The holidays are approaching, and with them comes shorter days, a chill in the air, and most importantly: answering the nagging question of “How can I improve the conversion rate on my website this holiday season?”
Is there a CTA on your site that seems lackluster? A key page with a questionable layout? Questions like these are important to answer before peak holiday traffic hits, and they happen to be excellent fodder for one of our Analytics team’s most beloved processes – A/B testing.
What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing is a quantifiable way to answer site design questions that would otherwise be subjective. It allows you to serve up two different versions of your site – a control and a test variant – to see which one performs better.
Users are split into groups that view only one version, allowing for objective comparison across both versions. After the test runs long enough to produce statistically significant results, a winner can be chosen based on performance.
Sounds pretty complex, right? So you might be asking yourself, “Do I have the resources for it?“
There are a few misconceptions surrounding A/B testing, specifically concerning time and expense. Site owners might be wary of long approval time for designs, along with the time it takes developers to build out test variants. This can seem like a lot to invest, especially when there’s no guarantee the new design will outperform the original.
Enter Google Optimize, Blue Moon Digital’s preferred method to efficiently run A/B tests without relying on a development team. Google Optimize allows you to make changes to site design through HTML and CSS edits, empowering teams to bypass lengthy development stages for design variants. In addition to being quick and easy, Google Optimize is free and lets you run up to five tests at a time.
For all of these reasons, there’s nothing our Analytics team loves more than getting into Google Optimize and quantifying the lift site enhancements create. We’ve seen impressive results from our tests, like this redesigned mobile homepage.
The old homepage was text-heavy and dominated by white space that created unnecessary scrolling before users saw actual content. The redesigned version is streamlined and makes use of visuals to engage users. This test resulted in a 24% increase in conversion rate across mobile devices, which quantified the merits of a design upgrade.
Not all A/B tests center around such robust design changes. We’ve also seen success in more targeted changes that address one feature at a time. These are often quick to implement yet still powerful for driving enhancements.
Here are a few of our favorite examples:
Quick Wins with CTA Enhancements
We had a client who wanted to improve their cart-to-detail rate. After looking at their product detail pages, we identified the Add to Bag button didn’t stand out on the page.
We decided to test the lift that emphasizing the Add to Bag button more would have. By using Google Optimize, we were able to quickly set up the test to see how the following design variant would perform against the original.
The design variant was intended to capture user attention more easily with a standout color, bolder more readable text, and a greater clickable area. The test resulted in a 7% increase in total conversion rate with the enhanced button, prompting a permanent change.
Make Winning Page Layout Changes on the Fly
Another great example of A/B testing involved a client whose page layout wasn’t effectively supporting their business goals. While they wanted users to take action to sign up for a membership at their gym, the options to do so were nested well below the fold of the page. Positioning their calendar above the membership options shifted the focus of the page on existing members rather than new members, which conflicted with their goal of encouraging new signups. This discussion occurred right before their peak season – January – and their development team was unable to design a new page layout.
Using Google Optimize, we were able to swap the placement of elements on the page and test how highlighting membership options would affect the add to cart rate.
The test helped quantify the positive impact this change in layout would have (a 90% probability to increase the add to cart rate) and make a case for permanently changing the page.
Both of these tests are examples of incremental site changes that had a tangible impact on business goals. In situations where development teams are unavailable to assist with more robust design enhancements, changes like these can be made in Google Optimize to provide a data-backed request for permanent site changes.
Getting the Winning Variant to Stick
Once a winning variant has been decided it needs to be placed permanently on the site. Google Optimize will allow the winning variant to show 100% of the time for up to 3 months. This allows you to benefit from the change right away despite any wait time from your dev team to make the update permanent.
A/B testing is an important tool for site optimization, and it’s not just for teams with large development budgets. No matter the site, testing can be implemented easily and efficiently to yield data-driven insights.
Get ahead of the holidays this season and let us run a few tests to see how we can help you improve CVR and get you the best holiday season yet!