What A-B Testing Is and Why You Should Do It

When you are running a business, it is important to test your advertising and marketing strategy so that you can develop a better method of reaching your target audience. The primary goal of marketing is getting the name of your company and the products or services that you provide out to the public. The second goal of advertising is tempting your target audience, or the customers that your products are designed to help, to consider purchasing the item or paying for the services. One method of finding the right advertising strategy for your business is A-B testing.

What Is A-B Testing?

Before it is possible to actually apply A-B testing in your business, you must understand what it is and how it works. If you do not know the basics of the testing strategy, then it is hard to use it in a practical manner.

A-B testing is a term that describes a systematic study of different parts of your marketing strategies, website or other tools that you use to gain the attention of your potential clients. MarketingLand.com write about what to test. You have two items or elements that you are comparing in a controlled setting. If you’re looking to test more than one variable, have a look at this post on multivariate data analysis here. The comparable elements or items are labelled as A and B during the systematic test. Another name for the experiment is split testing or controlled randomized tests. It is a literal comparison of two items to find the element, statement or item that is better at attracting potential customers or getting the results that you want.

A-B Testing
A-B testing Image credit: Walter Rumsby

How It Works

Although it seems like a simple experiment, the testing strategy does require a little work to ensure that it is a controlled study. Before you attempt to determine if your new strategy is appropriate for your goals, set your control.

In A-B testing, the control element of the experiment is A. It refers to the original strategy that you employed, such as a button on a company website or a design that you use for the current advertisements that you send in the mail. Depending on your current strategy, the exact item that you are comparing to the new strategy will vary.

The B in an experimental test is the new strategy, item or element, such as a new design on the mailed advertisement or a different design for a website button to encourage visitors to click on the button. The first item acts as a control because you already know how well it is reaching your target audience. The second item is the strategy or change that you are testing for comparison purposes.

Compare the results of each item in the experiment for a set amount of time, such as one to two weeks. After you see if one color choice, design element or phrase on your website or advertisement is better than the other, you can make changes to ensure that your business is making the most out of the ads, website and tools that help you reach your target audience.

Reasons That A-B Testing is Important

Although it is obvious that testing the variables in your advertisements is essential to getting the results that you want, there are several reasons that split testing is recommended for businesses. A company can benefit from testing even the smallest variables on a website, email or even just an ad that you send in the mail.

A key reason to start adding A-B testing to your marketing strategy is the potential improvements to your website, advertisements or other elements of your business. It is not necessary to make everything perfect on the first try. The tests help you determine different ways that you can improve so that your customers are happy with the services that you offer. Even small improvements can make the user experience better.

Another reason to add A-B testing is the impact on profits. A business that makes changes and identifies the items that customers are looking for in a website, email or ad will see an improvement in the amount of profits that come in. Customers like to see changes, particularly if they make the experience more user-friendly or appeal to a personal aesthetic sense.

Although the impact on profits and the improvements to different marketing elements are essential reasons to use A-B testing, the impact on finding the right headlines and writing style is also important. A-B testing is not only related to the aesthetics and small changes. It can also be applied to finding the right language to communicate your products and services to your potential clients. Even if the headlines are similar, some potential clients may respond differently to minor wording changes than others.

The final reason to use A-B testing as part of a business marketing strategy is the real-time data. Instead of relying on reports about other businesses that have similar products or services, A-B testing gathers information about personal clients, blog readers or other individuals who happen across your company website or advertisement. Your customers might not have the same aesthetic sense or interests as the customers of a competing company. What works for that company might not be the best option for your business because of the variation in clients and client relationships that you develop. A-B testing helps you find the tools that work for your business rather than using the elements that work for a different company.

Making the Testing Easier

Although it is important to test your ads, website and wording, it is difficult if your hosting services are slow. Finding a great host is essential if you want your company to see positive changes during the test.

Take the time to find a host service that allows immediate access to your website and does not have any problems with downtime – this post on VirtualHosting.com has a list of hosting reviews you can read through. You do not want your potential customers to struggle to gain access to your website and it can help speed up your A-B testing process so that you can move forward at a faster rate.

Reaching your target audience is the primary goal of testing different products, services and tools. Among the tests that can help you find the right advertising strategy, wording or tools for your business is A-B testing. By using the original design features, element or idea as the control, you are able to establish if the new idea will work for your business or if it is better to make another change for the best results. The immediate data that you gather from your results allows you to find the right combination of colors, wording and design to reach the customers that are buying your products or services.

Guest Author Cormac Reynolds is a writer and a technology buff who writes about hosting and other areas of the web for VirtualHosting.com.  He believes that A/B testing is too overlooked and wishes to showcase the importance of it.

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