What is AB Testing

Are your customers more likely to click on a red or green, or maybe blue, button? I wish there was a straight answer but the truth is, it depends on the person. This is why we use AB testing. Understanding who your target audience is can help. This is something you need to collect data on, and not something you should ‘just know’. Let me explain why.

I was hired as a marketing consultant for a high-end, hair salon and spa. When speaking with the owner, she told me her main clientele was women ages 35 and up. We developed a new client survey. In here we asked basic demographic questions along with what their hair type is and other relevant questions. After two months of data, we could see that only 30% of her clients were who she thought they were and she had been targeting the wrong market. She had been doing print ads so the baby boomers would see them when she should have been running ads on Facebook.com and other online applications because 53% of her customers were women ages 20-35 and 20% were men in the same age group.

You can get basic demographics from google analytics. All you have to do is create a Google account and link your website to it. Once you are in, there is a whole section that helps you understand who your audience is, but how does this tell you what color your button should be? It doesn’t, but it gives you somewhere to start.

Setting up AB Testing

The following steps will help you set up your first AB test and you can start testing the little things, like the color of the button, on your website.


  1. Create a goal in google analytics — We are trying to decide what color is best for the “BUY NOW” button.
    1. On the bottom left corner in google analytics click on admin.
    2. If you have multiple websites make sure you have the correct one selected and choose goals from the far right column.
    3. Click, “New Goal”
    4. Select the template that best helps explain what you are trying to accomplish. We will choose revenue because we want to know if more people order when they click a green button over a red one.
    5. Update the goals name and select the type that best fits your needs. We will choose “destination” for our button test.
    6. Add your “thank you” page URL to the destination box and save your new goal!
  2. Click Behavior on the left-hand side.
  3. From here, you will choose experiments.
  4. Choose “Create an Experiment.”
  5. Name your experiment something you will remember.
  6. Where it asks for the metric, choose the goal you just created.
  7. Click “Next Step”
  8. Here is where you will put the two possible pages. You will need one page with a red button and one with a green. Name these pages accordingly so you don’t get confused later.
  9. Click “Next Step”
  10. You want to manually insert the code. What you will do is copy the code it shows you and added to your header on both those possible pages.
  11. Click “Next Step”
  12. Make sure everything is correct and start your experiment.
  13. Once Google has come to a conclusion to which color is better it will let you know a winner was determined.
  14. Finally, make the winner your permanent page.


You Can do Even More

As you probably noticed, there are several different types of experiments and things you can learn from google analytics. Start playing around in there and see what cool stuff you can learn to make your website better. Read here about becoming a Google partner.