What is Split Testing and Why Should I Use It?

Jasmine Batra


When it comes to promoting or starting an online business strategy, the first objective you should do (and surprisingly one of the least known) is to conduct A/B Testing (which is also known as split testing).

While it might seem complex to understand, in simple terms, it is a rather effective and easy method to figure out the best marketing strategy for your business.

In the long run, it is about narrowing down the most successful parts of your online strategy (say for example your colourful snappy headline) and combining it with others (perhaps the word copy of your website) to create a blueprint that will bring in extra customers and obviously more profits.

But for newbies, we’ll bring it down a notch here.

Split testing is essentially about developing and then testing several designs to determine which one does a better job of bringing in your target audience and making them take action on your business website.

For example, you can test which product picture of your coffee machine gets more people to buy that item, or which sales email customers respond to better than others, or what colour headline works to bring your audience.

All these factors (and there are plenty, it depends what you think is needed to be influential in your approach) are measurable, and once you’ve decided what factors you want measured, this is where the technological part comes into play.

Using split testing tools will give you a clear view of how online visitors respond to the tests you are conducting. Some of these include:

  • Google Website Optimizer
  • Visual Website Optimizer; or,
  • Optimizely

There are two primary types of tests that can be run: the split test and the multivariate test. The first is a where you test version one of, say, your website banner and compare it to the version two. You measure the reaction and choose the successful one.

The multivariate test is where you select a wide number of factors and test them altogether, at the same time and see if they work in tandem. In this case, you could measure how an image works alongside a headline and the word copy.

It all comes down to what you think needs to be tested. The project is no overnight task, it takes time to break down and define the best parts of your strategy and how to act upon them.

Of course, it takes us back to the beginning: why use it?

Well, why not?

Split testing is the most simplest method to use in finding out how to get potential customers to come and use your website. Above that, it is important for businesses to learn about their target audience’s likes and dislikes, their online patterns and behaviours and what works to sell a product or service – and ultimately what doesn’t.

Pinning down which design and which creative approach works with your market will help sell your business. And this is why you should use split testing.

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