The concept of A/B testing has its roots in some standard experimentation techniques. Specifically, the idea of having a control in an experiment. The control is the part of the experiment that stays consistent from test to test so that you can safely attribute any difference in results to the item that you change. For website design the control is all of the elements of the page that you’re not experimenting with. By carefully changing one component of a page (or in this specific case, an advertisement) you can see what causes a better response from a user.
Planning an A/B Test
Once you start entertaining the idea of testing your ads there is the potential to get carried away. You want to try and keep your tests focused on one element at a time. Try two different headlines and see which one performs better before you try swapping out the image you’re using and also changing the offer. Remember the concept is to have a small measurable difference and keep everything else the same. Also, be sure to create landing pages that match the various changes that you make to your advertisements so that your users have a seamless experience. If you’re A/B testing your offer, the landing page has to reflect the same information.
Implementing A/B Testing in WordPress
There are a lot of different ways to implement A/B testing for WordPress. This breaks down into a few specific categories.
- Plugins – There are a host of plugins that can add A/B testing ability to your website. You can find a variety of them on the WordPress repository. Some of these plugins test a very specific part of a WordPress page and may not be applicable for testing your advertisements specifically. We’ve even written a plugin that integrates with Google Content Experiments for A/B testing.
- Saas – There are several software services that offer A/B testing as part of their services. Depending on how your advertisements are built, you may be able to leverage one of these to perform your tests. Of note in this space are Unbounce, Optimizely, Kissmetrics, and ConversionXL. These services integrate with WordPress via their own proprietary plugins.
- Themes – There are even some themes that build A/B testing right in. Divi has a Divi Leads feature that gives you results in the dashboard. Thrive themes also offers built in A/B testing in their themes.
Whichever method works best is going to be for you to decide. If cost is a primary consideration then the plugin or theme solutions are going to be a big win. If offloading the overhead of the A/B test is important for site performance then the saas solutions are going to be the best route. You’re going to have to decide which needs are most important for your site.
More resources for A/B Testing
There are a lot of great resources for A/B testing information.
- ConversionXL has a very comprehensive A/B testing guide.
- Kissmetrics offers a good introduction to the topic.
- Smashing Magazine has an ultimate guide to A/B testing that covers all related areas.
- WPBeginner has a focused tutorial on using Google Analytics for split testing.