What is it? A/B testing (also known as split testing) is a simple market testing technique using which you can test two or more versions of your communication (email programs, landing pages, etc.) for a metric to determine as to which version performs better. You can then use the better-performing version for the real-world use. It, thus, weeds out any guesswork and empowers marketers to take data-backed marketing decisions.
What can it do? If done right, A/B testing can result in increased traffic, leads and consequent sales. Marketers can perform A/B testing for many variables like subject line, timing, calls-to action, copy lengths, frequency, content/marketing offer, design, color, etc. The more variables a campaign is tested for, the better marketing decision and results are enabled. Highlighting the power of A/B testing, Matt Cutt (the head of Google’s Webspam team) says that running A/B tests improves the functionality of the website.
When should it be used? If you want quick results from your marketing initiatives, embracing A/B testing is a great idea. As the variables are so clearly defined for each version, it’s easier to assess as to which version has performed better than the other. However, it fails too often if you do not define clear goals for each test and if your theory is too vague.
How frequently should you do it? The answer varies. You can always do A/B testing across the complete marketing spectrum; however, each A/B test that you run must have a definite goal. If you run multiple tests that fetch unclear outcomes, it’s time to rethink your testing approach.
What are the common A/B testing tools? A wide array of tools are available in the market for A/B testing such as – Google Website Optimizer, Visual Website Optimizer, Webtrends Optimize, Omniture’s Test&Target, Unbounce, etc.