The Evolution Of A Split Test

Split testing, or A/B Testing is one of those terms that’s often used, but rarely understood all that deeply.

In the next few days, count the number of times you hear the word “test” or “testing” as it related to marketing, and it’ll shock you!  I know I say it all that time and I hear it from a lot of different people in their podcasts, webinars and blog posts…

The thing about split testing is, by being diligent about the pages that you include in your tests, you can split test a winning campaign if you have the patience and the traffic.

What I want to talk about today is the ‘evolution’ of a split test.

Sure, you can put up a few variations of a page and figure out which one converts best…  But then what?

What you DO with the results is what matters.

First, let’s establish some ground rules:

  • Split testing takes patience and practice.  You should only be testing out ONE thing per page, per test.  That might be colors, buttons, headlines or images.
  • For every additional variation you add, you need to send that much MORE traffic!  If you're testing 2 variations, you might need 200 clicks.  3 variations, 300 clicks.  8 variations, 800 or 1000 clicks.
  • Disable the losers when you think they're losing - not when the software tells you they are.  You can always re-enable variations as the apparent winners start to drop (and they always do!)
  • Expect pretty high conversions right after you start a campaign.  The true test of your variations is what they do when you start to scale them...  From 20 clicks to 200 and 500 clicks or more!

Now, to do split testing, you need to have split testing software.  My pick is Visual Website Optimizer because you can test any page you have online, and it’s super easy to use.

Click here to check out VWO >>

LeadPages also has a split testing component in their software, which is good.  I’ve found that LeadPage’s landing pages can be restrictive when you want to test anything more than a headline or button text…

Click here for Leadpages >>

Now, let’s look at some tests…

Here’s a paid traffic campaign that we’ve been running for quite a while:

sp1

As you can see, Variation 2 is the clear winner with 37.74% conversions.  We discovered that pretty early so the majority of traffic went to that page…

This is actually where the testing started out though…

sp2

Our very first test, we were getting 24.47% conversions from cold, paid traffic.

Here’s what that page looked like:

sp3

From there, we tested different headlines to see which one resonated with our audience…

sp4

The headlines were:

  • 100 "Plug & Play" Subject Lines
  • 100 "Most-Opened" Subject Lines
  • "Tested For You" Subject Lines
  • Subject Lines That Get Your Emails Opened

And as a refresher, here were our stats:

sp5

As you can see, Version 1 was our winner.  The one that said “100 Most-Opened Subject Lines.”

Now, a 2% bump doesn’t sound like a lot (and it’s not!), but it did give us some very valuable intel…

We knew which headline to use on our next test!

For Test 2, we used the winning variation, Variation 2, and changed the look of it…

sp6

The text is the same – the headline, body copy, book image and top headline.

What we changed were the colors of the background, the button and the button location.

  • In Control and Variation 1 - the difference is the primary background color.
  • In Variation 2 and Variation 3 - we moved the button to the other side of the page.
  • And in Variation 3, we changed the button color.

 

Here are the results:

sp7

As you can see, Variation 2 was the HUGE winner, at 37.74%!

Here’s that landing page:

sp9

That’s a 13% bump in landing page conversions from two simple tests…

Just a little bit ago, I fired up Test 3 of the same page, and the things I’m testing are the top headline (the one in the dark text)…  We’ll see if some small changes there give us anything in terms of conversion.

At the end of the day, make small changes, see what’s working, and use that data to keep improving your conversions!

Make sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!  What were some of the discoveries you made split testing your pages?

5 Comments

  • Stan Jackson

    Reply Reply July 2, 2015

    I have been a member for a few months. The report entitled, “100 most opened email subject lines” looks outstanding. It will not let me download. I believe it does not recognize that I have been paying my $5.00 for a few months. Please help. Thank you!

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