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Who uses Split Testing? The President does.

One of the most interesting examples of a well implimented split test experiment is the presidential campaign of President Barack Obama in 2007 With the help of his around the clock analytics team and after 500 a/b tests on their web pages in a 20 month period, donation conversions experienced a 49% increase and sign up conversions went up as well by 161%.

But to get there they looked at how user behavior is influenced by the following variables: design, copy, usability, imagery and page speed. Just like in science class you have to start off with a hypothesis and then you can proceeded with experiments that either prove or disprove your original hypothesis. 

These are the stages broken down:

  1. Create a hypothesis 
  2. Create different landing pages based on what elements you decide to test
  3. Run Test
  4. Quickly measure results 
  5. Calculate the difference in effectiveness 
  6. Implement the more effective design 

 

As an example, one split test the Obama analytics team implemented was the site for giving donations.They used Google Website Optimizer and ran it as a full-factorial multivariate test which essentially means they tested all the combinations of buttons and media against each other simultaneously.

“The metric we used to measure success was sign-up rate: the number of people who signed up divided by the number of people who saw that particular variation. Since there were a total of 310,382 visitors to the splash page during the experiment that meant each variation was seen by roughly 13,000 people.”

Each visitor was shown a different combination of media and button and the results were undeniable: Roughly 10 million people signed up on the splash page during the campaign but if the experiment hadn’t been run and they had stayed with the original page, that number would be closer to 7,120,000 sign-ups causing them to miss out on nearly a difference of 2,880,000 email addresses. Critical thinking and plenty of user psychology lead to the success of this experiment and the ultimate success of the campaign overall proving that split testing is essential to any website.

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