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A/B Split testing - deciding one which result is 'better'
Rolf21




msg:896048
 3:04 pm on Jul 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi all, been visiting this site for a while and found loads of great advice, but this is my first post.

I've been doing some a/b split testing of my home page and getting some very useful info about visitor behaviour.

To be clear, each visitor is shown one of two slightly different versions of the home page. Each version is shown an equal number of times. The version shown, the referer and the destination (or lack of) are recorded in a database.

The purpose of testing is to reduce bounce rate and mor importantly send more people to our shopping pages.

During test 1 the results came back showing that version A had a higher clickthrough rate (about 14%). Half of those clicks were going to our gallery and the rest was split evenly between about 4 other pages, including the shop.

Version B had a lower clickthrough (about 11%) but a significantly higher percentage were going to the shopping pages.

I deliberated and eventually decided that version B was better for what we wanted.

I'm now on round 2 of testing and have more or less that same situation and I'm wondering if I should go with the higher clickthrough rate and work on the exact destination later?

I can see the logic for both possibilities so I am hoping some people might want to share their opinions or experience - this is my first forray into A/B testing and I don't mind admiting that I'm just guessing at it.

Thanks in advance, Rolf

 

Receptional




msg:896049
 3:43 pm on Jul 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Rolf.Welcome to Webmasterworld. [webmasterworld.com] Good first post!

Sounds like you are on the right track. I guess that the real answer is to have another field in the database... whether they bought something! but I think that if your prime objective is to get people to buy, then the shopping pages are your optimum "sales funnel" - so you are on balance right to focus on this I would guess.

However - if you do take this approach, then I would guess that the next step is to REALLY push the shopping pages to the fore. This would presumably make your bounce rate overall even higher.

Is there a way for you to differentiate between the type of traffic that is going to the shopping pages and the type of traffic going to the other pages? Again - if the non-sales traffic is of no value, then maybe you can slash the marketing spend on the traffic that wanders off into the organic search pages and refocus it on reducing the overall bounce rate?

Rolf21




msg:896050
 8:23 am on Jul 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Sounds like you are on the right track. I guess
>that the real answer is to have another field in
>the database... whether they bought something!

That's an interesting idea, we have some other tracking stuff in place that can show me the exact route of every visitor. I'll have to make some adjustments to show whether they saw version A or B, but it shouldn't be too difficult - guess I know what I'll be doing for the rest of the evening!

>However - if you do take this approach, then I
>would guess that the next step is to REALLY push
>the shopping pages to the fore.

Do you mean make the front page the (a) shopping page?

>Is there a way for you to differentiate between
>the type of traffic that is going to the shopping
>pages and the type of traffic going to the other pages?

To some extent, yes, but as yet we're not paying for any of the traffic we get so I'm happy just to have plenty of visitors :-)

That said, I can see the benefit to identifying the most valuable source of traffic and paying for more of it, which is the other end of what you're suggesting I guess.

Receptional




msg:896051
 8:42 am on Jul 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you are not paying for any of the traffic, then putting the shopping page on the home page could be a short term success whilst the search engines adjust and kill your traffic stream - so no - I would be not jump in with the shopping page on the home page until I am a little more confident that the effect would not be for the engines to re-categorize your site into something less relevent to the organic listings.

But I might dip my toe in to the idea... If you can identfy the GOOD CONVERTING traffic and then pay for these through PPC to deep link straight to the shopping cart and see if it pays dividends. You don't have to necessarily forfeit the home page.

mreining




msg:3019677
 1:26 am on Jul 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Rolf,

I would recommend that you just keep split testing for a while. I have been running split tests so many times and you will be surprised how the smallest change can have a really big impact on your goal.

Also, if your goal is to get people to buy, then obviously getting more people to your shopping pages might be the way to go but track those ROIs. Perhaps people do want to see pictures first (i.e. the gallery) before making a purchasing decision. Only good testing will give you what you need.

[edited by: Woz at 1:29 am (utc) on July 24, 2006]
[edit reason]
[1][edit reason] No promos please, see TOS#13 [/edit]
[/edit][/1]

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