Know your A/B of Digital Marketing?


If you are involved in Digital Marketing then you already know all about A/B testing and its role in producing higher conversion rates for your digital strategies. The goal with using A/B or split testing is to optimise your webpages so interest in them is increased e.g. more prospects clicking on a advert you have placed. This is done by creating changes in copy text, images, colours and layouts for the user interface.

The current webpage acts as the control –‘A’, and the test webpage with one of these elements changed, acts as ‘B’. The test is performed on your target audience and numbers of those responding to the call to action are compared. If the test webpage B proves to be more successful then you are going to be using this one. Simple. Perhaps though you take the testing further and try to segment your audience. Are you going to find different results with men /women and different demographics? One thing to bear in mind is your goal and to stick to it, experimenting from your control null hypothesis. This might be as in the Obama campaign, ‘less copy is better’ which was tested by removing copy from different areas.

So let’s have a brief look at the elements you may like to test.

Copy text

The copy text and call to action buttons need to convey value and momentum to the customer. They need to know what they are getting from clicking on the advert. It is not about brilliant wordsmiths waxing lyrical, it is about getting the value across to the customer…”what’s in it for me?”. Changes to copy can provide the biggest change to ROI so it is worth spending time testing this in particular.


Pronoun A/B testing from Content Verve

A simple one borrowed from Micheal Aagaard demonstrates clearly how a change in one word led to significantly less reactions.


So which button are you going to use… ‘Learn More’, ‘Join Us Now’, ‘Get started’or ‘Sign up Now’? You need to apply the Science and test!


Dinner with Obama

This image from dinner with Barack campaign was hugely successful. Photo by Pete Marovitch

Whether or not to use an image is yet another decision. Certainly if you are a shopper on Amazon or buying clothing online the conversion rates are much higher if the item is displayed. It is worth noting than when selling clothing, conversion is slightly better when the clothing is modelled by a human. Be careful of using bland or stock images especially if you overcrowd your page and push the important sign up area from centre stage. Are you going to try placing text within the image? It could bring your message into focus more quickly but bet the designers won’t like it…


What colour are you going to choose for your call to action button? The all action attention grabbing Red, the positive momentum of Green for go or the oh so colour of the moment orange? Well, as expected the red button wins out every time. Or does it? What’s important is the amount this button stands out from the other visuals in your page. Does it have some nice white space around it? Are you using a red button in a webpage that is has a predominantly red themed background , well done… you have camouflaged it nicely!


One of the areas that the Obama team worked on (naturally !) was removing the barriers to donations on their campaign website. They tweaked at the form through testing and came up with a formula that increased donations. Filling in forms is a frustrating process to all of us especially when parting with our hard earned cash. Endless fields of information, mandatory fields and errors all turn it into a painful process. The team sequenced the form to make it a stepwise process and cleverly asked for the donation amount first so you were already invested. I strongly advise you to read the account from Kyle Rush of the process.

There are many tools out there to help you perform A/B testing such as Optimizely ( used in Obama’s first campaign) , Google Website Optimiser and Clickthroo or indeed its more complex cousin Multivariate testing .

So if you would rather not leave your conversion and click through rates to chance and your design choices be based on data not esoterics then give A/B testing a go!

Whether you are a Dubai based company selling a local service or products worldwide, you will be using a website either to sell directly or use an online brochure. Which means you’ll need a digital copywriter alongside your web design team.

As the world of business turns on the Internet these days, you cannot afford to place your trust in a traditional copywriter with no experience of working in the digital environment. Unless you are a marketing company willing to teach someone on the job, there are too many essential skills required in this medium to leave it to a newbie.

If you are using the services of a large Dubai marketing agency, it’s highly likely that you’ll be working with a skilled digital copywriter – but it is always good to ask anyway, just in case. However, for smaller companies without a large marketing budget, hiring a freelance copywriter to work alongside your web design company is common practice and very economical. But ensure beforehand they do have the relevant digital background.

Writing for the web does need some of the skills used offline, but there are a raft of skills and little tricks of the trade, that only a digital copywriter will be aware of. The most basic of these are:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) & Keywords

SEO is the buzz word for getting your website seen on the first page of sites such as Google and Yahoo. But not many people really understand what it actually means. A good digital copywriter will know. They will understand where keywords are best located on your website. They will write a great title tag, including the keywords for each individual page on your site.

Provide a brilliant user experience

A digital copywriter has to have more than a passing interest in web site design theory and practice. There have been numerous studies done to find out how people interact with websites. The most scary statistic is that you have less than a second to hook someone’s interest. Once that is done, the writer’s job is to keep them hooked and take them on a journey through your site and, ultimately, hit the buy/download button.

Editing & Proofreading

no smoking arabic

Make sure your directives are carried out by someone competent!

Although a traditional copywriter will be a stickler for correct grammar and spelling, there are always a couple more sets of eyes along the line that will pick up on any glaring mistakes. But when a writer is loading up content directly to your website, you need someone who will not leave a trial off blivious errors.


Use Content Management Systems (CMS)

A content management system sounds easy enough, but there are rules and your digital copywriter should be able to whizz around it, uploading new copy to your website, fixing the odd broken link and creating tag cloud words, decide who can and cannot view the page, create META descriptions and keywords, upload images, change the font, the font size, colour the text, and lots of other design elements you don’t want an amateur mucking about with.

Cut and Past?

Oh, and lastly, it doesn’t matter if your business is in Dubai and the digital copywriter is based abroad as everything can be done over the web. But they should definitely know not to cut and paste from Word into your CMS – your website will suffer visually and you’ll need a web designer to sort the mess out – because a copywriter who doesn’t know that, wont know how to fix it!