A/B testing is a widely used process by most major businesses that have a presence online.
If you want to optimize your conversions, this process is a must. There’s no way around it.
But performing A/B tests with regular web development tools is nearly impossible. You need the right analytics, a proper editor, a way to segment your traffic, and much more.
Luckily, several amazing A/B testing software tools are available on the market in 2021.
Let’s explore how A/B testing works, how it can benefit your business, and which tools you can use to get started.
Table of Contents
1. What is A/B testing?
2. Why is A/B testing important for your business?
3. How do you perform an A/B test?
4. Top 26 A/B testing tools you should us in 2021
5. Desired outcome
6. Star A/B testing and optimize your business for conversions
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing is a way to test two versions of an asset against each other to see which one will perform best. This is also known as split testing.
In digital marketing, A/B testing is used with:
• Emails (and email subject lines)
• Landing pages
• Regular web pages
A/B testing software allows you to randomize which variant shows up for every user. Then, the software will calculate the data and show you statistics on which version performed best.
For example, let’s say you have a landing page designed to collect email addresses and generate leads. One A/B test that you can try is writing a variation of your main headline in the hero section.
Next, your A/B testing software will show some users the first version — known as the control — while showing other users the variation.
It will then keep track of the conversion rate for each variation. You can compare conversion rates between your two landing page variations to see which one is performing best.
Why is A/B testing important for your business?
A/B testing is one of the best ways to perform conversion rate optimization. Without it, there’s no way to know which elements of your pages, emails, ads, and more are performing badly or could be improved.
When you run a single version of a page, you’ll know the conversion rate for the entire page. But if you have a low conversion rate, what is causing it?
It could be the way your page is designed. It could be your call-to-action button. Maybe it’s the main headline that’s lacking.
The truth is, you won’t ever know unless you test it.
With A/B testing software, you can ask specific questions about elements of your marketing collateral to optimize your conversion rate piece by piece.
It takes the guesswork out of optimizing your marketing strategy. You can make data-driven decisions instead of changing one element because you feel it could perform better.
You can approach your collateral with an educated hypothesis and test out whether or not it is valid. The data speaks for itself — if your variation has a conversion rate of 70% when your control converts at 45%, you know you’re onto something.
And why is conversion rate optimization so important?
No matter which marketing method you use, it will cost your business money. Facebook Ads and Google Ads will require ad spend. Email marketing either takes up your time — which is worth money — or your team’s paid time. Content marketing will also require writers and designers to be as effective as possible.
Even if you already have respectable conversion rates, your business is bleeding money as long as you don’t optimize your conversion rates through A/B testing.
Let’s calculate an example of how this can work. If you have a Facebook Ad campaign that has:
• A cost per click of $1
• A landing page that converts at 2%
• A product that’s worth $75
• A return on ad spend (ROAS) of 1.5x
Every time you spend $1,000, you’ll get 1000 people who click on your ad, and 20 of those people will buy, resulting in $1,500.
You’re still making a profit, but it could be much better.
So now, let’s say you A/B test your ad copy. Eventually, you find a variation that generates a CPC of $0.5 instead of $1. This means that for every $1,000 you spend, you now make $3,000, which is a 3x ROAS.
Awesome! But we can go even further. What if you tested the call-to-action on your sales page? Suddenly, you find a variation that increases your conversion rate to 2.5%. Now, you’re making $3,750 for every $1,000.
You can keep doing this for every element in your campaign, including:
• Images and headlines in your Facebook ads
• Design elements on your landing page
• Product descriptions
• Call-to-action buttons
• Landing page pop-ups
• And so much more
The best part is that you can keep testing elements, even when you find existing improvements. For instance, even if you found an ad copy variation that generates a CPC of $0.5, you can keep testing more variations to reduce the cost even more.
This means that you can either reduce your ad spend to make the same amount of sales, or keep the same ad spend and make more sales.
Pretty great, right?
How do you perform an A/B test?
So now that we’ve established why A/B testing matters to help you increase your profits in your business, let’s dive into how you can try it out.
HOW DOES A/B TESTING WORK?
It’s pretty simple. You can perform an A/B test by creating a variation of your control with some changes. Keep in mind that if you change several variables, it will be difficult to keep track of what actually improved your conversion rate.
Next, a portion of your traffic is shown the control, while another portion is showed the variation. Some A/B testing software will automatically divide your traffic in half, but other software will let you decide how to divide the test.
Then, your A/B testing software will automatically measure your conversions. When you look at your statistics, you can see whether your variation made improvements or if you control is still performing better.
A/B TESTING FRAMEWORK
While there are several approaches you can take to A/B test your marketing collateral, you can make the most of your time and money if you follow a recurring framework.
Why? By following a framework, every A/B test can be performed under the same conditions, which means your data will be more accurate. You can also ensure that you or your team test out each element systematically.
Here is the framework we suggest based on our work with hundreds of successful accounts:
1. Analyze your data from existing controls: First, you need to take a look at what your controls look like. What are your current metrics? These data points are your baseline.
2. Establish what you consider a conversion: In order to accurately test each version for conversions, you need to agree on what you consider a conversion. Is it a purchase? A button click? An email opt-in? Make this clear.
3. Make a test plan: Establish which elements you will test, and in which order. For instance, your plan could be to test headlines first, then change the copy in your first caption, followed up by a switch in images, etc. List out every element you want to test, and how long you want to test them for. ‘How long’ should be determined by the amount of traffic, not the amount of time.
4. Start with a hypothesis: Starting with your first test, make a hypothesis about its performance. For example, you can say that you believe the headline would perform better if it was shorter.
5. Test your hypothesis by creating your variation: This is where you create a variation of your control. Only change what element you’re testing at first, unless your test plan states that you want to test out a completely different page to start.
6. Run your A/B test: Now, create two versions of your page, ad, etc, and use your A/B testing software to run the test. Keep running the test until you’ve reached the desired amount of traffic.
7. Analyze the data: Stop the test and look at your results. Which variation performed better, and by how much?
8. Run another variation if you don’t see improvements: Try another hypothesis to improve the conversion rate. Alternatively, you can move on to the next phase and test another element if you believe you won’t see improvements with the current element.
9. Move on to the next phase if you do see improvements: Once you’ve improved your conversion rate, you can test the next element in your plan. For instance, you can move on to call-to-action buttons.
Keep notes on all your tests so that you can apply what you’ve learned to future tests.
Top 26 A/B testing tools you shoud us in 2021
Some marketing tools, like most email marketing software, already include tools to allow you to perform split tests.
But what about the rest? For instance, how can you test your web pages?
Not to worry — there are several amazing and powerful tools available on the market to empower your A/B testing journey. Here are the ones you should try out.
Optimizely is an enterprise-level A/B testing software that offers a variety of solutions for experimentation. It’s used by industry giants like eBay, Visa, Atlassian, IBM, and more.
They pride themselves on being the fastest web experimentation platform.
You can perform your tests using a user-friendly visual editor. Optimizely even allows you to run several tests on the same page, without causing any lagging issues.
But you can test much more than just web pages with this tool. They offer full-stack support to empower you to run experiments on mobile apps, messaging platforms, and so much more.
Pricing for Optimizely isn’t available publicly on their website. You need to speak to sales to get an idea of what it will cost you.
VWO is another leading A/B testing software. It allows you to import and aggregate your important metrics to keep track of how everything gets impacted by your tests.
VWO is also GDPR-ready to help you remain compliant at all times. This is important, since you’re collecting data on your visitors.
You can run tests that are based on your website visitors’ behavior on your page, like how much time they spend on your page or what they click on. The software also allows you to run multiple tests at once. Each test has its own traffic allocation, which means you can run tests without having them interfere with each other.
With the visual editor, you can create variations without writing a single line of code.
Plus, the software will provide you with copy recommendations.
VWO also comes with out-of-the-box widgets that you can customize as you like. As a result, you can add forms, timers, banners, pop-ups, and more without requiring a separate tool to test out these elements.
Finally, you can even include your hypothesis in the software. This means you can easily link back your results to the original hypothesis and better keep track of your tests.
Like Optimizely, you need to request the pricing for VWO.
Convert Experiences, or simply Convert, claims to solve the issues of poor UI, expensive contracts, and slow support that you may experience with their competitors. They also claim not to flicker, which is a common issue with A/B testing software.
Because they store no personal data by default, you can run your tests without requiring consent from your traffic.
They also provide unlimited features, including:
• Unlimited projects
• Unlimited sub-domains
• Unlimited collaborators
• Unlimited support
• Unlimited variations
You can run your tests with a powerful WYSIWYG editor. Plus, Convert integrates with over 100 third-party tools.
If you need support, they provide every customer with free onboarding.
Convert Experiences starts at $699 per month for the Kickstart plan.
With SiteSpect, you can test hundreds of metrics for your web pages and even test for things like server-side performance.
This means that you can test out new versions of your site on your server before you deploy to the public. You can also do progressive rollouts.
SiteSpect will also provide real-time alerts so that you can manage your campaigns in a proactive way. You’ll always be in the loop if a variation is hurting conversions, has no recent visitors, or is winning over your control.
You can also detect which devices your visitors are coming from. This means you can see whether or not your mobile website is performing well compared to your desktop version, for instance.
Plus, their Auto Optimization feature automatically analyzes your campaigns and adjusts what your traffic sees based on the results and user behavior.
Pricing is not available publicly on SiteSpect. You can either contact sales or request a demo of the software.
AB Tasty was designed to help its customers build better experiences, whether these experiences are on websites, apps, software, or more. This tool helps you build end-to-end experiences, not just individual pages.
This is important, since your entire funnel works as one experience to generate traffic and turn them into paying customers.
AB Tasty uses an omnichannel approach to A/B testing customer experiences.
They don’t just provide a testing platform — they empower you and your team to manage and rollout entire features. Their AI-powered traffic allocation tool will also automatically send your traffic to winning variations in a test.
Plus, AB Tasty has an AI-powered psychographic and engagement-based segmentation tool. This means you can test and publish custom messages and features for very specific audiences.
Like most A/B testing software, you’ll need to book a meeting with the sales team to know the pricing for AB Tasty.
Finding the right variations to get the best possible conversion rates is like finding a needle in a haystack. Evolv claims to find this needle.
Doing A/B testing the traditional way only lets you focus on a few elements at once, but with Evolv, you can adapt to the constant changes in your market, without compromise. They empower you to deliver the best experience to every audience, every time, so that you can optimize your digital experience for growth.
Their software uses AI to help you find the best possible customer journey. The AI will keep learning as your visitors keep using your pages.
Freshmarketer isn’t just an A/B testing tool. It’s a complete marketing automation platform.
It’s part of the Freshworks suite of products that includes Freshdesk, Freshworks CRM, Freshcaller, and more.
In addition to powerful A/B testing features, Freshmarketer also allows you to:
• Segment your customers
• Perform email marketing and create drip campaigns
• Map out your customer journey
• Analyze website heatmaps to see what your visitors interact with the most
• Automate workflows
• Manage leads
• Manage content
• Manage projects
• Automate social media marketing
• And much more
Several pricing plans are available on the Freshworks website depending on which tools you’ll need. It starts at $19 per user per month. However, they do have a FREE FOREVER startup plan that can allow you to test out its features.
Qubit is a tool specifically designed for eCommerce brands. It allows you to analyze which products drive performance and which don’t.
This means you can essentially A/B test your products, not just your pages.
As a result, you can provide targeted product recommendations to your customers. You can also present them with personalized content based on their behavior.
With their A/B testing features, you can validate the choices you make on your eCommerce website and measure how the effectiveness of your personalization. You can even use surveys to gather feedback from your customers directly so that you can understand their preferences.
Target is one of several Adobe products. It’s designed to help you tailor and personalize your customers’ experiences and max out revenue from your digital channels.
The standard version of Target is a front-end tool with a visual editor to create and manage your A/B tests. But they also have a Premium suite with advanced features, such as:
• Automated personalization
• Auto-target, which delivers high-performing and tailored experiences to your customers
• Customer recommendations
• Permission levels
Unlike other Adobe products, you’ll need to contact sales to get the pricing info for Adobe Target.
UsabilityHub is a bit different from a traditional A/B testing tool. This is a remote research platform that allows you to validate your tests with real users.
With UsabilityHub, you can see how real users interact and navigate on your site. You can test for the first click, show an image for five seconds to test intelligibility, test up to six designs for preferences, and survey users for specific feedback.
You can target any demographic you like and customize by age, gender, language, location, education level, income level, technical proficiency, and more.
UsabilityHub starts at $1 per response.
Omniconvert’s Explore tool provides an advanced experimentation environment for A/B testing.
While it is advanced, it does require a developer, since you need to use CSS and JS to edit your pages.
You can also use HTML if you prefer for your A/B tests.
The software includes over 40 different segmentation criteria for your audience, which helps you provide a more personalized experience for your customers.
Plus, with its stacked testing feature, you can easily implement a winning variation as your new control while you continue your tests to keep optimizing. No need to wait for a dev team to implement everything.
Omniconvert Explore starts at $167 per month for the Platform plan, if you get no more than 50k viewers on your website a month. The price increases as your traffic does.
Google Analytics isn’t a dedicated A/B testing tool, but it certainly can empower you to create your tests without using separate software.
You may already be using Google Analytics if you’re tracking your website traffic.
Google Analytics won’t allow you to create your variations, but it does allow you to allocate your traffic and analyze the data.
All you need to do is provide the links to the control and the variation, then let Google do its job.
Google also has another free tool that can be used specifically for A/B testing, called Google Optimize.
Optimize takes Google Analytics’ A/B testing features a lot further and allows you to hand off the monitoring of your tests to its free software.
That’s right — it’s free to use. So if you don’t have the budget for some of the more expensive tools on this list, you can still use Google Optimize to test new website layouts, copy variations, and much more.
Plus, you can link your results to Google Analytics. If you already use Google Analytics, this can make your experience much smoother.
CrazyEgg is a heatmap software that also allows you to perform A/B tests.
With heatmaps, snapshots, and recordings, you can see exactly how your customers act when they’re on your web pages.
The software highlights what elements your traffic interacts with the most.
In addition to these analytic tools, you can create your A/B test variations with its built-in visual editor. CrazyEgg will then tell you what percentage of the total traffic each version received, how many conversions it got, the conversion rate, and the improvement percentage.
CrazyEgg starts at $24 a month with the basic plan, but you can also try it free for 30 days.
With Convertize, you can deploy A/B tests without coding. Its Autopilot feature takes care of managing your traffic in order to maximize your conversions.
It also uses a hybrid statistics engine to provide more accurate data.
In addition to its A/B testing features, Convertize also adds social proof notifications on your site. It will let your visitors know when someone else makes a purchase or viewed a product.
Convertize starts at $35 a month for up to 20k visitors per month on your site. You can also try it for free for 14 days.
Like UsabilityHub, UserTesting allows you to test your content with real customers. You can pick the type of people you want for your test and get feedback within hours.
Testers will record themselves navigating your web pages while they think out loud. This allows you to uncover any usability issues you may not have known about.
If you sell products, you can even send them to real people so that they can try them out and provide video feedback.
Pricing is not publicly available for UserTesting, but you can request a trial if you go for the Enterprise plan.
Formerly known as Validately, UserZoom is specifically designed for UX improvements.
This is still important, since a better UX ensures that your customers are able to use your site without an issue. Bad UX can hurt your conversions.
In addition to its UX analytics tool, you can also get UserZoom GO, which is similar to UserTesting and UsabilityHub. You can choose between moderated or unmoderated usability tests.
Pricing for UserZoom isn’t public, but UserZoom Go starts at $500 a month.
Contentsquare provides you with digital insights designed to drive revenue for your business. It helps you understand customer behaviors so that you can make more informed hypotheses for your A/B tests.
It’s used by industry leaders like Walmart, Adobe, Disney, Ikea, and more.
While some A/B testing software is confusing to understand, Contentsquare makes it as easy as possible to read and understand your metrics with intuitive visual reporting. It will also automatically highlight your biggest opportunities, but also your biggest issues.
Contentsquare pricing isn’t available publicly — you need to sign up for a demo or contact the sales team to get this information.
Just like CrazyEgg, Hotjar is a heatmap software that allows you to analyze how your visitors interact with your website.
The heatmaps will give you a picture of which elements your customers interact with the most, while recordings will show you exactly what visitors are doing when they’re on your site.
With Hotjar, you can also create pop-up surveys to get customer feedback.
Hotjar doesn’t have built-in A/B testing features, but it does allow you to integrate with Optimizely and Omniconvert to monitor A/B tests using heatmaps.
Hotjar starts at $99 a month for 500 daily sessions.
FullStory’s mission is to help people create amazing digital experiences that delight customers.
Their argument is that every user on your website has their own story, and that outdated tag-based analytics tools only provide you with a small slice of that story. On the other hand, they provide you will the full story and eliminate the guesswork so that you can deliver the most perfect digital experience for every user.
Their DXI platform provides you with important intel, such as:
• Number of error clicks
• Rage clicks
• The health of a particular segment on your web page
• And much more
Because a user’s experience on your website is made up of thousands of UX decisions, it’s important to discover when and where users get stuck or try out functionalities that don’t exist.
This can help you uncover hidden opportunities that you would never have known about otherwise.
FullStory’s pricing is only available when you get a demo.
Like Hotjar and CrazyEgg, Mouseflow provides you with a heatmap and recordings of your visitors using your website.
But in addition to these features, it gives you detailed insights into your entire funnel. You can analyze where your visitors are leaking out so that you can more easily fix your entire funnel, not just a single web page.
It also detects how users interact with forms to find out if they are causing errors, which could be costing you conversions.
Mouseflow integrates with Optimizely and Unbounce to perform A/B tests.
You can try the free plan forever for up to 500 recordings per month.
Inspectlet is another heatmap tool like CrazyEgg. But unlike Hotjar and Mouseflow, this one comes fully loaded with A/B testing features, so you don’t have to integrate with separate A/B testing software.
Plus, Inspectlet lets you filter through all your recordings to see exactly the type of visitors you want. For example, you can choose video durations of a specific length, only show sessions from new visitors or returning visitors, and check out recordings during which visitors checked out specific pages.
Its built-in visual editor makes it easy to create page variations and run your tests.
Inspectlet starts for free for up to 1000 A/B test visitors per month.
Hubspot is a complete marketing and growth tool. Its marketing automation software allows you to grow your business with more ease.
In addition to its CRM and marketing automation features, Hubspot also allows you to A/B test your marketing collateral.
You can test your web pages, but if you use their email marketing suite, you can also perform A/B tests with your email campaigns.
Pricing for Hubspot varies depending on which tools you need, but the marketing automation and A/B testing tools are available starting at the Professional plan, which starts at $890 per month.
Unbounce is actually a landing page builder designed to create dedicated landing pages without a single line of code. Instead of creating pages with distractions on your website, these landing pages are more streamlined and designed for a single conversion.
Unbounce comes built-in with an A/B testing feature so that you can test out variations of your landing pages.
Pricing starts at $80 per month for up to 20k visitors — or up to 500 conversions.
Kameleoon is a full-stack A/B testing platform that’s intuitive to use yet still powerful. If you have a developer, you can make use of its full stack of tools, but there is no need for one if you don’t have one.
That’s because they have a WYSIWYG editor, but they also integrate with coding environments.
They specialize in eCommerce, healthcare, and banking. As a result, they’re fully compliant with:
This tool comes with over 25 criteria to segment your audience. They can also allocate your traffic in a dynamic way to push more and more people towards winning variations as time goes on.
You can request a demo to find out more about the pricing, which isn’t available on their website.
Zoho has several tools, including a CRM, in its suite. But with PageSense, you get a complete conversion optimization platform.
You can create variations for your A/B test in its intuitive visual editor and measure your vital stats, but the software also allows you to:
• Create website heatmaps
• Record visitor sessions
• Add personalization
• Survey visitors using polls, pop-ups, and push notifications
Pricing for Zoho PageSense starts at $39 per month for 10k unique visitors if you want access to the A/B testing features.
When you pick the right A/B testing tool for your business, you’ll be better equipped to make informed hypotheses and perform A/B tests that provide all the insights you need to optimize your conversions.
Some A/B testing software comes with other tools that may be useful, but if you already have software that takes care of these features, this may be overkill. Make sure not to choose a tool only because it has more features. Extra features can get more complex to handle over time.
The perfect A/B testing software for your business should empower you, not weigh you down.
Start A/B testing and optimize your business for conversions
Now you have everything you need to choose the best A/B testing software and start your first tests.
Don’t want to manage conversion optimization on your own? Book a call with our conversion optimization specialists to get a free, customized marketing plan to help you take that first step!