Most advertisers make creative decisions based off of two factors, experience and gut feeling. While those factors are important, a large number of advertisers are not taking advantage of a new factor introduced by digital media, Conversion Optimization and A/B testing. Online landing pages are different from a print ad or a billboard. This is because you can test 2 or more online creative ideas against each other and see real-time results. Even better, you can make changes within minutes to your online creative based on results. Essentially, you are letting your visitors or target audience design your creative for you based off of results of their actions.
“Let your visitors design your site for you. You’ll simply never build a site that’s as good as the one your visitors would build for themselves. Even people with no sense of aesthetics are brilliant designers.” – Always Be Testing
A/B testing is launching two similar pieces of creative online and testing them against each other to see which performs better. Once you designate a winner, you revise the loser to look more like the winner and you test another piece of creative. A/B testing can be done on
- SEM Text ads
- Display Banner Ads
- landing pages
SEM Ads – Test the headline, test the body text or test the display URL.
Display Banners – Test the images, test the headlines, test your call to action color or test your call to action text.
Landing Pages – you can test 2 or 3 headlines at the same time, 2 or 3 hero images, or even the color of the call to action button.
With a free online tool like Google Website Optimizer, it really isn’t that expensive. If you’re not A/B testing you are giving up unknown amounts of conversions.
Overstock.com began A/B testing and one tiny creative change to their page added a potential of $2,040,000 monthly opportunity gain. Imagine if someone at Overstock.com had said, “A/B testing sounds too expensive.”
How To Implement A/B Testing
If you’re sold on the idea of A/B testing, there are plenty of resources to aid you in your testing.
Google Website Optimizer
Always Be Testing
Or you can check out this article by SmashingMagazine The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing