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3 Useful Tools for Split Testing and Tracking Your Site Data

by FreshBooks  |  October 24/2012  | 


Split testing.

Tracking visitors.

Analyzing data.

It really sounds much more complicated than it has to be.

Whether you are trying to convert leads into sales or visitors into subscribers, the first step is figuring out what works about your web pages and what doesn’t. The only way to find that out is to test different variables of the same page at the same time to compare and track the changes in your visitors’ behavior.

Sometimes called A/B testing, with A being one version of a page and B being the slightly different second version, split testing allows you to implement very minor tweaks to your website to show you which version converts better for the goal you have  in mind, such as increasing subscribers or sales.

Does one headline work better than another?
Does a blue button convert better than a yellow button?
Does a big font work better than a smaller font?

Split testing is a valuable method for showing you which areas of your website are going over well with visitors, and which areas are not. It allows you to cull away the weak components to your offers and build upon the strong components until ultimately you are left with a single web page that a significant portion of your visitors respond favorably to. Thankfully there are several tools available today that make it easy to track and analyze your visitor data as well as set up these simple A/B split tests without too much know-how. The benefit to you? High converting web pages that do what they were intended to do.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

For a fast and mostly painless solution, as well as one that’s easy on your wallet since it’s free,  Google Analytics’ Content Experiments is a great place to start if you’re looking to dip your toes in split testing and analytics without a financial commitment first. However, interpreting the data is pretty much left up to you, so it may not be the easiest solution to use effectively unless you know what you’re looking at.

One other con of using Google Analytics is that you can’t do multivariate testing, and you can only test up to 5 pages at a time so for people wanting to test more than that, this can “seem” like a bad thing. But sometimes keeping it simple can be the best choice when it comes to accurately analyzing what’s converting well and what isn’t.

Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics

For a more people-focused analytics tool, Kissmetrics is a great choice with a smaller price tag than some of the other tools available. They focus on helping you get to know your visitors individually and tracking their interactions on your site, rather than just providing uninspiring statistical data.

This means your A/B test results will give you information that helps you connect with your visitors better, which in turn helps you to increase your conversions. They offer a 14 day free trial, and with pricing plans ranging from $49- $499 per month, there’s a chance for different sized businesses to give it a whirl. While they do require some JavaScript editing for A/B testing, they do make things easier for new split testers with integration options to platforms like Google Analytics and Optimizely.

Mixpanel

mixpanel

Somewhat similar in features to Kissmetrics, Mixpanel comes with a much heftier price tag than the above two options. Primarily focusing on optimizing conversion funnels and increasing visitor retention, in-depth split testing is part of the whole package that allows you to dig deeply into your visitor data and mine for gold. Mixpanel offers pricing packages ranging from free all the way up to $2000 per month.

Be aware that even with the free package there’s a chance you’ll have to pay if you go over your allocated “data points”, which are used every time you track an event with Mixpanel. So your account would either become prorated according to the data points used, or automatically upgraded, whichever option is cheaper. Needless to say, it can become costly quickly if you aren’t careful.

How About You?

What are some of your favorite tools for analyzing and tracking site data and split testing your web pages? Do you have experience with any of the above? Please share your insight in the comments section.


  • http://www.vidyard.com Mitch Solway

    What a great topic..so near and dear to my heart as you know : )

    If you are using video on your website you can A/B split test the splash screen (the static thumbnail image that people see on your video) Vidyard (www.vidyard.com) .

    What’s helpful is that it can run up to 8 splash screen tests at the same time, will show you the stats from each and you can have it automatically pick a winner for you.

    I actually just wrote a blog post about it a few days ago and there is a video in the post (no doubt) that shows how it works.

    http://blog.vidyard.com/want-more-clicks-on-your-video-ab-split-test

    I know that not everyone is running video on their site yet, but if you are, this is a really helpful split testing tool to learn which splash screen will drive the best response/most clicks.

    Mitch

  • http://www.convert.com Dennis van der Heijden

    Setting up a test in KissMetrics and Mixpanel is not that easy as Google Analytics. So if your new to testing try Google first. If you are looking for business metrics Mixpanel and KISSmetrics are great.

    But if you just interested in testing Google’s free solution is a good start. Beyong the free you can try Convert.com (our solution) if you are workig with ecommerce or you are a marketing agency. Its way faster in setup the Google’s but comes at a cost.

    Dennis

  • http://www.incion.com/ Kim Meredith Smith

    I think we should add some tools to analyze the impact of resources on social networks


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