Marketing Guides

A/B Testing Software

Now that you know why you should run A/B tests and have a few ideas for elements to test, you’re probably wondering how to get started.

There are a number of A/B testing software options that allow you to set up, monitor, and review tests on your website. Some of them are free, while others have a monthly fee. What you pay depends largely on the included features of each program.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular A/B testing options, starting with Google’s own Content Experiments program.

Google Analytics Content Experiments

Google Analytics Content Experiments are a good way to start if you have access to Google Analytics. With Content Experiments, you can send random samples of your visitors to different versions of your pages.

Content Experiments are a little different than other A/B tests in that they allow you to test more than just an A and B group. You can actually test up to 10 versions of the same page at one time, each with different elements.

To set up a Content Experiment:

  1. In Google Analytics, click “Behavior,” then “Experiments.”
  2. Click the “Create Experiment” button.
  3. Select what you want to test (in the form of a goal), the amount of time you want the test to run, and the percentage of site traffic you want to experiment with.
  4. Add the URLs of the pages you want to test against each other.
  5. Place the provided code in the correct location on your website (for example, in a link).
  6. Confirm the code is working, then start the experiment.

Content Experiments have one caveat: you have to create the multiple versions of the pages you want to test. These pages have to be fully functional and standalone – that is, they have to work independently of one another, and look normal if accessed manually.

Once your experiment concludes, you can review the results in Google Analytics:

Google analytics

If a winner is found, it will be declared based on the number of conversions, conversion rate, and how it compares to the original version of the page. Google will also offer a probability of the test version outperforming the original in the long run, which you will want to be as close to 100% as possible.

Google analytics

Optimizely

Optimizely is an A/B testing platform that allows website owners to run and monitor tests with very little technical knowledge. Instead of creating multiple versions of a page, Optimizely allows you to create tests that “overlay” your control page.

To use Optimizely, you simply need to sign up – they offer either a free plan or a custom-quoted Enterprise version – and add your custom JavaScript snippet in the head of your website. This snippet, which only needs to be implemented once, is what allows Optimizely to change the content of your pages as they load.

Optimizely screenshot

Once your snippet is in place, you can use Optimizely’s visual editing tool to select any page on your website and create a test. For example, you might pick a particular page and insert a promotional image, or change the color of an “add to cart” button. You can then access Optimizely once the test has run its course to see the results.

If you have a winning test, Optimizely can’t make the changes to your site for you – you’ll need to do that yourself. However, using this tool will give you the confidence to implement even major changes permanently.

Check out this list of 10 common experiments to try to learn a little more about how this tool works, and how it can help you set up A/B tests in a flash.

VWO

Much like Optimizely, VWO only requires you to insert a line of code into your website to enable A/B testing functionality. However, the advantage of this software is that it provides additional tools like heatmaps, user feedback, and personalized content tests based on location or device.

VWO is pricier than other options, but the basic plan starts at only $9 per month, which is ideal for beginners who want to run tests with less than 2,000 visitors. For larger sites, VWO costs $49 per month or $499 per year.

To set up a test with VWO, implement your “smart code” in the head of your website. Then, use the visual editor to load a page of your choice and make changes for a B version. Once the test is running, you can take advantage of additional tools like clickmaps and heatmaps to get a better handle on the results.

VWO screenshot

Remember: once you’ve determined a winner for your test, you’ll need to implement it yourself. You can leave VWO running forever if you like, but running the tests can sometimes slow load times.

Unbounce

The final tool on our list isn’t solely an A/B testing tool, but it does have some A/B test options, so it’s worth including!

Unbounce is a “what you see is what you get,” or “WYSIWYG,” landing page creator that allows you to create dedicated landing pages for products, services, promotions, or any other purpose. You can build pages in a matter of minutes, then simply duplicate them to create different versions that run simultaneously.

Unbounce screenshot

The landing pages you create with Unbounce are great-looking and easy to build. You don’t have to know HTML to create or update a page, or even to run an A/B test. And testing is built right in, so you can see the results of any given experiment simply by visiting the dashboard.

Unbounce starts at $49 per month for 5,000 unique visitors. However, since this tool has applications outside of A/B testing – that is, you can build an unlimited number of landing pages for any campaign or promotion of your choice – it may be worth the cost for your business.

Chapter 2: What Should You Test?                Chapter 4: How to Run a Test