Creating content relevant to your target audience can be challenging if you run an e-commerce platform. With such a varied customer base filled with different demographics and profiles, running A/B tests before publishing might be the right course of action. According to Finances Online, 58% of businesses use A/B testing for conversion rate optimization, while 71% of companies have experienced a significant increase in sales due to content A/B testing.
Whether you write blog content, landing page ads or focus your efforts on product description optimization, A/B testing can indeed help improve your bottom line regardless of how small-scale or niche your e-commerce platform may be. With that said, let’s take a look at several benefits of A/B testing, what you should take into consideration before jumping into it, as well as some of the most essential writing elements to test going forward.
The Fundamentals of A/B Testing
In order to get the most out of A/B testing, we need to establish the basics of what the term stands for and how you can utilize it. A/B testing is a commonly-used testing format which involves the creation of two distinct sets of data (or in this case, writing) and comparing the two in a controlled environment.
Natasha Brook, Head of Content Department at Pick the Writer spoke on the matter recently: “Testing your content for its potential performance before publishing is slowly becoming a necessity. After all, a single under-performing piece of content can result in your site’s fall in engagement, SEO, and revenue generation at the end of the day.”
With this in mind, A/B testing of written content can be performed either under NDA with individuals you trust or through dedicated testing software depending on your scale and resources. E-commerce websites that utilize dedicated tools such as CS-Cart Multi-Vendor should also implement A/B testing to ensure that each piece of content published on the domain is equally optimized.
A publishing process with testing in mind will allow your platform to grow in a positive reputation, conversion rates, revenue generation, and SEO ranking just to name a few of the benefits. In order to do that effectively, there are several factors worth keeping in mind before approaching A/B testing.
Important Factors to Consider
It’s worth noting that A/B testing should be approached with a clear set of goals in order for it to perform as advertised. Creating two distinct versions of the same piece of content and presenting it to a test group or your testing software of choice will allow for data to be generated for further analysis.
However, to generate relevant, actionable data which will give you a clear indication of what to do in order to spruce your content up before publishing, several factors should be taken into consideration:
- Split the test groups randomly and repeat the testing—don’t rely on the first-try results to be reliable
- Perform single-variable tests at any given moment—avoid testing multiple elements at once
- Test content with a clear target audience in mind—define your customer profile beforehand
- Test your content against a “challenger” as well—choose a high-performing piece of content for comparison
- Implement feedback and comments and repeat the test—take time to refine your content pre-publishing
Writing Elements to Go Through A/B Testing
1. Content Length
One of the most crucial elements in regards to your written content lies in its length. Different audiences will react in a variety of ways if presented with short-form and long-form content respectively, making personalization a must. In order to approach the A/B testing of content length, you should create a shorter and longer version of the same blog post or product description respectively.
You can refer to writing platforms such as WoWGrade and Evernote if you need assistance with editing your content down to a short-form version without losing the gist of it. Ask your test groups questions in regards to the reading length, wording complexity as well as their overall impression of the content to get a sense of whether you should go for shorter or longer pieces.
2. Headings & Subheadings
Content skimming is a common online occurrence and there is very little that you can do about it. However, writing intriguing, original and creative headings and subheadings can help you attract the attention of your readers more frequently.
Write two different versions of headings and subheadings for your article and present both variations to your test groups. Ask questions about the clarity of the titles, how they made them feel in regards to reading further, as well as if they represent the content of the piece accurately. Avoid writing clickbait titles or headings filled with exclamation points, all-caps, and tricks which may cost your e-commerce platform its reputation in the long run.
3. Featured Image
The image you choose to feature as your content’s visual representation will be one of the elements readers use to judge whether or not the article or product is worth clicking on. As such, your featured image should be chosen carefully and in line with your content strategy to avoid inconsistencies in your e-commerce marketing strategy.
Featured images for e-commerce should also be original and represent the product or article contained in the link itself. As such, you can create two distinct variations on the same topic and present your test groups with both to determine the more viable choice. If you have a content editor or graphic designer in-house, you can also adjust the image with feedback and comments from your testers.
4. Calls to Action
Calls to action are an essential part of any online platform which revolves around sales and lead generation. Publishing content without calls to action (CTA) is a waste of its conversion potential, meaning that you should explore ways in which to incorporate it into your writing.
Your CTAs should be positioned strategically to avoid creating a sense of spam or intrusion with the reader. Place the CTAs in distinctly different places in the writing and present those variations to your A/B test groups. Ask them to comment on how each version made them feel, whether or not they would act on them, as well as if they have any comments or suggestions for further refinement.
5. Opt-In Form Placement
Lastly, conversion optimization is a major point of content writing and should find its way into the A/B testing process. Whether it’s direct sales, email subscription prompts or offers of exclusive deals after account creation, presenting your readers with opt-in forms is a delicate matter. Some people prefer seeing opt-in forms as pop-up windows during or after scrolling downward while others prefer seeing them in the navigation bar or as an optional CTA somewhere in the writing.
As with previous elements of A/B testing, create two distinct versions of opt-in form placement in your writing and present them to your testing audience for feedback and comments. Make sure to adapt and implement any suggestions they might have in regards to the overall flow and value of your opt-in offer before publishing content for the public.
No matter the scale or product portfolio featured on your e-commerce platform, the quality of published writing and content, in general, should be held to high standards. While A/B testing might seem like an unorthodox content optimization practice at first, its value far exceeds the initial setup time. Test your writing for its engagement and lead generation viability before presenting it to your customer base and you will undoubtedly come to a positive conclusion in regards to A/B testing and its implementation.
About the author:
Angela Baker is a self-driven specialist who is currently working as a freelance writer at writing services such as Is Accurate where she tries to improve herself and her blogging career. She seeks to discover new ways of personal and professional growth and is convinced that it’s important to broaden one’s horizons, which is why she strives to develop her skills throughout the writing process to help to inspire people. Angela is also a writer for Live Inspired Magazine, rounding out her professional writing career.