A/B Testing: Copywriting

What is Copywriting A/B testing?

Copywriting A/B or split testing is testing variations of copywriting on a webpage and splitting the traffic in half to see which copy leads to more conversions for that page. Since there are no measurements to test copywriting, a winning page version can only be verified by which page produces a higher conversion percentage. However, this also makes copywriting one of the easier things to test as changes are easy to implement and thus you can test as many aspects of your copy as necessary. Small changes to your copy can make a huge impact on your conversion rates.

Copy Elements to Test

Since most of your website will be comprised of words, there are many things you can test, including: 

  • Headlines
  • Sub headlines
  • Calls-to-action (CTA's)
  • Length

Remember to utilize a few key practices for copywriting for conversion when creating your copy and coming up with possible hypothesis' to test. Copywriting is one of the most important factors when optimizing your site for the highest amount of possible conversions, but it can also be the most unpredictable. There are no best practices that are guaranteed to work for everyone; the only way to know what works best is to continually test different variations and implement the best performing ones. 

A/B Testing Headlines

Headlines are typically the first thing visitors to your website see. They can inform the visitors about what is on the page or inspire them to take an action such as keep reading, sign up for a trial, etc. There are a few types of headlines you can A/B test to achieve the highest converting results.

Types of Headlines to A/B Test:

  • Question headlines: Interested in getting more traffic to your site? Click here to find out how
  • Loss Aversion or Fear of Loss headlines: You may be missing out on a ton of traffic because you're not doing this one thing. Get details here
  • Benefit headlines: Get traffic to your site for half the price. Click here to find out more
  • Curiosity headlines: How a hippo helped WebsiteX get 150% in website traffic in just a few days
  • How to headlines: How to get more traffic to your site with these tips
  • Numbered headlines: 11 ways to get more traffic to your site

You can A/B test any type of these headlines to see what gets the most conversions. Again, there are no guarantees with headlines; you have to repeatedly test different copy variations and choose the best performing one. However, you should always optimize the copy for your headlines in a clear way that is beneficial for the user first and foremost. 

A/B Test The Style of Your Headlines

You can also test the style of your headlines.  You can test:

  • Sentence case headlines: I Love Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Normal case headlines: I love conversion rate optimization
  • Punctuation with your headlines: I love conversion rate optimization!!!!
  • Emoji's or faces in your headlines: I love conversion rate optimization (smile) (heart)
  • Capitalized headlines: I LOVE CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION

There are many variations to choose from, and testing as many as you can to find the perfect fit with your company persona can help immensely. However, remember that the words involved are the most important, so make sure your headline copy is clear and persuasive. 

Test Your Call-to-action Copy

Consistently test your CTA button copy as they are elements that visitors will definitely read before clicking on them. The copy on any CTA button has to most importantly be very clear. Site visitors have to understand what it is you want them to do before they can determine how completing this CTA will benefit them. When creating a hypothesis to split test the copy for CTAs, always keep the users and their needs in mind. Try to keep the CTA copy consistent with your business persona and products or services. When testing the copy for CTA buttons, you can test:

  • What verbs to use: Download our guide book vs. Get our guide-book
  • Using pronounsStart your free trial vs. Start my free trial.
  • Length of the CTA copy: Buy now vs. Complete my purchase
  • Style: Start My Free Trial vs. START MY FREE TRIAL vs. Start my free trial

All of the above mentioned elements, however small they are, can still have a large impact on conversion rates. 

Design vs. Copy Testing

Button copy corresponds with the how you choose to style and design your buttons; however, make sure to run your copy tests independently from design testing. Testing a circular button that says "download" against a square button that says "Get our guide-book" at the same time can produce confusing results. Run as many individual tests as possible and implement the most successful results.

Finding the Best Length for Your Copy

The length of your copy also significantly contributes to conversion rates. The attention span of site visitors has been shrinking over time and is now speculated to be at about 8 seconds per person, which is less than the attention span of a goldfish according to a study released by Microsoft. Thus, it's extremely important that the length of your copy is as long as it needs to be and no more.

If the copy of your text is too long then you can format it with sub-headers, blocked paragraphs, and images to keep visitors engaged. The length of copy on a page can vary depending on what information the page is displaying, the type of visitor, the value that is conveyed in the copy, and how you choose to style and format it.  

Use Sub Headlines to Be More User Friendly

With attention spans as low as they are nowadays, it's important that site visitors see breaks in large pieces of text so they don't become overwhelmed with your content, which could result in a high bounce rate. This is where sub headlines are vital for a few reasons:

  • They break up the page into sections so your content doesn't just look like a huge block of text.
  • Readers that scan or skim for specific information can find it easier when it's in sections.
  • Notifying readers about topic transitions allows them to connect the information together in a sequential way.

Just like with main headlines, the sub headlines need to be clear about what information will be displayed under them. Keep them informative, interesting, and always related to the main header above. You can test style, word usage, and length with sub headlines for a page individually to see which ones perform the best. 

Takeaways

  • Headlines are the first thing that users typically see when entering a website so they should really catch their attention. Run a wide-range of tests to come up with the highest converting headline copy possible.
  • Test your CTA copy as frequently as possible. You can test style, length, word usage, and pronouns. 
  • Test the various lengths of your texts and ways to break it up into easily readable sections with sub headlines, images, and paragraph formatting.
  • Test sub headlines in different places on the page and the copy you use to describe what that section is about

No Tricks, Just Testing

The words you use to appeal to consumers and describe your business are what define you as a company. There are no tricks to writing copy that converts well, you just have to test often and always and implement the most successfully tested results. Minor changes to your copy can mean big changes for your conversion rates.