AB TESTING is a method of marketing testing widely used in the iGaming industry

AB TESTING is a method of marketing testing widely used in the iGaming industry by operators to evaluate various elements of their webpage, such as registrations, marketing tools and landing pages. The value of A/B testing, also known as split testing and bucket testing, is equally important to your affiliate site, and yet is often underutilised. The goal of A/B testing is to increase your response rate and as an affiliate in a competitive field, this is paramount If you have already incorporated A/B testing methods in your affiliate business and keep this as a recurring activity, then you have begun to identify areas of your online business that yield the best results for your specific end goal.

Testing really isn't an option in affiliate marketing. It's a must. It's what allows you to repeat what works and avoid costly mistakes. Here's a guide to introduce you to A B testing, and help you begin to yield your best affiliate marketing results yet.

What is A/B testing?

Put simply. A/B testing can be used to cultivate your website's traffic and potential conversions in the same way a farmer would seed his crops in the hope of a more bountrful harvest. Basically, you need to be willing to work the land and try a variety of methods if you want to generate the highest possible yields. A/B testing is all about variety, analysis and refinement.

The genius of A/B testing is that it is.
a) theoretically quite simple and,
b) practically can be as complicated and in-depth as you see fit for your business.

By taking two versions of the same website and comparing the performance of each based on your metrics of choice, you can determine if your current site has already reached its zenith. More likely, however, you will be assessing whether your site could use some slight modifications or a complete overhaul in order to increase traffic and revenue figures.

The practicality of A/B testing

As we all know, quality player registrations are what lead to quality revenue, and unless you instinctively have your finger on the pulse of your target markets, you will want to rely on A/B testing to some extent to get into the heads of potential players. Ultimately, you are doing both yourself and your potential converting traffic a favour, as you are making a conscious effort to provide them with a product they have already confirmed that they want supplied.

To better illustrate this concept, a hypothetical case study seems appropriate:

If an affiliate were considering replacing one or more of the ads displayed on their site or modifying some other aesthetic feature of significance, they would be well-advised to use A/B testing. This would allow them to direct a certain portion of their traffic through to the test site with the updated banners, while keeping the majority of traffic passing through the standard site with the original banners.

This is just an example of one of the many aspects of your site that could either attract or repel players that can also be better assessed through the use of A/B testing. Those other aspects include everything from the aesthetic make-up of a website to the writing style used.

Getting down to testing

There are a variety of tools that can be used to actually carry-out your A/B testing. Some of the better known names in the industry include: Google Website Optimizer, Optimizely, Ninja Button and Visual Website Optimizer, to name just a few. And while an entire article could be written analysing the strengths, weaknesses and pricing of each of these tools, this is an area where some diligent research and investigation will guide you to the choice that is right for you.

One of the things to keep in mind when reviewing the available tools is evaluating what type of A/B testing you want to perform. There are a couple of options available.

The first option is where a modification has been made that requires the display of an entirely new webpage for the site. For instance, you may want to test the receptiveness towards a new skin that you are considering implementing. In this case, you would need to set-up an entirely separate URL to accurately measure this feature's effectiveness.

If you are testing a more isolated element, such as a variety of banner styles, your site can be set-up to rotate the desired variations on the same page. You will then be provided a statistical breakdown of which banner style performed the best based on your selected metric of conversion.

Standard rules of A/B testing

There are some fundamental rules by which to conduct A/B testing to ensure that the time and effort you put in here yield the improved results that you are seeking. Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Regardless of how many different variations of the same feature or element you plan on testing (i.e. different version of a new skin), it is crucial to make sure that all permutations are tested at the same time. This ensures that all environmental factors are consistent throughout each variation.

2. Do not test too many different elements at once (i.e. skin, banners and font), as you want to be able to narrow down the one or two most crucial elements that could be improved or amended to make your site more attractive and successful. The more elements being tested at once, the less effective you will be at targeting the most important site changes.

3. The lifespan of your testing is also an important factor to consider. Just because a football club loses the first couple of matches of the season does not necessarily make it a lost cause. Then again, if that same team continues to lose games as the season progresses, you may want to consider putting your money down on a different club. The items of your A/B testing should be treated in a similar manner. Your new page set-up might not give instantaneous results but extending the lifetime of your testing will provide a more accurate analysis.

4. A degree of humility will be necessary for successful testing and implementation. That says nothing of the importance of having implicit trust in your testing tool, which is why it is crucial to choose carefully.

There is little doubt that A/B testing will continue to gain in popularity and eventually be discussed with the same regularity as other tactics such as search engine optimisation. And as that popularity increases, the more likely it is that progressively more in-depth analytical tools and strategies will be developed to help affiliates make better decisions through their testing.
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