How far down the “to-do” list does A/B testing fall in your company?
It’s surprisingly common for businesses to mark testing as a low priority and instead continue with other, business-generating activities. After all, if your business is making money and overall doing fairly well, why spend time on something that looks complicated or time-consuming?
The bottom line is, if you’re not testing, you could be missing out on a number of opportunities that could prove to be boosters for your business. Testing can take you from “good” to “great,” and allow you to discover possibilities or strategies you may not have thought of. In short, not testing can mean you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
Key benefits of A/B testing
The key objective of A/B testing is to discover what works the best for your particular website and target audience, then optimize to give them more of what they respond to. It’s about a lot more than “which button color is the best?”, and seeks to find the elements that will give you the most significant uplifts in results.
There are multiple potential benefits to A/B testing, any of which can be well-worth the effort for your company. These benefits can all prove to boost your revenue:
The opportunity to keep learning
A/B testing is about learning what works well for your company. Importantly, it’s also about making better-informed decisions.
For example, let’s say you look over your website and spot a couple of areas where you “think” a change will prove to be a good idea. You update a couple of things, and sure enough, a couple of months later you look at your results and see an uplift. This would seem to confirm that those changes helped – but did they?
What you have is a correlation, but not a causation. You saw better results after your changes, but were there any other factors at play that could have impacted those results? For example, what if you made those changes ahead of a new marketing promotion or key partnership – did the uplift come from the changes or the new customer channels?
If you’re not testing, you don’t know how effective your changes really were. A/B testing gives you the comparison so that you can see if one updated version really is the cause of the uplift, or not.
It’s easy to take a correlation at face-value and head down that path, but the danger is that maybe that change did not make a significant impact on results at all. In that case, there’s a good possibility that if you tested, you’d find something that works even better.
A good A/B testing program boosts your bottom line by finding causation for results Click To Tweet
One major benefit of A/B testing is that it can help define a clearer path for your product roadmap or any redesign program for your website. You might have a large list of items on your to-do list, but you’re not sure how to prioritize it so that those items that will be the most impactful are done first.
How do you sort out that list? You need data.
A/B testing can provide you with the data that helps you to define your priorities. Let’s say you do a test on some elements, and find that there are other, similar elements on your list. If the testing shows that there was no significant uplift, you might shift those other things further down the list and look to bigger-uplift items.
This gives you the opportunity to boost your results more significantly, sooner. Most of us would prefer to start enjoying better results this month, rather than in six months time!
Improve user experience
The results you get from your website are always going to boil down to how well you are able to meet the expectations and preferences of your users. Optimizing the user experience is a key goal of A/B testing.
When you optimize the user experience, you improve engagement, which adds to your bottom line. Visitors to your website take more of the goal actions you would like them to, your metrics improve, and, as a flow-on effect, you may see more referral traffic too. (A happy customer often shares their experience with others!)
The “user experience” can encompass a large number of areas with the potential for optimization. For example, you could test and improve; bounce rates, content, the shopping cart process (cart abandonment), website layout, and feature availability, just to name a few.
If you want to effectively improve the user experience, it should be based on clear data, not an opinion or feeling. You might have an intuitive sense that something might work, if so, test it! Remember, you’re looking for that causation, to ensure that any results are sustainable over time.
There’s always a certain amount of risk involved when it comes to making changes to your website. They can be costly, time-consuming and, they may not deliver the results you are hoping for.
A/B testing helps you to reduce the risk involved with website changes. You can test throughout a redesign, meaning that you gather a lot of data and can have confidence in your decisions.
One effective way to use A/B testing is to rule ideas out. Before you go ahead with a major change, which can jolt users and even lead to complaints or drop-offs, test it out first. If the testing gets significant results, you probably choose to go ahead with the idea, if not, you find something else.
Why a “culture of experimentation” is important
Building a “culture of experimentation” is something that you will often see discussed among business publications. It refers to organizations who truly embrace the idea of making data-based decisions. In those companies, they don’t hold onto ideas as “sacred” – anything is open to the possibility of experimentation and change.
You might wonder, why is this important? How will having such a culture ensure you’re not “leaving money on the table”, as this article predicated?
Well, let’s look at the example of a very traditional, “top-down” sort of organization. What often happens is that decisions are made based on the opinions or desires of someone high up the chain. Sometimes they might be right, but other times, the results will prove them wrong and could have even been a costly mistake. Meanwhile, someone further down the chain who actually has a great idea is ignored, their thoughts lost in the hierarchy.
A key benefit of a culture of experimentation is that it overrides the HiPPOs (Highest Paid Person’s Opinions). Decisions are made based on data rather than gut instinct, and the first response to a new idea is to test it out.
An experimentation culture also helps to engage team members and boost morale. They get to see their ideas taken seriously and tested, they may even be the author of the next success story. Data helps to remove subjectiveness from reviews of performance. Concrete numbers provide objective proof.
Of course, experimentation is not all roses. Sometimes you will have to go through multiple iterations before you find something that gives the significant uplift you are looking for. However, you don’t have to look at tests as “failures” – you just learned what doesn’t work! This alone may have saved a costly mistake.
A/B testing doesn’t have to be complicated
One of the most prevalent objections among companies that don’t have an A/B testing program is that it is too complicated. They need trained team members who know what they’re doing with testing, and perhaps they even need to decipher a complex software tool to help them do it.
Some companies have very successful internal testing teams, but the key there is “team.” It takes different types of specialists with their own unique knowledge to have a truly effective testing program. For example, developers, UX designers, graphic designers and people who are good test designers and analyzers may all be part of that team.
We’re here to uncomplicate A/B testing. Team Croco offers a “done for you” service where test setup is done, our team of specialists takes part, and we analyze results at the end. This means that companies don’t need to hire or train internal testing specialists, and they don’t have to do a time-consuming setup.
If you’re not A/B testing, you’re leaving money on the table. Schedule a free consultation with Team Croco here to supercharge your A/B test strategy.