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A/B Testing

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What Is A/B Testing?

A/B testing is a type of test in which users are separated into groups (variants) and each group is served a different content experience. The control group is served the default experience while the variant is served the alternate experience. The variant is then compared against the control with metrics/goals to establish the winner.

Why Run an A/B Test?

There are many reasons why marketers might decide to run an A/B test. This form of testing is ideal in the early stages of a marketing campaign when teams are still learning about the preferences of their target audiences. But it’s also a great tactic to employ during ongoing campaigns. It can even be helpful in optimizing longstanding communication touchpoints. 

The key benefit of A/B testing is that it enables you to see which of your options would provide the best results, in terms of engagement and conversions. By running an A/B test, you’ll quickly see which interactions work best for your customers. If you’ve segmented your buyers into distinct groups, you may also be able to spot differences in preferences between these. 

A/B testing is crucial if you’re hoping to make the most of every penny that goes into your marketing budget. Well planned and executed A/B tests clearly show where funds should be invested to ensure the best results for any campaign. So if you want to make the most of your budget and get the best possible ROI for your brand, there’s no reason not to explore the options of A/B testing.

How Does Mobile A/B Testing Work?

Mobile A/B testing can either test a single variable, for example, the position of a CTA button, or multiple variables at the same time. The latter is known as multivariate testing. Marketers should be cautious when testing multiple variables because these tests take longer to reach statistically significant conclusions.

A/B testing can be used not only to improve customer conversion and retention rates but also to ensure that any changes made to an app have not made it worse. Mobile A/B testing can be used to test both in-app and external variables, from buttons and images to emails and push notifications.

Campaigns are set up so that two different audiences are served different versions of these variables at the same time for a specific time period. Using an intuitive A/B testing dashboard, marketers can see the most significant results at a glance. The group that achieves the most goals will determine what changes will be made to the app in the future.

For a successful mobile A/B testing campaign, marketers should consider:

  • Testing everything, from message campaigns to user interfaces. Leanplum’s solution allows for comprehensive testing without code changes.
  • Using multiple variables. There are no limits to how many different variants of a variable you can try, so marketers should try many different scenarios to gain sufficient user data.
  • Segmentation and targeting. For each campaign, marketers should define specific audience groups based on events or behaviors.
  • Tracking metrics. Analytics is the most valuable part of an A/B testing campaign. Leanplum makes analytics easy by surfacing the most significant changes, like a 47 percent hike in average daily user revenue, in the dashboard.

The Testing Process

A/B testing is a simple strategy that you can use to learn more about your customers’ likes and dislikes. Here’s how the process works. 

Gather data: Use your existing analytics platform to start looking into the areas that you could improve. Keep an eye out for any areas of your website that aren’t performing as well as you think they could be, and think about how A/B testing could help you to understand how these pages could be optimized. 

Set your targets: Identify the metrics that indicate success for your campaigns, and use these to guide your A/B testing strategies. These will help you to understand which variations are most successful. 

Think about your hypothesis: When you’ve set your target and you’re ready to begin, you’ll be able to start thinking about how you could optimize your pages, and which changes you think customers will be most receptive to. Outline these thoughts as your hypothesis, and go back to them to add further details depending on the results of your tests.

Set your variations: Start creating variations of the pages or interactions you’d like to test. You might want to think about changing how your call to action buttons look, reformatting the page or updating visuals to see how customers respond. Remember to change just one thing at a time before running tests. 

Start testing: Run your A/B tests and wait to see how customers interact with your changes. Make sure you’ve left enough time for tests to run before moving onto the next step: analysis. 

Examine your results: Now you’ll be able to analyze the results of your tests. Look at your A/B tests one by one and consider how your changes have affected engagement, conversions, and other interactions. Use what you’ve learned to gain a better understanding of your customers’ preferences, then build on this as you create more A/B tests in the future.

Challenges of A/B Testing

A/B testing is a useful strategy for marketers, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. There are some limitations to this strategy, particularly if a brand has a smaller user sample size for testing, or if data is lacking. 

Good A/B testing strategies do take time, so for brands looking for quick results A/B tests may not be the best option. The strategy is also best for brands looking to make high-impact changes. More subtle edits may not make enough of a difference for teams to see a change in their test results.

Common A/B Testing Mistakes

A/B testing is a highly effective strategy, but there are some do’s and don’ts to consider! 

A/B tests can be ineffective if a brand chooses to test too many different variables at once. This is one of the most common A/B testing mistakes. While testing several variables will likely show differences in user behavior, it will then be difficult for a brand to really understand which of its changes customers were reacting to. 

Patience is key in A/B testing. Another common mistake that we see is marketers starting to analyze the results of their tests before enough users have had time to react to different variations. This tends to result in weak data, which may lead to misinformed decisions further down the line. We recommend waiting a sufficient amount of time for tests to run before diving into analysis, to ensure the most robust and reliable results. 

The exact amount of time you’ll need will depend on the tests you’re running and the number of variables involved. Speak to our experts if you’re unsure of how long your planned strategy should take.

What Does Mobile A/B Testing Mean for Marketers?

Mobile A/B testing means that marketers can make changes to their apps and campaigns with confidence. Update your app without fear of losing customers to poor user experiences. Even the most superficial of changes can make a huge difference to ROI.

In a broad sense, marketers benefit from a deeper knowledge of their customers and their behaviors. Leanplum‰’s testing system can track a huge variety of in-app and external variables, helping to create optimized, relevant campaigns.

For more information, read our article on Mobile A/B Testing.