DEV Community

Vijay Singh Khatri
Vijay Singh Khatri

Posted on

What is A/B Testing? A Definitive Guide

Due to a considerable dependency on data, every company is now moving to data-driven marketing. The time had changed when people made decisions based on the assumptions and lacked efficiency of the outcome. Now, marketers use the scientific approach that relies on data and tests them to get a favorable outcome. One of the best ways to test the massive amount of data is A/B testing, eliminating the uncertainty by focusing on facts and concrete data to get results.

Today, millions of businesses use A/B Testing to understand the customer’s behavior and the website elements, getting more traffic. To implement successful A/B Testing, you need to create a detailed process, set it up, and learn new tools to get accurate results. You will get a degree of freedom to experiment and improve the performance of your website.

This article will learn about A/B testing, how to perform A/B testing, different approaches, and its benefits.

What is A/B Testing?

Sometimes, It can be called split testing, but there is a fine line between them. A/B testing is the process where we experiment with different variations of the website and analyze which variations work well in getting more traction. A/B Testing looks for potential changes and enables data-driven decisions for ensuring positive outcomes.

It is not only limited to proving how changes impact the conversions in the short term. It allows the business to focus on its next step towards success. In A/B testing, A is considered the original testing variable, while B is the newly created ‘variation’ of the original testing variable. The variation that brings more traction to your business is the ‘winner.’ You can implement those changes to your website to optimize and increase business ROI.

You can use this data to analyze user behavior, engagement rate, pain points, etc. it is essential to implement A/B Testing or lose out on potential business.

Different A/B testing approach

In performing A/B testing, you do not have to worry about learning all the maths involved to analyze the results. You can only work with statistics to improve the performance.

You can perform A/B testing using two main statistical methods. Let’s have a look.

  • Frequentist approach

Using this approach, you will get the reliability of your results based on the confidence level. If the result is at a 95% level or above, it is most likely to have a 95% chance of being correct. But the value of the confidence level is worthless until the test ends itself to provide the exact value.

You will get a probability result using this approach once the test starts. This approach overcomes the drawback of frequentist, as you do not have to wait till the end of the test. You can then interpret and analyze the data once you get the probability.

But it also comes with a challenge- You must read the estimated confidence interval while the test is running. It will help you to believe with the generated probability and help in improving the winning variant as per the intermediate confidence level values.

Benefits of implementing A/B Testing

Before implementing A/B testing, you must understand the importance of accurate results. We have come up with some benefits that you can leverage with A/B testing.

  • Better user engagement

For any online business, user engagement is one of the topmost priorities. But how to find those elements considered by the users and improve them accordingly. Using A/B testing, you can analyze the trend using data and various variants. It will provide you with the scope for improvement and change. Once you get the details for the required changes, it will improve the user engagement to success.

  • Engaging content

Testing several variants requires creating a list of all potential improvements. One of the items on the list is to improve the quality of the content. With A/B testing, you can also analyze the behavior of the users towards your content, and if it requires improvement, you can change it to make it more effective to generate more leads.

  • Reduced bounce rates

One of the major concerns of any business is the bounce rate of the users. If the user is not spending enough time on the website and moving to competitors, it will be a loss. It helps improve those components of the website that ensure that users will spend more time on the website and make sales.

  • Increased conversion rates

Once you analyze the data to get the insights of your website using A/B testing, you can make the required changes to improve the performance and enhance the user experience. This will influence the users to make sales and increase the conversion rates.

  • Ease of analysis

A/B test is straightforward to provide an accurate result and metrics. Earlier A/B testing metrics included only the raw numbers that were insufficient to decide. But with the introduction of various tools, it has become easier to make concrete analyses and improve the business’s performance.

  • Everything is testable

It is capable of testing every component of the website, including forms, images, and text, along with any element of the app. Implementing the required changes based on the tests can improve user engagement and conversion rates.

  • Reduced risks

By A/B testing, you can avoid costly and time-intensive changes resulting in well-informed decisions. Avoiding such mistakes will reduce the risk and increase the chances of quick success.

Limitations of A/B Testing

Well, you know how A/B testing can help your business boost its productivity and performance. But, it also comes with limitations that you should know while implementing A/B testing and how you can overcome them to leverage its actual benefits. So, here are some limitations that you might concern.

  • For conducting A/B testing, your business must ensure high traffic so you can analyze data and provide trustworthy outcomes.
  • As A/B testing results will help your business make further decisions, if you do not have the correct sample data, it can lead to wrong decisions that can impact your business and reduce the leads.
  • If your website is not getting traction and you want to make changes. But deciding what to change and improve is challenging as marketers do not know which element impacts sales.
  • It is an iterative process, and if you do not continue it for a long time, you will not get the optimum result. So it could be challenging for the marketers to continue it for a long time.

Best practices for A/B Testing

For implementing any process, there are some standard procedures. Also, for carrying out A/B testing, you can follow the below-mentioned best practices for better results.

  • Make sure that you consider testing a single element at a time, as it will give you clarity in changing which element will impact your sales. Also, it will not impact other elements.
  • You should carry out at least one A/A testing on every variation to compare the results of A/B testing and web analytics platform.
  • Also, make sure that you frequently run the A/B test for gathering periodic data and then act accordingly to improve the website’s performance.
  • Ensure that your website receives sufficient traffic for each variation to make further decisions about which variation to keep and make it available as the final version. In case of less traffic, you will not have the concrete and enough data to carry out the next cycle of the A/B test.

How do you perform an A/B test?

1. Choose the elements to test

First, create a list of all the elements you want to test and improve. These elements could be anything from a small font to a change in heading. If you want to improve the incoming traffic, you can consider changing the SEO and other aspects of the website. Making this list is crucial as you don’t know which change can impact your business positively.

2. Set goals

After that, set your long-term and short-term goals and make strategies to achieve them using A/B testing. Focus on improving one element at a time to get better insights into your changes.

3. Analyse data

Nextstep is to analyze the existing data using various tools. It will help you understand which metric requires improvement. This will provide you with the starting point to start making changes. You can then decide which page you want to make and analyze your business based on the metrics.

4. Create a variant

After analyzing the data, you will make the required changes to your website. These changes will create a variant of your website specifying various changes you have decided on in the previous step.

5. Design your test

Now, make sure you choose the right tool to carry out the A/B testing as per your ease. Then make the test and select the criteria you want to test against your elements. You have to consider various factors such as specifying the time duration for the test to run, which devices you want to collect data from, etc.

6. Accumulate data

Many A/B testing software, such as Crazy Egg, will automatically provide you with data insights. You can consistently review your test’s progress, time duration of the test, etc. You will receive all the necessary data insights that you can use to get hold of the trend and improve accordingly.

7. Analyse the A/B testing outcomes

Once you draw conclusions based on various variations and outcomes, you will better understand how different customers behave against various variations. This will give you more visibility towards having the right element within your website.

How Much Time Does A/B Testing Take?

A/B testing is not a lengthy process, but it entirely depends on the incoming traffic. Testing each element may vary from a few days to a week. Make sure to run a single test at a time for better results, and you can analyze them appropriately.

Also, make sure that the test has run its course. Only then can you get the accurate output. Also, if you run a test for a longer time, you can give skewed results as you cannot control variables over a more extended period.

Also, consider every aspect that might affect your test to eliminate the chances of certain anomalies in your results. It is worth running the complete test for a more optimum result.


There is no doubt on the efficiency of the A/B testing to improve the performance of your website and improve customer engagement. It is a simple testing process that keeps iterating until you get the optimum results to perform better. You can follow several strategies to implement A/B testing within your business. We have mentioned a few steps as a roadmap for how you can implement A/B testing and leverage its benefits.

Implementing it with a complete proof plan will reduce many risks involved when performing an optimization program. It will surely improve your website’s user experience and performance by eliminating all customers’ pain points by finding the most optimized version of your website.

Top comments (1)

marcellahaller profile image

Cool comprehensive post, cool! I want to add a few recommendations from the article about conducting a/b testing: consider related factors, make sure that the conditions are the same for all test versions, get feedback from users. Read more about each aspect in the post.