Writing online content to drive people to take a specific action is a precarious and unpredictable business. Something as simple as the color of a button can dramatically influence the success of a post, an ad, a page or a campaign.
One way to help determine what content resonates (and what doesn’t) with key audiences is A/B split testing. This approach allows the simultaneous presentation of multiple versions of the same information to different users, enabling marketers to compare how the change affects user behaviors over the same time period.
It can be surprising to learn how small content and layout changes can dramatically change user tendencies. Here are four examples of how brands made slight tweaks that had a major impact:
- Give More Information: When shopping online, it can be harder for consumers to know exactly what they are getting compared to when they browse physical items at brick and mortar retailers. So when online jewelry store Kluster shop wasn’t happy with its sales, it updated its site to provide shoppers more visual information. This included images of models wearing the jewelry when shoppers hovered over the picture of the item alone. This small change gave shoppers a more complete experience with each piece of jewelry without cluttering Kluster Shop’s main page. It also boosted sales by 271 percent. (Case study from Tweaky.com)
- Make it Personal: Content marketing website ContentVerve wanted to improve conversions for a free trial of its services. With a simple word change in its call to action button—“Start my free 30-day trial” instead of “Start your free 30-day trial.” This small tweak, implying the offer already belongs to readers and they simply have to claim it, increased click-throughs by 90 percent. (Case study from ContentVerve)
- Provide Third Party Endorsements: Another obstacle for online sales is the question of authenticity. For expensive and high quality items such as watches, authenticity is a key deciding factor for shoppers. eCommerce site Express Watches increased its credibility by adding a “Seiko-authorized dealer-site” trust sign to the sale page for each of its watches. The certification proved valuable to shoppers and led to a 107 percent increase in purchases. (Case study from Visual Website Optimizer)
- Make Social Sharing Easy: Tech company AMD wanted to increase social media shares for its online content. The company tested six page layouts with different social media icons and placement. The data showed a clear winner: when social media chicklets were placed on the left side of the page alongside the article, rather than on the page footer, readers shared content a whopping 3600 percent more. This is likely related to its continuous availability to reader as they scroll the page and its position in a hot spot for where online readers’ eyes naturally spend the most time. (Case study from Hubspot)
Mobilizing online audiences is complex—what works for one audience won’t necessarily work for another. That’s why A/B split testing is a critical tool to get the best results. The strongest online marketing efforts test modifications to their content and layouts frequently to maximize engagement and motivate action.