Employing A/B Testing to Determine Consumer Habits and Increase ROI
By | Charlie Fletcher
A/B testing is a web designer’s bread and butter. A/B testing allows marketers to test the efficacy of a web page on actual consumers in real-time with minimal cost and maximum control.
However, effective A/B testing is about more than creating two homepages and seeing which generates more traffic. True; A/B testing utilizes data analytics to optimize sale funnels, predict user behavior, and target new market segments.
Employing effective A/B testing can help you better understand consumer habits and increase the ROI of your long-term projects. This is particularly important in competitive industries, where subtle changes in consumer preference have a big impact on your business’s bottom line.
What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing is commonly associated with web design. After all, you typically show two versions of the same page to users when building a website. The two pages will contain the same information, but designers will make changes to key features like layout, buttons, or images. The goal of A/B testing is usually to ascertain which approach generates a better conversion rate.
A/B testing is only effective when you change a single variable. Changing a single variable ensures that consumer behavior isn’t being impacted by other unaccounted variables.
Before conducting A/B testing, identify a goal like “reduce bounce rate” or “increase conversion rate”. Then, choose a single variable to change on your regular site. You’ll need a control sample, too, so ensure you collect data from the control version of the site while testing your marketing hypotheses.
A/B testing is only as effective as your data collection program. Without a streamlined data collection system, your marketing team will get lost in the weeds and won’t be able to utilize the important insights that A/B testing can generate.
Using effective customer relationship management (CRM) software is the easiest way to collect data and track changes. Most CRMs can be integrated with A/B testing tools like HubSpot Enterprise or Google Analytics. Overlay your insights to determine whether or not your changes had any impact on consumer habits and behavior.
A/B Testing Tools
Any researcher worth their salt knows that their insights are only as good as the tools they used to collect data. Choosing the right A/B testing tool can offer your more detailed insights into consumer habits, too, as different tools splice data in unique ways.
A/B testing tools like Optomizely and Adobe Target will help you run web experimentation and offer personalization services. These enterprise-grade tools are designed to quickly break down massive amounts of data and give you clearer insights into UX testing and predictive analytics. Other major A/B testing tools include:
- Oracle Maxymiser
- Google Optimize 360
- Wasabi A/B Testing platform
Some A/B tools are free. However, paid services tend to offer richer insights and greater flexibility.
Consumer Research and ROI
A/B testing tools are particularly useful if you need to better understand consumer habits and boost customer acquisition. In particular, user behavior analytics (UBA) takes the raw data that A/B testing generates and turns it into actionable, qualitative insights that improve your marketing ROI.
UBA was originally developed to improve website security and firm up firewalls. Today, however, UBA can improve a business’s bottom line by helping you identify sudden changes in consumer behavior. If, for example, consumers started flooding your FAQ page during an A/B test, UBA software would flag this change in behavior and help you analyze the behavior.
This is particularly important if you work with tight profit margins. Small changes to consumer behavior can have a big impact on profitability in industries like online retail. As a marketer, it’s your job to determine consumer habits without undermining profitability. Sometimes, the only way to do this is by leaning on a UBA program that can identify trends without human interference.
Inclusivity and A/B Testing
Although there are plenty of ways to improve inclusivity, A/B testing is a great way to start. You can use the insights that A/B tests generate to develop more inclusive products and create content that appeals to more people. A/B testing can help you identify inequality and improve your baseline.
A/B testing your web content is particularly important if you wish to serve traditionally underrepresented communities. Modern marketing tech can elevate underrepresented communities by recording consumer behavior. For example, you can use A/B testing to evaluate the navigability of your web presence for folks who use screen readers and transcripts.
The data you gather via A/B testing can’t speak for itself. You still have to bring an empathetic mindset to the table when generating hypotheses and surveys. Working from a place of empathy ensures that you are running tests that authentically add value to consumers from all backgrounds.
A/B testing is a great way to experiment and optimize your web pages. You can use A/B programs to identify subtle changes in consumer behavior and test your hypotheses. In time, regular testing will improve your conversion rate and increase your marketing ROI.
For more help understanding your consumers and how to best meet their needs, please see the resource below.
Infographic provided by Riveron – accounting advisory