The online experience is critical to conversion. A company with a superior product may find itself obsolete if it is housed in clunky infrastructure with few graphics, too many links, too few helpful resources, etc. A/B testing can really shed light on how consumers want to experience the brand online.
I read an interesting article about how Obama won the 2008 presidential election using A/B testing. I promise, this relates. :) Obama hired Dan Siroker as his Director of Analytics. Siroker introduced A/B testing to the campaign. Obama was having a hard time converting visitors to his website to followers and donors. Initially, Obama’s website had a turquoise photo of Obama and a red “Sign Up” button for people to give their email addresses. But there were too few signups to gain momentum in his campaign. Siroker A/B tested three new word and video/graphic choices. For word choices, he tested “Learn More”, “Join Us Now” and “Sign Up Now”. In terms of graphics, Siroker tested a black-and-white photo of the Obama family, a turquoise picture of Obama and a video of Obama speaking at a rally. Despite the fact that the campaign felt strongly that they had it right (Sign up now & turquoise picture), they were wrong. Richard Nisbett writes,
I’m guessing you wouldn’t have predicted that the combination of “Learn More” plus a family photo would be the most effective. And not just a little more effective. That combination produced 140 percent more donors than the least effective combination, which translates into a huge difference for donations and votes.
The campaign estimated that 4 million new addresses were gleaned from the change and $75 million was raised as a result. So perhaps Obama didn’t win the election because his campaign used A/B testing. :) But isn’t it fascinating how the online experience, the words and graphics, can convert those that interact with your website? A/B testing can lead to C- convert!