Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had the opportunity to assess the results of our decisions before committing to a plan of action? Here is a secret: you can (at least in digital marketing)! So why not use this approach to generate more leads for your company? Welcome to the world of A/B testing.
What is A/B testing, and why should you consider it?
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method that compares two versions of a webpage (or app) against each other to determine which one is better. This process allows marketers to make data-driven decisions and improve conversion rates.
Imagine, for instance, that you’ve brainstormed several headline ideas, and, in the end, you are split between the top two contenders. Which one would perform better and, thus, attract more leads?
To figure it out, you could set up an A/B test, in which half of your website traffic is directed to a landing page with the first headline, while the other half is targeted with the second headline.
These titles could differ in various ways: one might be concise and punchy, while the other is descriptive and emotive. The whole point of an A/B test is to discern which factors draw attention and encourage visitors to take the next step—whether that’s signing up for a newsletter, downloading a white paper, or making a purchase.
It’s essential to ensure that the only variable between the two pages is the headline; everything else must remain constant; otherwise, the marketer cannot ascertain whether differences in performance are attributable to the headline or another element.
Over time, by monitoring metrics such as click-through rates, time spent on the page, and, most importantly, conversion rates, you can identify which headline is more effective at converting visitors into leads.
Moreover, this exercise reveals details about your audience’s preferences and behaviours. For instance, you might find that a specific tone or language resonates more with your target demographic, or that clarity beats creativity when encouraging sign-ups.
A/B testing extends beyond headlines. It’s a multifaceted tool, applicable to ad copy, calls-to-action, colour schemes, and beyond.
Tips to get the most out of your A/B test
Here are some best practices adopted by a high-performing lead generation agency.
1. Identify the goal: Your goal could be to increase the number of sign-ups, downloads, or any other effort that helps you attract more leads.
2. Select the variable: Choose one variable to test at a time, such as the headline, call-to-action (CTA) button, images, form fields, or page layout.
3. Create variations: Develop two versions of your lead generation asset – the original version (A) and the modified version (B). Ensure the experiments are identical in all aspects except for the factor you’re testing.
4. Split your audience: Share your audience equally and randomly to ensure that there is no bias in how the variations are presented to potential leads. Ensure your sample size is representative of your customer base, which is diverse in backgrounds and needs. A split test conducted with only 20 people is less reliable than one including 1,000 individuals. The larger the sample, the more reliable your data will be.
5. Run the test: Use A/B testing software to serve both versions to your audience over a specific period or until you have a statistically significant sample size.
6. Give it time: It’s crucial to allocate an appropriate duration for your split test. Rushing to draw conclusions from a trial that has only been running for a few hours is premature. Refrain from making alterations mid-test. Tweaking variables before the test concludes can skew the results, undermining the reliability of your data.
7. Analyse results: Compare the performance of both versions based on your predefined goals. Look at metrics like conversion rates, time on page, bounce rate, and any other relevant data. Are users more inclined to click on ‘Learn More’ or ‘Download’? Does an orange or red call-to-action button capture their attention better? Which image incites higher engagement?
8. Be wary of assumptions: You may have to rely on past experiences and presumptions about what your audience desires. However, what worked in previous campaigns or for other companies may not apply to your current context. Every element is testable, and it’s vital not to let preconceived notions or past results obscure the insights data can provide.
9. Implement findings: Once you identify the more successful version, implement the winning elements in your lead generation strategy.
10. Iterate: A/B testing is not a one-off task. Continuously test and refine your lead generation processes to optimise performance over time.
Bear in mind that, while A/B testing can yield powerful insights, it should be part of a broader strategy. Understanding your audience, refining your value proposition, and ensuring that your overall user experience aligns with your brand and customer expectations are mandatory.