While creating landing pages, writing email copies, or designing calls-to-action, it is common to use intuition to predict whether your target audience will click and connect. However, it is always better to make educated decisions than guesses. But how do you know that your marketing campaigns are working? Well, the answer is by split testing, writes digital growth specialist, Nick Brogden.
In this guide, you will understand the concept of split testing, why you should run a split test, and how to run a split test.
What is a split test?
Split testing, or A/B testing, is a methodology to test multiple versions of a website against each other. It allows you to compare them, see which works or performs best, and boost conversions.
Here, ‘conversion’ means any action you want your target audience to complete, such as adding a product to the cart or clicking the live chat button.
With split testing, you find out which ad headlines, body copy, images, call-to-action, or a combination of the above work best to generate the maximum conversions.
Split testing helps you to optimise conversions by improving your web pages and marketing, to increase the rate at which your target audience completes the desired action and converts.
Why should you run a split test?
Marketers run split tests to get better results, such as more leads or sales, from a page. Here are the benefits of running a split test:
1. Improve user engagement
You can run split tests on different elements of a website, app, ad or email. These elements include the headline or subject line, imagery, call-to-action forms and language, layout, fonts and colours.
You can test one change simultaneously to see which positively affects the audience’s behaviour, and update the element to optimise it and improve the user experience.
2. Improve content
You can test the ad copy as well. It allows you to create, consider and evaluate better copies for the users. It helps you to eliminate any ineffective language from the content.
3. Reduce bounce rate
Running a split test helps you find the combination of elements that helps keep visitors on your website or app for a more extended time.
Thus, the more time visitors spend on your website, the more likely they discover the content on your site and convert.
4. Increase conversion rate and value
Split testing is the most effective way to determine the best content you can present on your website or app, for your audience to convert visits into sign-ups and purchases.
Successful changes applied to one experiment can be used in other experiments. For example, it can be applied to pages for higher-priced products and services, leading to better engagement and a similar increase in conversions.
5. Reduce cart abandonment
For eCommerce businesses, one of the challenges is encouraging users to checkout after clicking ‘buy’ on an item. This is because most potential customers abandon their carts before paying.
Split testing allows you to find the optimal combination of changes to the order pages that will get users not to abandon their cart.
How to run a split test?
Follow these steps to run a split test:
1. Determine your test objective
Figure out the objective of your test. Ask yourself, why do you need to run a split test?
- What is the best time of day to email your subscribers?
- What colour should the CTA button be to increase the number of clicks?
- Will using numbers in the subject line increase the open rate?
- Will conversions increase if you include case studies directly within the email?
Once you know why you want to run a split test, you must establish your KPIs – key performance indicators. It means which metrics you want to analyse, and what result you want to find.
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Conversion rate
2. Formulate a hypothesis
Once you discover your objective, you need to hypothesise the result you will likely get by making changes.
Marketers can do this by examining past data. This data can include web analytics, user tests, heat maps, customer feedback and past heuristic evaluations. Analyse this data, review your performance, and find out the results achieved and what needs to be improved.
3. Calculate sample size
After creating a hypothesis, calculate and set your sample size and duration.
The minimum data recommended is:
- Low traffic: 350 impressions / 300 clicks / 7 conversions
- Mid traffic: 750 impressions / 500 clicks / 13 conversions
- High traffic: 1,000 impressions / 1,000 clicks / 7 conversions
You can also do advanced analysis using a Paired T-Test, Independent Sample T-Test, Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test, or Mann-Whitney U Test to check if your split testing findings are significant.
4. Run the test
Run the test campaign for your ad, landing page or copy. Ensure that all other variables are untouched. It helps you to understand how your experiments affect your final results.
There are two ways in which split digital marketers can approach testing:
- Send the test to a small portion of your email list – the version that wins is sent to the remainder of your list later.
- Send the test to your entire list – the one that wins will drive your next email marketing decision.
5. Analyse the result
Once you run the test, use your established KPIs to analyse the results and check your objectives have been achieved.
Afterwards, apply those lessons to all of your future email marketing campaigns.
Some marketers use split testing to test different variations of the same page. Others use it to test two completely different versions of the same page.
Irrespective of how you use split testing, it will help you get actionable data that you can use to improve your website’s design and function. It allows you to make smarter, faster decisions.
You can run split testing when something is not working; you can figure out why and change it rapidly for more rapid business growth.
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