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Eight Key Lessons on Running a Top-Notch A/B Testing Program

by Slavik Volinsky  |  
May 30, 2012
  |  6,287 views

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Valuable lessons on running effective A/B tests
  • Why you should implement the "culture of testing" at your organization

Many marketing gurus talk about conversion rate optimization (CRO), which includes anything from A/B tests (most obvious) to design and usability changes. You probably agree that testing is a great thing to do. You might have even run a few experiments. But did you get the results you had hoped for?

Since testing requires resources, how can you conduct it for the maximum benefit to your organization?

After running dozens of A/B tests on AmsterdamPrinting.com over the last two years, I've gathered eight of the most important lessons about conducting a successful A/B testing program.

1. Get Your Buy-Ins Before Starting to Test

A/B testing might seem like a no-brainer, but switching from gut-feeling decisions to data-driven decisions might be harder than you think. The ultimate goal of CRO—to gain a "culture of testing" within a company—is a big leap; you need a step-by-step approach.


Setting up tests requires additional work and resources, and you ought to have support from the top. Involve your testing team in all of the big decisions about your website, so your team can evaluate great candidates for the tests.

2. Involve More People Once You Have Management Buy-in

To have a successful testing program, you'll need to involve key players. Having a designer and a developer on your team would ensure timely implementation of tests.


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Slavik Volinsky is an online marketer at AmsterdamPrinting.com, a promotional products company. Slavik blogs about inbound marketing and related fields. Follow him on Twitter via @svolinsky or subscribe to the Promo & Marketing Wall blog.

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  • by Bfowler@chiefoutsiders.com Wed May 30, 2012 via web

    Thank you. These are some simple ideas that make a lot of sense. Barbara

  • by James Wed May 30, 2012 via web

    Some good suggestions. Although, I adapted Design of Experiment (DOE) in order to test various combinations of promotion elements. simple ex.
    Coupon-y/n, creative pkge-A/B; possible combinations are y/A, y/B, n/A, n/B. A third, two level factor yields 8 possible combinations.



  • by Slavik Volinsky Wed May 30, 2012 via web

    Thank you Barbara and James! Glad this post was helpful.

  • by Slavik Volinsky Fri Jun 1, 2012 via web

    Update -- today, Google introduced "Content Experiments" which is basically A/B/n testing where each version of a page has to be on a different URL.
    More info: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2012/06/helping-to-create-better-websites.htm...

  • by Brooke Thu Jul 25, 2013 via web

    Recommendations on how many subscribers a list should have to A/B test?

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