A/B Testing Step by Step [Complete Guide]
Table of contents
- What is A/B Testing?
- A Man With a Plan
- How to maintain A/B tests?
- A short guide to prepare a test campaign
- 5 things you should remember while A/B split testing
What is A/B Testing?"A/B Testing is a marketing technique where two different versions of a landing page (website, email, etc.) are created and then released simultaneously to compare the results", says Miłosz Krasinski, Managing Director at a web consulting company Chillifruit.com The landing page should be tested by sending the first version to half of your target audience and a second to the other half. Then set an ending to the test (for example after 100 conversions, 500 visits or two weeks). Be sure to gather enough data for A/B testing. There’s not much to be learned about which variant is better if there were only 25 conversions.
Source: AB Testing, Author: Seobility, License: CC BY-SA 4.0.
A Man With a PlanIn general, every process works better with a plan – it’s common knowledge. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, but split testing is not one of them. If you want to predict the results somehow, you’ll need to divide the process into a few stages. Lucky for you, there’s already a scheme for split tests:
- comparing specific elements of a website
- measuring results (mainly conversion rate) for individual variants
- choosing the best combination
4. landing page optimization (implementing changes) 5. further monitoring of the conversion rate 6. another A/B test (optional)Actually there’s no strict ending to the A/B testing. Your landing page can get better with every iteration, but if you plan to test it continuously, ask yourself a question: how long will you use this particular landing page? Here’s an example: at Landingi, we have been using the features landing page (mentioned above) for about a year or so, and we will use it until someone comes up with a better solution. This is why we can (and should) test it once every month or two. But if you create a landing page for a limited time offer, such actions would be rather pointless. Remember:
- Network traffic in A/B tests is being directed to two website variants
- These variants are being shown alternately – one internet user sees variant A while the other sees variant B at the same time
- The variant with the highest CTR wins!
Why are A/B tests worth it?While creating a website, you should keep in mind that it’s not a closed process. There is a great difference between creating a website and creating a profitable website. You’ll need A/B test for the latter purpose, but you can use them even if you write your own blog.
What should we test?The truth is, you can test anything you place on your website. The most crucial thing is that it shouldn’t be more than one element at a time, because it would be nearly impossible to determine what truly changed the result. Almost every website that is designed to bring income should have these elements tested:
- conversion buttons (CTA – call to action)
- product presentation
- element arrangement
- size and placement of photos
- color palette
- list of benefits and features that should convince a customer to use our product
- style of communication
Copy test examplesWhat’s more efficient when it comes to building headers? You can test some of these: Questions:
- Don’t you want to earn more on your website?
- Do you want to earn more on your website?
- How do you earn more on your website?
- Do you think you can’t earn any more from your website?
- 19 000 000 Poles have bought this product
- Half of all Poles have bought this product
- 50% of the Polish population have bought this product
- Landingi.com is the best landing page generator.
- LANDINGI.COM is the best landing page generator.
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- Buy access to our service!
- Sign up today!
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- Improve your conversion rate today.
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- Landing pages improve the effectiveness of an advertisement
- Research shows that landing pages improve the effectiveness of an advertisement
- American scientists claim: “Landing pages improve the effectiveness of an advertisement”.
Does it work?A while ago, I wrote an article about how to build landing pages that convert. I answered a question there: “Why should I choose a landing page over a regular website?”, and I answered it with a bunch of statistics. We used to have a website with all Landingi features and benefits listed and explained. The conversion rate on this one was around 7.5%. We wanted more of course, so we ran – you guessed it! – an A/B test to see if it’s better to direct visitors to a landing page with all this information. As you can probably imagine by now, it worked nicely. The new page granted us 13.87% conversion. Further changes boosted up the conversion on this landing page to a solid 15% – all this because of A/B Tests. So yeah, it works big time!
How to maintain A/B tests?Testing the effectiveness of specific landing page elements affects general campaign results undoubtedly. We’ve already mentioned what we should test and how to do it earlier. Read more about it in our article: How to build the perfect landing page form? We’re getting close to the moment in which all plans are set, a landing page is ready to launch and there’s not much left to do, but launch a test. Let’s do it step by step:
1. First, you should ask yourself a question: What can be the reason for a low conversion rate? Sometimes it’s the color of a CTA button. Sometimes it’s a headline or images. There are plenty of ways to find out what’s causing the vicious cycle of no conversions – e.g. heat maps.
“A heat map is a diagram of a visitor’s engagement on your website. A heat map shows which parts of a landing page are the most interesting for your users.”
2. Prepare two different variants of your landing page. Remember that you’ve got to make them differ with only one element to run a verifiable A/B test.
3. Take your time to choose your target audience. Also, notice that it’s always better to test on a fresh group of customers – they won’t have any past experience with your website, so their behaviour will be clean and reliable.
4. Choose the source of traffic. It may be Facebook, Google search, mailing and so on.
5. Start testing!A friendly reminder:
- test a maximum of two variants at the same time
- direct the traffic from the same sources
- run tests in the same conditions – it’s the only way they can be reliable
6. Choose the winner! Analyzing the results is not rocket science. You just have to check which combination got better conversion. You’ll know immediately what caused it, because there was only one change (what was it?). Write it down somewhere, it can come in handy later.
7. Run another test! I hope you didn’t think that this is the end! If your first A/B test seemed to be successful that just means there should be more, because with every test your landing page improves! And while it improves, it gets better conversions, better CTR and eventually better sales!Simply put: A/B testing is not a single action, it’s an ongoing process.
How to run tests in the Landingi platformLaunching A/B tests varies in different platforms. Here’s a step by step how-to for Landingi users. First, go to your landing pages section, click More on the right and select “Run Tests”:
A short guide to prepare a test campaign
1. A/B Tests – a baseline studyIf you intend to start a test for a whole new campaign, you can skip this stage. But if you’re in the middle of it and you want to improve the result, start the optimization with reviewing a current one. Analyze all sources of traffic and check statistics of your website. Take a closer look at:
- Bounce rate – is it too high?
- Time spent on your website
- Conversion rate – check if it’s below the average in your industry
- The quality of conversions
2. Setting the goalBefore you start A/B testing, you should set the goal. After doing a baseline study you should know what is your biggest problem. Time to point out what exactly you want to achieve. Choose one goal only:
- more visitors
- more file downloads
- more form fill-outs
- bigger sales
3. Set the hypothesisThe next stage is to form the hypothesis that should then become verified by a test. One goal goes with one hypothesis. Clarify which elements need improvement:
1) Subject of researchChoose the weakest link of your campaign and decide whether you want to improve a landing page, an advertisement or maybe a traffic source instead? You’ll focus on it in a few later stages.
A high bounce rate could be the result of incorrect communication that drives traffic to your landing page. In this case, focus on testing the ad. A low conversion rate, on the other hand, can be a sign of a troubled landing page.
2) Elements of researchDefine elements that can affect your message effectiveness:
- ad contents
- CTA button
- color palette
3) Set the number of variantsDetermine how many combinations you’ll compare. If you decide to create a few variants of advertisements of landing pages with different elements, decide if you’re going to use an A/B/C test (3 website versions at the same time) or divide the test into stages. The choice is yours, but notice that if your campaign is rather small, you shouldn’t test too many options simultaneously. Now you know what you’ll test. Express the hypothesis and start testing.
If you’re testing the form, the hypothesis expression can be: “shortening the form will result in a 20% higher conversion rate”.Let’s take a look at two form variants and try to guess which one guarantees a better conversion rate. Variant A:
4) Sources of trafficDetermine where your target comes from. Define the group in which you see the potential for converting and think about how you can reach it. You can drive traffic to your landing page using many channels: a search engine, email marketing, display ads, social media and more.
5) Choosing the toolThere are many split testing tools that make testing easier. If you’re testing ads, you can analyze their results in Google Ads in real time. If you’re testing landing pages you’ve got to use a previously created tool. The Landingi platform has got a built-in A/B Testing tool, which I described earlier in the article. You can use it to run tests, see the statistics and choose the winner after a predefined amount of time, visits or conversions.
6) The course of the testNow it’s the time to set the course of your A/B test. There are some options in our tool that will determine the ending of a test. It could be:
- test length
- number of visits
- number of conversions