July 29, 2022

Basic Split Testing Explained: What It Is & Why It’s Important

The terms split testing, and A/B testing are often used interchangeably when describing the randomized experimentation process that digital marketers use to pit variables against one another.

In online web-based settings, these variables can be anything from specific page elements on a web page, to whole web pages, or landing pages, to marketing assets like sales copy, adverts, or Google Ad campaigns.

The idea behind split testing is to help you make data-backed decisions, eliminating the need to guess at which variable to use.

This, in turn, allows you to use the insights from these tests to find better success, as you now know which element will perform better for your business. But let’s dive into this a little more.

The importance of Split testing or A/B testing.

What Is Split Testing, and Is It Different From A/B Testing?

With a split test, you take a control version of one variable, say your website, and compare it to a completely different version of your website (a variation version).  To do this, you use two different website addresses (URLs), and split any incoming traffic into two segments, sending one to the initial version, and the second to the variation version. 

When dividing your traffic, you get the choice of how you want to go about it; for instance, you could segment by location, by device used, or even by the referring website.

What this allows you to do is calculate the performance of both versions of the website, using key performance indicators such as: conversion rate, bounce rate, or number of qualified leads (among others).  Once the test is complete, you find out which version your target audience responds best too. 

With A/B testing, you take your control version, say your website, and compare it to a variety of small, single changes of that control version, to see which performs best. With this kind of test, the website addresses (URLs) are the same, but you make one minor change to the second version (variation) to see if that individual change performs better.

Common elements that are tested are: pop ups, featured imageSos, copy, headlines, calls-to-action location, button coloring, and the number of fields on forms. 

So, while both of these terms are used interchangeably and considered under the same umbrella by many, they are technically two different types of tests. To sum up, split testing is great for comparing page layouts, and overall designs, while A/B testing is great for seeing the impact of individual elements on a page. 

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Why Is Split Testing So Important in Digital Marketing?

Whether you are running a split test or an A/B test, both can make a huge difference in terms of your return on investment when it comes to your digital marketing efforts. In using these types of controlled tests, you can figure out which marketing strategies work best with your brand, your product, and your audience.  When you consistently test, it is a lot easier to craft the right marketing materials as the empirical data shows you what works better.  Beyond this:

  1. When testing variables like headlines, calls to action, pop-ups, featured images, and sales copy, you figure out what your audience responds best to, which gives you insight into what your audience wants.
  2. With empirical data by your side, you can take actionable steps in streamlining your conversion process. This aids your digital marketing efforts by boosting your conversion rates on things like demo requests, and click-through rate, while lowering cart abandonment.
  3. When it comes to trending content, running split tests will help keep you on top of changing consumer trends, which in turn, allows you to choose images, audio, video, landing pages, and social proof that support consumer sentiment.
  4. You will create a much better looking website that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but has effective content and marketing materials that your users want to see. This is going to encourage them to stay on your site, interact with it more, and possibly share your posts, products, and services. The longer users are on your website, the lower your bounce rates will be.
  5. You can solve your visitor’s pain points. A bad user experience not only increases friction between the consumer and your brand, but it also impacts your conversion rates. In using other tools like heatmaps, analytics, and surveys, you can find and follow your visitor’s pain points, and then address them through split testing. A consumer can’t find the “request a demo” button? Move it, or change it’s color and see if that makes a difference. 

The bottom line here is that split testing is a risk-free, low-cost option for marketers looking to optimize and streamline the user journey. 

For more information on split testing, please contact us today!

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