How To Choose Your First A/B Test

By Kate Orchard

October 22, 2018


There is plenty of advice out there about how to prioritize your optimization projects. If you’re interested in examples of charts and planning strategies, check out this blog, which breaks down how to use an action priority matrix. That said, many clients get stuck right before this stage: They know there are limitless opportunities for optimization but have trouble pinpointing specifics. If that’s you, then take a deep breath, read through this blog, and start brainstorming ideas.

cluttered desk

1) Spend some time navigating your sites (web, mobile, app) as if you’re a customer or client.

Most of us spend so much time strategizing about our digital channels that we can’t experience them without thinking about the intention behind each component. Instead, spend some time using your sites like someone brand new who’s learning about your organization and what you offer. It’s possible that you’ll have a bolt of inspiration, but more likely this will set you up with a more organic user experience fresh in your mind.

2) Examine your existing data.

If you’re at the beginning of the optimization process and you don’t have much data yet to inform your decisions, that’s ok. But, more than likely you have at least some insight into how people navigate your sites. Even basic information, like which pages get the most traffic, will be helpful in determining your optimization plan. If you can figure out where people fall off your site, that’s really helpful information as well — high traffic and high drop-off pages tend to have the most potential for optimization.When you’re looking at this data, try keeping a list of the areas of biggest concern.

To be fair, you may not actually be surprised about anything. But, as an exercise, what parts of the digital experience seem like they should perform better? Is there anything you thought would perform worse than it does?


bulletin board for planning priorities

3) Use your data, and look to other sites to kickstart ideas.

What works for one site doesn’t always work for another, but, there are some rules of thumb that give you some guidance on where to start. For example, usually you want a prominent CTA, or a compelling image. You should look around at your competitors’ sites, and any other websites you like. What features are they using that you’re not? What do you dislike about their site that you’d like to be avoid? You can’t really know what will work or not until you A/B test, but this is one of the best ways to get ideas.

Put it all together and prioritize

This process is all about generating concrete ideas that you can then prioritize. Going through this kind of site analysis is the first step to optimization. Don’t forget to go through this process across all domains and all media. You’ll have different optimization ideas for your mobile site versus your desktop site, etc. Most importantly, you can A/B test any idea, and you should. Sometimes the results are surprising.

To learn more about SiteSpect, visit our website.


Kate Orchard

Kate Orchard

Kate Orchard is a Manager of Customer Success at SiteSpect, where she consults SiteSpect users on their optimization and personalization road maps and projects. She is based in Boston.

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