The volume of data available to help businesses make actionable insights is on the rise.
This spike in information has gotten many marketers to turn to split testing to improve their online sales. Tools such as Optimizely and VWO make it easy for individuals with non-technical backgrounds to create and run tests with ease.
However, if you are only running tests in which you change your image placement or the color of your call-to-action (CTA), you’ll soon find A/B testing to be a bad investment.
Small changes in the layout or text do translate into improved conversions and revenue. But the gain is likely to be minimal.
Big wins are incredibly hard to come by. When they do come, they won’t be the result of just a small tweak. To get the most out of split testing, you will need to run tests that fix big challenges for your visitors.
There could be issues with your site’s navigational flow, user interface, or even copy that prevent visitors from taking your desired action.
Follow a Scientific Process
Split testing is a continuous process that requires repetitive refinement, similar to scientific experiments. The process involves putting forward a hypothesis, identifying the control elements in your experiments, executing the test, and using the results to make relevant changes.
Too often, you will only make slight changes to your goals.Getting few inital results does not necessarily mean that your split testing experiment has failed.Click To Tweet
As noted already, marketers need to execute split testing experiments on a continuous basis in order to eventually find control elements that bring about real alterations. Execute these changes and repeat the process.
Utilize User Feedback to Brainstorm Ideas Worth Testing
If you are running short on ideas to test, run qualitative and quantitative surveys. These will provide you with user feedback that can point you towards the exact areas that need testing.
For example, you might find that rather than your CTA, a lack of transparent pricing is holding back sales. With this insight, all you have to do is fire up your tools to determine if your hypothesis is true or not.
One point to note here is that split testing tools use random sampling techniques. Unless you have millions of visits each month, the results you get from multiple testing tools could not only be contradictory but also inadequate to make a decision.
A good idea is to use a different tool for each of your split testing purposes and put them into one central dashboard. Doing so helps businesses get a bird’s eye view of the test results and is thus helpful for decision-making.
Don’t End Your Tests Too Early
Human beings tend to interpret the same situation in different ways. This phenomenon is called the Rashomon effect.
The reason why we arrive at different conclusions largely comes down to our inherent biases. When it comes to split testing, many marketers make a common mistake.
They end their tests when the results appear to favor their hypotheses. The only way to avoid this bias is through a larger test sample that can minimize the impact of outlier results.
Small businesses that have limited budgets also tend to end tests prematurely in order to save time and money. This habit could backfire and cause a loss of thousands of dollars.
The ideal duration of time for running each test depends on your traffic levels. A good rule of thumb is to let a test run at least one week.
Running weekly tests will eliminate anomalies that can occur because of skewed traffic sources or customer behavior. Both can change depending on the time and day people visit your website.
Of course, the lengthier your test period, the more accurate your results tend to be. You could also check out this split test duration calculator. It can help you determine the exact length of time you must run your test.
If you do want to end your test earlier than the allotted time, make sure that the current results have a 95% statistical significance.
Split testing is a powerful but grossly misunderstood tool. There is, however, no real shortcut to success, and you’ll have to work hard to test and optimize your website.
But if you can harness the full potential of split testing, it can be the secret weapon in your marketing arsenal that takes your business to new heights.