What is Split Testing & Why is it Effective?

Split testing, commonly referred to as A/B testing, allows marketers to compare two different versions of a web page – a control (the original), and a variation – to determine which performs better, with the goal of boosting conversions.

Ideally, there will be only one difference between the two pages, so that the tester can understand the reason behind the change in performance.

For example:

The Pinpoint Accuracy of Split Testing

Let’s say you want to see if a different headline would bring a lift in conversion rate on your landing page. The original headline reads, “How to Generate More Leads for Your Business”, and the variation headline reads, “Learn the One Secret Method the Experts Use to Generate More Leads”.

After generating traffic to both, you find that the variation produces more conversions than the original. Since there is only one difference between the two pages, you can be confident that the headline was the reason for the lift.

Now, this is how all split tests would be performed in an ideal world – one change at a time. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.

The Practical Way to Split Test

The major problem with the ideal way to split test – only changing one element per test – is that each test requires, many times, tens, or sometimes hundreds, of thousands of visits worth of traffic before it can be concluded (more on why that is later).

But, there is a more practical way to do it. Consider this!

You want to boost conversions on your landing page, so you make the following alterations:

  • Change your headline from “How to Generate More Leads for Your Business”, to “Learn the One Secret Method the Experts Use to Generate More Leads”.
  • Change your call-to-action from “Submit”, to “Show me the Secret”.
  • Change a form with four fields (name, email address, phone number, company name), to a form with two fields (name and email address).

After running traffic to both, you find that your new variation, with the above-mentioned changes implemented, generates 8% more conversions than the original. Hooray! Success!

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