In digital marketing, one of the most important strategies to optimize your presence and maximize profits is called A/B testing. Surprisingly, very few companies bother with it.
So what is A/B testing? Sometimes referred to as split testing, it is a simple way to test which landing page works best. Notice I say landing page, not home page. The reason you don't have to bother with home pages is that all kinds of people visit your home page, most of them with no intention ever to buy a product or service. Testing on such a broad and unfocused audience is usually a waste of time.
For landing pages however, A/B split testing makes sense. More than that, it's a great way to maximize conversions. Unfortunately, too few companies bother with it.
One of the most successful and meaningful strategies is to come up with two very different versions of the landing page, version A and version B. Set them up, then use a testing tool like Kameleoon for approximately four weeks. The tool randomly assigns half your visitors to version A and half to version B. Ideally, one of these will have a higher conversion rate than the other. Once you have chosen one version over the other, you can continue testing with further refinements.
A/B Testing is a cost-effective way to maximize profits.
For some landing pages, narrower testing options may be needed. You could test different headlines, call-to-action text and buttons, images, media links, product descriptions or pricing strategies. Testing such minor changes like headlines, however, only makes sense if you have enough traffic. Different wording in a headline will hardly have a big impact on conversions, so very small data samples may just give random results.
A/B testing can be used for all kinds of pages on your website, like newsletter signups, checkout pages, product pages etc. but also for your product page on a retailer's site, your Facebook page or store, and much more. Ideally, the A and B version are not just cosmetically different but also represent different product offerings or pricing strategies.
We at Geber Consulting regularly test different versions of pages for our clients to show which one is more effective. The results are often surprising. In some cases we found that the page design we and the client favored was actually inferior to an alternative version. Especially in foreign markets and with new market segments, e.g. when you launch a product targeted at a different age group than your other products, A/B testing is a great way to test your own assumptions and optimize your digital presence.
It is important to remember that A/B testing only makes sense if you already have enough traffic. If you don't, consider combining it with a target ad campaign. That way you attract exactly the kind of customers you want. That will assure that the test results are more meaningful.
Ultimately, A/B testing is a great way to maximize profits from your traffic. It is especially valuable when you are driving traffic by using paid ads. The return on investment of A/B testing shows up very quickly and can be huge. Even if your ads are professionally designed to attract a maximum amount of traffic, an ineffective landing page can result in a lot of waste. By optimizing the landing page with A/B testing, you can make sure your PPC ad investment really pays off.
Even if your ads are good, an ineffective landing page means you are wasting money.
Which begs the question, why are so few people using A/B testing? One of the reasons is that web designers often have their preferred strategies, want to show that they know their stuff, and don't want to be questioned. They often rely on their own experience and don't consider the target audience of a new client. One way around this is to setup a web design contract with a requirement to have two radically different versions of a landing page, followed by testing and then optimization. Making A/B testing an integral part of your web design process is the easiest way to make sure you get the most out of your investment.