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What is A and B in A/B Testing?

Donald Ng
March 10, 2024
5-star rating
Reviews on Capterra

If you’re new to marketing, you might have heard the term “A/B testing” thrown around quite a bit. But what exactly does it mean? Spoiler alert, it doesn’t stand for Alpha and Beta.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the basics of A/B testing and explain what the “A” and “B” stand for.

The Basics of A/B Testing

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage, email, or other marketing asset to determine which one performs better. The goal is to identify which version leads to more conversions, clicks, or other desired actions.

What Is A/B Testing and Why Use It? | Constant Contact

In an A/B test, you create two versions of the asset you want to test. Version A is the control, or the original version, while Version B is the variation or the modified version. You then split your audience into two groups and show each group one of the two versions. After a set period, you analyze the results to see which version performed better.

The “A” in A/B Testing

The “A” in A/B testing refers to the control version of the asset you’re testing. This is the original version that you’re using as a benchmark to compare against the modified version.

For example, let’s say you’re testing a landing page for a new product. The control version (Version A) might have a headline that reads “Introducing Our New Product” and a call-to-action button that says “Learn More.” This is the version that you’ve been using up until now, and you want to see if you can improve its performance.

The “B” in A/B Testing

The “B” in A/B testing refers to the variation or the modified version of the asset you’re testing. This is the version that you’ve changed in some way to see if it performs better than the control.

Continuing with our landing page example, the variation (Version B) might have a different headline, such as “Revolutionize Your Workflow with Our New Product,” and a call-to-action button that says “Get Started Now.” By changing these elements, you’re testing to see if they have an impact on how many people click through to learn more about the product.

Why A/B Testing Matters

A/B testing is a powerful tool for marketers because it allows you to make data-driven decisions about your marketing efforts. Rather than guessing what might work best, you can test different versions of your assets and see which ones perform better.

This is especially important in today’s digital landscape, where consumers are bombarded with marketing messages from all sides. By continually testing and optimizing your marketing assets, you can ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward and engaging your audience in the most effective way possible.

Getting Started with A/B Testing

If you’re interested in trying out A/B testing for your marketing efforts, there are a few key steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Identify the asset you want to test, such as a webpage, email, or ad.
  2. Create two versions of the asset: the control (Version A) and the variation (Version B).
  3. Split your audience into two groups and show each group one of the two versions.
  4. Analyze the results to see which version performed better.
  5. Use the insights from your test to inform future marketing decisions.

Many tools are available to help you run A/B tests, such as, VWO, These tools make it easy to create and manage your tests, as well as analyze the results.

Best Practices for A/B Testing

To get the most out of your A/B tests, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Test one variable at a time: If you change too many things at once, it will be difficult to determine which change impacted the results. Focus on testing one element at a time, such as the headline, call-to-action, or image.
  • Run tests for a sufficient amount of time: To get statistically significant results, you’ll need to run your test for a long enough period to collect enough data. The exact length of time will depend on your traffic and conversion rates, but a good rule of thumb is to run tests for at least a week.
  • Set clear goals: Before you start your test, define what success looks like. Are you trying to increase clicks, conversions, or something else? Having a clear goal will help you determine which version of your asset is the winner.
  • Don’t make assumptions: It’s easy to assume that certain changes will improve performance, but the whole point of A/B testing is to let the data speak for itself. Be open to surprising results and use them to inform your future marketing decisions.


A/B testing is a valuable tool for any marketer looking to optimize their efforts and improve their results. By comparing two versions of an asset and analyzing the results, you can make data-driven decisions that help you engage your audience more effectively.

Remember, the “A” in A/B testing refers to the control version, while the “B” refers to the variation. By testing different versions of your assets and continually refining your approach, you can take your marketing to the next level and achieve better results over time.

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