Split testing is a technique used by online marketers to measure the effectiveness of specific changes to such things as SEO keywords, marketing campaigns, and even the images used on websites.
In essence, split testing is based on the approach scientists use to test a theory by using clinical trials. An experiment is set up into two groups: One control group and one test group.
For example, pharmaceutical researchers might give one group a new drug they are testing and a second group a placebo. The use of this “control group” structure allows them to keep everything else the same to see the precise effects of the drug they want to test.
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Website designers, online marketers, and internet-based businesses often use the same approach. But instead of using human test subjects, they split testing to measure the effects of small changes to their web content.
For example, a business with an established website might want to see how well a new marketing campaign works. So they could use split testing to see if it encourages customers to spend more or less than they spend using the business’s existing marketing effort.
Two versions of the business’s website are set up: One with then new marketing program and one with the existing campaign. Some customers are directed to one page while others are sent to the other.
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Then the business measures the average amount spent per customer for each of the two pages. If the new marketing campaign earns the business more money, it can replace the old program. But if it earns less, it’s back to the drawing board.
Split testing can be used to measure the effects of any type of change to a website. It can be something as big as a new marketing campaign to something as small as the wording on a headline or which of two pictures gets a better response.
By using split testing, web page designers can optimize the content of pages in order to achieve the results they want faster.