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The Truth About A|B Testing

And the truth shall set your landing pages free! (photo credit - The Truth Group)
And the truth shall set your landing pages free! (photo credit - The Truth Group)

Simply put, A|B split testing isn’t a silver bullet or a panacea for improved conversion rate on your landing pages.

What it is, is an opportunity. A mechanism by which you can begin to understand the behavior of your customers and start to build upon that knowledge over time by testing and tweaking your campaign’s effectiveness.

Testing is exciting. It allows you to see which copy, imagery and page layouts create the desired emotional response in your target demographic.

These micro brand hints can be fed back into how you speak to customers on the phone, they can allow informed design decisions to be enacted on your website, and they can put more money in your pocket.

The Truth – Some A|B Tests Don’t Show Big Results

When you perform an A|B test for the first time, you’ll often have high hopes that the new ideas you’ve put on your challenger page will have a dramatic impact on conversion. But it’s not often the case. Like anything in life, you have to work hard to uncover the simple truths about your customers. If your paid advertising isn’t targeted enough, then all you’re doing is putting the wrong shade of lipstick on the wrong pig. That’s step 1 – make sure you are talking to the right people.

If your first attempts at testing show little or no improvement, don’t lose heart. Step back and ask some fundamental questions. Does your landing page suffer from any of the 7 newbie mistakes I mentioned earlier in the week? If so, try fixing all of those things in your challenger page and see how much better things are.

Just remember, that using different copy or colors on a poorly optimized landing page is unlikely to make a difference.

The Truth – Sometimes You Have to Make Bold Changes

One way to shoot for a bigger reaction is to make bold changes. Re-think the concept of your landing page and produce something completely different. Ask for help from someone who wasn’t involved in the original landing page design.

If you are giving away a free white paper via a lead generation campaign, follow the sageful advice of George Costanza and do the complete opposite – no form – get your free download here!

Compare the increased downloads and see if you really need all those leads.

This is risky, but if you have properly branded your eBook then over time your customers will come back to you. Encourage them to share it freely and you’ll get people visiting from avenues you hadn’t expected. You’ll also buy yourself some trust points.

I’m not saying it’s bad to do lead gen with a form (it’s a necessary part of internet marketing strategy, and we do the very same thing). But unless you try it a different way, you’ll never know how much more successful it could be.

The Economics of A|B Testing

The benefits of A|B testing essentially come down to economies of scale. With low traffic, you need to create a dramatic shift in experience to see large benefit from improved conversions. Conversely, with high traffic, even the most basic improvement can result in a large return on the time invested in the testing process.

Oli Gardner

The Unbounce Challenge

Do a Big Bold A|B Test

Try a radical change to your next landing page A/B test to establish how much swing you can get in your conversion rate, then let us know how you got on.

About Oli Gardner
Co-Founder of Unbounce. Oli has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He is an opinionated writer and international speaker on Conversion Centered Design. You should follow Oli on Twitter
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