You can only improve your digital marketing if you’re A/B testing. But many marketers waste time, money, and effort in their split testing because they’re not running them correctly.
You’re not learning anything about your marketing or sales funnels and are wasting everybody’s time. Avoid these 7 A/B test mistakes, and you’ll run them more confidently and discover the accurate truth about your website.
1. Stopping A/B Tests Early
If your sample size is big enough, statistical significance says that you’ll know whether Test A is better than B. That’s why many conversion specialists will stop a test once they’ve hit a magical number or their appointed testing timeline.
In reality, they’re only getting part of the picture. The whole point of split testing is to figure out the truth. You need to run your test until you reach a sufficient sample size and go through multiple sales or marketing cycles before ending the test. Otherwise, you’ll end up with inaccurate data that doesn’t help your conversions.
2. Testing the Wrong Page
One of the biggest mistakes people make is A/B testing the wrong pages on their website. You’ll waste time, resources, and money when you test the wrong ones.
For businesses, the best pages to split test are the ones that affect conversions and result in more leads or sales. Testing Home and Contact pages makes sense for most businesses. Ecommerce sites should test their product and category pages to ensure high conversion rates.
Skip any page that’s not part of your marketing or sales funnel and stick to the ones that’ll boost your income.
3. Starting with the Wrong Hypothesis
Split testing random ideas is expensive. You’ll waste time, effort, and traffic, so just don’t do it.
When you test based on a hypothesis, you’ll learn which option works better, but you’ll know why it works better and make those same changes elsewhere.
4. Wasting Time on Meaningless Tests
Your executive team may want to know if changing the color of form buttons makes a difference, but in reality, it doesn’t matter. Color doesn’t really affect conversions or anything else on your website, so just stop testing it.
Testing small changes won’t tell you much about your website. You need to concentrate on high-impact things that’ll impact the visual hierarchy of your website. For example, reducing the number of fields on a WordPress form increases conversions from 15% to 25%.
This hierarchy impacts how site visitors process information from your site and ultimately affects your conversion rates. These are the things you want to test because they’ll have the most impact.
5. Getting Your Timing All Wrong
Timing is vital with split testing, but many marketers make the same mistakes and get incomplete results.
- Problem: Comparing different times. When you compare apples and oranges, you won’t truly know if a change has made a difference. Your results are unreliable.
- Solution: Run your test during comparable periods so you can accurately assess whether your changes impact anything.
- Problem: Not running tests for full weeks at a time. (Running a test from Monday to Sunday or during a seasonal spike period.)
- Solution: Run your tests for full weeks at a time since conversion rates are greatly impacted by the day of the week. Ideally, run them for four full weeks to get the full picture of your traffic and conversion patterns.
6. Doing Split Tests Without Enough Traffic
Getting the testing timeline right is the first part of accurate split testing. You also need the right amount of traffic that’ll give you meaningful results.
Testing small changes on a site that gets low traffic regularly will take too long to determine a winner. Besides, you don’t just want a 10% lift in sales. You want a 30-50% lift! Anything else is a waste of time and effort, so don’t waste it waiting for a test result that’ll take months.
7. Giving Up After the First Test Fails
Most first tests fail. — especially if you’ve made one of the previously-mentioned mistakes. People are impatient, so when you stop testing after a failure, you won’t learn anything.
You’ve got to run a test, learn from it, and improve your hypotheses for the next one. Then run a follow-up test and lather, rinse, and repeat. In this case study, it took six full rounds of split testing to find a variation that did nearly 80% better than the original.
You won’t know until you continue testing your hypotheses and ideas, so don’t give up. Also, don’t consider unexpected results to be a failure. The whole point of testing is to gather data to prove or disprove your hypothesis. You still learn something if you disprove it, so keep gathering that data.
A/B testing is easy to do today, but they can’t think for you. Put in the homework before starting your next split test and avoid these seven mistakes. You’ll get more accurate results, learn what’s working for your website, and improve your sales and marketing conversions.