Simple AB Testing

Can A/B Testing Really Be This Simple?

If I told you that A/B testing can actually be simple, would you believe me? 

Let's face it, unless you're a total programming and data geek, A/B testing is not fun. To do it correctly takes a significant amount of time and effort.

And while most internet marketers agree that A/B testing is extremely important, they also agree that it's something they don't like doing.

If you fall into this category, I have some great news for you!

A/B testing really can be fun, fast and easy with this game changing solution! Check out the video below to see how to setup an A/B test for a landing page in less than one minute!!

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing (or sometimes referred to as split testing) is the process of comparing two or more different variations of a website element in order to determine which version performs the best.

When done correctly, the results can make a huge difference regarding your conversion rates and having your site visitors complete a desired action.

This is why companies like Google, Walmart and Nike literally A/B test everything they publish on their websites. It's also why their conversion rates are astronomical!

Why Should You do A/B Testing?

If the internet giants are doing it, you should be doing it too!

It can make the difference between your site visitors staying engaged on your site and taking action rather than clicking away in a matter of seconds.

Can you imagine going to buy a new car but having only one model and color to choose from? Of course not!

But this is exactly what you're dealing with when your site visitors land on your site and you don't give them any choices!

If one person doesn't like your offer, chances are many others will feel the same way. But rather than providing additional chances to make a sale, you'll end up losing those potential customers forever.

So if you're still not convinced that A/B testing should be included as part of your overall marketing strategy, here's 5 compelling reasons to convince you to start doing it now!

1. Increased Conversion Rates

As online marketers, we live and die by the amount of traffic we are able to convert into buying customers. Increased conversions equals increased sales which means increased profits!

So wouldn't you rather have three or four chances to get your site visitors to take action instead of just one? If you're not happy with your conversion rates, this could be a game changer for you!

ab testing

Source: Optimizely

Now don't get me wrong... I'm not saying that by simply implementing an A/B test strategy you'll automatically increase your conversion rates by 50%.

But the fact is it works and you will benefit from it, even if the increases are incremental.

Because at the end of the day, you will get more leads and more engagement which ultimately means more sales!

2. It's Easy To Do - With This Plugin!

At the beginning of this discussion I provided a short video showing how to A/B test landing pages in less than one minute. This was done using a WordPress plugin called Thrive Optimize.

Thrive Optimize takes all of the hard work and mathematical requirements out of the equation. It provides a quick and easy way to setup and test your pages with just a few mouse clicks.

Check out this more detailed video below to see Thrive Optimize in action.

Thrive Optimize is part of the Thrive Themes suite of products designed to help your websites and landing pages convert. I've been using it for over a year now and I am extremely happy with the results I've been getting.

So if you've been afraid of getting into the A/B test arena because you thought it was too time consuming and difficult, this plugin will definitely change your mind!

3. Set It and Forget It!

Even if you've already been doing A/B testing, one of the most important things you need to do is interpret the data and decide which variation you should use when the test is completed.

Thrive Optimize automates this task for you and will automatically choose the winner! You can setup the criteria such as number of days to test and then let the plugin do the rest for you.

Thrive Optimize

Once you setup your test, Thrive Optimize takes care of the rest.

Thrive Optimize automatically splits the traffic, counts the conversions and calculates the results.

You will be provided with a report showing the performance of each variation you entered during the test. When the winner has been chosen, you can defer to that as the 'best choice' and start running additional A/B tests using the winner as your new control subject.

Can you see how your site will get better and better with each test you run? Incremental improvements will become massive improvements over time if you continue to test and execute using this strategy. 

4. The Traffic Myth

One of he biggest misconceptions with A/B testing is people think they need a ton of traffic in order for the tests to be valid.

This is simply not true.

What really matters is your conversion rates between the main element you're testing and how the variations perform against it. That's it.

In fact, you should expect to see stronger data evidence on sites with lower traffic because the test performance will usually be decidedly skewed in favor of one variation over another.

5. It Helps Your SEO

If you want to see higher rankings with the search engines and increase your SEO, you definitely need to be A/B testing!

One of the criteria used to rank websites is bounce rates. When bounce rates are high, it's an indication to the search engines that the site is not much value to the visitors. 

If your visitors are leaving early without taking action, you'll lose credibility with the search engines and your rankings will suffer.

By increasing your conversions you'll automatically lower your bounce rates and your SEO will drastically improve.

How Does A/B Testing Work?

Before moving on, let's take a quick break...

Hopefully I've been able to make a strong case for doing A/B testing. I hope I've been able to demonstrate that it's something that will help improve your conversion rates and ultimately increase profits to your bottom line.

And for those of you who have avoided A/B testing because you thought it was some big, fat ugly monster that was better left to the internet giants, I hope I've convinced you otherwise. 

If that's the case, you can stop reading now and go ahead and get your Thrive Optimize plugin so you can start setting up your new A/B test strategy now. 

And please don't forget to read my Final Thoughts section and leave me a comment or question below.

But if you want a deeper understanding of the theory and mathematics behind A/B testing, keep reading.

ab test process

Source: Optimizely

I'll explain the general concepts that take place behind the curtain to give you a full understanding of how this animal works and fill in some potential gaps that can help you design optimal testing strategies.

Get An Understanding of What to Improve

In order to get the most value out of any A/B test methodology, we need to decide on what needs improving. 

For example, if you see that your site visitors are visiting your home page but not taking any follow-up action and bouncing out, you may want to test some headline variations on that page.

You can find out how your site visitors are behaving by reviewing the data from your Google Analytics account. If you haven't created an account and connected your site to Google Analytics, click on the preceding link to see some helpful information to get you connected.

Decide What to Test - Form Your Hypothesis

Using the example from the last section, if you aren't getting any engagement from your site visitors after they visit your home page, you want to understand why.

In this case, you may want to change your main headline and test a few variations. Or perhaps you have an opt-in offer that slides across the page after ten seconds. Maybe you should try an exit popup instead and see if that makes a difference.

At this point, everything is fair game. Just decide on something to test and do it. The information you'll collect will be valuable towards helping you continue to modify your test an narrow down where your weak points are.

And the more data you collect, the more valid your test results will be.

Identify Variables & Create Test Variations

Now you need to create one or more variations to test. If you watched the videos I provided earlier in this discussion, you will have seen how easy it is to do this with Thrive Optimize.

If you didn't get a chance to watch the videos, I strongly suggest you scroll up the page and take a look. They do a much better job at showing you how to do it than I could ever do trying to explain in writing.

And once you see how fast and easy it is to create multiple variations to test, you'll be on your way to increasing your conversions in record time! 

Run Your Test

Not much more I can add here... this is literally the part where you hit the 'Run Test' button and wait for your results.

Sounds pretty easy so far, huh?

Measure & Analyze Test Results

Even though Thrive Optimize will automatically pick the winner, you can still review all of the data that was collected during the test.

This gives you a deeper understanding and better insight as to what your visitors were doing when presented with each test variation and how they behaved as a result.

You can make your final conclusions based on the test data and override what Thrive Optimize has picked as the winner. I'm not sure why you would want to do this but the option is there. You always have total control over the decisions that affect your site.

What Should You be Testing?

There really aren't any limitations on what you can test on your website or landing pages.

Everything is in play.

And the more creative you get, the stronger your site site will become and your conversion rates will skyrocket.

But here is a list of the most popular elements to test to get you started:

  • Page Headlines
  • Calls-to-Action (buttons and text)
  • Images, Audio and Video
  • Offers and Promotions
  • Landing Pages
  • Social Proof
  • Opt-In Forms
  • Email Subject Lines (for email marketing)

Common Mistakes

The worst thing you can do is implement an A/B test strategy and then make decisions based on faulty judgement. 

So to make sure you understand what to watch out for, here are some of the more common mistakes online marketers make when A/B testing.

Not Having a Good Test Plan

Regardless of how easy A/B testing has become with Thrive Optimize, not having a solid test plan will not give you the results you want.

If you're not getting your site traffic to sign-up for your email list, you want to understand why and then create an appropriate test with the goal of increasing your opt-in rates.

Changing one word on your opt-in form is probably not going to make a huge difference. But this is what many people do and then wonder why they see no significant increases in conversions.

You want to make sure that the test variations are relevant to the desired outcome you're trying to achieve.

In this example, you'll want to totally change the copy on the opt-in form and then run a test against the original. This will definitely have a greater influence on the behavior of your site visitors, where changing a word or two will not.

Testing Too Many Things at Once

Another huge mistake people make when A/B testing is changing too many things at once.

When this happens, it's almost impossible to determine what change caused the outcome to be different. 

A/B Test - Button Colors

Test one change at a time in order to understand the effects of the change.

Take a look at the image above from Neil Patel's CrazyEgg Blog. This was a simple test that compared the effects of changing a button color on a Call-to-Action (CTA) form. 

The conclusions showed that the red button outperformed the green button by 21% based on only 2,00 page visits. That is powerful information!

If you change the opt-in form text, colors, buttons and page location and saw a drastic increase in sign-up's, how can you determine which change created the positive outcome?

You want to test thing incrementally, review results and create a new test to continue improving.

Lather, rinse, repeat. 

Just make sure you implement changes that make sense.

Making Premature Test Conclusions

Let's say you've kicked-off your A/B test for your opt-in form and two weeks later you see a 10% increase with your opt-in rates.

First of all, that would be fantastic! But the last thing you want to do is stop the test unless you have enough data to make the result statistically valid. 

A/B Test Results

Don't base conclusions on premature A/B test duration.

If ten people visited your site and one of them opted into your email list, that would be a 10% increase (assuming you stared with zero opt-in's).

I would hardly call this a conclusive test when there are only ten pieces of data that have been collected.

If you stopped the test and chose the opt-in form winner at this point you would be making a huge mistake because the data is statistically inconclusive. The sample size is not large enough to make the test valid.

I want to stay away from the deep theoretical technical aspects of A/B testing and I want to keep this simple. So I'll sum it up like this...

Follow the recommendations provided by Thrive Optimize and you'll be fine. It does all the heavy lifting for you!

Not Running Follow-Up Tests

I've already discussed how important it is to improve things incrementally. You'll benefit the most with A/B testing by being iterative and continuing to improve.

Every tiny improvement will add up and yield massive improvements over time. 

ab test results

Incremental improvements make a big difference over time.

Just because your conversions start to increase does not mean you're done.

In fact the opposite is true. It means you are on the right track and you should put even more effort into making your conversions as high as possible.

So make sure you create follow-up tests each time an existing test is completed. Otherwise you'll be leaving a ton of conversions (and money) on the table!

Final Thoughts

In the world of online marketing, our success is dictated by our ability to convert our site visitors to customers.

Higher conversions lead to higher sales and more profits. Low conversions lead to going out of business and back to work for Corporate America.

If we are able to make small improvements over time, the potential rewards are tremendous and will serve as the lifeline to our sustainability as affiliate marketers. 

A/B testing gives us the ability to go behind the curtain and see why our conversion rates are not performing at an optimal level. Conversely, it gives us the ability to understand what is working so we can continue to improve on the good stuff. 

There used to be nothing fun or sexy about running A/B tests. But it has always been a driving force behind the success of the top internet marketers in one way or another.

If you've been avoiding adding an A/B test strategy to your marketing plan, you need to reconsider and get something in place now.

If you've already been doing A/B testing but find it time consuming, tedious and boring I strongly urge you to take a look at Thrive Optimize. It takes all the fuss and confusion out of the equation and allows you to sit back and reap the benefits quickly and easily.

I hope this information has been informative and helpful and I hope your conversion rats go through the roof! Mine have certainly increased dramatically since I started doing formal A/B testing and I am constantly improving upon each of my successes.

What are your experiences with A/B testing? What types of tools have you used and what did you think? 

Please feel free to give me a shout and leave your comments and feedback below. I'll be happy to answer any follow-up questions you may have.

About the Author jman2020

Digital marketing has been a passion of mine for over 12 years. I am a successful online business owner and I have my own digital marketing agency. I love helping people learn just how amazing the world of affiliate marketing can be and I'm committed to helping folks make money online while avoiding the mistakes I made along the way.

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