A/B Split testing is a type of online experiment commonly used by marketers to analyse customer behaviour and to measure the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives such as website design or email campaigns. The aim is to identify which version of a website, web page, email or advertisement results in the desired outcome as closely as possible.
A/B split testing works by running two slightly different versions of the same item - the A and B versions. The A version typically represents the current version of a website, web page, email or ad, while the B version is the slightly changed version. Users are then randomly exposed to either the A or B version, and the results between the two versions are then compared.
By running an A/B split test, marketers are able to identify which version performs better and make changes to prior versions in an effort to create a more successful marketing campaign. Additionally, A/B testing can be used to compare multiple versions of the same item, in order to decide their relative effectiveness.
Once the A/B test has been run, the results are analysed by the marketer to determine which version performs best. This information can then be used to optimise the website for the best result. Overall, the goal is to improve the customer experience and increase customer engagement.
Standard procedure for split-tests
A/B split testing is a simple process that involves very few steps.
1. Select the Element to Test
The first step is to decide which element of the website/web page/email/advertisement you want to test. It could be a call-to-action button, the headline of an email, or even the layout of a website page. It’s important to select an element that is likely to make a big difference in the results.
2. Create the Test Versions
Once you have decided on the element to test, create two slightly different versions – version A and version B. Be sure to make the changes small and subtle, and ensure that the two versions are consistent with the overall look and feel of the website/web page/email/advertisement.
3. Set up and Initiate the Test
The next step is to initiate the test. This involves setting up a system to randomly assign visitors and customers to either the A or B version of the element. Once the test has been initiated, the results can be monitored.
4. Analyse the Results
Once the test is complete, the results must be analysed to determine which version performed better. This can be done manually or using an automated tool like Google Analytics.
5. Take Action
Once the results have been analysed, the marketer can then take action to implement the changes suggested by the A/B test. If version A performed better than version B, changes could be made to the website/web page/email/advertisement to incorporate elements of version A to create a more successful campaign.
General Guidelines and Best Practices
Whilst A/B testing is a relatively straightforward process, there are some guidelines and best practices that should be followed to ensure the success of the test.
1. Start small
When just beginning with A/B testing, start with small, simple tests that focus on a single element. This will make the process easier and help to avoid any potential problems.
2. Set goals
It’s important to set goals for the test before it begins. This helps to ensure that the test is focusing on the right elements and helps to measure the success of the test.
3. Use automated tools
For larger tests, it’s best to use automated tools such as Google Analytics or Adobe Target to track and analyse the results. This helps to simplify the process and ensure that the data is accurate and reliable.
4. Be patient
When analysing the results, it’s important to be patient. If a test is not producing the desired results, don’t be too quick to abandon it. Wait for enough data to be accumulated to make a reliable decision.
5. Test regularly
Regular A/B testing is important in order to keep up with customer preferences and trends. This will help to continually optimise the website and keep it current and up-to-date.