When should you run an A/B test?

by Posted @ Nov 26 2019

A/B testing is a powerful tactic that allows digital marketers to run experiments and collect data to determine what impact a certain change will make to their site or marketing collateral. With an A/B test, you can test two variants against one another to determine which is more effective by randomly showing each version to 50% of users. This allows you to collect statistically significant data that can help boost your digital marketing conversion rates and prove how much impact a certain change has on your key performance metrics. 

It’s important to know when to consider running an A/B test so that when you come across these opportunities, you’re able to set up a test that will help you make a data-driven decision and create an experience that’s best for both your users and your goals. 

5 Instances When You Should Consider A/B Testing 

  1. You’re implementing a change to your site and want to make sure you don’t hurt your conversion rate. Making changes to websites is pretty common, but if you want to ensure that this change won’t affect your conversion rate, running an A/B test is a great option. Before adding the new feature to your site, you can run an A/B test so 50% of users will see your site with the new feature and 50% will see the control version of your site. This way, you’ll be able to see how some of your audience interacts with the new feature. The best case is that it will actually help boost your conversion rate. A null result which happens if both versions perform similarly, is also successful, however, and will tell you that adding this new feature to your site will not detract from your primary goals. 
  2. You want to boost your conversion rate. Let’s say that there’s a page on your website that’s getting a lot of traffic, but you’re not seeing the conversions or engagement you’d like to. If you run an A/B test, you’ll quickly get feedback on what impact small changes to the page can have. The great thing about identifying conversion rate opportunities for these high volume pages is that you’re able to get insightful data quickly, as you’re able to show each version of your page to a rather large sample size. Start by reviewing the user experience and identifying any areas of friction for users, then create a hypothesis to test how removing that friction might boost your conversion rate. You can also test small things like your call-to-action button color or text because sometimes these small changes make a big difference (more on that below). 
  3. You have two ideas and you’re not sure which will work best. Perhaps you’ve mocked up a couple of options for a change on your site, but you’re not sure which will perform better. This is a great opportunity to run an A/B test and make a data-driven decision for which option you should add to your website. You’ll want to choose your primary metric of success for the test by identifying what you’re hoping this section of the page will do. Do you want them to click a button, stay on the page longer, fill out a form, or something else? Set up your test according to this metric and see which version of the page has more success, then you’ll be able to implement that version for all users.
  4. Best practices may not apply to you. In digital marketing, it’s easy to rely on best practices to inform our decisions. Best practices can be a useful starting point, but it can also be dangerous to rely too much on them, as they aren’t necessarily one-size-fits-all. Running A/B tests can help you understand what works best for your specific audience and what they are looking for from your brand. For example, email marketing best practices will say to send your email on Tuesday morning. But, the best time to send an email could vary greatly based on if you’re email lists include work or personal email addresses. Running A/B tests allows you to identify how your audience interacts with your brand which, in turn, will help you confidently create what is best for your users. 
  5. Small tweaks can make a big difference. As a digital marketer, you always want to improve upon your marketing efforts. And when it comes to these optimizations, small tweaks can have a big impact. Consistently running meaningful A/B tests on your site allows you to continue to optimize your site for your audience and goals. When thinking about what changes to test, they don’t have to be (and probably shouldn’t be) large. Small, easy changes, like changing your button copy from “Download Now” to “Get My Copy”, could have a meaningful impact on your most important metrics. 

Finding your next opportunity to A/B test

A/B testing allows you to feel more confident about the changes you’re implementing and gain a better understanding of your audience. So, the next time you find yourself in one of these five scenarios, we recommend that you consider running an A/B test to help you make better, more data-driven decisions for your site.   

Does your company need help with their conversion rates? If so, feel free to reach out today to learn how we can help!

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