When they first start their A/B split testing many neophyte email marketers make a number of common errors which throw the entire statistical results they obtain into the range of serious doubt and obfuscation. Here are the five worst mistakes which will not only negate the positive aspects of A/B split testing but likely provide information so inaccurate you would have been better to skip it in the first place!
1. Activate the Time Machine
2. One element means one element
Many tyro email marketers won’t think twice about subtly modifying a particular element then complaining that A/B split testing is nonsense and it doesn’t provide usable figures. Let’s say you’re testing an image of a bedspread on a bed vs. the same bedspread folded flat. Sounds like it should be no problem, right? It will be unless you’re actually changing the size or position of the element. If the bed photo is bigger than the flat photo then you really should be testing four elements:
- Large photo on bed
- Large photo folded
- Small photo on bed
- Small photo folded
Now you’re no longer in the domain of A/B split testing but you’re in the universe of multivariate testing. So keep your elements absolutely identical to obtain the proper results.
3. Excessive micronanotesting
4. Overriding results
5. Conversions Uber Alles
Ask any email marketer what they’re most likely to A/B split test and they’ll almost always answer conversions! After all, conversions are the reason we show up in the office in the morning, as it’s the lifeblood of any online business. However, focusing on just conversions as the only significant online metric is a big and overly common mistake. Let’s say you’re in a business where your average new subscriber takes 6 months to place their first order. If you conduct a campaign to get new subscribers you might see a 10% bump in your total list size, but if you test in that first half-year your conversion rate will actually be falling! Take new subscribers, shifts in cart abandonment, and everything else into consideration for accuracy.
Don’t commit these five critical mistakes in your A/B split testing and you’ll be rewarded with figures that actually make sense!
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