Every website owner should know about Google Analytics. Tracking site visitors and narrowing down relevant campaign data with accuracy is easy with a free Google account and a tiny snippet of code. The reason why Google Analytics is a market leader in split testing pages is simply because it is free, easy to use and works well for everyone.
If you are not using analytics in your marketing campaigns, you are wasting time and resources.
The idea behind split testing is to determine which web pages, brochures or advertisements are most effective in converting visitors. A conversion is usually the call-to-action required by the website owner. This consists of mostly purchases, account registrations, obtaining email addresses, sign-ups or just getting a visitor to follow them on a social network.
Split testing is when different versions of the same page are offered to different users in order to see which one performs best. It is important to understand that these variations need to be run simultaneously in order to get accurate results. It does not help to use one variation this month, collect the data and upload another one next month for comparison.
In the past, split testing was done using two variations (otherwise known as A/B testing). It works by arriving at a winner and repeating the process several times before finally finding the page that converts the maximum visitors. This works fairly well, however A/B testing has some very serious limitations. This is why:
- Arriving at the winning page is extremely time consuming, particularly when a site is relying on results. The other concern is that the internet is constantly changing. The way your page is indexed on search engines can dramatically change and send you a completely new set of users. There could be a massive difference between the first split test and the final one some weeks later.
- We know that Page One outperformed Page Two, but it is impossible to know if Page Two would have worked better than Page Three. They were never compared together.
It is a far better idea to compare several pages against each other at the same time.
Below is a visual graphic that will help explain exactly how it works:
With this method, we are completely certain that variation four is truly the best performing page. They were all tested simultaneously, with a consistent visitor base and within the same time frame.
Once we have the results of a split test, we can make the winning page the one that all users will visit when coming to your website. We can now be certain that if there is a small chance that a visitor might perform the desired action, this variation is the one that will ensure a conversion.
There are many tracking and analytic programs on the market that can be used for split testing. You can be assured of getting the insight you require so that you can make informed decisions on your marketing campaigns. They are generally all able to offer report customization so that you may narrow down the information you need in order to create an integrated optimization strategy.