The Advantages of A/B Testing
11th April 2019
What is A/B Testing?
You may have heard of this term while browsing, and wondered what exactly it is. A/B testing (also known occasionally as split testing) is the process of testing different variations of the same web page(s). If you have your own website, it is an invaluable tool for improving the overall performance. It is quite expensive to have a website rebuilt from scratch if it is not performing to your expectations, though with A/B testing, you can test all kinds of changes to your website at little to no cost.
Why should use you use A/B testing at all? Your website may seem to be doing well, but if you haven’t run any kind of specific tests, how can you be sure that it couldn’t be better? A/B testing has a few key advantages over other website tools for improving performance.
Running different variations of your web page will give you more insight into just what exactly you can improve. Not only that, using it to test planned changes in advance can find out if they will have a positive, neutral or even negative impact on your website.
Improving existing content
A/B Testing can be used to test nearly anything on a web page, or even multiple pages on your website at once. Most A/B Tests make use of testing smaller (though significant) changes to a page, such as making buttons more visible, or moving elements and features of your web page around to make them easier to interact with. This gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to what changes you want to test, and results in improved content once you make those changes permanent.
It’s surprisingly easy to use
Setting up an A/B test is not too difficult. Sure, there are many advanced techniques for testing such as editing the style sheets or implementing new scripts to run, but many adjustments to a page can be made with tweaking existing variables to your own liking. These adjustments can usually be made in HTML or CSS, or even through clicking and dragging specific elements depending on what A/B testing platform you are using.
Results are clear
Sifting through and comparing a lot of data is a tedious process, and is not often a process that can paint a clear picture if something has improved or not. A/B testing on the other hand does test specific variations against each other with predefined goals and objectives. Once a test has run its course, a winner can be chosen quite easily, based on how well it completed its goals in comparison to the competing page variation.
Better user interactions & engagement
Not all performance increases need to be measured in clicks and views. A/B testing allows you to test other kinds of page changes, such as adding new calls to action (CTAs), changing aesthetics such as fonts and background colours, and even adding new content and features to a page to see if your visitors will interact with it. Increasing user engagement this way can help spread brand awareness and increase the length of time people spend on your website.
Little to no risk
Often doing tests on a website to a live environment (your visitors) can be dangerous. If something breaks, or anything goes wrong, people may be put off and not come back for a second look, even if you make changes. A/B testing is fairly risk free in that sense, in that changes you make to your website are very controlled, and not permanent in the least. Moreover, you can control how many of your visitors will get to view the altered version of your web page, so not all of your visitors will be exposed to something that is new and different. If any issues with your variation do arise, it’s simply a matter of pausing/stopping the A/B test and your website will run as normally as it did before.