Why is it smart to make use of A/B testing
Your optimal communication design:
Smart A/B testing.
Nowadays in marketing, conversions are mostly what it is all about. How many newsletter readers click on the link for a specific offer? How many website visitors request a quote or order a product? In addition, digital technology and the Internet are still developing very fast. So it is important to stay ahead of the game, develop along with it. Optimizing websites and other digital communication is therefore an ongoing process, and A/B testing is a powerful tool.
What is an A/B test?
In an A/B test two variants of a webpage are set against each other. Normally, this is the current web page and a page in which one element is adjusted. There may be a change in layout, the colour of a button or the wording of the call-to-action. Some of the visitors will see the new page, so it can be determined which of the two pages will lead to the highest conversion rates. You can also perform a multivariate test. In addition, multiple versions are tested simultaneously, often with changes in various factors. These tests provide more data, but also require a higher input to achieve reliable results. A multivariate test can also be performed on a site with lots of traffic.
The term A/B test appeared for the first time around the year 2000 when Google used such a test for the first time. The search engine gave every page ten search results, but at some point the people at Google wondered if that was the optimal amount. The first test “failed” because the pages with multiple search results had a longer loading time. This shows how important it is to ensure that the test results are not clouded by additional aspects unrelated to the element you want to actually test. In the case of Google, the later tests showed that ten search results is indeed the right amount, and this never changed. Incidentally, the principle behind the A/B test is much older. The theory goes back to the t-test by William Sealy Gosset (under the pseudonym Student); the new term is primarily used for the current application in digital marketing.
Effectiveness in communication
What makes the A/B test so effective? For years, marketers have relied on theories and their own ideas about what will or will not work. This approach is not necessarily wrong, but in practice it appears that the theory sometimes lags behind. Moreover, there are many new developments in technology, but also in marketing psychology.
The beauty of an A/B test is that we do not have to wait until the marketing psychology is completely developed. You can easily and quickly test elements on your own audience. So we rely on proven results that work for a specific case, rather than using assumptions or generalizations. Additionally, you do not have to bother or harass your audience. Purchase behaviour is completely unconscious, and therefore there is not much point asking your customer whether they find a website attractive. And in a clearly organized test the client can behave differently because he knows that he is being watched. The A/B test can be performed without the audience knowing that they are participating in a test. Thus, the results remain completely objective.
How to apply?
One of the best known tools for performing an A/B test on web sites is the Contents Experiments function within Google Analytics. This allows multiple pages to be set against each other, and the program includes the resulting statistics to determine the “winner.” Marketing agencies also often provide A/B testing and analysis with the aid of this or similar tools. The advantage to a marketing agency is that they can also immediately assist in the implementation of the new design with an appropriate strategy.
In this article, we mainly talk about the web pages, but an A/B test can be performed, in principle, for every digital marketing activity. So also think of other means of communication such as newsletters, banners, promotional videos and direct marketing, so you know exactly what works (or not) for your business, for your customers, to achieve your goals. It is even possible to carry out an A/B test for media!