A/B Testing: What’s All the Ruckus?

If you are a reader of Wired you may have come across their recent article on the website analytics practice of A/B testing. Although this concept is not new to people like us in the business it may come as a surprise to a lot of people that sites you visit are probably experimenting with what you see from visit to visit. This helps site owners test different versions of pages so that they can convert you from a simple site visitor to one that will make a purchase.

This type of test, test, test, and change has been going on all around you since before you could walk. For instance, if you visit Target you’ll notice that they have one entrance and refreshments plus impulse buys aka $1 section are right inside that entrance. You’ll also notice that each store is pretty much setup the same way. They’ve studied shoppers buying patterns and strategically placed specific items in the right places. Need toilet or tissue paper? Well you’ll need to pass personal hygiene and makeup to get to that area.

The internet is no different and website owners that use A/B testing have a vested interest in their site and want it to succeed. If aren’t doing this it’s time you looked into it.

A/B Testing – Little Changes/Big Results

Also on Wired is a great story of a series of A/B tests showing that even changing one word can affect your site’s conversion rates. The site IGN reported that changing the word iPhone to mobile showed a 5% drop in clicks. They thought that ‘its population of committed iPhone-haters would be put off from clicking on “iPhone” in the nav‘ and it looks like they weren’t.

Subtle changes can make a big difference.

In another experiment, IGN, moved the navigation link ‘Videos from the right side of the navigation to a more prominent spot on the left side. This resulted in 93% drop in clicks for that link. That’s a pretty staggering number. Much of that can be explained in users being accustomed to the link being on the right but as I site owner you expect that your audience could easily find it on the left. This example shows us that we don’t know everything.

Search Engine Marketing – A/B Testing

Redline SEO Services, a Phoenix SEO company recently did a A/B testing for us. If your not familiar with A/B testing it allows you to test out your search engine marketing (SEM) changes on your site. Running different versions of a landing page and testing different keywords can help you better understand what words or terms site visitors respond to. In the world of paid online advertising making every dollar count is crucial.

Email Marketing – A/B Testing

A/B testing is not constrained to just your website, your email marketing can benefit from running these tests as well. Campaign Monitor ran an email marketing test where it clearly showed which email was more effective. They changed the copy in the last link in the email and it made a big difference.

Start Testing Content TODAY!

If you aren’t running any tests on your site, your email marketing or any other aspects of how you market your product or service you should. As a business person you are immersed in what you do but you may not understand how your audience thinks online. Personal interaction with your clients or consumers will show you all kinds of information but when someone visits your site and clicks all around you can’t simply ask that person why they did what they did but you can present them with different scenarios and see how they react.

Of course this will either cost time and/or money on your part but if it gives you a better understanding on how and why people do business with you it is money well spent. A well-oiled machine can run for a long time, the question is how is your machine running?