We don’t live in the dark ages of the web anymore. By that I mean much of the guessing that made up the strategy of the past couple of decades has been largely replaced by hard data that we use to draw our conclusions. This is thanks to the advances in web analysis thanks to Google’s Analytics program and similar data-tracking services available from the major web platforms. What does this mean for businesses on the web? It means we can make decisions mathematically.
Have You Tried A/B Testing?
One of the opportunities we have with this level of automatic testing is the ability to set up a little experiment. Using multivariate testing methods, we’ll set up two different homepages for your website (or landing pages depending on what’s being tested). A piece of code installed on the website will split your traffic evenly as it arrives to the doorstep of your website.
So we’re working on deciding what color is best for your brand. If we measure success in conversion (a sale, perhaps, or a contact inquiry), then we will try blue and green, splitting the traffic evenly to the two different color options. Half the traffic will see a blue website, the other half will see green. All other variables will be the same.
We let a few hundred (or a few thousand) filter through these two different options and then examine the data. If the percentage of conversion skews one direction or the other significantly, we can assume the color with the most conversions lends itself to converting the best and we’ll go with that color.
True A/B Testing seeks to play the odds by optimizing and customizing the site to lean toward the largest numbers of success possible. Of course, you’ll want to carefully pair this with an overall vision and set of aesthetic brand guidelines, otherwise, you’ll have a garbage pile of tricks and flashing lights that may convert well for the traffic you’re getting but there is no brand recognition or long term viability of your reputation.
If you’re making strategic decisions on the design or functionality of your website, consider running some multivariate A/B testing to identify the strongest choices. It’s better than guessing and wondering if you’re wrong.
At the risk of sounding like priests of the Internet Gods… The traffic will give you the answers.
*Does a little shimmy dance with a hand drum and thanks the spirits of the interwebs.*