Every single click through to your website or within your website provides you with valuable information about what your visitors are looking for – and how what they find when they get there matches up to this. This is why split testing is important in affiliate marketing, because it helps you to identify what your visitors want and what they respond to.
Because successful affiliate marketing relies upon converting visitors into sales or acquisitions, your success will stand or fall on the basis of how well your content meets the needs of your prospects.
This means that you need to find out what type of content and approach works for your target demographics and fine-tune its optimization to increase your yield. Split testing provides you with the insights that you need to do this, and all successful affiliate marketers use split testing to find the best approach for their core audience.
In this article, we will explain why split testing is important in affiliate marketing, what split testing is, and how to use it effectively.
What is split testing?
Split testing is also sometimes known as A/B testing, and it is a controlled method of comparing two different marketing approaches to determine the best one. Split testing may compare two different landing pages, capture forms, links, or anything else to see which generates the best response from visitors as ascertained by actions and acquisitions.
Split test marketing divides incoming traffic to your website or links between two different options, and which version any given prospect sees is randomized to ensure objectivity. Any given visitor will view either version A or version B, with traffic evenly divided between the two.
When you have collated enough data, you can compare the split test results from versions A and B side by side, to determine which variant performs the best. Versions A and B might consist of two new pages or links, or an original/control version and a new alternative.
The importance of test marketing
Split testing takes the guesswork and subjectivity out of determining the most effective approach to use because it gives you hard data to work with to show you in tangible terms how each variant you are testing performs in real-world conditions.
When you have enough data to make an objective comparison you can clearly see which approach works the best, and either use it as-is for all of your traffic or fine-tune it and continue with A/B testing of additional options to maximize your yield.
For instance, say you are split testing a website landing page using two versions. 50 visitors are channeled to version A, and 15 of them take the desired action. 50 visitors are channeled to version B, but only 8 of them take the desired action. This means that the A version is the most successful based on the figures you have collated, and will return a better yield if used than version B.
Split test marketing
When you use split test marketing to find the most effective approach for your visitors and prospects, the people who visit your site won’t realize that they’re taking part in your experiment – nor that there is an alternative version of the page or content that they are viewing that might be shown to someone else.
This is a more effective form of determining the best variant than conducting market research by showing people two competing versions of the content and asking them to pick the best one, for a variety of reasons.
When you ask people to make a conscious choice or decision, they have to think about it – and this end choice might be very different from the result you will see in normal usage. People’s unconscious decision-making processes and preferences cannot be tested consciously – and so split testing allows you to get a truly organic, fluid picture of how your content performs in practice, not just theory.
Website split testing
Website split testing is particularly important for affiliate landing pages and can help you to reduce your site’s bounce rate and increase acquisitions. If your bounce rate is high or if you get a lot of traffic that doesn’t convert, split testing can help you to correct problems that you didn’t even know you had by comparing approaches and content to find the best performing one.
Website split testing can be highly adaptive – and may mean A/B testing using two completely different landing pages each with its own unique design, color scheme, content, offer, capture form, and call to action. Alternatively, your two different page versions might be largely the same aside from one of these vital elements.
How to split test an affiliate marketing campaign
You can split test an affiliate marketing campaign as well as a website page – using a variety of different approaches depending on what you are testing and what you want to achieve.
A/B testing can allow you to determine which campaign brings in the most traffic, or which campaign’s traffic returns the best conversion rate regardless of volume.
You can also, of course, split test your affiliate website’s landing pages themselves, concentrating on how their optimization translates into conversions as well as traffic.
Here’s what you need to do to split test an affiliate marketing campaign.
• Identify the area that you want to test – be that existing collateral or an entirely new approach.
• Devise two different versions of the content that are both designed to achieve the same goal – and determine what that goal is (such as winning clicks, achieving a sign-up, or making a sale).
• Set up your two versions to split traffic and visitors evenly between them, so that 50% view version A and 50% view version B.
• Launch your two versions, and vitally, wait until you have enough data to produce a true picture when you analyze it, otherwise, your results will be skewed.
When you have enough data, you can analyze your figures. You might find that A/B testing produces a clear winner in terms of which version produces the best results, or you may find that the two are relatively evenly matched. If it is the latter, you might want to begin again, ensuring that your two versions are divergent enough to reflect a clear preference for one or the other among your prospects.
Affiliate link split testing
Affiliate link split testing is one of the most important types of split tests that you can perform and allows you to determine the most effective links to use to boost your income and win commissions.
You can split-test two different links offering the same product or service by using different text for each of them, or two competing offerings from within the same niche to see which one is the most successful.
This type of split testing will give you the information you need to concentrate your marketing efforts and promotional spend on the affiliate links that perform the best and ensure that you don’t waste time and money working on something that won’t convert.
It also allows you to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience and niche in terms of what type of language and approach they respond to, which can help to inform your future campaigns.
Split test landing pages
Split test landing pages rigorously before you determine the winner, because this first page of your site is the first impression your prospects get when they land on it. If something about the page puts them off or fails to convert at the end, the value of your incoming links and promotions will be negated.
Keep working with split test landing page alternatives until you find one that reliably outperforms the other versions and proves to be the best fit for your target demographics.
Don’t forget to ensure that all of your split test landing pages load quickly and integrate the appropriate calls to action and links, or you won’t get a true picture of what is or is not appealing to your prospects.