The most successful business owners are the ones who are always thinking of ways to improve their business. A/B testing is one of the most effective ways of doing this. That’s why 71% of companies run two or more A/B tests a month.
However, while the general concept behind A/B testing is simple, it’s not as easy as it seems. Running a conversion rate optimisation campaign properly can be complex. All too many marketers make mistakes in implementing their A/B test, which can render their results redundant.
All too often, B2B marketers will run a split test and make changes based on the results only to find out that it made no difference, or even produced a negative result. In order to be successful, your A/B test has to be set up correctly and results have to be accurately interpreted.
The following are some of the most common mistakes B2B marketers make when it comes to A/B testing that should be avoided.
1. Ending Tests too Soon
In order to effectively conduct a split test, you should have a basic understanding of statistics. While many digital marketers do understand the concepts of statistics, they will often end the A/B test without a sufficient sample size. This is most often the result of not knowing how to accurately calculate the right sample size. In order to fix this problem, marketers have to understand how to calculate a valid sample size. A significance calculator can help with this process. These calculators are very simple to use and most often you will only need a few numbers such as your base conversion rate and desired confidence level to get your necessary sample size.
2. Your Test Didn’t Run for Long Enough
This is different than ending your test too soon. As well as running your test until you reach statistical significance, it’s vital to consider the entire duration of the split test. Most marketers will stop their test as soon as they have a big enough sample, however, if you reach this number too quickly, you can end up with inaccurate results. This is because it fails to take business cycles into account.
Business cycles are the variation in traffic, leads and conversions from certain days of the week, or even months of the year. Some B2B businesses will generate more enquiries at certain points in the month, and most will see more success on weekdays rather than weekends. As such, any A/B test needs to give an overall representation of prospects and leads through all parts of the buying cycle. It should not only reach the minimum sample size, but it should also complete at least one full business cycle to ensure that you have a fully representative sample.
3. Expecting too Much from Small Changes
Marketers will often make the mistake of expecting big results from small changes, such as tweaking a headline or changing the colour of a button. While these are undoubtedly good things to test and may, in fact, make a difference to the performance of your landing page they will only get you so far. With A/B testing, big changes are more likely to affect your conversions (both positively and negatively). As such, it is best practice to identify a major element that has a significant impact on conversions, and you can then continue to tweak the smaller elements.
4. Running Too Many Tests
Depending on the size of your site, there are likely to be thousands of variables for you to test but it’s important that you don’t try to do them all at once. From gathering and analysing data, to running the test and measuring the results, effective A/B testing takes time. Running too many tests at once can divide your attention and result in your business not getting the most out of your split tests. Furthermore, with every test, there is an opportunity to miss out on conversions and as such, damage revenue. Running too many tests at the same time could have a significant impact on your revenue stream.
5. Testing Too Many Variables
Similar to the above, it’s possible to test too many elements. The main problem here is that if you test too many variables at the same time, you won’t know exactly which are affecting your conversions, which means you won’t know how to best optimise your landing page. Effective A/B testing is about striking a balance between making big enough changes to improve conversions while making sure you’re not testing too many variables too frequently.
6. Not Properly Segmenting Audiences
In order to effectively analyse any part of your marketing campaign, it’s important to take customer segments into consideration. You can segment your audiences in a number of ways; from demographic data to New vs Returning visitors, to visitors in different geographic locations and visitors who come from different channels. Visitors from two different segments may not interact with your site in the same way and if you try to test them all together, your results may be inaccurate – you may even get a different result from each segment when you run the same A/B test on them.
If you’re going to start split testing, it’s important to be extra careful not to make these common mistakes. Engaging the help of a marketing consultant can help you ensure you’re getting the most out of your B2B digital marketing campaigns.