Every business owner knows that in order to continue to grow and stay profitable, they need to provide a positive experience for their customers. However, this is often easier said than done.
All too often businesses find themselves guessing at what features to change or adjust in order to boost specific metrics and optimize their customers’ experience with their brand. While this method may temporarily alleviate certain issues a business may be facing, it can also lead to worse problems that produce undesirable results.
For example, a business that decides to completely overhaul a landing page because it has a high bounce rate may find that the random changes they made actually increased the bounce rate instead.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to only make adjustments using reliable testing methods, such as A/B testing.
If you want to eliminate guesswork and make changes that will help you help your customers, you should include A/B testing into your conversion rate optimization strategy.
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing is an optimization method that businesses can use to compare two versions (version A and version B) of a website, app, email newsletter, or another element of their UI/Communications in order to see which one produces the most desirable results.
Businesses can see data from an A/B test to see which variant performs better with their live traffic, and they can use this data to make necessary adjustments to their websites.
With A/B testing, businesses can test a specific hypothesis and make changes to their websites that they know will actually make a positive difference.
The benefits of A/B testing
A/B testing is a useful tool for small businesses because it helps pinpoint specific areas that need to be changed without needing large amounts of website traffic in order to produce results.
There are numerous reasons why your business should incorporate A/B testing into its optimization strategy.
With A/B testing, your business will get a more accurate picture of exactly which tools, strategies, and marketing efforts are working effectively. Using this information, you can make adjustments to help each and every element of your business more efficient.
For instance, if you realize that the copy on your call-to-action buttons is not garnering the desired results, you can use A/B testing to determine the best way to change this copy and improve your conversion rate.
As you improve the efficiency of your website design, marketing strategies, and the other elements of your business, you will also start to boost your profitability.
A/B testing will help you to see which variants of your website or promotions are the most effective, allowing you to make sure you are using tools that lead to the greatest click-through and conversion rates. This will directly impact your bottom line.
A/B testing has the potential to make a significant difference for your business, and you will benefit from using A/B testing to influence your website design and marketing decisions.
Far too often businesses get stuck in a rut where they are simply continuing to make the same decisions they have always made, even if these decisions are not leading to growth.
With A/B testing, instead of settling for results that are “good enough,” businesses can always work toward improvement. A/B testing pinpoints specific areas of weakness that need adjustments. Conducting A/B testing and making these adjustments will allow businesses to grow while providing the best possible experience for their customers.
Performing an A/B test
Performing an A/B test requires a lot more than creating two versions of an eCommerce website and pitting them against one another. There is a specific framework that your business must adhere to in order to test effectively:
1. Analyze metrics
The first step businesses need to take when preparing to perform an A/B test is analyzing their metrics. This step needs to be completed before your business starts creating variants because it will help you determine what you actually want to test and which issues you want to resolve.
Start by looking at your analytics and pinpointing any metrics that you would like to improve. For instance, if you have a high bounce rate on a particular landing page or if you have calls-to-action with low conversion rates, you might make one of these metrics a target for your A/B test.
2. Set a goal
Once you have determined which metrics you would like to improve, you need to find a way to operationalize this metric by setting a goal. Determine how success will be measured by your A/B test.
For instance, if you want to improve your conversion rate, a specific goal you might set is increasing the number of website visitors who click on a specific call-to-action button on your landing page.
Make sure you are as specific as possible for optimal A/B testing efficiency. As a rule of thumb, your goal should be S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
3. Create a hypothesis
Just like in a science class, if you are going to run an experiment or test, you need to have a hypothesis to test. Once you have a specific goal in mind for your A/B test, you need to create a hypothesis.
For example, if your goal is to increase the percentage of people who click on a specific call-to-action button, your hypothesis might be like the following:
- Increasing the size of the call-to-action button will lead to an increase in clicks
- Placing the call-to-action button above the fold will lead to an increase in clicks
- Changing the font color of the copy on the call-to-action button will lead to an increase in clicks
- Shortening the text on the call-to-action button will lead to an increase in clicks
- Adding an icon to the call-to-action button will lead to an increase in clicks
It is imperative that you create a hypothesis (or a list of hypotheses) that you know you will be able to test effectively so that you can figure out exactly how to reach your goal and optimize your conversion rates.
4. Create variations
Once you have decided which hypothesis you would like to test, you will be ready to create the website variants for your A/B testing. Using A/B testing tools, like those available at ConvertCart, to make a variation of your landing page with the specific change outlined in your hypothesis.
The variations are important because half of your website visitors will see your original landing page and half of them will see the variant. This will allow you to see and collect data in real-time about which version of your eCommerce website, version A or version B, is the most effective for reaching your goal.
5. Conduct the A/B test
After you have completed these steps, you can actually run your A/B test on your live website traffic. Set up a testing window and conduct your test. Your website visitors will randomly be directed toward your original landing page or your variant, and your A/B testing software will keep track of pertinent data that you can use to measure whether or not your hypothesis was accurate.
6. Analyze the A/B testing data
This is perhaps one of the most important steps in the A/B testing process. Running an A/B test does not matter if you do not look at the results and use them to make effective changes.
When your testing period has concluded, study the data from the test and use it to determine whether or not you should make the changes detailed in your hypothesis. If your variation led to your desired results, you know exactly what you need to change. If your variation did not produce the results you wanted, you know to move on to testing the next hypothesis on your list.
For example, in the image above, variant B had a 40% conversion rate (double the rate of variant A), demonstrating that it is the optimal variant for this business’ eCommerce website.
Analyzing your A/B testing data will help you optimize your eCommerce website’s conversion rate and allow you to provide a better experience for both your business and your customers.
How to use A/B testing
There is no limit to the number of features that you are able to test. Anything, from your website’s headlines to the font colors you choose for your email newsletters, can be A/B tested as long as it is an element that has the potential to be adjusted.
Here are a few key features that businesses should make sure to A/B test regularly:
Headlines are one of the first features that your customers will see when they visit your eCommerce website. Make sure that the headline is captivating and easy to read by using A/B testing to determine the optimal font, size, color, text, length, and placement of your headlines.
With A/B testing, you might realize that a shorter headline is more effective than a longer one or that using a specific color garners better results for your business.
Your call-to-action (CTA) buttons are the most important feature on your eCommerce website. Without them, your website visitors would not know what actions you would like for them to take, and they would not be able to complete essential actions like adding products to their online shopping cart or joining your email subscriber list.
If you notice that there are several people who are not clicking on your call-to-action buttons, there is a chance that you need to change the copy, the placement, or the size of the CTA.
For instance, people may be hesitant to click on your call-to-action button asking them to sign up for your email newsletter if it is placed above the fold before they have the chance to see information about what they are signing up for.
An A/B test will help you determine how to change your CTA so that you see more conversions.
Is your landing page too busy? Should you include more visuals? Are your website visitors confused about which actionable step you would like for them to take when they reach your website?
A/B testing can give you the answers to these questions and help you see exactly what factors are contributing to your landing page bounce rate so that you can fix these issues and make your landing page more effective.
Your website copy is how you communicate information with your website visitors. If your copy is too long or too confusing, or it simply is not engaging, you may see some undesirable metrics.
Use A/B testing to make changes to the copy on anything from your product descriptions and headlines to your welcome emails.
It is important for you to use A/B testing to test any images, videos, infographics, or other visual content on your website. Using A/B testing will help you see which visual elements are the most effective for your target audience so you can know what types of media you should incorporate on your website.
If video content performs better than plain audio content, for example, then you should focus on making more videos for your website and using them to replace your audio content.
Using ConvertCart for A/B testing
If you want to improve your website and gain the benefits that come with ab tests, ConvertCart can help.
Learn more about ConvertCart and how we can provide you with the ab testing software you need to optimize your conversion rate and grow your business when you visit our website.