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Split-Testing: A Brief Guide

If you want to be profitable in affiliate marketing then you have to split test. In this guide, we’ll show you some of the best methods to ensure you test efficiently and effectively.

What is Split Testing?

When it comes to affiliate marketing, the aim of the game is to increase your conversion rate and lower your costs. However, how do you know what is working and what isn’t? The answer is split testing!

Split-Testing involves testing 2 or more things side by side to see which one work the best.

What should you test?

When it comes to marketing, you can split-test pretty much everything. However, you should use tracking tools and data to work out which areas are causing you the most problems. For example, if you are losing people on your landing page at the end of your funnel, then changing the headline on your Facebook ad isn’t going to help. Therefore, find out where people drop off and split-test until you improve your conversion rate.

In order to get the best results, you should have a well-developed CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) campaign. A CRO campaign is basically a functional plan for conversions with an overview of your funnel. It could look something like this:

Research: Use tracking and analytical tools to gather as much data about people’s interactions with you funnel as possible. This will enable you to define the problem areas quickly and clearly. Heatmaps are also really useful as they will tell you exactly which elements of your pages people are interacting with.

Make a plan: Once you know where the problem areas are, think about ideas for how you might improve them. Try to determine why those areas are affecting your conversions and what you can do to resolve them.

Test: Once you have solutions which you think might work, you can test them against one another to see which performs better. For example, if you think that people aren’t engaging with your headlines, then test two headlines side-by-side to which performs better.

The purpose of split-testing is to see what’s working and what isn’t and then optimise aspects until they do. Therefore, almost anything on your site can be tested. Here are a few of the most common examples:

  • Headlines
  • Sub Headers
  • Body Text
  • CTA’s (Calls to Action)
  • Images
  • Reviews and Testimonials
  • Layout
  • Links
  • Style

All of these things play important roles and finding the right balance is vital if you want people to convert.

Reasons for Split-Testing

As you’ve seen above, there are plenty of things you can split-test but there are also many reasons why you should split-test. If you’re an affiliate marketer then the ultimate aim of the game is to get a higher conversion rate. However, depending on how you are trying to achieve this, there may be processes en-route which are holding you back. Here are more reasons why you should split-test.

Reduce your Bounce Rate: If you’re not sure what bounce rates are then read this. If lots of your visitors are bouncing then you’ll need to try to find out why. Split-testing will allow you to make improvements and modify the bits which are causing visitors to leave. The two most common reasons are load time and relevance, so if you have high bounce rate, test these things first.

Images: Image size can really slow down your site’s load time. If your site takes longer than 6 seconds to load then you could end up losing over 50% of your audience.

Relevance: Make sure that you answer people’s questions when they arrive on your site and that your keywords match what people are looking for.

Redesigning your sites: Perhaps you have noticed a recent lag in your conversions and you notice that your site looks a bit outdated. In this case, you can make minor changes and upgrades, without having to do a complete overhaul. Split-testing will allow you to test individual aspects and improvements, to ensure that you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Angles: Split-testing allows to test out different angles too, to see which works best for your audience. Some people might be features heavy and want to know everything contained within your product. On the other hand, people might be more swayed by benefits and guidance on how your product will help them. There are lots of different ways people shop, and angles are really important. Therefore, it’s a good idea to split-test multiple to see which works best for you. For more information on angles, click here.

Resolve Consumer Pain Points: No matter how foolproof you think your websites are, customers will always find unseen problems.

Split-testing allows you to use data you gather from Google Analytics, heatmaps and other tracking tools and resolve customer issues. Whether it’s customers being unable to find your CTA or not knowing how to get more information. These issues can be resolved by looking at your data and pinpointing the issues.

Common Split-Testing Mistakes

When it comes to split-testing, it is possible to make mistakes. Here are the most common mistakes you should try to avoid:

Don’t assume your site is better than it is: One of the first mistakes people make when split-testing is assuming that their site is almost perfect and assuming you know which bits need to be improved without looking at your data. People rarely ever behave how you would expect them to, therefore, it’s a good idea to keep an open mind.

Before you start split-testing, look at all of your data to see where your issues are. You should also look at what they are trying to do on your site.If you have some information that people are specifically trying to find, then you might want to make sure people get that information more easily.

In marketing, there are hundreds of ways to reach a goal and by ensuring you are data-driven, you can find simpler solutions to your problems which may be more far more effective.

If at first, you don’t succeed, try again: If you don’t see results from your first test, then don’t consider it to be a failure. Instead, look at why there were no changes and pull the data that you received. Affiliate marketing is experimental and nothing happens by mistake. Everything is indicative so it’s important to pay attention and not give up.

Don’t run short tests: If you test for a short period of time, you won’t be able to gather enough data to know whether your tests are working or not. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you run tests for long enough to gather attention and interaction.

External factors: When you are split testing, make sure that you take factors such as peak and off-peak traffic hours into account. If you run one campaign peak and one off-peak, then your data will be unreliable, unless of course, you’re split-testing the best time of day for your offer.

Don’t let your feels overtake the reals! If your data is showing you that there’s a problem and pointing to where it is, don’t let your instincts tell you otherwise. Trust your data and leave your sentiments at the door.

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