A/B Testing: Is it worth it for small businesses?
You have probably heard A/B testing is critical to your success when it comes to website design and developing/optimizing digital marketing campaigns… right?
As a digital marketing agency, we have found this may not be true and the problem for most small to medium businesses when it comes to testing is that they fail. Here’s why.
The Problems Associated with A/B Testing
1. An Infinite Process
A/B testing never ends because one test will always perform better than the other. So, you A/B test again and get another variation where one outperforms the other. The point is that A/B testing never stops and takes a huge amount of manual effort, especially for small and medium businesses.
Thus, so many people tend to rush through these tests or take shortcuts just to get them done. Which is why they ultimately fail! The number of results you were getting compared to the time it took your team to manually test this infinite process was probably minimal and not really all that cost effective.
2. Tester Opinion and Bias
Most companies are testing the data points based on their own hypotheses about what their existing tests mean, which may or may not be relevant. For example, you test one feature and because the tester believes that particular feature is helpful and necessary, it could easily distort the results. Then he/she could end up skewing the results because not all variables are fairly considered and tested.
3. Results Require Time and Scale
All testing must be performed on a large-scale basis if you want the results to be accurate, and, unfortunately, that takes time. At least a minimum of three to four weeks to accumulate enough website traffic or even longer period of time to test on internal pages. That’s a lot of time to let go by…time that would probably have been better spent doing other proven income producing tasks.
4. Technical Knowledge Needed
Running A/B tests may have been made easy with software but in reality, it means being versed with a certain level of statistical knowledge. Common concepts you need to be familiar with include false positives, p-values, binomial distributions, the null hypothesis, A/A tests, two-tail tests, etc. Without a proper understanding of statistics, the results are most likely inaccurate due to poor execution of the test.
Testing Is Still Important, But…
There you have it, A/B testing in its traditional sense is not cost effective for most small to medium businesses. What should you do instead? Well, you should still be testing, but you should be testing differently.
You need to find new ways to test your digital marketing efforts rather than spending all your time A/B testing. For example, switch from behavioral testing (colors, call-to-action buttons, etc.) to emotional testing, targeting, and marketing.
Use emotional testing, targeting, and marketing, which focuses on strategy and concepts rather than elements. This is because consumers make purchases based on emotion and the way something makes them feel. That means you have to learn more about your customers before you will know what makes them want to purchase one product or service over another. Once you know a customer’s emotional triggers, the sky’s the limit.
On another note, ad platforms like Google Ads automatically A/B test ads to ensure the best performing ads are shown. Their
OK, but how do you do that?
User testing is infinitely more productive than A/B testing behavioral elements. With user testing, you can learn about the flow of an entire site, including the elements. A user can tell you exactly what frustrated them, what they loved about your design, features, and flow, as well as how each of those things made them feel. Then you can ask them what was it that made them want to make a purchase, or not. This type of information is priceless.
Using Google Analytics and goals to monitor the sources of your website traffic and why people want your product or service will help you understand your audience better. This, in turn, will help you structure your digital marketing campaigns based on real user data rather than element test results. Ultimately, this will lead to more conversions and, of course, a larger return on your investment than A/B testing does.
Want to learn more about how to create or optimize your website without the hassle of A/B testing?