What is A/B Testing in Marketing?

Marketing is all about experimentation and testing. If you aren’t ready to spend resources on experimentation, you’ll eventually fail. You have to improve conversions so that the majority of the people who enter your marketing funnel convert and become customers. This needs some serious testing and tweaking. You have to run A/B tests and CRO campaigns to optimize your marketing campaigns. What is A/B testing in marketing and why it is necessary, let’s find out.

What is A/B Testing in Marketing?

A/B testing or split testing is a marketing experimentation technique used to compare two versions (or variations) of a campaign to identify the one that performs better. You can use the A/B test to measure the performance of landing pages, webpages, social posts, blog posts, lead magnets, CTAs, or pretty much anything else.

Here is an example of A/B testing in action:

What is A/B testing and what can it be used for

The traffic is split and 50% of the traffic is sent to the original version while the remaining 50% is sent to the variation. This helps you see how changes you made in the variation impact different metrics such as conversion rate, CTR, visitor behavior, etc.

The A/B test is used in conversion rate optimization to improve the conversion of a given webpage or a landing page. However, it can be used in any type of marketing campaign such as an email campaign or a PPC campaign.

A/B Test Benefits

Running an A/B test isn’t a straightforward process. It requires a lot of resources including an A/B testing tool and analytics tool to analyze results. So, why should you take the pain to run A/B tests?

The benefits of the A/B test outweigh the complications and expenses. Here are the key benefits of running A/B testing in marketing:

Improve Conversion Rate

Nothing works better than A/B testing for improving conversion rate. 

Increasing conversion rate is a top priority of every business. The average conversion rate of a website is 2.35% and the top 10% of websites have 11.45%:

What is the average conversion rate for a website

This means your website (if it is average) converts 2-3 visitors per 100 visitors. You lose 97-98 visitors out of 100. A/B tests help you find why these visitors leave your website without conversion and how to make them convert.

Secret Escapes doubled mobile conversion rate by A/B testing signup page. It removed the skip option on the signup form which increased the conversion rate:

a/b test example

In this case, the skip option was a hurdle in conversion. Removing it solved the problem. A/B tests let you check any variation and see what works best for your audience. You can find loopholes in landing pages that, otherwise, get unnoticed.

Cost Reduction

There are two ways to increase the sales and conversion rate of your website:

  1. Increase marketing budget and scale your marketing campaigns
  2. Use the A/B test to increase conversion rate with the same traffic.

For example, if your website receives 20,000 visitors per month and your conversion rate is 2%. You can increase the marketing budget and drive more traffic to generate more sales and conversions. The traffic of 40,000 will still convert at 2% but now your revenue will be double.

This is a costly approach.

Here is a better yet cost-effective approach.

Instead of increasing traffic, try improving the conversion rate. If you increase conversion from 2% to 4%, you’ll still double the revenue at a fraction of cost.

This is what makes A/B tests amazing. They’re a bit complicated but extremely cost-effective in the long-run.

Understand Your Ideal Customers

A/B tests provide you with tons of data about your ideal customers. It helps you better understand your target audience. Even failed tests provide you with data that’s worth a lot.

Here is an example: An A/B test revealed that the red CTA button outperforms the green CTA button by 21%:

red green button

You can add this data in buyer persona so that next time whenever you have to target this persona, you’ll be using red CTA buttons.

When you run A/B tests, you collect a lot of behavioral data such as heatmaps and click maps. It helps you understand the behavior of your target audience. You can see what types of headings they click, what types of images they interact with the most, and how deep they scroll an average page.

It never hurts to better understand your ideal customers.

A/B Testing Process

Running an A/B test might seem a lot of work, however, they’re fairly easy to conduct. Thanks to CRO and A/B testing tools like Google Optimize and VWO, you can easily create, run, and analyze A/B tests. It is a 5-step process:

a/b test process

1. Define Goal

It starts by identifying the conversion goal that you want to achieve. What do you want to test and why?

For example, you have a landing page that has a poor conversion rate. You have been sending paid traffic to this landing page for weeks but it doesn’t convert well.

In this case, your goal is to improve the conversion rate of the landing page.

2. Create Hypothesis

The next step is creating a hypothesis. This involves choosing a variable and predicting how tweaking it will impact conversion. Your hypothesis must be data-driven. You need to have a rationale for your hypothesis:

Components of an A/B test hypothesis.

For example, your research shows that it is hard for visitors to find CTA on the landing page. You propose that moving the CTA button above the fold will make it visible instantly leading to a high CTR and conversion rate.

3. Create Variation

You now need to create the variation based on your hypothesis. This is where you’ll need an A/B testing tool. Most of the tools in the market let you create variations of any page on your website with the help of a visual editor.

In this case, your variation will move the CTA button above the fold. Make sure everything else remains the same on both pages.

4. Run Test

Once your variation is ready, run the A/B test. The tool you are using will send visitors to both pages randomly. You don’t have to do anything at this stage. Visitors will see either the control page (the original landing page) or the variation (the modified landing page).

Let the test run for 1-2 weeks to see meaningful results.

5. Measure Results

Finally, you can analyze the test result once it is complete. The tool you are using will show you the winning landing page with conversion rate and all the statistics.

A/B Testing in Marketing is a Must

Thanks to the several A/B testing tools that let you create and run experiments with ease. You don’t need any technical or statistical knowledge to get started.

If you are running a marketing campaign, you must use A/B testing. I’d call it a sin not to use experimentation in marketing. 

Featured Image: Pexels

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