What Is An AB-test?

An AB-test is also known as a split test: a critical and essential marketing activity. An AB-test compares the results from one media component with another and is commonly used within PPC advertising. Such tests can be performed for a large range of media components, including:

  • ad versions
  • ad propositions
  • buttons
  • landing pages
  • PPC campaign settings
  • email subject lines
  • etc.

Due to the many opportunities for measuring effectiveness, an AB-test is a widely used within PPC marketing. In addition, they are also often used within email marketing, usability and (offline) direct marketing.

Best practices for AB-testing

Best practices are:

  • Determine which KPI you want to use for your AB-test.
  • Write a AB-testing plan with the components and versions you want to test
  • Make sure that various AB-tests don’t interfere with each other (or keep this within acceptable limits).
  • Always test different ad versions within PPC campaigns, to determine which one is the most effective.
  • AB-test various landing pages, using tools as Visual Website Optimizer, Google’s Website Optimizer (note: this tool has been retired and replaced with a new function in Google Analytics), or Adobe SiteCatalyst’s Test & Target.
  • Make sure your findings are valid using a chi-square test.
  • Use the findings from online campaigns for offline media.
  • Test everything, always and continuously, to keep improving your marketing campaigns!

If your website receives sufficient traffic, or your AB-test has a high conversion rate, you can use multivariate testing in order to increase your AB-testing capacity.

AB testing tools

AB testing tools help to determine whether a test is valid. A test is valid if, based on the available data, one component outperforms the other. The outcome of such a test is usually measured in a percentage. Within marketing, a 95% threshold is commonly used to declare a winner. This means that one version has a change of at least 95% to provide better results than the other version(s).

SEObook provides a good (and free!) AB-testing tool. You can find it here.

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