What is A/B testing and how does A/B testing actually work?

A/B testing or split testing is a method where you compare two versions of a webpage or landing page against each other. It’s used to determine which of the two performs better. Basically, A/B testing is an experiment when two or more variants of a page are shown to different users at random. You then use statistics to analyze which one gives a better conversion rate.

Using A/B testing that compares a variation against a current experience allows you to ask focused questions about changes to your website or landing page, and then collect data about the impact the change has had. It takes the guesswork out of optimization and enables you to make informed decisions to shift ROI in the right direction. 

How A/B testing works

With A/B testing you create a modification of an existing web or landing page to enable you to have a second version of the same page. The changes can be basic like a different heading or button or be as complex as a complete redesign. You then use A/B testing to show half your traffic the original page (control) and the half are shown the modified page (the variation). Their experience is then monitored and collected as usable data. You can then determine if making the changes has had a negative, neutral or positive impact. 

Why you should use A/B testing?

A/B testing enables teams, individuals, and businesses to make informed changes to their user’s experiences while being able to collect data on the results.AB testing can be used consistently to make continuous improvement on a given experience, it works to improve the goal of areas such as conversion.

For example, a Business to business technology company may want to improve their sales lead quality and volume from landing pages. In order to achieve that goal, the team would start A/B testing with the headline, imagery, form fields, call to action, and layout of the page.

Testing one change allows them to pinpoint which changes have had an effect on the behavior of their customers, and which ones did nothing. While going through the testing process they eventually combine the changes to form an overall improvement on the control. 

A/B testing process

Have a look a the following framework for A/B testing: 

Start Collecting Data: To get an idea of where you can begin optimizing you need to look at analytics. It’s best to start with the high traffic areas of your website. This allows you 

It helps to begin with high traffic areas of your site or app, as that will allow you to gather data faster. Concentrate your efforts on pages that have a low conversion rate or very high drop-off rates that need improvement. 

Highlight Your Goals: Your conversion goals are the measurements that you use to determine if the change is more successful than the control. Your goals can be anything from the banner ads or the links to other products and email subscriptions. 

Hypothesize: Once you’ve set your goals you can start your A/B testing methods and then hypothesize about why you think they will be better. Once you have your ideas you need to prioritize them in an order of difficulty to implement and the expected impact. 

Create Your Variations: You then need to use your software to make the desired changes. This might be swapping the order of the page, adding a new heading, changing the font, adding in banner ads, changing links, hiding navigation elements or changing the color of a button. Many of the available A/B testing software has a tool that allows you to visually edit your webpage or landing page which means making changes is easy. Make sure you always quality check your work to make sure it works as expected. 

Run Your Experiment: Now you need to start your experiment and wait for your visitor to participate. This is the point where your visits will experience either the original or the amended version of your page as their experience. It’s completely random. Their interaction with their experience is counted, measured and compared to determine how each one of them performs. 

Analyze Your Results: When your experiment has run its course it’s time to start analyzing the results. The A/B testing software that you’re running will show you, in detail, how each page performed against each other. You will be able to see whether there is a statistically bigger difference and if you should make the changes permanent. If you don’t see the improvement that you were hoping to, you can begin the process again with new ideas or revert your changes if it performs worst than the control. 

Now that you understand what is A/B testing, you can start to implement it as a tool for your webpages or landing page, remember this is a way for you to determine how your users are experiencing your website with the goal of increasing conversion. 

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