17 Not So Popular Split Testing Ideas You Can Run Right Now To Instantly Improve Your Business

Split Testing Ideas
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Split testing is one of the last things that you need now, right?

Because from what you’ve seen so far, you’ve concluded that it’s a total waste of time.

But, I bet there was once a time when you began to run out of meaningful tests to run, which is actually the reason why you are currently seeing little to no gains at all.

Multivariate testing, popularly known as “split testing”, is an excellent way to see what marketing campaign in your business will boost conversion rates.

Remember when Albert Einstein reportedly stated that, “the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest?”

Constant testing of your marketing efforts and campaigns leverages that force.

Now, if you could get just a 3 percent enhancement per week from your social media, PPC, or email campaigns, what do you think that would result to at the end of a year?

Well, assuming you started out in January earning $500/campaign (maybe with an email campaign), a 3 percent improvement per week would have your last campaign of December earning you about $2325.50. As you can see, that’s over a fourfold increase in sales from a very little uptick repeated every week.

So, who wouldn’t want to take a shot at that?

Fortunately, to help you solve this issue, I’ve assembled 17 different split testing ideas that you can start implementing right now.

These split tests will give you real, actionable results. And, to make it super easy for you, I’ve broken the 17 split testing ideas down into 6 categories:

  1. Calls-to-action
  2. Email marketing
  3. Load time
  4. Landing pages
  5. Social media
  6. Copywriting and content

So, depending on what area of your business you need testing, you can just scroll to the relevant heading.

Call-To-Action Split testing ideas for increased conversions:

1. Call-To-Action Button

One of the most important and under-tested areas of a website is the “call-to-action” section.

Lots of buttons are randomly tagged something like “Learn More” most of the time. But why not experiment a little with more personal options to find out if it will eventually boost conversions?

Call-To-Action Button
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There are a lot of tweaks you can give your CTA text. Learn how to make it more personal instead of the regular “Learn More”, “Download”, “Sign Up”, “Buy Now” ones.

You could try something like “Yes, Give Me My Freebie” or “I Love Free Stuff” and see what difference it’ll make.

Apart from what’s written on your Call-to-Action, another critical thing you always need to test is the button color.

You’ve may have seen this split test performed some years ago where a red button beat a green one in terms of conversions, keeping the tester astonished.

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However, call-to-action button color goes deeper than that.

For instance, assuming you have two call-to-action buttons – a “free trial” and a “buy” button. Your ultimate goal is for people to buy your product, although, you wouldn’t be disappointed if they ended up downloading a trial first. Yet, you want to enhance the buy option to make it more sexy and enchanting.

What should you do?

In a situation like this, the “Download Now” option is considered less important, even though it’s the first call-to-action on the page. Instead, you want the eyes of your visitors to be attracted to the more prominent “Buy Now” button.

Try muting the color of the button you want to give less emphasis to and see the difference it’ll make in your conversion rates.

2. Call-To-Action Button Placement

When it comes to creating an effective call-to-action button, positioning matters a lot. Many people often wedge their call-to-action buttons in between blog posts, slideshows, and headlines to the extent that it can be highly overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors.

However, split testing your button placement will give it some breathing room, similar to how PayPal does with their calls-to-action:

Call-To-Action Button Placement Example
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Proper use of empty space lets you focus your eyes and attention more clearly on the colorful CTA button more than a page filled with confusing information.

Implement this into your own landing page, play with different button placements and see what happens.

3. Directional Arrows

Notice in the first example above that the call-to-action button has small visual and navigational cues instead of having just a plain button?

That small visual improvement serves a purpose. Directional arrows (like “down” for download) make it very clear at a first glance what the intended action should be.

Most times, call-to-action buttons that want you to take a different action beyond downloading will have a right-facing directional arrow, signifying forward movement.

This is an example from InstaPage:

Directional Arrows Example - InstaPage
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This idea is worth trying.

Who knows? It could be the thing that will skyrocket your conversion rate.

Email Marketing

4. Plain Text vs. HTML

This is one of the oldest debates of the 21st century – which of these two gets more response?

To me, it totally depends.

For instance, your email marketing service provider may let you design a page with both HTML and plain text elements, but it may equally insert its own proprietary code.

In turn, this can result in having rendering problems in both software and browser-based email programs which can be problematic for an email campaign.

Litmus created an excellent infographic that demonstrates the processes an email must undergo and all of the flaming circles your email message must jump through before it’ll be received.

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Things like mobile email devices and spam filters see HTML emails as potential problems, and they filter them accordingly.

At the same time, it’s not advisable to just copy and paste from your word document program, as a lot of those programs often insert their own code that makes no sense to email or browser software. This is yet another potential issue for an email campaign.

Instead, the best approach is to test your email marketing messages by offering the user a choice by presenting both the plain text version and a web-enhanced version of the email message.

5. Dynamic Content Emails

People respond differently to personalization. Some view it as a marketing ploy, while others see it as an impressive change from the usual “Dear valued customer” messages they get.

For example, you could A/B split test the following in your email messages:

  • Using no name at all versus the subscriber’s first name.
  • Adding the company name in the “From” section versus using an employee’s name who’s in charge of customer relations.

You can also test sending out messages to fans of your Facebook or Twitter pages and mention your gratitude for following you.

Try to see where personalization takes you.

6. Email Calls-To-Action

Your email calls-to-action should also be given proper attention. For instance, does a text link perform better than an image-based call-to-action?

What about having both in your email messages (for those who turned off images in their email)?

Where do people click in your email message?

Test the text or button placed above the fold and at the bottom of the message. The open rates of your email might see an increased conversion rate just by playing with this simple stuff.

Remember that you won’t know exactly what works best until you try random variations.

Website Loading Time

7. Tag Management

Tag management is one of the things many people plan to “work on” when they have the time. But, getting to it right now can help you to improve your website loading speed and encourage better split testing results to boost conversion rates.

And it’s pretty easy to do.

Tag Manager is a free product from Google which allows you to take your 3rd-party services and applications and combine them into a single JavaScript box for faster loading speed.

It requires a little technical know-how, so it’s advised you contact your web developers and have them check it out. They’ll have to check out all of the instances being called in your “<head>” tag before you dive right in.

But, the final result will be:

Tag Management
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Split test a version with your current setup versus a single container to see how much time you could be shaving off your server load. If it’s a significant amount, make it permanent.

Check out the link below to learn how best to implement this:

8. Determine What Needs To Go

It can be difficult to decide what’s worth cutting out on your pages and what’s worth keeping.

A recent study confirmed that the majority of website users expect a site to load fully in 2 seconds or less. Consequently, they abandon websites that load in 3 seconds or more.

However, you can use some in-built caching plugins and compression algorithms to reduce stress on the server, thereby improving your site’s load time.

Edit everything ruthlessly.

Test removing anything that isn’t 100% relevant to getting the user to act or click. That can even mean things like getting rid of that beautiful slideshow on your homepage or even your navigation menu.

Interestingly, tablet users are in the center of this “less is more” fight, so what about them?

The guys at Shirtinator decided to redirect the tablet users of their site to their website’s desktop version that’s optimized with HTML5.

So what happened?

You’d be wrong if you guessed that conversions went down.

In fact, this version beat mobile for tablet users by more than 70%, raking in an extra 32% in the number of completed orders.

Landing Pages

9. Redesign

Sometimes you don’t need a few little changes to increase a website’s conversion rate, but rather a radical modification in the way you approach the design of the page itself.

For example, Marian University continuously tests different versions of its landing pages to some astounding results:

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Don’t be scared to experiment with your landing pages. Start to think outside the template.

Most times, the biggest changes bring the best results.

The Best Tools That Will Help You Build A Profitable, High-Converting Landing Page In Minutes

10. Geo-Targeted vs. Generic

This idea was originally made famous by local daily deal sites such as Groupon. Nowadays, geo-targeted content has taken on a life of its own to display almost everything, from apparel to car parts.

However, geo-targeting isn’t limited to physical location alone; things like language and currency can also be seen as geo-targeting.

So, will your prospective users be more captivated by your website if you find out where they’re from and mention it on your landing pages?

You can only find out by testing.

11. Copy vs. Video

The team at Mindvalley Insights recently wrote a very thorough guide about using a regular sales copy in landing pages versus video.

From their studies, video performs better than copy every time. However, there are still some instances where copy outperformed video.

Below is an excerpt:

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But even if you choose to use video, it’s advisable to test the type of video that you use.

For instance, will you use a more personal one-on-one style or a whiteboard-style “explainer” video like the one Rand from Moz uses on his “Whiteboard Fridays“?

Explainer video
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You never can tell which will work better for you until you test them.

12. Trust + Social Proof

Can logos like the usual “hacking-safe” or “transaction-safe logos” increase your landing page’s conversion rate, or will they distract your prospects instead?

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Some studies claim they help, while others say they don’t impact the bottom line at all.

However, you should test adding a few recognizable and reputable badges on your landing page and see what your own users think.

Similarly, you have to test and see if having some sound social proof on your landing page can help boost your CTR and conversions. A study by Consumerist confirmed that “nearly 70% of consumers rely on online reviews before making a purchase.”

Therefore, putting a few social proofs like customer testimonials or media mentions on your landing page could greatly improve your conversions.

You’ll see a good example of this when you visit the FreshBooks website:

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13. Form Images

Almost every landing page contains a call-to-action form for a demo, free download, free trial, or other offer.

But, it’s good to split test the inclusion of an image with your form. It could be a photo of you or a user using the product, a photo of the product itself, or even a landscape shot citing your product.

You can also just use a cool image that is highly relevant to whatever product or service you’re promoting. The idea is to ensure the image is very attractive and reflects your product.

Check out this one used on the Match.com homepage:

Match.com homepage
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Who said landing pages are just boring forms?

Copywriting and Content

The most vital aspect of your split test campaign is probably not in the slick CTAs or the flashy graphics, but in the words that you write.

Here’s the fact: People don’t have the time to read every single word on the internet. But that’s not really an excuse to be sloppy with your writing.

Use these few split testing ideas to analyze your site and see how it performs.

14. Copy Length

This has been the rallying cry of blog post creators, copywriters, and marketers for ages.

Which copy length sells better?

From my experience… it depends.

It depends not just on who you’re trying to engage, but also on your chosen market.

Some time ago, the guys at Marketing Experiments created a “long versus short” copy matrix which used empirical data and different case studies from around the web to reach their conclusion:

Long copy versus short copy
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In summary, if you’re selling really helpful and “want-oriented” products that require less commitment and investment, you’ll perform better with short copy.

While “need-oriented” points, particularly housing, medical, and insurance-related offers do well with longer copy.

Not sure which segment your market belongs to? Split test using both long and short copy and see which outperforms the other.

15. Free Sample Offers

We all know how tempting free sample offers can be, and this form of marketing has enjoyed even more popularity on the internet in recent times. But, how can you accurately split test this without lessening quality?

Try split testing your sample together with an offer.

For instance, assuming you’re selling a skin care supplement and you are giving out some free samples of a hair care cream. Why not split test your offer in such a way that instead of giving away the hair care cream for free, you offer your users one month’s worth of the supplements for just $1?

Most times, people are more happy to pay for an offer that is very closely aligned with their needs than getting a freebie that isn’t.

16. Broad vs. Segmented Offer

If you’ve taken the time to study paths-to-purchase, sales funnels, and other online behaviors, you’ll notice that broad offers are not always the best choice, especially if a customer returns to a website or spends an unreasonable amount of time searching for something.

In cases like this, segmenting your offer to perfectly appeal to that particular customer may be worth split testing.

A good example of a company that did this on their support pages is Dell.

On their first version of the page, visitors saw the default support page with ordinary topics and FAQs.

On the second version, the page was triggered automatically and contained a live chat option if the customer had spent a specific length of time on the support page or had visited other topics within the support page.

Dell Support page example
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Dell’s idea for this segmented split test was that if the customer couldn’t find what they were searching for by searching support articles or browsing the FAQs section, they’d be more likely to start a live chat session with a technician to assist them.

Having different options based on user’s behavior is a brilliant split testing tactic that can not only help you make the sale and earn that sought-after conversion, but can equally give you some priceless details about your potential customers.

17. Personal Experience/Review

We’ve discussed a lot about the possible copy tests you can run on your own website. But, what if you’re promoting another person’s product as an affiliate?

Split test the option of sharing your own personal experience with the product:

  • What did you get from it?
  • Were your expectations met?
  • Why or why not?

If you’re promoting another person’s product/service, you will definitely see different reviews about it all over the internet. So, if you haven’t tested the product yourself, you could just leverage the reviews of other people (but don’t steal!).

However, if the product in question is yours, you can simply ask for reviews from your happy customers, and then put them on your website or landing page just as the guys at MarkHor did on their website:

Customer testimonial example
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You never can tell. Such a simple tweak to your copy could mean a lot for your conversion rates.

Split Testing Ideas

Now you don’t have any excuse for not knowing what to split test.

You can put any one (or all) of these 17 different split testing ideas to work on your website immediately and figure out which your audience prefers.

When you find one that works, make it the new baseline and split test some more ideas to see if you can you crank up conversions even more.

What are some of your favorite split testing ideas? What else can you recommend trying? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Like this post? Don’t forget to share it!

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

11 thoughts on “17 Not So Popular Split Testing Ideas You Can Run Right Now To Instantly Improve Your Business”

  1. Great Harsh you have picked up so important comparisons in which people mostly got confused.And yes Call to Action is most important thing to place in right area. Thanks for writing and sharing on this.

  2. Freddy G. Cabrera

    Great tips on split-testing, Harsh!

    Split testing is so important when building a digital business. I did not care about split testing at the beginning of my journey here – I must admit.

    I was actually too lazy to do all of that split testing for a few years. And I think that is why I never really got great results with my marketing. Lesson learned!

    You have to split test as many variables as possible. You’ve mentioned a lot already here. You have to track your results and see what works best with your audience. From the color of a button, to the placement of a sentence!

    Every single detail and variable matters when you are driving a lot of traffic to a landing page.

    Thanks for your detailed tips man!

    Cheers! 😀

  3. We are learning a lot from your blog. Nice and In-depth article. We can have information for the ideas on how to improve business using split testing.
    Thanks again.

  4. Hi Harsh
    Just want to thanks for the quite article about testing call to action,email marketing etc. I liked the examples you used like you used Paypal ‘s example for Call to action .

  5. Dear Harsh Sir, I have no words to thank you for this very helpful article. It has helped me to improve my Blog. Glad to find your post. It is very important to me. Thank you very much for sharing this full of knowledge article with us and waiting for more articles.

    1. Glad to hear that. Just keep adding value by meaningful comments (Your opinion, views, experiences) and that would be the best way to thank me for the articles that you liked.

  6. Hi, Harsh!

    you covered each point that every marketer or blogger need to implement on site to bring more traffic and conversion through these methods. grabbing email through opt-in providing ebooks and best methods is the best way I found till date.

  7. Raghunath Samantaray

    Hi Harsh,

    Good Tips on split testing, These ideas definitely improve business.

    I also try this, Thanks for sharing these ideas with us.

  8. Hey Harsh,

    Great post as usual! 17 ideas is a lot! It makes a strong goto guide for anyone looking to split test a website.

    Running a website for explainer videos myself, I find the 11th point very interesting. And why not, when there is an ever-growing number of users who prefer video.

    I read the Mindvalley Insights post and found some golden nuggets worth sharing.

    Having a video on the landing page –

    You will never know which audience will be interested in a video and which in a copy. If most of the audience like copy and the page has a video, they might just click the close button and abandon your site.

    The cool suggestion they give is to show the video after 20-30 seconds of the page load. That way only people interested in the video, will see it. It seems that plan worked for them and the sign-ups increased by 13%

    Having a video on the Sales page –

    The same is with the sales page. And you can’t mess with a sales page really.

    If you don’t give all the options to the customer, abandoning is inevitable! And frequent abandonment of a sales page is like a slow poison for the product. And for the business in general!

    They found that a combination of both the copy and the video worked best (50-50). They saw a 5% to 24% improvement in conversions, with such a combination of the sales page.

    Video on the thank you page –

    The suggestion here is to include a ‘thank you’ video after any completed CTA like a sign-up or purchase.

    This is a trust-building strategy for long term gain.

    For example, they found that such a video increased the CPC to TWICE the amount almost a month after a sale (repeat sales).

    Your reference of Rand’s Whiteboard Fridays –

    He literally takes the term ‘whiteboard videos’ and turns it on its head. While the style of the video is live-action, he uses an actual physical whiteboard to explain the topics.

    That’s quite cheeky and cool. One of his whiteboard Friday videos called ‘How to create 10x content’ is awesome!

    Talking about the styles of video to be used –

    That actually depends on the context and also the type of customers/audience. Broadly speaking, you have these styles of videos.

    1. Slideshow – As simple as it gets. A slideshow with some great voiceover and music. This generally can be used for a more formal corporate setting.

    2. Typography – Text is the HERO in such videos! All other things like animation (animation is used sparingly), music take a backseat. More suited for a corporate setting. But it doesn’t matter. The Spotify explainer, for example, used this style giving equal emphasis to music.

    3. Screencasting – These are essentially used for demos and to create a powerful impact of what your product can do.

    4. Interactive – This is quite a unique concept, where you want your audience to get involved. You provide onscreen options and the video takes a new path!

    A very interesting one is from Honda. Just keep a long click on the mouse as you see the video and you get to see an entirely different story. Release the click and you are back to the original story.

    Such a style of video can be used in any context where you want the user to interact with the video.

    5. Live-action – As the name suggests, you see real people with real-life action. Like the example of Whiteboard Friday videos from Rand.

    One of the best examples of a live-action explainer video is a hilarious one from DollarShaveClub (I am sure you have seen it).

    This style again can be used in pretty much any context.

    6. Animation – In this style there are so many sub-styles like 2D, 2.5D, 3D, Whiteboard, Parallax. The list is ever-growing.

    One of the best examples is AirBnb, Wallmart, etc.

    The world loves animation, so this style can be used pretty much anywhere!

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