We had a lot of comments and reader notes regarding our article on split tests so we thought we’d follow it up right now. One of the main comments or points brought up by our readers stemmed from useless split tests or AB tests, or in some case overusing it.

Boy, marketers sure know how to gripe.

But, they brought up a good point. We think split tests rule, but realistically there are certain times where it isn’t necessary or we do it badly just for the sake of doing it.

So, here’s a list of 5 ways you can get a split test wrong.

Following others

If you search “Split testing case study”, you will find thousands of blog posts claiming a particular banner colour produces the most conversions and that there’s an ideal number of fields for your form. It’s only natural you’d try to implement these changes on your landing page, because, if it worked for them, it could probably work for you.

However, their business, landing page, and audience are not the same as yours. So you stop it right now, you hear.

Instead, decide on your own things to test using your own data. Heat mapping tools, analytics software, and customer interviews are all great for identifying where your web page is falling short.

No one follows best practices

Best practices are called ‘best’ for a reason.

To explain this better, let’s look at a couple of examples:

  • It’d be a waste of time to test versions of your landing page with and without navigation because we already know that navigation kills conversion rate by giving prospects numerous exits off your page
  • Also, you wouldn’t test a red call-to-action button on a page with a red background because it wouldn’t draw the visitors attention and score badly on conversions

They follow too many best practices

Best practices can also be the downfall of many a marketer or product person if they don’t fully grasp the context in which the practice was developed.

The best way to overcome this is to plan thoroughly and build a customised testing process that works best for you.

They test the wrong things

Unless you’re working with resources similar to the Google’s and Apple’s of the world, unnecessary tests are a waste of your company’s time and money. Instead, you should be focusing on big changes that have the potential to make a big impact on your conversion rate — which, brings us to the next big mistake.

Assuming split tests mean success

Split testing is actually only one part of your conversion equation, and sometimes, it’s not the optimization method that will bring the biggest lift. If your campaign is bad, then increasing it by 10% won’t mean success, it just makes it slightly less bad.

Sometimes, changing your landing page isn’t what’s going to bring you the biggest boost in conversions. It can be traffic boosts and advertising that really works.


There you have it, a list of mistakes most startups make with split testing. If you have any questions or would like to make a suggestion, drop us a message here.