What Color Are Your Buttons?
At it’s most basic, A/B testing is exactly what you see in the diagram above. Technically, I suppose the term could refer to virtually anything, but currently it’s used mainly in the context of digital marketing.
Say for instance, that you’re selling an awesome product online that everyone loves. The consumer reviews are great, the website is getting tons of hits, and people are adding the product to their online shopping carts like crazy. But then they stop. Instead of finishing the purchasing process, they leave the website.
Quick. Easy. Streamlined. These are the qualities that online consumers want to see in a website. If they can’t find the checkout button just by glancing at the page, they’re out. They don’t want to waste a second of their time searching for it. They’d rather exit the site and leave their cart, than sit there staring at your poorly designed webpage trying to figure out what they have to do next.
Now this may be an exaggeration, but you get my point.
And here’s where A/B testing comes in. Since your customers are consistently putting your product in their shopping cart, and giving it rave reviews, you know that your product is not the problem. Somewhere between putting the product into their cart, and hitting the “pay” button, they have an issue. Whether it’s something as simple as the color of a button, or something more complex, like the length of the checkout process, you can fix it. And it’s not even that difficult of a fix! Depending on how quickly you can find the problem, it may be a long process, but the steps are fairly simple.
Keep your original version of the webpage you want to change, and then create a new version. Direct equal numbers of consumers to each page, and see which version gets the best results. The key is to make minimal changes each time. If you want to see how the color of a button affects consumers, then change the button color. But leave the rest of the page the same.
People start getting into trouble when they change multiple things at one time. If you change the title of a page, the background color, the button colors and the font type, how will you know which of those changes caused the change in consumer responses? You won’t. So keep the complexity of each change to a minimum. And hey, if it takes you several tries to get to the root of the main problem, you’ll still be making lots of little, positive changes along the way!