Ultimate Guide to A/B Split Testing

Ultimate Guide to A/B Split Testing

Last updated on September 28, 2016 by Fahad Muhammad in A/B Split Testing
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You know how sometimes your coach videotapes the practice sessions and then makes you watch them before a big game? You feel a little annoyed during this process because you’re like “Hello, I was there, I know how it went down. But, then, you see it, it might be 10 minutes into the tape or 25, but you do see it, your fumble; this could be in the form of a missed catch or a missed touchdown, but it is there.

Why? Because we make mistakes- not everything we do on the first try is as awesome as we think it is. This is why it helps to look back and see everything again.

You know what helps even more than that?

Comparing your performance with another, this helps you set a bar and then see whether or not you crossed it.

Sit back and watch your landing pages perform

Just as any well practiced player is bound to think that they are perfect, many marketers believe that they can do no marketing wrong, but, of course, they can because to err is human. So, instead of being cocky it’s better that you be careful, prudent really, and not just abandon your landing pages as soon as you hit publish.

You need to go back to them, see how they’re performing, if you’re not getting any leads, why is that? And if you’re getting some, why aren't you getting more?

The comparison example applies here too, when you measure landing page performance it helps if you have something to compare your landing page with. Just to see which performed better and get a little insight into why.

Already know of such a thing?

Yes, I just described the basics to A/B testing; however, do you know anything beyond the fact that when you A/B test you compare two versions of your landing page with each other?

No? I guessed as much, and there’s the rationale for writing this post. What’s coming next is an in-depth description of A/B testing, what works, what doesn't work and how you go about interpreting results.

So, strap on guys for the explanation of a lifetime.

What exactly is A/B testing?

A/B testing is an excellent way to identify effective marketing strategies, such as website copy or even sales emails. However, for the purpose of this post we'll only be focusing our attention on landing pages and what it means to A/B test them.

The process of A/B testing is an accurate depiction of its name because it compares two versions of an element (version A and version B) with each other against a metric that measures your landing page’s success. Both versions are tested simultaneously, then you wait for the results to arrive and in the end you just measure which version performed better on the selected metric, and there you go, you now have in front of you your winning version.

For example, if you want to find out whether placing your CTA button above or below the fold will get you more conversions on your landing page, you’ll create two versions of your page, one where the CTA is above the fold (version A) and the other where it is below the fold (version B), let’s say the metric you want to be tested is your conversion rate. Next up you’ll determine the time duration for your test, and then wait for it to be over. On the deadline, compare which version got more conversions and then you have your winner.

Before, you go performing your A/B test make sure you know what to test and figure out whether you want to test your page before you publish it or after. Your best bet is to take advantage of both the pre and post publish A/B tests because as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, there is always room for improvement.

What should you A/B Test?

Basically, you can test anything you want on your landing pages, from the headline all the way down to your customer testimonials.

If you do want pointers of what you should test for each separate landing page element, here you go.


Your landing page headline is the first and sometimes the only impression you get to make on your visitors. There are different types of headlines that you can use on your landing page, a good way is to A/B test different types of headlines against each other, so test:

  • long VS short headline
  • benefit oriented vs feature oriented headline
  • Large Font vs Small font headlines
  • Left Aligned vs Right aligned headlines
  • Humorous vs Serious headlines
  • Primary vs Primary and secondary headlines

An A/B test case study by Marketing Profs resulted in a 27.76% increase in lead generation just by tweaking the headline banner:

this image shows a headline banner A/B test


The landing page copy helps explain your product or service; it tells your visitors why they should put their trust in your product and click your CTA button. For your copy try testing

  • Long copy VS short copy
  • Copy in bullets VS copy in paragraphs

The copy and overall design of this landing page is A/B tested at WhichTestWon revealing that version A got 439% increase in conversions.



Images don’t just give your landing pages visual appeal, but they also add relevancy and persuasion to your page. With images, think about A/B testing:

  • Black and white VS colorful images
  • Human VS product images
  • A single image VS multiple images

Lead capture forms

Usually the majority of friction on your landing pages resides in your lead capture form. No visitor of yours is actually enthusiastic about filling a form, they might be excited about seeing your image, may be thrilled about your headline but no one really wants to submit their information. So, when testing forms A/B test:

  • Short forms VS long forms
  • Placing the form above the fold VS placing the form below the fold
  • A directional cue for your form VS no directional cue for your form

WhichTestWon showcases an A/B test on lead capture forms, Version B won over Version A because of better form field management.


CTA buttons

The CTA button is the star of your landing page, it is the conversion spot. If your landing pages aren't pulling in a lot of conversions, you need to A/B test your CTA button a.s.a.p.

When A/B testing your CTA buttons, test for

  • Size of the CTA button
  • Color of the CTA button
  • Placement of the CTA button
  • Copy of the CTA button

Search Engine Land features a test of the color of CTA buttons, Version D won with 17% lift in conversions.

CTA first

Performing A/B tests is wise because they are fast and they can help you get dramatic conversion lifts plus they don’t require so much traffic. If you want a quick conversion fix for your landing page headline, your best bet would be to A/B test it.

A/B testing is something you should definitely master because the success of your landing page lies in testing it. Some tools that you can use for your A/B testing are Google Website Optimizer, Visual Website Optimizer and of course Instapage.

The Instapage A/B testing tool lets you track visitor behavior, compare conversion rate, and pick the best-performing landing page variations.

Instapage’s A/B split testing feature lets you avoid the guesswork in landing page optimization, this helps you save time and increase your marketing ROI in no time.

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