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A/B Testing: The Key To Website Optimization and Email Marketing Success

By Lydia Barley

With website design and email marketing there is always room for improvement, optimization and growth. However, it can be hard to find where exactly to make these changes. Rather than deciding how to design your website or marketing campaigns yourself, the people who should be designing them are your visitors. After all, they’re the ones using your website and being targeted by your campaigns. A/B testing allows you to test your assumptions on what visitors might like more and get real data, relevant to your business.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is a form of statistical hypothesis testing. It is a controlled experiment with two variants (A and B). A/B testing is frequently utilised for website design and email marketing. In terms of website design, A/B testing is a method of website optimization where you are comparing two or more versions of the same page. In terms of email marketing, A/B testing is a process through which you provide different versions of an email to groups of subscribers, and then measure their reactions to those versions to understand which is more effective at driving the behavior you prefer.

ab-test-laptop

What is multivariate testing?

Inevitably, if you hear about A/B testing, you’ll hear about multivariate testing. Multivariate testing is a controlled experiment in which multiple variants (more than 2) are tested.

Why is A/B testing important?

1. A/B testing gives you evidence to back up your pitch. No matter who you are pitching to, whether it be your boss or your client. When you’re pitching a new idea, they want evidence. Why should they change their entire website design or the color of their CTA button simply because you said so? Now, this is where A/B testing comes in. A/B testing will allow you to try out your idea before fully committing to it, allowing you to gather that evidence to make your pitch, and prove why that change needs to be made.

2. A/B testing provides you with an insight into what your visitors/subscribers actually want. It’s important to remember that everyone is different. Your customers want different things than customers in different industries. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for you to make changes for your flower company based on data taken by a tech company, they have different audiences and therefore different preferences. With A/B testing you can gather data relevant to you.

3. A/B testing allows you to optimize your website and email campaigns. With the data gathered by A/B tests you can continuously tweak and optimize your website and email campaigns. This optimization can have a range of different benefits, including; improved content engagement, reduced bounce rates, increased conversion rates, reduced cart abandonment and increased sales.

ab-test-results

A/B Testing Tools

There are a range of different tools that can assist in your A/B testing. We have created a list of 4 popular tools below:

1. Google Optimize
Google Optimize, is a tool provided by Google that allows you to conduct a/b tests, redirect tests and multivariate tests. One of the most popular features of this tool is that it is deeply integrated with Google Analytics. Your Google Analytics data will be available in Google Optimize and your Google Optimize data with be available in Google Analytics. In addition to this, the tool is free.

google-optimize

2. Optimizely
Optimizely, is the world’s leading experimentation platform. It allows users to experiment across websites, mobile apps and connected devices with both A/B tests and multivariate tests.

optimizely

3. VWO
VWO is another popular example. It is known as the primary choice for businesses that have smaller budgets, due to it’s cheaper prices that are more affordable than Optimizely. VWO claims it is the world’s easiest A/B testing tool, allowing users to create multiple variations of a website in minutes.

VWO

4. Convert Experiences
Convert Experiences offers A/B testing, multivariate testing, split URL testing and multi-page testing. The pricing for Convert Experiences falls between the pricing of Optimizely and VWO, making it a popular alternative to those who cannot afford Optimizely but still want to carry out complex testing. Convert Experiences is well known for their high level of customer support, in which they claim to respond 4x faster to support queries than the industry average.

convert-experiences

Case Study

Many businesses, big and small utilize A/B testing on a frequent basis. Sony is an example of a big brand that frequently utilizes A/B testing. One example of this includes a multivariate test, that Sony had conducted with two different variations of banner ads against their original. Sony were interested in seeing what motivated their shoppers, deals or personalization. Therefore one ad placed full emphasis on customisability and the other advertised a promotion. Images of these are attached below:

sony-ab-test-original

Original Banner

sony-ab-test-variation1

Variation 1- Personalization

sony-ab-test-variation2
Variation 2- Promotion

Sony found that variation 1, the banner that focused on personalization, performed the best. It saw a 6% increase in Click through rate and led to a 21.3% increase in visitors that reached the shopping cart. Variation 2 performed poorly, only increasing click through by 1.8% and decreasing conversions by 2.9%.

Conclusion

Optimization can have a range of different benefits, including; improved content engagement, reduced bounce rates, increased conversion rates, reduced cart abandonment and increased sales. Therefore, adopting an experimental culture in your business is important. With A/B testing your business can continuously tweak and optimize both it’s website and email marketing campaigns, to ensure you are getting the most from them. Allowing your business to embrace that experimental culture; constantly striving to be the best and receive the best results possible.