Split testing or A/B testing is a method of testing for an advertising campaign that involves two different versions of a web page to see which is more effective. In a basic A/B test, a random visitor is shown either the “A” web page, which is generally the current design or control page, or the “B” web page, which is the new design or the challenger page. The reaction of the visitor is tracked, whether the visitor leaves the page, stays and reads text, or makes a purchase based on what the web page looks like. These reactions are recorded and the results determine which page, page “A” or page “B,” will become the new page for the website. There is also a form of the A/B test that is called a 50/50 A/B Split Test, and that leaves the decision of which page is shown to the visitor to coin toss predictability.
To be effective, a split test must reach an audience within the target demographic, or more simply, should be tested on the key audience the website wishes to reach. Split testing should be used to narrow down how individual changes work for or against the website. Changing too many variables at once will render the test useless, as the reaction of the visitors will not be judged just one change on the web page. To change multiple variations and test them, websites should use a multivariate test.
Right down below, we are going to give you the 3 most important reasons why do you need to run a split test.
- Conversion Rate Optimization does not exist without controlled and statistically valid testing. By using A/B testing finds out how people actually act rather than just the way they think they will, which is all you get from focus groups, user testing and usability testing. Through these tests, it confirms or disproves the hypotheses gathered from eye-tracking, click heatmaps, surveys and all other qualitative data gathering. Split testing allows for testing Radical Redesign variations, which can be a great starting-point for most landing pages and site templates.
- Split testing usually delivers more dramatic conversion rate improvements than possible with Multivariate testing or the so-called MVT and it also allows for easier in-depth analytics than MVT so you can develop further test hypotheses for follow-up test rounds. Split testing is not limited to just two variations, it allows you to isolate individual hypotheses to build your best practice strategy sets. Not just a simple isolation, but it allows you to isolate only interesting potential interaction effects without wasting traffic on the inconsequential. Split testing allows entirely different messaging approaches that can lead to strategic marketing insights. That this insight came from split testing can be used to improve your other online and offline marketing messages.
- Multi-channel conversion can be tracked with split testing, including online lead generation, affiliate revenue, e-commerce, and phone call conversion optimization. Split testing allows alternative conversion funnel tests and can expand multi-step forms. Split testing can be used for landing page optimization, website conversion optimization, email testing, and Evolutionary Site Redesign (ESR).
So, to sum it up, split testing gives you enough time to test your marketing strategy and core value proposition. You wouldn’t imagine how bad your web pages until you start doing a split test.