If you’ve ever felt torn between two brilliant designs for an email or Web page layout, you know how it feels to wish for some way to know which one is better—which one will put more smiles on faces of email members and Web page visitors? If only there were a way to find out…. well, we bring good news! A/B testing is a method of evaluating the effectiveness of a Web site by measuring the response it generates among viewers. This technique is a fantastic way to sustain and increase the profile of any successful nonprofit organization. It works by measuring the attraction and retention of members, advocates, and online donors.
A/B testing typically consists of creating two versions of a web page or email and dividing viewers into two groups, the A set and the B set. Then you measure clicks for each one and see which design works best for generating viewer response. Voila! Your choice is made. This technique is not only important for web design layout but also the presentation of emails and newsletters in attaining greater response rates. In sending two different versions of a test email to their members, non- profits can assess how to focus their message in a way that will be more meaningful and effective to a wider audience.
Measuring the results of an A/B test is critical in designing a useful strategy, and can be a bit tricky. Nonprofits must look at the overall performance of the two test sites or emails and not simply at the end result. Using A/B testing can help ensure the success of a current campaign, and can help predict results of future campaigns.
Common test results show that descriptive, text-based links with educational-looking formats work best. There are some drawbacks, such as potentially finding no difference in results or having difficulties in pinpointing reasons why one design is more successful than another. But overall, A/B testing provides nonprofits with a useful tool for understanding the behavior of their supporters and tailoring their presentation to the needs and wants of their viewers.
The most recent email marketing tools make it easy to do online A/B tests and improve the marketing capabilities of any nonprofit organization. If you’re looking for a new tool to help shape the ways you target your supporters as well as engage potential new supporters, A/B testing is a simple and effective technique.
For more information about A/B testing on the web check out:
Matthew Roche, Co-President and CEO of Offermatica in The Conversion Chronicles, article entitled Scientific Web Site Optimization Using AB Split Testing, Multi Variable Testing, And The Taguchi Method