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Split testing

Web sites are effective selling tools when they're used in the same way as businesses use their sales people - to deliver a sales message. Split testing is a way of testing two different sales messages to find out which one is the most effective. Let's use an offline example of how this might be done:

Say you were a sales person selling steak knives door-to-door. You want to sell your steak knives to as many people as possible, so you decide to test two different sales pitches to find out which one works the best.

For each door you knock on, you try out one of the two sales pitches on whoever answers the door, and you record how many times each sales pitch resulted in a sale. You might repeat this process for a few hundred tries, until you'd tested both sales pitches on enough people that you could be certain that one would work better than the other.

After testing both sales pitches to enough people, and tallying up the results, you could see which sales pitch ended up doing the best job of convincing people to buy, and making the sale.

This process is known as A/B split testing. It's the easiest and most common way of split testing a web-site in order to find which (of two versions) works the best.

Benefits of split testing

Split testing your online ads offers many benefits, including lowering the cost per click, improving your ROI, and your lead generation. Here is run-through of the important benefits of split testing:
  1. Optimizing ad campaigns

    : Many ad services like Google base at least part of their pricing structure on how effective your ad design and keyword choices are. As a result, you can significantly reduce you costs per click by having better designed ads. With split testing, you can quickly determine which ads are best and eliminate them.

    Many companies also choose to use split testing as a way to get their Internet ads up faster. This is essentially a concept of consumer testing that allows a business to use several of their potential designs at once. Split testing leaves it up to the customer to choose the one that works best. Also, if you put out an ad on a site and have no idea how effective it is, you might be wasting money on ads that are completely useless. Narrowing the field down to the best ad assures you that your money is being well spent. You can then use the money you save for purchasing more ad placements

  1. Click Though Rate (CTR)

    : The key to successful online advertising is a high click through rate. For a customer to buy the product or service being offered, they have to actually click on the ad to get to the site. By split testing, businesses can quickly find out which ad does the best job getting the potential customer to the product.

  2. Email marketing campaigns

    : According to email marketing consultant Matt Carroll, split testing allows growing businesses to upload several versions of a single promotion and send to different people on data lists.

    In a column for Practical eCommerce, he explained that such testing can analyse a range of marketing aspects, from subject lines to the number of items advertised. "Sometimes you will want to test just one thing. But you can also test a redesigned email template or landing page," he wrote on the website. "This would be helpful in determining, for example, whether an email or site redesign is on the right track."

    Recent figures from Return Path revealed that 85 per cent of businesses do not use data they have collected from consumers to improve the quality of their email marketing campaigns. Almost 40 per cent of firms were also found to not send welcome messages to subscribers.

  3. Maintaining ad campaigns

    : Using split testing keeps your staff on their toes, constantly thinking about new ideas and approaches they might try. As a result, they become accustomed to producing quality work quickly. In addition, since they are working faster, the relative cost for any particular ad they produce is reduced. Another one of the benefits of split testing is that it makes the ad production process dynamic, allowing for constant change and improvement. Instead of launching new campaigns on an intermittent basis, new ideas and improvements can be tried out almost daily.

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