In all of my digital marketing days, there inevitably comes a time when I hit that wall. I’ll start to feel like the numbers are leveling off, growth is slowing, or I’m just out of ideas for how to improve my overall strategy. My saving grace? A/B testing.
A/B testing is something that I am constantly using to get out of my “marketer’s block.” There’s really no limit to what you can’t problem solve, when you have the right hypothesis, the right test, and the willingness to execute it well.
In that regard, I tried to gather a mega-list of A/B tests that you can do at any level. Whether you’re just putting together a site, or you’re constantly in a twitter beef with conversion expert Peep Laja. Just remember: for a successful A/B test, you need time, patience, and constant attention to your numbers.
I’ve organized this list from beginner to intermediate to expert level. So feel free to scroll down depending on what level you want to read.
Featured image photo credit to Oli Gardner’s opening presentation at this year’s Unbounce CTA Conference in Vancouver.
Beginner Level A/B Tests
These are mostly cosmetic tests, but you’ll be surprised to see how just a little change in your layout can make a big difference for your conversions.
Navigation Bar Order
Figure out what the most important pages are on your site and add them to the navigation bar. Most of the time people don’t care about your “About” page.
Vertical vs. Horizontal Navigation Bar
Sometimes it’s easier for audiences to click through a bar that’s running up and down versus across the top corner of your screen. Don’t be afraid to try out non-standard locations.
Icons vs. Words for Navigation Bar
Rather than words, consider putting in clever icons for each of your prominent navigation bar buttons. It’s intuitive, original, and eye-catching.
Remove Navigation Bar
Are you kidding me? No. For yuppiechef, it actually increased conversions. Not every site needs to look like the textbook example to work.
The test resulted in a 100% increase in conversions.
Pro tip: No landing page that you are sending paid traffic to should have a navigation bar.
CTA Button Color
While this tests efficacy is often debated, this can have more to do simply with standing out on the page than the objective attractiveness of the button itself.
CTA Button Copy
Maybe you’re not being forceful enough, maybe you’re being too harsh. Try out a couple different tones in the way you’re asking folks to sign up.
Pro tip: Never….EVER…..use the word “Submit” as your button copy. Also, try to keep your headline and button CTA copy consistent.
CTA Button Location
Similar to the color, the location of your CTA button may be getting it lost in the mix. Test different locations based of data you have.
Pro tip: Using a heatmap software to learn where your users are clicking and add the button there.
CTA Button Shape
It’s possible that your audience is tuning out the standard big red button on a page, maybe something smarter, edgier, or more up to date could fit well with your company’s image.
Number of CTA Buttons
Who said you only need only CTA button? Maybe your audience needs options: well, go ahead and give the people what they want. Most conversion experts will say only give your user one option and that might be the case but your website is different from all the others so it’ll be worth a test.
Is your login box tucked away in the top right portion of your screen? Is it driving people away by the feeling that they need to tadalafil fibrosis be a member before they can browse? Change it up.
Pro tip: Try using “Login with Google” or “Sign up with Google” to see if you can reduce friction and automatically get people to sign up with one click.
An image can be a great way to capture the attention of your audience on your homepage, other times it can serve simply as a distraction. We’re all guilty of this but please…please…please stop using stock photos.
Likewise, you may need to adjust the size of your original heading. If it’s long, large text may look clunky, but then again, too small and it may be hard to follow.
This could make or break it for you. It’s important that your headline copy sparks curiosity with the user and leads them into the subheadline. Learn more about copywriting.
Similarly, you want subheadline copy that helps to steer your customer in the right direction, try out a few different tones to see what people respond to best.
Bonus test: Try switching your headline and subheadline on the page (make the subheadline the headline and vice versa). It could lead to even more conversions. Worth a test!
The homepage layout is equally important. Use a heat map tool like Crazy Egg to see what people how people click and scroll on your page.
Feel free to try out different messaging here. Different lengths and styles will benefit different goals, such as SEO or conversions, so try to prioritize what’s most important to you here.
For some companies, an “About Me” page really doesn’t do them any good at all. Test removing it entirely.
Similar to your goals with copy, having the page extend below what’s initially visible can be equally appealing and unappealing to different audiences.
Pro tip: A lot of information publishing guys out there (people who sell ebooks/content) use long form copy to sell and it works very well. I’ve seen landing pages that are 5,000 words long. If you are going that route make sure to have visible “add to cart” or other CTAs nested within the copy.
Above The Fold Copy
If you’re going to have copy “below the fold” determine what’s most important for people’s initial impressions. Maybe your signup should be above the fold but maybe your users need to digest more content before giving you their contact information.
Landing Page Image
On any given landing page, it’s important to determine if a hero image is the first thing someone sees. Is the picture one they’ll respond to well? Learn more about how to create a landing page.
Pro tip: Test people, images of the app or situations that you want your users to feel while using your product.
Landing Page Image Size
The size also makes a huge difference. Does it leave room for other content? Is it too busy? Try out one that takes up half the page versus just a tiny portion.
Having social proof is almost always effective, but displaying it in the right way is essential to making full use of it. Social proof can be number of Facebook fans, number of customers, testimonials, etc. Sujan Patel does a great job of showing social proof and how awesome he is…
Social Proof With Individual Numbers
In some cases, having simply social share buttons is enough, but other times, showing how many people shared on each individual platform can go a long way.
Ask People To Follow You On Social vs. Share
Try two different social share CTAs: ask them to follow you or add you, and then ask them to share the post. See what people respond to more.
Star ratings have become increasingly popular with more and more apps coming out. For apps and services this can be great, but for other business it may look scammy.
Badges & Certifications (Trust Symbols)
Trust symbols can be something as simple as a badge that you’re a “verified” site or a BBB image. This can be something that naturally helps audiences trust you more, or something that makes people suspicious of you.
Sign Up Form Location
There are myriad locations that you can include space to sign up for an email or newsletter. Make sure that you put it in a spot where they’ll be most apt to click on it.
Pro tip: Data suggests that the highest converting forms are 666 pixels down the screen.
You can also try adding something like the Hello Bar that allows audiences to have the option to sign up the entire time they’re scrolling down the page.
Pro tip: See my red bar at the top of your screen? Put your email in that thing…
While there can be certain SEO value to specific keywords in your hyperlinks, they may not be drawing the CTR you want. Try changing up the words for a given hyperlink.
Pro tip: If you’re still using keyword rich anchor text for internal links on your website…you should probably reevaluate your SEO strategy.
Similarly, your links may just be blending in—or people may find the sea of blue underlines annoying. Like mine…
Free vs. Not Free
Believe it or not, the word Free can be extremely appealing to some and a total turnoff to others. Don’t just assume it’s a surefire way to draw people in.
Email Subject Line
There are so many different ways to draw people in with your subject line. Go personal? Ask a question? Don’t be afraid to try a lot of variations here. Click here to learn more about creating killer email subject lines.
Your signature is a great place to show off work and biographical information, but that doesn’t always go well with everyone. Try different fonts, styles and levels of information to see who’s interested in what.
Try changing up the bio on your social media account. See if adding links or certain action words can earn you more follows or click-throughs.
For any post on your blog, you should have 10 different headlines to try out for the link you post on social media. It’s a great place to get immediate feedback for A/B tests. See my example below:
Pro tip: Follow me on Twitter @justjasonjames
Just like headlines, pictures on social media posts can be a great way to gauge what your audiences does or doesn’t like.
Social Banner Image
LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook all have banner image options of your profile, see if adding in a HD image or special offer can get you more attention or less.
Facebook Ad Copy
Facebook ads also are a great place to perform quick A/B tests. Try changing up the message of your content to see if generates more clicks.
Facebook Ad Demographics
Try running a series of demographics A/B tests with Facebook ads. This gives you a hypertargeted idea of who responds best to your ads.
Change Your “No Thanks” Copy
Ever see a yes/no option look more like “Yes, I’d love to fix my content marketing plan,” vs. “No, I hate being successful”? A little guilt trip may go a long way. Use a tool like BounceExchange to get a pop up that allows you to do this.
Your blog titles make a big difference. Is your audience more into How-Tos, Overviews, News, or 101s? For tips on how to create killer blog titles click here.
Open Comment Section
Sometimes comments are actually bad for a post (especially if you create shitty content). See if closing the comment section off generates more or less shares.
Intermediate Level A/B Tests
Here’s where things take a step off of basic. They have a lot more to do with long term implications for eCommerce or SaaS sites, and go more in depth on some of the flaws we face in design.
Multipage vs. Single Page Checkout
Sometimes having several steps to get to final checkout can be cumbersome, though some may see it as more secure. One page checkout puts billing info, shipping info, place order button and any other necessary items to checkout on one page. Here’s an example from Angry Birds.
Remove Navigation Bar At Checkout
For some, having a nav bar during check out can be a helpful reminder of things that they may have forgotten, for others, it can be an easy way to end up with an abandoned cart.
Featured Products on Homepage
If you’re trying to drive sales to certain products, a “featured products” section on your homepage may do you good.
“Impulse Buy” Products At Checkout
Just like when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store and you see all that freaking candy staring at you…if you’re strong willed like me you buy it, right? Now replicate that and do it online.
User Info Survey (Mad Lib vs. Straightforward)
When filling out customer surveys, some may see standard fill-in-the-blank as the best way to go, but for other, when it reads like a mad lib, it may seem less intimidating.
Reduced Size Customer Surveys
Sometimes, you’re just asking too much. It might be a good idea to trim the fat on your sign ups and surveys, and just ask the basic questions.
Pro tip: Conversions go down with the more form fields you have so try to stay in the sweet spot of 3-4 fields.
You may think that you’re totally benefitting off of those internal links, but you may be driving potential conversions to pages they don’t want to visit. This doesn’t just apply to text links but product image links on the sidebar. Nordstrom tests this so you should too.
Just like your site layout is extremely important, so too do you need to focus on how audiences navigate your blog. Is it too complicated? Is it hard to search for a specific post? Is it just one big, long, annoying scoll?
Click To Tweet
For some, click to tweet buttons imbedded in the text can be very helpful, for others, it might be better just to share the article as a whole with the touch of a button.
How confident are you that people really want to see what’s on your site? Maybe putting a gate between your user and their desired content could be an effective way to generate signups.
Tone is hard. You may think you’re saying one thing, but it may read completely the opposite. Try writing totally different copy for the same landing page, and analyze the tones later.
Paragraph Styles (Lists vs. Bullets, etc.)
In more academic contexts, long paragraphs may seem appealing, whereas for some, a simple list would really do the trick.
Pro tip: When creating lists, everyone loves green check marks.
The truth of the matter is, some people respond to one face better than another—and no, it’s not always the woman in the bikini.
HD photos can mean a lot to certain audiences, but other times that might be a total waste of your resources. Figure that early before you drain your budget on high quality art.
Use an Banner Image Slider
On the one hand, rotating banners can pack a lot of information into one simple area. Other times, however, it can simply be busy and distracting. Depending on what the goal of the website is, a banner slider may or may not be effective.
An explainer video could be a great way to welcome customers to your site, but then again, it could be a way to boost your bounce rate. Dollar Shave Club does a great job with videos.
Pro tip: Wistia is a great service that lets you host your own videos on your site. Check them out.
Intro Pop Ups
Intro popups, with the option to “continue to site” may create anticipation, and be a great place for getting information out of your customers. Other times, it can just be busy and annoying.
A lot of sites now have a modal box that pops up, offering new discounts, creating a space for sign-ins and sign-ups, or simply saying “hi.” They’re worth trying out.
A welcome mat is like its own fold. Rather than content, it’s just an extra margin to start your page off—and may have a special sign up offer. Check it out here.
Promotional Email Volume
Are you totally sick of getting 7 emails a week from the same site? A lot of people are, but dropping that down to once a week may not be the best answer, either.
Getting an email with your name in it may be a great way to get drawn in, but to many that’s just not necessary and can prove to be more complicated than it’s worth.
Abandoned Cart Emails
This will require some tracking tools, but according to SalesForce, a third of clicks lead back to purchases. That’s a huge number.
Different Email Sender
It feels good to get an email from the top sometimes. Rather than just a blind name, try personalizing who the mass emails are being sent from.
Pro tip: Send an email from the CEO of your company but send the replies to support so she doesn’t get bombarded with email.
Mobile Page Length
Mobile is another beast, and has to be treated as such. Do people like scrolling? Or do they just want static jumps from page to page?
Mobile Navigation Design
Finding the right size icon to click on mobile can be exceptionally difficult when balancing smart design. This will take work, but it’s worth testing. One popular technique now a days is the hamburger icon. See how When I Work does it below:
Ad Landing Page
Where are your ads landing? Are they just going to the home page? Do you have another page that might stoke more conversions? Try some out.
Pro tip: You should always drive paid traffic to specific landing pages. Use Unbounce to create easy landing pages.
Blog Posting Times
It matters what time you post your blog. Learn the art of reposting and start to see what times people are more prone to check your how long is levitra effective stuff out.
Social Posting Times
Just like with your blog post, there are going to be better times to send out that next tweet. And don’t be afraid to try some of the increasingly popular ICYMI (in case you missed it) tweets.
OK, we’re all a little afraid of big brother at this point, but maybe location tracking on your site could prove to be a utility, and make signups that much easier.
Offering a free trial is a great way to get customers hooked on your product, but possibly at the risk of them just taking the benefits early and then ditching.
Free Trial Length
Free trial length is crucial. Seven days might be plenty for some products, where for others it’s worth giving 30 or even 60 days.
Strings vs. No-Strings Free Trial
In some cases, it’s better to have free trial customers sign up with a credit card, but other times a no-strings-attached (no credit card needed) approach can garner more signups.
Free Trial vs. Money-Back Guarantee
In lieu of a free trial, you can also simply offer a money-back guarantee. This could produce more confident signups.
Trial Offer on Pricing Page
Money conversations can be hard, but when you offer a trial option at the same time that you’re talking about pricing, it might help them warm up to the idea of at least giving your product a test ride. We do this at When I Work. Most people won’t just pay us with out a free trial so we’ve added this sign up form on the pricing page to get people started.
Discount Code Option
Many times, the discount code input option can be inconsequential on your checkout page, other times, it may actually be hurting your image, or send people away looking for a code only to never come back.
For many buyers, a simple $5 can sound a lot better than $4.99. It’s worth trying out round prices to see if it makes the difference.
Auto-Selected Check Boxes
In some cases this can make signing up easier, but other times, it just looks like a scheme to get customers to receive your emails.
Customer Testimonial Sources (Onsite vs. Yelp vs. Reseller Ratings, etc.)
We live in an age of questioning. See if your customers value ratings and reviews from outside trusted sources rather than customer testimonials straight from your sites users.
When Amazon offers prime shipping, they’ll often tell you how many hours and minutes you have to get your order by a certain day or time. It’s false urgency that makes people sign up for the offer faster. Gets me every time!
Limited Bonus Offer
Everyone loves exclusivity, right? See if offering a limited amount of codes or bonuses will have your audience rushing to sign up.
Expert Level A/B Tests
In this third tier, I’ve listed just a handful of A/B tests that I feel are on the “expert” level. They’re the ones that affect pricing, inventory, and even coding. They won’t be ones you can answer overnight, and they may seem risky at times, but the payoff can be huge.
Annual Billing vs. Monthly Billing
There’s a huge difference in customers who want annual billing options and monthly options. Beyond that, some may simply be more willing to do annual, which can keep your MRR higher.
Live Version of Product vs. Screenshots
As demonstrated by Qualaroo, having live demos of your product as you’re explaining it, rather than static screenshots, may go to helping to show the use of your product.
Better Offers For Returning Non-Converted Customers
If you’ve had a customer visit and not convert on a number of occasions, offering them a better deal upon their return might be the perfect way to win them over.
Increase Your Prices
OK, I must have lost it now. Not so! You may find that there’s no difference in the number of customer’s who buy your product at a higher price, therefore increasing your revenue with no additional growth.
Tiered Pricing Packages
Some people just want options. Try introducing tiered price packages that give better benefits to people who are willing to pay a little more. Customer.io does this and it lays out the pricing and packages very nicely.
Paid Distribution Tools
You may be trying to score for one keyword when you should be investing in totally different keywords. Use Google’s Keyword planner for some extra help.
Location Based SEO
While you may think you have a national product, it’s possible that you have certain areas of the country where you’re selling better. Look into it, and test creating some location based, optimized pages.
Maybe your mobile homepage shouldn’t just be a copy of your desktop homepage. Chase, the bank, figured this out and realized that mobile users needed different information then their desktop users.
When you’re out and about and go to Chase.com on your phone you probably don’t need to much information. You probably just want to contact the bank or find the nearest ATM. Think about your customer in context.
In some cases, people may have questions and want immediate answers. Putting them in touch with someone who can not only answer the question, but also lead to a sale may be extremely effective.
Pro tip: If you decide to test a pop-up chat window don’t do what Adroll did and have the support agent not answer a question but suggest you email your account rep then when you do they try to upsell you.
301 and 302 redirects
You may have pages that aren’t actually helping you, but people are still drawn to the URL. Try redirecting to a different landing page, and passing on some of the SEO juice.
As Facebook brings autoplay more into fashion, it may be something that your customers actually enjoy, and will draw them into videos you’ve worked hard to create.
Low Price Purchase to High Price Upsell
If your in the information publishing world it might be difficult to sell your product or web series that costs $249. So create a lesser costing product and sell it for $7 or even $1 just to get the customer’s credit card information. Sometimes once a customer already gives you their CC info they’ll be more likely to upgrade/or be upsold.
Redo 404 page
If someone does happen to encounter an error on your site, it may be an opportunity to be funny, or lead them to another page. Don’t just give them the standard error message. Here’s a link to some of the best 404 pages.
Geo Target Customers
Especially if you have an international audience, geo targeting customers can be a very helpful way to make things simpler for them, from language, to currency, to services offered.
Finally, try changing up the hierarchy of your website. From an SEO perspective, this could help increase the value of deeper pages that still get high traffic. In simpler terms, it can make things easier to navigate for your audience.
And that’s 97. I hope that this is a resource you’ll constantly refer back to. Remember: be patient, listen to your audience, and always keep testing.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know some of your go-to tests and success stories in the comments below!