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A/B Testing

The Most Powerful Way to Turn Clicks into Customers

By Dan Siroker and Pete Koomen
  • Read in 13 minutes
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
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A/B Testing by Dan Siroker and Pete Koomen

We all know that the internet has changed the way we do business. After all, today nearly every company has a website, but how many businesses manage to effectively optimize their online presence? Well, A/B Testing shows you how to develop and refine your website through simple experimentation and evaluation – all to attract more customers and boost your bottom line.

Key idea 1 of 8

If you want to optimize your website and engage your visitors, try A/B testing.

Thanks to the internet, companies have unprecedented opportunities to find new customers. All you need is a website, and then anyone can see – and buy! – whatever you’re selling. But although it sounds easy, creating a site that entices people to spend is difficult. Luckily, there’s a surefire way to figure out what works: an A/B test.

The principle behind A/B testing is simple: By showing different versions of your site to randomly selected test groups over a short period of time, you generate data on which option is the most effective. This data offers organizations huge opportunities to increase visitor engagement.

For instance, the 2008 Obama campaign website allowed users to leave their email addresses if they wanted to sign up for a newsletter or contribute to the campaign. The page displayed a photograph of the candidate in an ocean of supporters waving “Obama 2008” flags next to a field for entering email addresses, along with a “sign up” button.

The Obama team wondered whether this was the best possible image and button combination. After a series of A/B tests using different images and texts, they found a winner: Visitors were 40.6 percent more likely to share their email address when the website showed a photo of Obama surrounded by his family, next to a button that said “Learn more.” For the Obama campaign, this change resulted in 2.8 million more email subscribers and an additional $57 million in donations.

As you can see, A/B testing offers huge advantages. And it’s worth noting that although this testing technology used to be complicated and expensive, that’s no longer the case. In recent years, A/B testing has become an established method to improve web pages. And to facilitate this, web optimization platforms, such as Optimizely, have made it easy for anyone to implement A/B testing.

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