Increase Your Web Site Conversion Rate Through A/B Split Testing

We’ve been doing a lot of re-branding exercises here at Effect lately. Our graphic designer has been testing multiple new logo concepts. Yesterday he printed out some logo variations and taped them to the wall for us to look at and give feedback on.

I found myself looking at the logos differently depending on where I saw them (online vs on the wall). In addition, having the wall logos spurred some lively conversations surrounding the new ideas. It was interesting to see how some people perceived different design elements and it also gave us the opportunity to ask other people who came into Effect what they thought of each version and why the liked or disliked it.

Doing this reminded me of the importance of A/B split testing versions of your Web site. A/B split testing involves testing two different versions of a Web page element, one at a time, to see which is more effective. Effectiveness can be determined by using Web analytics, as well as surveying members of your target audience.

Marketing Experiments gives this explanation for how you can improve your Web site conversion rates by utilizing A/B split testing:

“Most of us are familiar with the concept of using A/B split testing to determine which elements on a page are helping the performance of a web page, and which are not.

For instance, one might typically test two different headlines on a landing page. One would then outperform the other, and you would know which is the top-performing page.

However, there is more you can do with A/B Split testing. You can use it to:

1. Better understand visitor behaviors and priorities when visiting your site.

2. Solve specific problems you have with your site pages. In other words, use it as a diagnostic tool to find out what is going wrong and how to fix it.

3. Dramatically challenge assumptions you may have about the “best” way to design or write a page. (Test not only changes in minor elements, but also complete and dramatic redesigns of an entire page.)

This brings up another important point. Testing yields the most valuable results only when you test repeatedly. A one-shot test will tell you very little. But when you make a consistent habit of testing, cumulative tests over time can have a dramatic impact on the success of your site.”

We did some A/B split testing with one of our clients who sells discount area rugs. We made a change to the way users selected products to make it as simple and easy to use as possible. We wanted to test to see if this new way would increase activity in the shopping cart. When we did the A/B split testing we saw a 50% increase in the number of people that added a product to their cart. It was obvious to our client and to us that we needed to use the new page display.

I am curious to know, how have you utilized A/B split testing to improve conversion rates on your Web site? Leave your comments below!

*Photo compliments of Dominik Gwarek

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