Once your business has written and published your landing pages, your work with these pages is far from over. Even if you’ve conducted thorough research on what will look best and communicate the most effective message, you may still not get the conversion rate that you are looking for. In fact, 78% of businesses are unsatisfied with their conversion rate.
If you keep your landing pages the same for too long, you may also miss out on some key opportunities to get more conversions and optimise your website. If you are constantly changing your landing pages, you may not be able to tell what is causing higher or lower conversion rates, and will continue to blindly make changes in the future.
But there is a happy medium. In order to know what encourages more conversions on your landing page, you will have to test single variables against each other at once.
This is where A/B testing comes in.
What Is A/B Testing?
A/B testing, also known as split testing, pits two samples against each other to prove a hypothesis about their performance. In the world of digital marketing, A/B tests usually pit two CTA buttons or other landing page elements against each other to see which one will lead to more leads or conversions.
A/B testing can help you gain key insights about your overall digital marketing strategy through smaller details and adjustments. A single A/B test isn’t going to tell you how to create the best landing page or marketing strategy, but it will move you closer to an optimised site with results that you can trust.
Who Uses A/B Testing?
Businesses large and small, across all industries, can take advantage of A/B testing to improve their conversion rate and see more sales this year. A majority of companies (58%) are already using A/B testing to optimise their conversion rates.
Google has been using A/B tests to optimise their search results since 2000. (Their first tests were a failure, so don’t be discouraged if your first A/B tests don’t go as planned!) In the past 18 years, Google has improved their testing method and conducted over 7,000 A/B tests to improve their site.
One of the most well-known successes of A/B testing happened in late 2007. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign turned to Optimizely to run A/B and multivariate tests on a landing page that aimed to generate leads with email addresses. They looked at four different CTA buttons and six different media (photos and videos,) on a single landing pages. While the campaign staff admitted that they had a preferred CTA and video that they wanted to see on the page, the results of the A/B tests showed that a different combination would increase signups by 40%. This 40% led to over $60 million in donations. Since then, the success of the campaign has been a big selling point for A/B testing for lead generation and conversion rate optimisation.
Even if your goals are significantly lower than $60 million, you can still use A/B testing to see what it takes to move more website visitors along the buyer’s journey and boost your overall conversion rate.
How A/B Testing Works
A/B testing brings statistics into the marketing world. We’ve outlined the basics of A/B testing blow, but if your team hasn’t conducted A/B tests before, you should consider consulting with a CRO expert.
Define your goals.
A/B tests are far from broad, so you will have to hone in on a specific goal or metric that you want to reach with your results. Ask yourself the following questions before you set up A/B tests:
- What type of conversions do we want to see? (Email signups, sales, etc.)
- Where do we want conversions to come from? (Landing pages, social media posts, etc.)
- What have we previously produced or chosen to convert users?
- How does this test fit into our overall CRO strategy or current marketing campaign?
- How can we use these tests and results in future marketing campaigns?
Choose a variable to test.
Even if you want to make changes to your landing page, your A/B tests shouldn’t pit two completely different landing pages against each other. If, for example, you run a test of two landing pages that have 10 differences among the page, you will not be able to pinpoint which difference converts more users. Even if one landing page brings drastic results, you may not be able to recreate these results in the future. Use a single variable to test, so you can easily narrow down what is determining the results and incorporate this data into future content.
Single variables are small. Before you conduct A/B testing, make sure you’ve done proper research into buyer personas, keywords, and other information that will help you narrow down your tests. A/B testing may look at a single email subject line, or even a single word. Cut down the amount of A/B tests you conduct with thorough research into broad language you want to use to effectively communicate with leads or customers.
Common variables used in A/B testing include:
- Blog post headlines
- Email subject lines
- CTA copy
- CTA position on landing page
- AdWords copy
- AdWords bidding strategies
- Social media advertisements
Change the variables and split your traffic.
So let’s say you want to test out a call to action (CTA) on your website. While you have questions about the position and color of the CTA on your landing page, you want to focus specifically on the wording of the CTA. Currently, the CTA says, “Buy Now,” but you want to test out whether “Shop Today,” will lead to more conversions.
Creating the test is relatively simple. Choose a “control,” (usually the existing option,) and a “challenger,” (a new option.) Once you’ve chosen your options, create a separate landing page that has the challenging CTA, and split your traffic. Half of your traffic will see “Buy Now,” and half of your traffic will see, “Shop Today.” Make sure that you have the analytics tools to track conversions and clicks on each site.
Decide how long you are going to run the rest for, and watch the results as they come in!
Run the test.
In order to analyse the results of your A/B test, you’ll have to have some knowledge of statistics and significance. Running a test with a smaller sample size leaves more room for random results and the chance that the test won’t apply to your larger audience, so you want to make sure that your results are statistically significant. Significance in A/B testing is determined by the size of the traffic that saw your landing pages, emails, etc., and the percentage of people that converted after viewing your control or challenger.
Sites like Kissmetrics have significance testers that you can use online after you run a test. If you haven’t run A/B tests before, give your test and results to an expert who can go through the data with you and let you know when the results of your test determine that one option is more effective than the other.
Run more tests!
Once you’ve received results, you can move forward with more confidence that you are setting yourself up for success. Keep running tests on different elements of your landing pages and content to optimise your site further.
CRO Is More Than A/B Testing
A/B testing is a key element of conversion rate optimisation, but A/B testing and CRO are not synonymous terms. Conversion rate optimisation involves a detailed look at your landing pages and your copy to see how your marketing efforts can be improved to convert more leads. Other conversion rate optimisation tactics include:
- Thorough site audit and overall site optimisation
- Buyer persona research
- Evaluating and improving user experience on your site
- Creating effective lead capture forms
- Embedding video
- Adding live chat/AI chatbots to your site
- Remarketing campaigns
In order to see what CRO tactics will be most effective for your business, you will have to carefully analyse your site and current online behavior.
The success of your efforts can be measured by A/B testing, but testing is wasteful if you don’t do proper research before making adjustments. Other forms of testing, including focus groups and surveys, can also give you deeper insight into the results you are getting from A/B testing. A/B testing is strictly quantitative; don’t neglect qualitative data in your overall marketing and research strategy.
Hand Over Your CRO To Digital Squad, Auckland’s Top CRO Agency
Online tools are available throughout the web to help you determine sample size and test significance, but your work doesn’t stop with a single A/B test. Combine your efforts with an overall CRO strategy by partnering with a top Auckland CRO agency.
Digital Squad knows how to get the most clicks out of your website visitors. We combine our knowledge of search engine optimisation (SEO) with our content marketing expertise to show you how you can effectively produce, test, and distribute content to the right users as they travel through the buyer’s journey.
Megan Okonsky is a copywriter and content marketing specialist with Digital Squad. She is originally from Philadelphia but has landed in Melbourne after traveling for eight months in Southeast Asia and New Zealand. She also teaches vinyasa yoga online.