Marketing Guides

Introduction to A/B Testing

If you’re reading this guide, chances are that you’re curious about A/B testing. You probably know that it has the potential to improve your website conversions, and as a result, help your business. But if you’re like many business owners and marketing managers, you may not know much more than that.

Let’s start by taking a minute to look at exactly what an A/B test is and how it works.

How an A/B Test Works

If you remember lab sessions from your high school days, each experiment you did likely had a “control” group and a “test” group. Your control group remained the same during the experiment, while your test group was exposed to something to produce results.

A/B testing also involves control and test groups. But in this case, it’s your website that is subjected to testing, and the control and test groups are your visitors.

If you wanted to test one specific element on your website (like a button or form), the element as it currently exists would be shown to a control group, labeled “A.” A new version of the element would be shown to the test group, labeled “B.”

sample buttons

At the end of the test, the results are compared to see which group of visitors reacted better to the element. If the A group had a better reaction, the element should remain the same. If the B group had a better reaction, the element should be changed to match.

What defines a better “reaction”? It’s usually conversions – that is, the number of people who make a purchase, fill out a form, or perform some kind of other desired action encouraged by your site.

Why Should I A/B Test?

No website is perfect. There is always room for improvement, and even with extensive knowledge of your target audience, it’s impossible to predict what they’ll respond best to without testing.

You may assume that your customers and leads respond best to a blue button, only to find out that a green one gets much more attention. Or you may think that placing product copy on the side of a page boosts conversions, but putting it beneath the photos is really what gets people clicking.

Without A/B testing, you’ll never know if there’s something minor killing your conversions. But by running and monitoring various tests, you’ll be able to unlock hidden earning potential in your website –  increasing your leads and revenue bit by bit.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

To get started with A/B testing, you’ll need the following:

  • A website that you have full access to (via CMS, FTP, etc.)
  • A/B testing software – we’ll cover a few options shortly
  • A list of the elements you want to test
  • Patience – because the best test results typically take 30+ days

Once you’ve prepared everything, you’re ready to kick off your A/B testing!

Let’s now examine the specific elements you’ll want to consider testing on your site. If you’re not sure what to test first, this should help!

Go Back                Chapter 2: What Should You Test?