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A/B testing is a useful tool that businesses can use to analyze various aspects of their online presence, including elements of webpages, email marketing, and blog posts. A/B tests provide valuable insights into how users respond to these elements and guide businesses on how to improve. Using the information gained from these tests, companies can effectively use their marketing resources and increase their return on investment (ROI).

Here we explore what A/B testing is, why a business would perform this type of testing, the steps you can take to run an A/B test, and what you can learn from the results.

What Is A/B Testing?

A/B testing, also referred to as split testing or bucket testing, is a research method centered around assessing user experience of a webpage. This form of testing involves comparing the same webpage or another online marketing asset in two different forms to analyze which form users have a better experience with.

One user group is provided with one version, while another user group is given the second version of the asset. Then, how each version performs with the users is analyzed, and the information gathered is used to improve conversion rates and other user behaviors that increase ROI. In most cases, the version of the webpage or other marketing asset that produces the highest conversion rates is considered the best version.

A/B testing one of the most informative ways to understand how a website or asset is performing and to optimize them in a way that increases the number of visitors, customer acquisition, and sales. It’s important to note that the metrics for conversion will vary between websites/assets and types of business.

For example, if you run an e-commerce site, you could measure how many sales are made, while if you have a B2B website, you may want to measure how many quality lead generations come in.

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Why Would You Perform A/B Testing?

There are several reasons why you’d want to perform A/B testing on your business’s website. The primary reasons include:

  • Solving pain points visitors experience when they visit the website
  • Increasing ROI from current traffic coming into the website
  • Reducing a website’s bounce rates, or the rates of people leaving a site or page
  • Implementing statistically significant improvements on the website
  • Making smaller, targeted changes to the website where needed rather than redesigning the entire site
  • Improving content engagement among users
  • Decreasing cart abandonment

How to Perform A/B Tests

The following are the steps you can take to perform A/B testing on a piece of online content:

  1. Choose which variable you want to test. There are several variables you can test using the A/B method, including a single webpage, webpage titles, calls to action on webpages, blog post titles, feature images, fonts, the wording on a landing page, and email subject lines.
  2. Determine your goal for testing. Before you actually begin the testing process, you should clearly define your goal going into the test. For example, if you’re going to test a call-to-action button, your goal may be to increase the clicks on that button.
  3. Create another version of the current version of the variable. The second variation of the variable you’ll test is referred to as the “dependent variable.” So, if you’re going to test the current location of a call-to-action button compared to a call-to-action button located in a different area of the webpage, you’ll need to create the second webpage with the new button location. Keep everything else the same on the new variation; the only thing you want to change is the specific variable you’re testing.
  4. Gather sample groups, and split them randomly and equally. Determine the audience of your sample groups — the people who will be receiving either the original version (independent variable) or the new version (dependent variable) — and ensure they are split up equally and randomly. For example, if you’re testing an email subject line, you can use your current email database. Select the same number of people for each group and ensure the audience is as equal as possible.
  5. Set up the a/b testing tool. Using an A/B testing tool is the best way to ensure accurate results. There are several A/B testing tools available that you can use, like Google Analytics’ Experiments. Set up the metrics you’ve determined in the previous steps in the tool.
  6. Test each variation at the same time. Different times of the day, week, and month can all impact how a user experiences your test, so delivering both variations simultaneously ensures the most accurate results and eliminates time-related variables that may affect the results.
  7. Measure the significance of your results. Once you’ve completed the test, you’ll want to measure the results to determine if they’re statistically significant. You can use an A/B testing calculator to easily see the results of your test efforts.

To help you complete A/B testing effectively, consider partnering with an expert in marketing optimization.

What You Can Learn From A/B Testing

The goal of A/B testing is to determine which variation performed best. At the end of your testing process, either the original variation or the new variation will come out on top. If the new variation is the winner, you’ll now know that the change you made from the original variation should be incorporated into the marketing asset you tested.

To best learn from A/B testing, many companies will run several A/B tests on the same marketing asset, with each new test incorporating the most successful elements from the last test. This provides ample and concrete data that a business can then use to make permanent changes to the marketing asset. The more tests you run, the more you’ll be able to learn from the testing and take clear action where needed.

A/B testing is highly beneficial when trying to collect information about your business’s online presence and marketing efforts, and will empower your team to make informed changes that truly optimize your marketing assets.

Knowledge Base: Intro to Marketing

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