What is A/B Testing? …and Split Testing?
Why is Amazon so successful? A big part of the answer is A/B Testing. Unknown to most users, Amazon’s customers are subject to thousands of A/B test experiments every week. They tell Amazon how to lay out a page, which products to offer you, and even the font size on the buy buttons.
A/B testing is ubiquitous on the internet and it powers millions of marketing decisions a day. And the idea is shockingly simple. What has changed is the technology that allows marketers to carry out their A/B tests on statistically significant samples quickly and easily.
So, what is A/B testing, and what can it do for you?
Watching this video is worth 3 Management Courses CPD Points*.
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Marketing for Managers
This video is part of course module number 8.3.4
Program 8: Managing Customers & Clients
Course 3: Marketing for Managers
Section 4: Online Marketing
Other videos in this section include:
🎬 What is Permission Marketing? And How to Build Your Campaign https://youtu.be/BqonS5HHLrQ
🎬 What is Marketing Automation? And How to set it up. https://youtu.be/-TpV1tabW0I
🎬 What is Remarketing? (or Retargeting) https://youtu.be/Rng5dfpsQEI
You create two versions of your webpage and use a simple software tool to serve one of the two versions randomly to everyone who selects that page. The software then tracks how many people click the button on each page.
A/B testing has three common conventions:
1 One version is always the current version. This is the ‘control’.
2 Test one thing at a time.
3 A test is only conclusive if the change in behaviors for the B state is ‘statistically significant’.
Crudely, a statistically significant change is 1/√n where n is the sample size. So, if you have:
• 100 visitors to your web page in a month, you need more than 10% difference to be confident that it’s due to the change you made.
• 10,000 visitors to your web page in a month, you only need more than 1% difference to be confident that it’s due to the change you made.
There are 3 scenarios that can flow from your first round of A/B testing:
1 No significant variation in behavior.
Define a new A/B test. Try a bigger change.
2 The variation is adverse and you see less of the behavior you want.
Stop the test, keep your control, and try a new test.
3 You get a significant improvement in the numbers.
Stop the test, keep the new version as your next control, and try a new test.
Multiple A/B Testing
You can test more than one thing at a time.
But, if you make multiple changes to create your B state, this is usually referred to as Split Testing.
If your software allows, you can test multiple changes in one go, by having an A state as control, and then B, C, D… states with different variations. In our example, each could have three different button designs.
Big organizations are constantly A/B testing and Split testing their marketing to improve conversion rates.
You Can Split Test almost Anything
It depends largely on:
1 The software tools you have at your disposal
2 The imagination of your team
Common examples of A/B testing include:
• Key messages
• Sales and marketing copy
• Design elements
• Audience targeting
• Automation sequences
• The promotions you offer
1. Pick a random sales page on the web. Find 10 things the owner could A/B test (2 MC CPD Points)
2. Find another 10 (2 MC CPD Points)
📖 Very quick overview
Marketing: A Very Short Introduction https://geni.us/ozSJF
📖 Good general overviews
Kotler on Marketing https://geni.us/JNeVHy
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind https://geni.us/kGj4KCA
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing https://geni.us/RVU1
Marketing For Dummies https://geni.us/sZXAw
📖 Small business marketing
The 1-Page Marketing Plan https://geni.us/Xb4wBk
📖 For a textbook, you can’t go wrong with Kotler’s name on it!
Marketing: An Introduction https://geni.us/q4gzVOw
Principles of Marketing https://geni.us/gsFeMT5
Marketing Management https://geni.us/i3FO
⭕️ Links to our book recommendations are affiliated through Amazon
Managers Need a Basic set of kit to do your job well. Here are my top recommendations: https://kit.co/MikeClayton/manager-s-work-kit (the links are affiliated)
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