The ABCs of A/B Testing

Wondering how you can optimize your website and create a page that will keep users coming back for more? Well, for those that are patient enough for results, A/B testing is the right tool for you. It allows users to show you what they prefer while surfing your website all the way to the nitty-gritty such as colors, fonts, and link sizes. Perhaps changing a link from green to red sounds tedious and unnecessary, but surprisingly it can have an extreme impact on the overall success of a website. Various aspects of a website can deter users from completing the task you want them to do whether it means finalizing an order or just signing up for a membership. Everything needs to be based on the user experience and finding the key aspects of that “ultimate experience”.

Below is an excellent example of how simple a change could be:

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 5.29.01 PM 

So, what exactly is A/B testing?

Perhaps you have this amazing, simple and chic website that is getting tons of hits but for some reason customers are filling up their cart but not managing to make it past the check out. What could possibly be holding them back from finalizing their purchase? Something as simple as having too many pages to go through to make the purchase can have a detrimental impact to the success of a website. In order to test this theory out, it is up to A/B testing to test both forms of the website (A being the original with three pages to checkout and B being the website with one checkout page).

Tip: Keep it Clean

This meme reminds us to keep all testing on ONE aspect of the website as explained below:

3-ab-testing-variations

When considering this test, it is vital to test both forms of the website simultaneously, that way you receive accurate data of each version according to the “Ultimate Guide in A/B testing”.  It is also necessary to only test one aspect of the website. If you decide to test the number of checkout pages, color variations and font sizes it will be hard to tell which aspect is actually having an impact on the success of the website. t is also important to never conclude the test to early. This can easily lead to misconstrued results of the A/B test. So, in order to have a successful A/B test, keep it simple:

Red or Green?

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 6.02.42 PM

A website needs to be efficient and simple, easy as that. No one wants to search for the checkout button or go through pages of checkout procedures. As an online shopper myself, I can confess to simply leaving a page if something was not straightforward and efficient. I am much too impatient to wait for the next page to load or search for the checkout button. This is why being “user friendly” is a necessary attribute to a successful website.  Little aspects of a website have a large impact!

A/B testing may seem like a long process considering you can only focus on one aspect of a website at a time but it is crucial in overall performance of a website. So, take the time to perfect your website. Keep the complexity of each change to a minimum and if it takes a few tries to get to the core of the problem you will be making positive changes along the way.

Cheers to the science behind marketing!

Sources:

http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/the-ultimate-guide-to-ab-testing-smashing-magazine.pdf

http://unbounce.com/a-b-testing/ab-test-hygiene-checkup/

http://www.quicksprout.com/2013/01/14/11-obvious-ab-tests-you-should-try/

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