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A/B Testing Methodology

A/B Testing Methodology

The simultaneous onslaught of Internet and technology has changed the world as we know it. Today, data reigns as the king of it all and is the primary tool based on which key leaders make their decisions. Business instinct and opportunistic situations can only take you so far, and in this time of cutthroat competition, CEOs and business managers require concrete data to validate their findings. When it comes to most online situations, A/B testing tools are one of the best ways to receive access to actionable data insights within a quick time.

Today, A/B testing methodology is being used by savvy marketers around the world to gain unique insights into user behavior, increase website conversion rate, and generate better actionable data points based on which important changes can be made.

What is the A/B Testing Process?

In the simplest of terms, A/B testing is a quick and sure-shot way to compare two different versions of a single product/service/element so as to figure out which one works better. According to most historians, the idea behind A/B testing is more than 100 years old. A/B testing is one of the main proponents in many life-changing hypotheses, and in its current form, the math behind the tests remain the same. Today A/B testing is mostly done online, in a real-time situation and on a much wider scale consisting of many different participants. A/B testing is also widely used by product developers and product designers to demonstrate how new features impact product onboarding, modals, user engagement, etc.

And yet, A/B testing is not as commonplace as it should be, especially when compared to other internet marketing techniques such as SEO, Web Analytics, etc. There are 3 types of A/B testing -

  • Classic A/B Test - Here users are presented with 2 different variations of your page but belonging to the same URL. This allows you to compare several variations of the same element
  • Redirect or Split Tests - In split tests, your website traffic is redirected towards several different URLs. This is exceptionally useful if you are hosting new pages on your server.
  • Multivariate or MVT test - This test is custom-designed to test the impact of multiple changes on the same web page. You can modify different elements for different variations such as modifying your banner, the text color, presentations, etc.

How A/B Testing Works?

Before you embark on an A/B testing process, you need to decide what it is that you want to test. In case of a website, it is important to keep the goal of your website in mind. Different websites have different goals -

  • An e-Commerce website wants more visitors buying its products
  • News and Media websites want more users to stay on their pages and consume their content
  • Social media websites want users to interact, share, and consume media

Once the goal has been set, you decide how the A/B test will help you evaluate performance. Since A/B tests are the simplest forms of randomized controlled experiments, you must estimate the sample size that will help you achieve any statistical significance. This would ensure that the results you see are actually viable and not just white noise.

The beauty about A/B tests is how easy they are to run, especially since one can run many simultaneous A/B tests so as to save time. Once the results are in, most companies use dedicated software to handle the calculations or assign someone with the know-how to perform the same. Most software programs give 2 results for the A/B testing methodology used: one for users who saw the test version, and another for users who saw the control version. The results may measure anything from clicks to page impressions and can be run many times in order to justify a major change.

A Step by Step A/B Testing Process

The A/B testing methodology for the web is very simple to use and implement. Here we present the steps of A/B testing process which can then be implemented based on the variables you want to test for -

  1. Conduct Background Research into Your Website Data

    Begin by using tools such as Google Analytics to find the problems in your website conversion funnel. Whether you have exceptionally high bounce rate, or are facing issues with reduced number of clicks, background research can help you lay the foundation for the A/B test properly.

  2. Collect Requisite Data

    Once you have enough background data on your problems, you should go about collecting data from your website to find out all the possible hindrances to your website's performance. Try finding out pages with low conversion rates and calculate the number of visitors you will need to run the test effectively. Use tools such as visitor recordings, heatmaps, form analysis etc. to figure out why users are not converting. All this data would be helpful in running the test

  3. Set Goals

    You should take some time to set your conversion goals which in turn will help you define your objective clearly. Once done, you would have more clarity while determining whether the new version worked better than the older one. Your goals could be anything from checking how many people clicked your button to how many people checked an embedded product video.

  4. Construct Your Hypothesis

    So now both your goals and the metrics with which you will measure them have been set. The next step is to come up with ideas on how to improve your problematic feature or product. For example, if your website is currently without images, it would be good to test a variation of it with images to see how your customers accept it. Use insights from visitor behavior analysis tools as well to build your hypothesis for better conversions.

  5. Run the Test with All Variations

    Begin your A/B testing process by presenting both the variations to your users and make sure to monitor the data generated closely. For example, A/B test your existing home page with a variation which has a larger CTA button which can be easily noticed by the user. Calculate the overall test duration based upon your total monthly users, current conversion rate, and the conversion rate you expect from the new variation.

  6. Collate and Analyze the Data

    Once the experiment has run the course, you need to analyze the results. Import the data generated into A/B testing tools which can easily tell you the difference in performance of both the variations. You can also easily find out if there was a significant difference in both the variations and how they were received by the user. If there was a clear winner based on the variations, you can actually go ahead and implement the same sitewide for better conversions.

What Can You Use A/B Test For?

Any website can benefit from the A/B testing methodology, as long as the reason you test for is quantifiable. When it comes to A/B testing for the web, more often than not, it is to increase conversion rates. Almost anything can be tested using the methodology for A/B testing, such as -

  • Headlines
  • Sub-headlines
  • Paragraph Text
  • Testimonials
  • Media mentions
  • Awards and badges
  • Links
  • Images
  • Content
  • Social proof
  • CTA text
  • CTA Button

You can also run advanced tests such as testing for pricing structures, navigation and UX, etc.

Why Should You Try A/B Testing?

A/B testing is the best way for individuals, marketing teams, and companies to make data-driven changes to their website which vastly change user experience for the better. A/B testing also allows one to think out of the box and understand why certain elements of a website's core experience work or do not work at all. Some of the many reasons why you should always A/B test include -

  • Create useful user experiences while benefiting from increased know-how about what they like and dislike
  • A/B testing can be continuously used to improve the website experience, helping you achieve better conversion rate over time
  • Testing one variable at a time helps you pinpoint which changes have an exact effect on your user's behavior such as the headline, imagery, embedded videos, CTA, etc.
  • Gain the ability introduce gradual changes over time so as to optimize the overall user experience for a desired outcome, ensuring your marketing campaigns become more effective.
  • A/B testing can also used by developers or product engineers to demonstrate the impact of a new experience

6 Key Benefits of the A/B Testing Process

A/B testing allows you to see the effects of consumer preference in real time and allows you the luxury to roll back changes which were not accepted well. Some of the many benefits of A/B testing include -

  1. Improved Content Engagement - With the help of an A/B test, not only do you stand to consider different variables, but also see how they add to the overall improvement of your platform, driving better user engagement
  2. Reduced Bounce Rates - A/B testing can help you avoid unnecessarily high bounce rates as you can discover what makes your users stick to the page they are on
  3. Increased Conversion Rates - By far, A/B testing is the easiest and the most cost-effective way of creating content that converts your website visitors into buyers
  4. Higher Values - Apart from boosting your conversion rates, your products and services also gain increased value in the eyes of the consumer. This in turn would allow you to sell products at higher margins because of the perceived value associated with them
  5. Multi-functional - A/B testing allows you to have a more functional website which changes as per your customers seasonal demands
  6. Useful in Low Data Rate Testing - It is one of the few testing methods out there which do not require user participation in the millions. Often, based on the variable being tested, you could do with a smaller pool size

Choose Outsource2india as Your A/B Testing Partner

At O2I, we have a proficient team of certified digital analysts and web optimization specialists who are specialized in a variety of different web analytics tools and testing methods including A/B testing, Visual web optimizer, UnBounce, etc. With more than 15 years of experience under our belt, you stand to benefit greatly from our continuous improvement philosophy and recognize your target audience in a better, more efficient way.

Contact us now for and learn more about how we can help your business.

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