Every website is set up so that to compel the site visitors to take a certain action.
Every website has an objective, a so-called goal: ecommerce sites aim at purchase of products, SaaS apps require a registration for a trial version or for a product download, and information sites aim at advertisement clicks that increase the number of subscribers.
The speed at which a website is able to have an action performed by a visitor is measured by the conversion rate, and the tool to find the way to increase conversions is AB Testing.
What is the AB testing
Generally speaking, AB Testing (also known as split testing or bucket testing) is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or its elements, version A and version B, that is, the original and the variant.
These techniques, essential in any marketing program and CRO, provide unambiguous data on the effectiveness of any conversion rate programs changes. Without them, companies are not able to see the comparative effectiveness of various experiences offered in a campaign. Many businesses, from small to multinationals, perform experiments, presenting different contents to different user groups and use its results to set up strategies.
In web design, and in particular in UX design, the aim of the AB Test is to identify web page changes that increase or maximize the results the company is interested in.
Almost all elements of a website can influence a user’s experience and therefore be tested. In the Advanced A / B tests, it is possible to include price lists, promotions, free trials, navigation menus, free or paid delivery, and much more.
A crucial aspect of performing a AB test is that both versions of a web page are shown to different users, over the same period of time.
After the test period, it is possible to collect quantitative data on the conversion rate generated by both the first alternative and the second one.
Important aspects of AB testing
The amount of time required for a reliable test depends on the various factors, such as conversion rates and traffic received from the website. However, it is appropriate to conduct the experiment only for a certain period of time. A good testing tool should be able to detect when the data collected is enough so that to draw a reliable conclusion. Once the test is completed, the website should be updated with the desired content variants and all the test elements should be removed shortly.
Furthermore, if you’re running an AB Test that redirects users from the original URL to a variant URL, the optimal redirect method is 302 (temporary) and not 301 (permanent) redirection. In doing so, the search engines are informed of the temporality of the test and will keep the original URL in their index.
6 essential steps for a successful AB test
The correct procedure to perform an A/B Test experiment includes the following steps:
- Website data study, identifying the objective to be measured (a call-to-action or the internal website landing page).
- The target visitors’ behaviour analysis.
- The construction of variants.
- Carrying out a trial test, (in standard conditions, thus avoiding Christmas period, Valentine’s Day and other festive events). It may be worthwhile to carry out the test outside the normal flow of visitors and then promote it by sending an email to a contact list, via social channels or by a PPC (pay per click) campaign, to have an adequate sample of visitors.
- Test data analysis and a summary of conclusions.With Google Analytics it is possible to understand if, for example, visitors who clicked on a specific CTA have become customers.
- Reporting the results to the relevant team , so that the Marketing, IT and UI / UX departments are informed of the test results and the data generated.