of their functionality, specifications, and price.
If you are starting from nothing then Unbounce – which has been on the market for 7 years – is one of the better-known, customizable landing page builders specifically designed for marketers. One of the many great features of Unbounce is that it has a friendly and easy to use interface, providing a simple drag and drop tool, which makes the workflow simple. Changing or tweaking features on your page is effortless. You can rearrange photos, text, videos and other elements without needing to know HTML. For people that use WordPress, Salesforce, Hubspot, Mailchimp and/or other providers, Unbounce allows for their integration as well. It facilitates the setup process so that you can “live” test and begin collecting data and information quickly. As for the A/B utility, you can run variants of pages or test out elements and tasks. You can also assign roles to team members if need be. In addition to A/B testing, Unbounce is a fantastic tool for lead generation and CRM, and the analytics and marketing automation integrations help a great deal to optimize conversions. So if A/B is a new game for you, Unbounce might be the best option to get you up and running and on your way to achieving your goals.
Price: Plans start at $49 a month. You can try free for 30 days at www.unbounce.com.
KISSmetrics is another powerful analytics platform to help track and show exactly how users are interacting and responding on your landing page. You can set up an A/B test that consists of three major features; it randomly assigns the current visitor to one of the variations, ensures the subsequent calls return the same variation to the visitor and sets a property with the name of your experiment. If you want to test completely different landing pages and all of their elements – rather than smaller or single variants – the platform also allows for that. Another appreciable feature is that you have the option of integrating KissMetrics with another A/B testing platform if you choose to. The wealth of accurate and deep data that KissMetrics offers is second-to-none and justifies the pricier plan as an indication of the quality and level of service you will receive with this platform.
Price: Flexible Pricing Start at $120 per month to start (with full-year commitment). You can try free for 14 days with no obligation at www.kissmetrics.com.
So remember, if you want to optimize and achieve better results, it is important to devote time and resources to testing and getting data and insights behind what drives conversions on your website or communication channels. If you’re looking to grow or scale your online business, implementing well-executed A/B testing is the key to unlocking your website or communication channel’s true potential. Heck, you can even A/B test some of these A/B testing platforms to see which one delivers the best results for you.