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Why is A/B testing important?

  • UX & CRO

Well, conversion rate optimisation is important – and the A/B test is a powerful part of any CRO pro’s toolkit.

CRO is all about improving your customers’ user journey, while improving return on investment for you.

And how do you know what’s getting you closer to meeting or even exceeding your business goals?

By testing.

A/B testing for CRO

If you’re investing in SEO efforts and ads that generate traffic but convert at a low rate, you could be wasting money.

For some businesses, a new website might seem like the answer – but there are plenty of examples of site launches resulting in lower conversions.

By testing effectively, you remove any guesswork when it comes to website changes.

To be accurate, levels of traffic and conversions need to be high enough to ensure a reliable dataset.

But assuming the numbers are there, it’s best to run a full programme of tests – ideally not just in areas you suspect need improvement.
Obviously this is a complex process and not necessarily one with an established ‘best practice’.

But with an A/B testing strategy that incorporates the following steps, you should at least be heading the right direction.

Research

This is where you start to form ideas for tests – so to ensure you’re not wasting your time later, spend more here.

And once you’ve generated your ideas, these can be fleshed out into hypotheses – things you design tests for, to see if you’re right (or wrong).

With so many variables involved, it’s essential to test against a set statement and aim to prove whether it’s true or false.

And having defined a specific metric as your goal, this hypothesis is what you’ll refer back to when the test has concluded.

Prioritisation

But which of your exciting hypotheses do you want to test first?

Well in terms of CRO – the one that’s likely to yield the highest value should always be your top priority.

By favouring the theories with the most potential initially, any validation you achieve is likely to be better for conversions.

Experimentation

This stage involves creating ‘tests within the test’ – known as variants, which need to be planned, designed and built.

Variants a CRO professional believes will solve a hypothesis are implemented to ensure enough traffic to the specific test area.

This ensures statistically significant results within a reasonable amount of time, giving some meaningful take-aways.

Results

It’s important to remember that even if a hypothesis isn’t proven to be correct, there’s no such thing as a failed test.

The results of any properly conducted test are valuable and provide more information about a site’s users.

But outcome wise, there are basically three ways it can go:

  • Control significant result (the original performed better)
  • Variant significant result (one of the tests performed better)
  • Inconclusive (no significant result)

Even if the control ends up the significant winner, this is still an important insight to inform subsequent tests.

Implementation

This is the big payoff – once you’ve digested and interpreted your A/B test results, you implement the winning variant to the live site.

Obviously, there are more facets to the process but a decent conversion rate optimisation agency should be applying all of these steps.

A comprehensive process

While the relatively linear explanation above should’ve provided an overview, in reality A/B testing incorporates a lot of factors including:

And other tiny variables that need to be interpreted and applied in order to be successful.

Even then, it’s unlikely that any single A/B test will lead to massive success in isolation.

Incremental gains over time produce the best lasting results, as understanding of your audience grows.

This enables more intuitive designing of the right tests for your users, resulting in improvements, winning variants and of course, more revenue.

Ready to start A/B testing?

A comprehensive programme of testing will always achieve more ultimately than just focusing on short-term problem areas.

Your chosen CRO agency should be able to implement this strategically to increase conversion rates across your entire website.

Get in touch today, or if you know someone who might be interested, share this content and spread the love.


Photo by Julia Koblitz on Unsplash

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