A/B testing to optimize the marketing strategy

A/B testing is an alternative to maximize traffic and open rate. It is a reliable scientific tool to guide marketing teams in choosing their approach. A/B testing has economic advantages in the face of the increasing cost of advertisements. But what is the principle of A/B testing ? And how does it  work?

What is AB Testing ?

AB testing or A/B testing is a scientific way to compare the performance of two versions of a web page called A and B. The differences between the two versions can be found on : the design, the content, the structure of the site. The purpose of this comparison is to identify which one converts the most.

Part of the users will be directed to version A, and another to version B. This distribution is random. Statistical analysis based on indicators such as the rate : conversion , clicks, purchases, subscription, etc. will allow a conclusion to be drawn about the effectiveness of each of the versions.

A/B testing is a procedure practiced in marketing to identify the best version of digital content according to a defined objective. It may happen that several versions are presented in order to undergo an evaluation, this is called A/X testing.

Origins of A/B testing

This is a process that appeared long before the Internet, since the concept is to compare two versions of the same product to determine the most efficient. In the 1920s, the British biologist and statistician Ronald Fisher was the first to highlight it with mathematics. This has contributed to a great advancement of the scientific world. This principle then developed into medicine with clinical trials.

A/B testing was taken up again in marketing in the 1960s. However, as we know it today, A/B testing has existed since 1990. It proved itself very quickly. The development of digital technology and the democratization of the Internet has increased the scope of performance testing possibilities tenfold. The technological evolution with the different tools available facilitates the design of tests and the analysis of results.

What is the point of doing an A/B test ?

A/B testing
makes it possible to verify the impact of the changes made, and to understand the influences of the changes on users. It is carried out in order to optimize the user experience, and to direct your various marketing campaigns by assembling the performing elements.

The strategies adopted will then be based on scientific evidence and not on intuitions.

How A/B testing works

What can be tested A/B on a website?

Almost all visible elements constituting the site can be tested :

  • The titles that are the doors of your website.
  • Product pages that give access to your offers with the right cart button.
  • Texts that translate the message you want to convey.
  • Prices and how they are displayed.
  • Images for its effect of superiority over texts.
  • Colors
  • Forms
  • The appearance of buttons, links, etc.

For an email: 

All the elements visible before opening are to be tested : the name of the sender, the subject of the email, the beginning of the message or pre-header. These tests will improve your open rates. You can also improve your click-through rates by testing elements of your Call-To-Action.

The rules for A/B testing

There are some rules that must be followed for a good test :

  • The objective must be defined in order to make the changes in a specific way.
  • You should test one item at a time to identify the best version. Use a control version and a processing version.
  • It is necessary to work with an appropriate quantity of sample in order to have a statistically significant result.
  • You need to archive the tests and their results to review the information and share it with the protagonists.
  • And continue to test in order to optimize your content perpetually.

Which sites are affected by A/B testing?

A/B testing concerns all sites and applications :

  • Leads to determine the characteristics of the prospects contacted : ages, genders, etc.
  • Media is an editorial test to know the success of a category of content.
  • E-Commerce to determine its commercial efficiency, and its online application.

Tools for A/B testing

Here are some examples of software to perform A/B testing

AB Tasty
 : the pages of the sites

With AB Tasty you can perform split tasting, which consists of placing your visitors at the heart of the decision-making process. It hosts different versions on separate URLs. It requires the intervention of a technical team.

To test the pages of your website you can also use Optimizely and Kameleon.

: the landings pages

Unbounce adapts your landing page according to the medium on which it will be consulted : desktop, tablet, or mobile. It can create multiple versions of your landing page. Simply duplicate the existing page and then change the elements you want.

: emailing campaigns

Mailjet is an intuitive email editor that creates, sends, and tracks your emails. It allows you to design up to 10 versions of your emails to optimize the results of your campaign. The best version according to your criteria is sent to the rest of your contact list.

A/B testing contributes significantly to optimizing conversions, but on its own, it is not enough to understand the behavior of Internet users. It needs to be supported by other disciplines to be more precise. Here are some examples: web analytics data, ergonomic audit, user tests, customer feedback, heatmap and session recording.

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