Okay, so maybe this isn’t going to be quite everything about split testing. I mean after all, in 1,000 words, there’s only so much I can talk about. However, I think that our readers will get quite a bit out of this examination of split testing. So, let’s get started.
What Is Split Testing Anyway?
If you already know what split testing is, feel free to skip this section. You probably won’t learn anything new. In essence, split testing means testing different versions of your advertising to see which one works best.
You do it by creating multiple versions of your advertising, sometimes with a single change, sometimes with lots of changes and then randomly assigning different visitors to the different pages. You then watch which one works best and voila, you know what to use for everyone.
Of course, split testing does have limitations. For one thing, if you change more than one thing on the advertising, you will never be certain as to whether or not the majority of customers picked one or the other for specific reasons.
In addition, there is a certain amount of variation which will naturally occur regardless of which version of your advertising customers see. This means that a small difference is probably not significant.
All that being said, split testing is one of the best and easiest methods to test advertising and it can be used for almost anything, from landing pages to e-mails and even adWords advertising. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when working with this method of consumer testing:
Test Your Split Test Software
The first thing you should do before you start running a split test is to test your split test software. In essence, this means that you put the same version on all pages and watch what happens. If you see a wide variation with one ‘version’ of your page, you know that there is a problem with how the split test software is displaying pages.
Be Wary of Testing More than One Thing at a Time
As I noted above, split testing works best when you test just one thing at a time. This means that you test different versions of your headlines, different page layouts and other things one at a time. Yes, it’s time consuming but if you try to test too many things at once, you’ll never be able to zero in on which change is making the biggest difference.
You Can Test Price Too
Another thing that many people don’t consider is that they can test various price points through split testing. This allows you to see which one resonates best with your target audience. Oh and remember that a lower price isn’t always going to get you more customers. Sometimes, the higher price will make customers feel more confident about what you have to offer.
You Can Test Your AdWords Positioning
Here’s another neat trick that many people don’t think of when it comes to split testing: try different AdWords positions. You may realize that you can split test different copy on AdWords for example. However, it is also possible to test positions 1, 2 and 3.Google often displays multiple ads next to search results and the first position always commands a premium in the bidding. Even if you get a percent or two less in the number of clicks, if it ends up costing you half of what it would cost for the first position then it’s probably a good deal.
Don’t Be Afraid to Test Larger Blocks of Copy
While I don’t recommend completely redoing your landing page and then running a split test between the old and new versions, there is also nothing wrong with testing more than a single word or sentence. Yes, you can test whether the button labeled “order now” as opposed to “buy now” works best.
However, you can also test whole pieces of text and see which version works best. But when you do this, keep in mind:
You Can Perform Multiple Tests
The great thing about split testing is that you can perform multiple tests. This means for example that you could identify a particular piece of copy or splash page design that works best and then you can go on to test additional items. Perhaps one small change in the new copy will make things even better.
You Can Ignore Minor Changes In Conversion
A half percentage point or even one or two percentage point differences in split testing are pretty meaningless. There is a certain amount of randomness that needs to be considered when doing split testing. Sometimes, by simple luck of the draw, one version of your advertising will do slightly better than the other one.
On the other hand, when you do see more than a percent or two difference, you can be pretty safe in assuming that the difference is statistically significant.
Of course, it also depends on how many people saw the two versions of your ads. If you had a split test with 5 people seeing one version and 5 seeing another version, it’s not necessarily conclusive because your test group was so tiny.
Test the Most Important Thing In Your Headline
Think carefully about the headlines you test. One thing that almost never works is to make long winded headlines talking about lots of different things that your product can do for your customers. Instead, pick one feature and create multiple versions of your headline based on that.Alternatively, you ht=”322″ />Alternatively, you could also test whether Apple might run a split test where they test headlines advertising the ease of use of the Macintosh as well as headlines advertising the fact that Macintosh is not as crash prone as Windows is.
Bottom line, you can pretty much split test anything and the testing should be ongoing, to continue to refine your stuff. Not to mention that there will inevitably be changes in taste as time goes on meaning that split testing is always going to be an ongoing project.