Why You Need To Run A/B Tests

By Alex Borisenko | 08 Nov, 2016

At one point or another every entrepreneur is facing the one question - “How do we improve our product so that we ensure maximum growth?” The question that inevitably is one of the most important ones as everything depends on whether people will be interested in your product or not and help you grow your company. Most of the times we consider simply taking a leap of faith and going with our guts on this one, however there just might be a simple and easy solution.

Ever heard of split testing or as sometimes referred to A/B testing? This marketing methodology is often used to test changes to signup forms, registration pages, calls to action, or any other parts of a website where a measurable goal can be improved.

Let’s say you want to build a landing page for your website and are facing a tough question with deciding how do you make it great and more importantly persuasive for your target group. Here comes the simple part; consider split testing which is building 2 or more options for your landing page and housing them on separate URLs or A/B testing where the variations of your designs are randomly and dynamically split between users on the same URL.

We know that acquiring more visitors is the best way to increase sales. More visitors mean more customers, right? Let’s take a look at sales funnels. All your PPC (pay per click) and SEO efforts are aimed at attracting more visitors to the top of the funnel.

Here’s the catch though: in average of every 100 visitors you acquire 97% don’t make a purchase. And so you’re stuck with 97% of your acquisition turn into waste.

Thankfully there’s a way to rethink this and it’s called conversion rate optimization.

To put it simple, CRO is helping with understanding why visitors are not converting and fixing those issues making your product more appealing via continuous split testing. At the end of the day they found your product and are interested. Reasons for poor conversions are often different ranging from an ill-phrased CTA or as complicated as poor overall user experience. Once you identify possible problems you can begin testing with possible solutions. In some cases your tests can even turn out to prove that your earlier version was working better and that something’s off and needs to be addressed elsewhere. In any case this will all lead to learning more about the user and help with improving whatever actionable metric you wish.

Similarly but not quite you can test the same landing page yet with various CTAs or different button designs, you name it. 

Here’s what you do in a split URL test:

  • Create one or more page versions with the changes you think will improve conversions
  • Have the versions hosted on different URLs
  • Divide users between the different versions and find out which one works best
  • The winner is determined by the higher rate, note that the difference has to be statistically significant - meaning that there needs to be a more than 5% difference in results to consider them valid
 

Maybe at this point you think, well that’s all great with websites but can we also do A/B testing for mobile apps? The short answer is yes, the longer one is also yes, but… Because apps are downloaded and run locally on mobile device rather than accessed via a live connection through a browser it makes it a bit more complicated. For example with iOS the biggest difference is definitely the approval and user updating process.  When you push out a new version of a web page, all users see that new version instantaneously.  With iOS you will have two big problems, namely the Apple Store approvals and you’ll have to constantly worry about how users will update your app. All in all A/B testing on mobile is quite a different topic and I’ll try to address it some other time, meanwhile for those that are really interested here’s a list of services that might come in handy when you decide to commit to building a vibrant mobile testing culture at your company.

 

Type: Professional, Design

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