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To Split Test or Not to Split Test, That is the Question

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The question conversion experts ask themselves with every Adobe® Test&TargetTM campaign is “To split test or not to?” It’s a question of setting up split URL testing vs. on-page A/B testing.

Billy Madison

A split URL test is a type of A/B test that compares the performance of two or more different test cells that have different URLs.  An on-page A/B Test compares the performance of two or more different test cells using the same URL.  So, what’s a marketer to do?

There are several different reasons to use Split URL Testing.  Here are some examples:

  • You want to gain insight into conversion rates or customer behavior by sending visitors to different pages that already exist.  For example, you want to direct PPC traffic to an existing landing page vs. an existing product page to see which one is more effective.
  • You want to test a completely new page.  Due to a major design overhaul and/or possible backend complications, it may be easier to create a new page with a new URL.

Split URL testing works by utilizing a redirect in an mbox offer that will automatically split users among the test cells.

However, split URL testing isn’t necessary for every test.  Here is an example of when an on-page A/B test would be a better option:

  • You are doing an element test.  For example, you are testing a headline to determine if users respond better to urgency copy vs. offer-based copy.  This is true whether you are element testing a headline, image, body copy, video, etc.  Updating the offer in the mbox would be a much easier task than creating a new landing page in this scenario.

on-page A/B testing works by displaying different offers in an mbox on a single page.

The great news is that campaign set-up is relatively easy in Adobe Test&Target.  Although split URL test setup could be a bit more straightforward for novice users, it’s simple once you know where to look.

Here’s how you set up a split URL test campaign in Adobe Test&Target:

1.     Place an mbox on the control page

2.     Go to Offer Types and select ‘Redirect’ offer

3.     Create the offer using the test page URL

4.     Create a campaign using the Control page’s mbox with 2 experiences (default content vs. redirect offer)

Redirect Offer

Please note that this method will result in any parameter(s) being stripped from the URL when users are redirected.  This could include search keywords, tracking codes, etc.  To remedy this, you can use an HTML offer with custom JavaScript code that will redirect users and maintain parameters in the URL.

Why would a marketer need to keep the parameters in the URL?  This information is valuable when evaluating conversion data in SiteCatalyst and other reporting tools.  For example, the custom script allows keyword data to be passed into SiteCatalyst if you have the integration setup, so this is a great option that the conversion experts at Brooks Bell use regularly.

Just a word of caution…  If you want the split URL data to be passed into SiteCatalyst, make sure an mbox is also on the redirected page, and is included in the campaign.  Otherwise, you will not see any data in SiteCatalyst when you drill down into your campaigns.

Here’s how you set up an on-page A/B test campaign in Adobe Test&Target:

1.     Place an mbox on the Control page

2.     Go to Offer Types and select an appropriate offer type (HTML, image, etc.)

3.     Create the offer using the test content

4.     Create a campaign using the Control page’s mbox with 2 experiences (default content vs. test content)

On Page Split

As you can see, split URL testing and on-page A/B testing are both very valuable tools and are easy to set up in Adobe Test&Target.  It’s up to the marketer to determine which option ‘tis nobler per campaign.

Brought to you by Brooks Bell’s very own Brian Shampnois, Suzi Tripp and Naoshi Yamauchi!