A/B tests help you understand what’s working (or not!) on your site, evaluating everything from button colors, headlines, CTAs, and more. But what if you want to change your page during an A/B test? Does that affect the results? An A/B test needs anywhere from 4-6 months to collect enough accurate data, so making changes during that time is not recommended. Let’s dig deeper as we explore how A/B tests work and what you can expect during the test period.

What is an A/B Test?

First things first: an A/B test (also known as a split test) compares two variables of a single element to see which has the most impact on users. Things like word choice, color, images, and more can make a big difference on capturing attention, and during an A/B test two versions of the same element will run simultaneously on a site, with some users shown option A and others option B. Whichever element proves to be more successful gets to live permanently on the site or campaign.

Performing an A/B test can help you:

  • Reduce bounce rate
  • Get better ROI
  • Make strategic site improvements
  • Discover where users are getting lost
  • Reduce user friction
  • And more

How Long Does an A/B Test Take?

A/B tests can take anywhere from 4-6 months to collect enough data for analysis. The exact length of each test is determined by the number of users that visit the site and how many of those users interact with the element being tested. The complexity of the test will also play into the timeframe; the deeper you dive, the longer things take.

A/B tests typically require a minimum of 90-95% statistical significance to be actionable.

Statistical significance is the chance these results are valid and that testers can rely on the results to make positive changes. The closer the tests get to 100% the lower the chance of error.

A/B Test Best Practices

While the test is running, nothing can change on your site. Why? Even if you don’t tinker with the elements being tested, other changes can impact the way the colors, words, or images in question perform. Making changes during an A/B test can throw off your statistical significance and give you unclear results; your digital marketing team will require zero changes on the specific URLs your A/B test is running on for specific elements.

In addition to not making any changes to your site, other A/B test best practices include:

  • Start with a hypothesis: The main reason to A/B test is to determine how to make your site stronger. Prioritize your goals and set your experiment based on what you think will improve user experience.
  • Don’t test too many things at once: If you test every single detail on your page simultaneously, it may be hard to determine which element was successful or not. Try to narrow down where you think improvements should be made and start there.
  • Do give your test enough time to collect data: Even if one variable makes a strong showing in the first couple days of testing, don’t call off the test too soon. Early results can be misleading so don’t pull the trigger too quickly.

Make Your Site Strong with LDM!

LDM uses all the latest A/B testing tools such as heatmaps, session recordings, Google Analytics, and more to help you uncover ways to optimize your website. Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn more!

Meet Crystal Mack

Crystal Mack is a Senior Copywriter at Launch Digital Marketing. With a master's degree in Mass Communication and several published books to her pen name, she is a self-proclaimed word nerd and staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.