Split Testing - The Power of Comparison
Split testing, or A/B testing as it is sometimes called is the procedure of presenting two different website pages to two different website visitors.
The reason for this?
Well, simply to compare which is the most effective and outperforms the other. The site that outperforms is then the new webpage or leaflet presented to the public - until the next split test that is.
Split testing is related to multivariate testing and is one of the most significant processes in the creation and improvement of any site. Ask Google and Amazon who perform split testing almost constantly - so why don't we notice?
Benefits - Split testing has a number of benefits:
- Makes it easy to narrow down the most successful test webpage
- The person (customer) who uses the sites chooses their favourite website ensuring you hit your audience
- Improvements are continually made and staff are constantly designing to refine based on real life information. New ideas can be tried out regularly and not intermittently like with old forms of marketing. Split testing is a slow steady process.
In fact, split testing is generally only incremental changes, which are tweaked without any notice. Tweaks are only going to be small as all changes are essentially only opinions and not concrete fact and so may, or may not improve a site's conversion rates and success.
Even so, theories based on empirical evidence and user testing is usually right.
Even though it is common for them to result in only miniscule differences in the conversion rate on a site as they are only applicable to a small number of site users. Sometimes split testing even is a failure and results in decreases in conversion - usually though when layouts and sweeping changes are made.
The fact that most split testing is small means that it is likely to be a fragmentary process. This ensures that all changes can be measured and utilised by the designers.
It ensures only measured modifications that are advantageous are included in the process. This prevents fickle changes made on a whim that are often the result of rash, irregular opinions and can be disastrous.
Split testing is similar to the hoarding squirrel - it slowly collects what it needs, before implementing for long term success. In the squirrel's case this is obviously nuts and the site's case split tested beneficial information.
This all sounds great: so, how's it achieved?
- Hypothesis Preparation - Insights from experiences, analytics and user testing are seen as the foundation of the test sites
- These varying sites are created according to the tests
- Testing different pages or pieces of copy on users at the same time to see, which are more successful
- Outcomes are reported upon once apt data has been gathered
Areas where Split Testing is Common
- Landing pages for sites – split testing is used to increase conversion rate
- Leaflet drops – split testing provides a similar function in this instance. Testing can be measured by sending out two different drops and using an offer code to monitor which had the best return. In the UK both Royal Mail and Whistl offer these services
- Email – very common in email marketing. Spit testing can have big impacts on success
- Social media – split testing is seen more and more in social media nowadays. Split testing can be a good way to determine which sort of post is most popular.
This allows a brand to then make a decision on the best landing page, leaflet for distribution or email template to use in their efforts. It is an effective and proven way to help a brand succeed and is noted for its notable success.