This weekend was very well spent with Taruna Manchanda. She is in a day job with Zeta and also does UX consultation along with it. In her first company (Wingify), they made a product for A/B testing which made it a simple game for everyone. Doing the same with the session, Taruna Manchanda made it super interactive by lots of quizzes with the most unexpected results. No more would one need the technical proficiency to get the amazing benefits that this test has to offer.

What is A/B testing?

Before diving straight in to the 7 key pointers, we need to first understand what A/B testing really means. It might sound like a technical term but it is quite simple to understand, thanks to the expertise of Taruna. As she explained:

“A/B Testing is way to prove or disprove your hypothesis by the means of experiments.”

To do this, we need to analyse our hypothesis or assumption, and understand three things before we start our experiments:

  • What is it that we are trying to change?
  • What do we think the outcome will be?
  • Why do we believe that this will be the outcome?
The crux of what we need to do is — Run a test, find the winner, and find the reason.

Let us look at the lessons here:

Lesson #1: If you want more friends, build fewer doors

Let us imagine that there are two people giving out free classes on your favourite topics. One of them has a big procedure of filling up forms and then going through a series of rooms before you are finally able to meet them. The other person sits on a bench in a public park and everyone is welcome to join in the class. Which one will you prefer?

The convenience factor of the second option is clearly something that we need to apply to the product that have made or are in the process. How can we have a product where the users can quickly get what they want? We need to make the entire process hassle free. We should be asking these questions: What is absolutely necessary to put at this stage? How can we make it super easy for our users to reach where they want to reach?

This can be achieved by:

- Reducing the number of clicks before reaching that desired page.- Eliminating steps which are not-so-important.
- In order to decrease the bounce rate on our website, we need to avoid URL changes of our domain name.

Lesson #2: Imitate and learn, but don’t forget to be thyself, a.k.a. Sexy

We like to share everything with our friends on social media. Whatever we eat, we buy or any place that we visit, we share it. This is why almost all websites today have a social sharing button.

But is it really needed on every single product page on a particular website? Would you really care to show off a lawn mower that you recently bought or if one of your friends bought one? Probably not.

This brings us to the understanding of this lesson:

  • Know yourself, know your audience and know that they are different from any other company and their target audience.
  • Just because something worked for another similar company, might not work for you.

Lesson #3: If you got it, flaunt it

Which name comes to mind first when we think of lowest price retailer in world? Wal-Mart. What did they do differently to have this effect on us? They have continuously marketed their value proposition for several years: they sell everything at the lowest price as compared to any other retailer.

A great example of Paperstone Company given in the session made it very easy to understand the importance of value proposition better. They ran a test of a product they were selling. On the page, they compared their price with the competitors — Staples and Vikings. They compared the result with the page with no price comparison. The former one resulted in more visits and more sales. This is because they highlighted their value proposition of having the least price. This helped the users to avoid going to other pages and provided convenience.

Never forget to highlight:

  • Your value proposition.
  • Competitive advantage, if any.
  • Social proof and other credibility factors.

Lesson #4: Unless you are too cool to need introductions, put your best foot forward

PayPanther is a company which helps to manage businesses including communications and billing. They are quite new and have not reached a position where we remember them only by their name. Also, their business required the users to give very personal information like Bank account number. Taking these into consideration, they modified their homepage and added FAQs and testimonial section to give additional information to the visitors. This gave the users a direct access to management’s answers and actual experience of previous users to help them clear their doubts.

This helped them increase their conversions exponentially. These are the useful learning from this example:

  • Provide the information required to trust your brand.
  • Add the reviews and testimonials, if any.
  • Have an option for people to clear the doubts.

Lesson #5: The colour of your Call-To-Action (CTA) button is not going to get you sales

We hear it everywhere that one colour might bring in more clicks than the other. Sure, if the button stands out in the page as compared to the text, it might get more attention. But sales is not related to this factor at all. These are the points to be kept in mind:

  • One colour isn’t better than the others.
  • CTA button should contrast everything.
  • Train the visitor about the website key colour. Keep it consistent so that they know it at every page.
  • We should take care of regions and groups. Something which is good for one region could be offensive to the other.

Lesson #6: Don’t A/B test the copy, A/B test the message

When we want to make a big purchase decision, the more information we can collect, the better. Changing the sequence of words will not make much difference when we test them. An entirely new approach to messaging will make a lot of difference.

  • Meaning matters more than the words.
  • Always test the copy changes which will greatly affect your user’s decisions and motivations.

Lesson #7: Pictures convey a thousand words, use them wisely

The example given for this was two images for invitation to the same conference. In one image, there was a laptop and a CTA calling to register for the conference. The other image had last year picture of the conference which showed people listening to the speaker and discussing among themselves. Upon testing both the images, results showed that people perceived the first image to be a webinar and didn’t find it worth spending that much money for it. The second image gave the feeling of connection to a physical conference and an opportunity to meet new people. There, larger number of people registered.

  • Image is much more than a glamour quotient on the website.
  • Choose the image which is most closely related to the message you are giving.

These steps are to be put into a practical use, only then will be able to remember for long and reap the benefits. We might even understand our business and customers better by experimenting using these tests. After all, the beauty of these tests can be appreciated when we completely accept that each and every business is different from each other, even if it is only a slight difference.