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What the heck is A/B Testing? The Basics.

Mon, Jul 22nd 2013 09:00 am

The Scenario

You have an attractive website that looks like and says exactly what you want it to, but you feel like your calls-to-action should be generating more leads and conversions than they currently are. You hypothesize that the wording or imagery may be off, but how can you know for sure? The solution is a process known as split testing.

What is Split Testing?

In website split testing (also known as A/B testing), a web application splits the traffic between two or more variants of the same web page, and measures the difference in the effectiveness of each page in achieving the website's goals. Just about every aspect of a website can be split-tested with the correct software.

For example, you may want to compare:

  • A landing page with a graphic of a person versus one with a graphic of the product
  • Different placement of calls-to-action and/or buttons
  • Alternate forms with fewer or different elements

It is also possible to test multiple variables within a single web page. While multivariate testing is a quicker option, it requires much more site traffic than A/B split testing in order to provide accurate results. For this reason, A/B split testing is a better option for most websites looking to improve their conversion rates.

Why You Should Bother With Split Testing

Split testing your website is not only useful for improving engagement and conversion rates, it also helps ensure that when it comes to advertising, you are maximizing your ROI. If your website conversion rate increases from 1% to 2% using split testing techniques, you have just doubled your revenue without increasing your budget. Truthfully, that alone should be reason enough to give it a try.

To put it in perspective, a website with a conversion rate of 0.25% requires 400 visitors to make one sale, whereas a site with a conversion rate of 10% is generating 40 conversions for every 400 visitors. Of course, there are other factors that contribute to your conversion rate, but this is one that can be measured and improved upon for little to no cost.

Split Testing Tools

If you have Google Analytics set up on your website, you can start A/B testing on your site for free through the Content Experiments  feature. However, if you're not particularly web savvy, an affordable online tool such as Optimizely might be more appropriate. Whichever tool you choose, you should have Google Analytics or another data and traffic measuring tool set up on your site prior to testing so that you know what metrics you started with (your baseline).


If you feel like your site is under-delivering, don't rush to redesign - especially if your site is still new. All it may require is some time and willingness to get the message right. 

To learn more about other factors that could be affecting your conversion rates, contact an Account Manager at 360psg.com.