Online Marketing

Fred Lebhart Posted by Fred Lebhart on August 14, 2018

Your Best Tool for Boosting Conversions and Increasing Website Engagement

Your Best Tool for Boosting Conversions and Increasing Website Engagement

Online Marketing Efforts Stuck in a Rut? Give A/B Testing a Try

What is A/B testing, you ask?

A/B testing—or split testing—is a method of conducting market research by which you build out two versions of a webpage and test them against each other to see which nets you the higher number of conversions (more on what we mean by “conversion” can be found here).

It’s a fantastic tool for assessing where your successes and areas of opportunities are and is a great option to try out when you’re drawing blanks as to why leads or sales have stagnated on your business’s website.

When Is it a Good Time to Try A/B Testing?

Some argue that all businesses should be running A/B testing with their websites on an ongoing basis, whether you have an online store or are marketing your professional service firm. After all, it’s the only guaranteed method for really determining whether a layout choice, image, video, etc. is as effective as assumed.

For those short on time, note that there’s never really a bad time to try out A/B testing, but it’s an especially important option when conversions have leveled off—or worse, have dropped—and you don’t know how to get that business going again. Maybe you’ve been relying on the same marketing strategy for years but suddenly see a drop in sales or leads from potential clients. The nature of technology means that change is constant—learning how to keep up is critical to ongoing success.

Another great time to try out A/B testing is when you’re launching a new product or service and are not quite sure how best to market it. You can build lead-generating landing pages reflecting two different marketing approaches and use analytics to track which inspires a greater number of users to hit the call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

How to Start A/B Testing

A/B testing allows you to try out new designs, copy, and features to see how switching things up affects conversion and whether any new technologies are worth pursuing in the long term.

First things first, you’ll need to create a “control” or “main” landing page that reflects your current approach with your website. It’s also critical to make sure you have analytics tracking tags in place so that you’re able to gather data from your experiments. (We’re happy to help all our clients get their Google Analytics tags in place and respond to questions about other analytics options. Ready to start that conversation?)

You can then make a duplicate (or duplicates) of your control page featuring slight text, image, and layout “variations” aimed at determining which variation works best. Should you place an image on the right-hand side or left-hand side of a call-to-action text block? Will users respond more strongly to a video introduction or a bulleted list on a product or service page? What banner text is most effective?

Once built, you can direct traffic to both landing pages at an equal rate through online ads and other marketing tools. You can also test the pages one at a time using the same URL—if wanting to use the same URL for both control and variation pages, make sure you put a 302 redirect in place for the page currently being tested. A 302 redirect is a “temporary” redirect that automatically sends users from one URL to your target URL (versus a 301 redirect which functions much the same but is considered “permanent” by search engines).

From there, check your analytics tools regularly to see which page—whether the control or one of the variations—gives you the results you’re looking for. The more successful page can be used to inspire the direction for other products and areas of the site.

Some Questions to Ask When A/B Testing

  • How does your business define “conversion”? Is it when users hit “Submit” on your contact form? Is it when a purchase is made? (Make sure your defined conversion is captured in your analytics tools—we can help with this!)
  • What are your expected results for each variation?
  • Are the results from each landing page statistically significant? How wide is the gap between the control page and the variation page (or the variation pages and each other)? Does it exceed a potential margin of error?
  • Did you run the variation for a long enough period of time? Too long? Could the success or failure of the variation relate to seasonal changes or visitor needs at a given time of year (for example, results may be stronger during the holidays than other times of year and should be considered during testing)?
  • If the results are not as expected, what alternate variations can you test? Is there something else that might be holding your website back (like poor general user experience, deprecated code, slow load time, etc.)? Is it time for a complete redesign?

We're a Seattle Web Design Agency with a History of Building Data-Driven eCommerce and Professional Service Websites

Since 2005, efelle creative has helped clients take their online marketing games to the next level. We’re a team of experienced website designers and developers and regularly geek out over all things related to digital web strategy. From UX to SEO, we’re fluent in the language of the web and can help you rev up your website and accelerate revenue. Ready to get started? Call us at 206.384.4909 or reach out via our online contact form and let’s chat about how we can work together to create online marketing solutions tailored to your business.