Why A/B Testing is a Must for Your Business to Make Data-Driven Decisions

Mar 04, 2024 - Mike Hakob

What if you could double, even triple, your conversion rates? What if minor tweaks could lift revenue over time without drastic changes? Sound too good to be true? It’s not, as thousands of businesses use A/B testing to realize these benefits.

A/B testing has become an essential practice for businesses to make data-driven decisions. With A/B testing, you can eliminate guesswork and validate assumptions with accurate data. The benefits extend beyond immediate lifts in performance; A/B testing builds a culture of experimentation and optimization.

We are going to cover the A/B testing definition and how it works, what is A/B testing in marketing and what the benefits are, different types and examples of A/B tests, how to do A/B testing, how to analyze and interpret A/B test results, tools and resources for running A/B tests, and the importance of A/B testing for B2B/SaaS companies.

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing in marketing involves comparing two or more versions of one thing and measuring which performs better. The “winning” variation that achieves the desired goal is then rolled out to all users.

Here is the basic process to understand what is A/B testing:

  1. Identify a goal– this could be increasing conversions, reducing bounce rate, boosting email open rates, etc.
  2. Create a hypothesis– make an educated guess at what change might improve your metrics.
  3. Develop variations– build different A/B test versions, usually a control (A) and a variant (B).
  4. Run the experiment– serve variations randomly to a sample of users.
  5. Collect and analyze data– see which test version performs better per your goal.
  6. Pick a winner– roll out the winning variation site-wide.

The control is your existing page, email, etc. The variant is the modified version with one element changed. By comparing performance, you can make decisions based on data instead of assumptions.

a/b testing

Image source topdser.com

Why should you consider A/B testing for your business, and what are the benefits?

A/B testing stands as a critical methodology for businesses aiming to refine their strategies. Tests can help you to identify what truly resonates with audiences, ensuring that every decision contributes to more effective and efficient outcomes. This allows for informed decisions for a more effective and smoother customer journey. By understanding and optimizing each touchpoint along this journey, businesses can significantly improve the overall experience, leading to higher user satisfaction.

Here are some of the key benefits and reasons businesses do A/B testing:

Increased User Engagement

A/B testing often uncovers small changes that create big lifts in user engagement metrics. For example, changing button color, placement, or copy could increase click-through rates. Adding exit intent popups might decrease bounce rates. A/B testing can lead to an improved user experience.

Increased Conversion Rates

One of the main goals of website personalization is boosting conversions. In fact, more than 50% of marketers use A/B testing to boost conversion, proving how critical it has become. A/B testing enables you to experiment to find what converts visitors into customers. Even minor changes can impact conversion rates. Over time, these improvements compound for dramatic gains.

Maximized ROI

A/B testing helps allocate marketing budget and resources toward what’s working and reduces wasting money on what is not. Testing and optimization increase the ROI of your campaigns, projects, and activities.

Reduced Risks

A/B testing allows for low-risk experimentation. You can trial changes with a small percentage of traffic before rolling out site-wide; this prevents wasted development time or detrimental site-wide changes. Ultimately, the A/B test enables innovation with less risk.

Ease of Analysis

A/B testing tools simplify setting up experiments and analyzing results. Many integrate directly with your analytics platform. No advanced statistics or data science skills are required; the data works for you.

Reduced Bounce Rates

One key web metric is bounce rate, or the percentage of visitors that leave without visiting another page. Using A/B testing to experiment with page layouts, content, CTAs, and more can help reduce bounce rates.

Data-Driven Decision Making

A/B testing is effective in taking the guesswork out of important business decisions. With real data, you can confidently choose the best version rather than relying on hunches and assumptions.

Low-Risk Modifications

You can radically redesign a page or make other high-risk changes but do an A/B test with a small percentage of traffic first. If the new version underperforms, you always have the option not to launch it widely.

Better Understanding of the Target Audience

A/B testing improves your customer and user interest. You gain insight into what resonates with your audience by testing different approaches against each other.

benefits of ab testing

Imge source tatvic.com

What are the types of A/B testing?

There are a few main types of A/B tests, each with advantages. Proper A/B testing depends on your goals, resources, and capabilities.

Split URL Testing

Also known as A/B split testing, this involves testing two web pages with the same URL but with different content or design. Visitors are randomly shown Page A or Page B.

Advantages of Split URL Testing:

  • Quick and easy setup; just create two versions and test them
  • Isolates the change you’re testing to analyze the impact
  • Works for radical redesigns or content changes

Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing checks multiple page elements simultaneously. For example, testing a form may involve changing the headline, button text, and body copy as different variations.

Advantages of Multivariate Testing:

  1. Test interaction effects between elements
  2. Identify the optimum combination of changes
  3. Great for getting more performance out of existing pages
ab testing vs multivariate testing

Image source glassbox.com

Multi-Page Testing

Multi-page tests show visitors different versions of a process or funnel. For example, you may show some visitors Page A as a landing page and others Page B. Their journey continues with more variations on the following pages.

Advantages of Multi-Page Testing:

  1. View the impact on conversion funnel drop-off rates
  2. Understand how earlier changes affect downstream actions
  3. Optimize the entire user experience

How to Choose Which Type of Test to Run

Consider these factors when deciding on split URL, multivariate, or multi-page A/B testing:

Business Goals

Align the test type to your goals. If the goal is reducing cart abandonment, a multi-page test may be best. For increasing ad clicks, a split test on headlines works.

Page Focus

For testing a specific landing page, use split URL testing. If testing an entire user flow, use multi-page testing.

Development Resources

The variants required for multivariate or multi-page tests demand more development resources than simple split A/B tests, so it would be wise to factor in feasibility.

Traffic Volume

You need sufficient visitor numbers for more advanced tests. A/B testing can work with lower traffic.

Elements to Test

If testing one specific CTA button, a split test is appropriate. For overall page layout or multiple elements, multivariate testing is better.

In-House Expertise

Leverage your team’s skill set. If unfamiliar with multivariate testing, start with easier split testing.
Consider a combination approach: Use split testing for quick iterations and multivariate for more impact. Build up testing expertise before advancing to complex methods. Focus on the high-impact areas for testing aligned with business goals. Ultimately, choosing the test variation and methodology yields the most learning. With experience, you’ll refine your selection process.

How Does A/B Testing Work

Now that we’ve covered the benefits and types of A/B testing, let’s look at the step-by-step process:

Collect Data

First, audit existing site metrics and analytics:

  • Website analytics– review traffic volumes, conversions, drop-off rates, and key metrics you want to improve. Also, look at the time on page, scroll depth, and click patterns to understand user engagement.
  • Form/funnel analytics– implement form abandonment tracking to Identify high abandonment points and usability issues. Analyze form views versus submissions to quantify engagement drop-off. Track interactions with form fields like hovers and clicks to find pain points. Review navigation flows before the form to surface engagement issues.
  • User feedback– supplement analytics with surveys, session recordings, and support tickets to learn about engagement challenges. Direct user input highlights engagement blockers.
    This benchmarks your performance and identifies areas for testing.

Identify Objectives and Goals

Next, define what you want to achieve. Increase registrations by 15%? Reduce cart abandonment by 5%? Be specific with a quantitative goal.

Define the Hypothesis

Form an “if/then” hypothesis. For example, If we change the headline, then conversions will increase by 10%. The hypothesis guides the experiment.

Build Prototype and Define Metrics

Create your A and B variation pages or elements. Ensure you can track your defined goal metric(s).

Create Variations

Create different versions of the page or element that you want to test:

If you’re doing A/B testing on a webpage, create two versions – the current page (control) and a modified version with changes (variant).

If you’re testing a form, create multiple variants like:

  1. Different subject lines
  2. Varied content/text
  3. Single page vs multi-step layout
  4. Different input types and form fields
  5. Varied call-to-action buttons

If you do a landing page A/B testing:

  1. Different headlines
  2. New images
  3. Modified offers or points
  4. Layout changes
  5. Different CTAs

If testing ads:

Ad copy variations

  1. Different ad visuals and creatives
  2. Varied call-to-actions
  3. Layout and structural changes

Get creative with your variants! Try different images, rotate content, update calls-to-action, modify layouts, tweak form fields, etc. The key is creating distinct but comparable versions to properly test and analyze.

Run the Experiment

Launch the A/B testing and serve variations randomly. Let it run until you have sufficient data and statistical confidence.

Analyze the Results

End the test and see how the variants performed against your goal metric. Apply statistical analysis to validate a “winner.”

a/b testing strategies

Image source fastercapital.com

What Should You Test?

Almost anything on your website, emails, landing pages, digital ads, or other assets is worth A/B testing, including:

Page Titles and Headlines

Page titles and headlines have an outsized impact on click-through rates. They are the first thing visitors see on search engine results or social media.

  1. Craft compelling titles and headlines that accurately convey content and entice clicks. Experiment with different lengths, keywords, formatting styles, the use of questions, and emotional triggers to see what works best.
  2. When testing landing pages, specifically, focus on how these titles and headlines function within the context of the page to drive conversions. A/B testing in this area can reveal insights about how to effectively grab attention and guide visitors toward taking desired actions, making it an essential practice for optimizing the performance of your landing pages.

Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

CTAs encourage visitors to convert—test CTA placement above the fold or in the sidebar.

  1. Try different shapes, sizes, colors, and text
  2. Ensure CTAs stand out on the page visually
  3. Test consistent CTAs across your site’s user flow

Landing Pages

Landing pages are crucial in determining the success of online marketing efforts. A/B testing for landing pages is one of the best ways to optimize their effectiveness. The A/B test will involve comparing two versions of a landing page (version A and version B) to see which one performs better in terms of converting visitors into leads or customers. This testing process allows marketers to experiment with different elements of the landing page, such as headlines, call-to-action (CTA) buttons, images, copy, and overall layout.

Landing pages often make or break conversions. To enhance their effectiveness:

  1. Run split URL tests on radically different designs
  2. Try different form fields, headlines, images, testimonials, and offers
  3. Align landing pages to campaign goals and traffic sources

Web Forms

Forms are a pivotal part of landing pages, significantly influencing drop-offs. Applying A/B testing techniques can increase form completion rates. Consider these optimization tactics:

  1. Test field labels, validations, pre-populated fields, and form length
  2. Ensure mobile responsiveness
  3. Add microcopy for guidance
  4. Check field order and grouping
  5. Try multi-step forms


Images catch the eye on crowded pages.

  1. Test different themes, emotions, and visual styles
  2. Analyze image subjects, backgrounds, shapes, and quality
  3. Personalize with user-specific images

Navigation impacts how easily people find information.

  1. Test menu labels, organization, location, and responsiveness
  2. Try in-page jump links and back-to-top buttons
  3. Ensure navigation is consistent across devices

In addition to these elements, test overall page layouts, content structure, interactions, and multimedia. No detail is too small to test, as optimization requires continuous experimentation.

a/b testing for landing page optimization

Image source fastercapital.com

How to Analyze A/B Testing Data?

The data analysis phase is crucial for extracting insights from your A/B test. Follow these best practices:

Establish a Reliable Sample Size

Find out the minimum sample size to achieve statistical significance. Use sample size calculators to estimate based on traffic numbers. Under-powered tests lead to incorrect conclusions.

Evaluate Statistical Significance

Evaluate the probability the A/B test results happened by chance. Generally, a 95%+ confidence level is recommended to declare a winner. Account for variance and seasonality.

Define Clear Goals

Keep analysis centered on the original hypothesis and goals. Don’t draw conclusions based on secondary metrics not directly related to the test objective.

Explore User Segmentation

Analyze performance for different user cohorts like new vs. returning visitors. Optimizations may impact segments differently. Drill-down to uncover variant preferences.

Check for Anomalies

Before concluding a test, verify the proper technical setup. Confirm consistent segmentation and tracking between variants. Fix any data collection issues. Also, investigate any data abnormalities or unexpected variances. Temporary outages, traffic spikes, or regressions can skew results. Re-run tests if necessary.

How to Interpret the Results of A/B Testing?

There are two main approaches to interpreting A/B test results, Frequentist and Bayesian:

Frequentist Approach

This common A/B testing approach looks solely at the experiment data to determine a “winner.” It calculates statistical significance based on metrics like p-values and confidence intervals. The frequentist approach offers straightforward number-driven conclusions but is prone to errors with smaller sample sizes.

For example, if Variant A achieved a 20% increase in signups vs. the original with 95% confidence, the frequentist approach declares it the winner based on the test data alone.

Bayesian Approach

Bayesian methodology for A/B testing accounts for prior information and beliefs along with experimental data. It uses historical context to determine the probability of results. Bayesian analysis provides a more nuanced view but requires complex statistical modeling.

For example, the A/B test data may indicate a minor lift for Variant B. However, your past tests and industry data suggest it should have done better. The Bayesian approach accounts for this real-world context.

For most standard A/B tests, a frequentist approach suffices. It identifies the top-performing variation. However, take a Bayesian approach for borderline test results or limited visitor samples. The best practice is to look at test results in context, not just as isolated data. Combine frequentist statistics with Bayesian techniques for the right mix of data significance and real-world relevance.

Tools and Resources for A/B Testing

Here are a few top options for applying A/B testing:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics has built-in A/B testing capabilities through its experiments feature. This allows you to easily test page changes or user flows for your site.
To set up an experiment, just define the variants and metrics, then Google Analytics will randomly assign visitors to each version and track the results. It provides an intuitive visual editor to edit pages and flows for testing without IT help. Google Analytics integrates directly with your existing site data, making it a seamless way to start A/B testing if you already use GA.


FormStory centers on form and survey optimization through A/B testing. It makes it easy to test changes to form design, fields, layout, and copy to increase conversions.
FormStory has features for quick iterations and learning, with the added advantage of instant notifications when forms experience issues. This immediate alert system helps quickly address any problems, maintaining the efficiency of your data collection process. The tool helps uncover specific drop-off points in forms to reduce abandonment. The visual editor lets you preview form changes before A/B testing. FormStory is also optimized for faster iteration and learning.


Optimizely is one of the most advanced platforms for A/B testing beyond basic split testing. It provides capabilities for multivariate and progressive testing.

The platform offers greater personalization and targeting options for testing. Optimizely integrates with your analytics solution and CMS or site builder. It is geared more toward developers and sites with high traffic volumes. In addition to web testing, Optimizely can test mobile apps, email, and digital ads. It’s a robust tool for teams with more testing maturity.

Many newsletters, email marketing, and social media tools also have A/B testing options. Add testing to your existing web analytics for a unified view of data.

Importance of A/B Testing in B2B/SaaS Industry

A/B testing is especially vital for B2B and SaaS companies, given their long, complex sales cycles. Even minor improvements in landing pages, gated content, free trial signups, product demos, and other conversion funnels can have an outsized business impact.

Optimizing every touchpoint is more urgent given the higher price points and lower visitor volumes. A/B testing builds the case for which copy resonates, layouts convert, and offers persuade best with your prospective enterprise buyers.

Testing campaign elements also helps save the budget on underperforming tactics that fail to generate pipelines or opportunities. Optimization supports efficiency in B2B marketing and sales.


A/B testing is a powerful methodology for making data-backed decisions to maximize marketing, sales, and web metrics. Leveraging experimentation and optimization can initially seem daunting, but it becomes usual over time.

The benefits range from immediate performance lifts to developing an organizational culture of evidence-based improvement. Testing informs decisions with facts instead of hunches.

Any company selling products or services online should adopt A/B testing for key flows and pages. The incremental gains compound over time into significant business value. Start small and build up testing into a core capability. So, stop guessing and start testing today better to meet the needs of your customers and users!

Mike Hakob

Mike Hakob is a seasoned digital marketing maven with over 15 years of mastery, and the visionary Co-Founder of FormStory. As the driving force behind Andava Digital, he has dedicated his expertise to empowering small to medium-sized businesses, crafting tailor-made websites and pioneering innovative marketing strategies. With a graduate degree in Management of Information Systems, Mike seamlessly blends the realms of technology and marketing, consistently setting new industry benchmarks and championing transformative digital narratives.