How to A/B Test

4 min read

How to A/B Test

Some say A/B Testing stands for Always Be Testing. And they’re not wrong. A/B testing demonstrates how well your marketing tactics are working and allows you to make decisions based on data and results. It can help you decide what works and what doesn’t; and if your audience doesn’t love it, then change it. 

And A/B Testing does a lot more than just helping you make decisions based on stats. It shows you why you shouldn’t settle on something just because it’s worked in the past. The world around us is constantly changing, and your audience is too. So why wouldn’t your marketing be constantly updating as well? 

Start with research

As with most things marketing-related, it all starts with research. You could conduct interviews, surveys, polls and even user testing, depending on whether you want qualitative or quantitative data. Make sure you gather the right data for your campaign - the more focused your research is, the more insight you’ve got going forward.

There’s also the option of conducting competitor analysis to see what the other side is doing. You can then create a hypothesis for your new designs, and if you have an Akero conversion roadmap (and we suggest that you do), then you can keep track of your tests and timelines (get in touch for more information) making annotations, and any necessary amends as your campaign runs its course. 

Then, break down your KPIs into actions - both short and long term. Micro conversions vs macro conversions. Prioritise.

It’s all in the detail

We’ve all heard it before; Gmail once tested 50 shades of blue for their CTA colour and found the highest converting shade. When it comes to educational institutions, this level of detail may be a step too far, but it can make a big difference. How frustrating would it be to know that a different hex code could have boosted conversions significantly?

What to A/B Test

By now you might be questioning what elements need to be subjected to an A/B test. One good way to increase conversion is by using the data from your visitor behaviour. Akero then allows you to use split testing to test out your forms and landing pages on different audiences. You could test based on the device type used by the lead, on parent vs student content or on the marketing channel the lead came from. Imagine the impact it could have on your conversions and enrolments, with fewer page and form abandonments, increased conversions and ultimately more students converted.  

A/B vs Multivariate Testing

If you’re in marketing, get clued up and know the difference. In A/B Testing, you split traffic amongst two or more completely different versions of a form or landing page, allowing you to test radically different ideas for conversion rate optimisation.

In Multivariate Tests, you identify and test a small aspect of the same landing page or form. For example, one of our clients tested changing the wording and placement of the ‘Nationality’ form field in their form, and saw a conversion difference of 6%. It’s these subconscious factors that ultimately sculpt the customer’s decision-making and subsequent journey through the funnel. Better to be safe than sorry, so get it tested.

The key rules

  • Don’t change too many elements - It can be difficult to figure out what element was responsible for the recorded result. Remember those science experiments in school? Make sure one of your tests is a control experiment, so you can see the difference targeted changes make to your bounce rate or conversion rate. 
  • Use high-volume pages - The more often people visit a page, the less time it takes to get that data. Like we said, work smarter, not harder.
  • Choose your date/time carefully- Users behave differently during the week, so make sure tests are conscious of weekends, holidays, etc. Think about the external factors that could play into the results of your A/B Testing, and carry out multiple tests if necessary.

Think of it this way; only 52% of institutions that use landing pages also test them to find ways to improve conversions. Not only does A/B Testing show you what works, but more importantly, it also shows you what doesn’t work so you don’t waste time and money on something that won’t have any effect on your desired outcomes. Don’t throw money away when a simple A/B Test could have improved your conversion rate.

Get in touch to find out more on the art of A/B Testing and conversion, and how Akero can help improve your student marketing.