October 07, 2020
Level up your conversions with A/B testing
The only way to truly evaluate the performance of everything you do digitally is to get data directly from your customers — using A/B testing.
Trying to figure out the best way to design your landing page can be quite the headache. What headline should you use to catch attention the best? Is a red button or a blue button more effective? How should you phrase your Call-To-Action (CTA) to make it more impactful? What kind of multimedia should I use?
This is where A/B testing comes in.
By comparing the effectiveness of two variants of a single variable, A/B testing helps you figure out which version is more effective at driving conversions.
It’s a smart way of making changes to your digital marketing for better results, as compared to randomly tweaking things in hopes they work out.
Why use A/B testing?
A/B testing isolates and identifies exactly which element contributes to the difference in your data. But be careful — the key is to not change too many elements in a single A/B test.
If we compare two completely different landing pages, for example, then how would we know what the deciding factor for conversion is? Did more people convert based on text, images, or the CTAs used?
So while it might feel like a long process, since you’re only changing a few elements at a time, A/B testing does ensure more accurate and reliable results.
At its core, it’s a data-driven method — which means you don’t have to guess or make assumptions about what appeals to your customers.
With so many different elements to consider, using an A/B test for the first time can be quite overwhelming. But fear not, here are some elements from landing pages or Electronic Direct Mail (EDM) that you can focus on. After all, some contribute to conversions more than others.
Since they are the first thing people see on your landing page, headlines are important in catching and drawing attention.
It’s also the first thing that people see even before they reach your page. When your page is one among a sea of others on a Google search, you really need to find out what reels your audience in.
Can’t tell if more dynamic headlines (think Buzzfeed) or standard, professional ones work better? A/B testing can help you learn which your audience prefers more, and you can even file this information for future marketing use.
Remember, if it’s not interesting enough to grab your visitors’ attention, they might not even read about what you have to offer.
Writing style and formatting
Depending on your brand image, audience, or product offering, the writing style and formatting of the body copy matters too. If the headline is important in hooking the reader in, then the body copy needs to be equally engaging to keep them reading.
Should you go with a formal tone and try to win your audience over with statistics and facts, or would they prefer a softer, more personable approach with anecdotes? Do they like to read information presented succinctly in bullet points or formatted in full paragraphs?
It’s important to find out what writing style holds your audience’s attention better. Even the fonts you use might hold some weight when it comes to audience engagement — for example using Comic Sans isn’t the best idea if you’re in the investment banking industry.
Images and videos
If you’re doing digital marketing, you have to make use of multimedia. From images to videos, A/B tests can help you figure out what kinds work best for your audience.
What works better — stock photos or actual images taken personally for the campaign? Animated videos or live-action recordings? A/B tests will help you find the answers to these questions.
On a side note, don’t stop at using images or videos in your advertising — have your advertising be images and videos. The effectiveness of A/B tests extend even to online video advertisements and infographics. Take a look at this video advertisement by Google Android which was shared more than 6.4 million times simply by featuring clips of adorable animals.
For EDMs, subject lines are just as — if not more — important as headlines for landing pages. An eye-catching subject line could be the difference between an effective and ineffective EDM.
There are so many things to look out for when writing a subject line: length, choice of word(s), how you phrase words, and even personalisation. Who would have thought that writing a single sentence could be so stress-inducing?
Thankfully, A/B testing can make writing a good subject line less daunting by trimming down the number of variants.
Your CTA is, arguably, the most important feature to get right. It is meant to prompt your audience to take action, whether it’s signing up for your service or buying your product.
For example, an A/B test conducted by Dewalt showed the difference a single word can make in your CTA. On a page for their hand drills, the CTA ‘Buy Now’ actually received 17% more clicks than the ‘Shop Now’ variant.
But it’s not all about word choice. How you display your CTA can also have a great impact on its effectiveness! Hubspot’s A/B test showed that removing the option to close their CTA pop-up on the mobile site raised its metrics by 14.6%.
Conducting an A/B test
1. Craft your hypothesis
Conducting an A/B test is actually very much like conducting a science experiment, and like every science experiment, you need a hypothesis to start things off.
You’re going to need some important background information for this. Take a look at your current analytics and identify areas for improvement. Knowing this will help you make an informed decision on which variable to test, rather than just blindly picking from the lot.
2. Create a variant
Using the information that you’ve obtained from current analytics, identify possible improvements or changes you’d like to make. It can be something as simple as changing the colour of a button to get more clicks on your CTA, or something more complicated like changing the choice of words to reel people in. But remember, you should only change one variable at a time!
Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a variant (the edited version) and the control (the original version).
3. Identify sample groups
Now, determine your sample groups. For EDMs, having two groups of equal size would be optimal for the most accurate results. Each group will be sent a different version.
For websites, however, it’ll be quite difficult to control and determine sample size. In this case, we look at the duration of the test. There’s no hard and fast rule: it’s recommended that you run the tests until you have obtained sufficient information for analysis.
As for how much is ‘sufficient’, it is up to you and your company to determine that and set a goal.
Now, all you need to do is get those tests running, and collect the results! In time, you would possess critical information on which version your audience prefers. Even better, you can use this information to craft your future marketing campaigns more effectively.
It can be a bit of a slow burn using A/B tests. You won’t be able to make any sudden explosive changes that will send your conversions sky-rocketing immediately, but as the age-old adage goes, it definitely is a slow and steady climb that will win you the race.
Interested in A/B testing your digital marketing campaigns? Let us help. Reach out to our Digital Content Director Erik Magelssen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more from Click2View:
- Buyer personas are the way to your customers’ hearts.
- Live videos are the biggest thing right now.
- Read about what we learnt from producing our own newsletter.
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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.