Creating engaging web stories can be a fun process. By using our platform you can look to incorporate different elements, and see which ones function best with your brand. But, while the process of creation can be fun, it shouldn't go without notice that designing engaging web stories is by no means easy. And the only way to do so methodically is through A/B testing. So, let's take a couple of minutes to explore A/B testing with web stories.
What is A/B testing
A/B testing is a common practice used in web design and content creation. What it means is that you create two versions of something (be it a website, or a piece of content) and then show both versions to your audience. You then track the performance of both versions in order to see which one does better.
Why is A/B testing important
The goal of A/B testing is to eliminate the need for guessing. While creating your content you will likely wonder which version would perform better. And while you might have an idea, you can never be sure until you perform an A/B test. The A version is the original version that you use as a control metric. The B version is the one you wish to try out, and compare. Ideally, there should only be a few differences between the two. In that case, you can easily keep track of which design choices help your web stories function better.
It is possible to make design choices without A/B testing. In fact, most small companies avoid A/B testing and rely solely on their intuition or advice from their designers. While these can give you results from time to time, they can never give you a definitive answer to what design choices will bring results in your industry. Even with prior experience, there is simply no way to take all the important factors into consideration. And the trouble lies with the fact that, in visual marketing practise, seemingly minute details in design can have a big impact. A/B testing allows you to examine these details and get a tried and true idea of what design choices will function for your brand.
How to approach A/B testing with Web Stories
The process of A/B testing with web stories may seem quite simple at first. You only make two different versions of what you want to test and see which one performs better. And this may look simple, but in practice, it can often be difficult. What makes two versions distinct enough so that they are worth testing? Which elements should you change in order to expect different results? Where to start testing, and what should leave out of it? These are all important questions that you ought to ask yourself.
If you have little prior experience, we would advise you to consult with an experienced designer. With their input, you can lay the groundwork for your web stories and test out different elements. You can also check out your competitors, and see if they are doing things differently. Finally, you can rely on premade themes, and only make alterations you are comfortable with. As time goes on you will get an idea of which elements are worth experimenting with. But, until then, you really ought to focus on gathering experience. Fortunately, even without this in-depth knowledge, you can still try A/B testing of your web stories and see if you get any interesting results.
Outline the goal of your web story
Every commercial web story should have some purpose behind it. It can serve to gain customers' attention and notify them about a company update. Or, it can promote a new product, and help convince the customer to make a purchase. A web story can also lead your customer to your website and help convert uninterested viewers into paying customers. Or it can be self-contained, and merely serve as a quick reminder of your brand. These are just some of many examples of what web stories can be like. And if you wish to test a certain story, you need to outline what it's main goal is. Of course, a single web story can have multiple goals. It is, after all, quite natural to both raise brand awareness, and promote a product. But, it is important to outline the primary goal and keep it in mind.
Set up the metrics and analytics for A/B testing with Web Stories
The point of A/B testing is to get hard evidence of how well your web story elements perform. Therefore, it is important to have a system that will keep track of your web stores. Things like:
- The number of views.
- Average time spent on the story.
- The number of conversions.
- Whether customers keep scrolling through other stories.
- Whether the customer repeats the story.
All these are clear metrics that will give you an idea of which version performs better. And before you test out different stories, you need to both understand the implications of these metrics, and how to set up a system that will monitor them.
Decide which elements you will incorporate
We've written before about the vast pool of elements you can use in your web stories. From written content to audio, video, animations, interactive content, etc. Seeing that you shouldn't incorporate all these elements within a single story, you need to outline which elements you will utilize. You need to understand how viewers perceive different elements, and which ones will better serve the goal of the story. Once you outline the basic elements, you can create the A version of your story. This should be the version that you feel is standard for your content and that adequately represents your brand. In all aspects, this should be a "safe" version where no novel design choices were made. Next comes the B version.
Focus on individual variables
In order to effectively compare the A and B versions you cannot have large differences between them. Ideally, you would only change a single element (or variable) and use that as the B version. For instance a difference in font. Or a different color. Perhaps a different length of your web story. Even something simple as the placement of interactive elements, or the colors we choose can have a big impact on how we perceive stories. And if you want to be aware of that impact, you need to isolate it. This is why it is important to understand how people perceive web stories, and how different elements can alter their perception.
Remember that the goal of A/B testing isn't exactly to find out which story performs better. It is to learn which elements impact the effect that seemingly similar stories have. The more you can isolate these elements and outline how they interact with one another, the better web stories you will make.
Understanding how web story elements work
Unfortunately, it is impossible to explain the effects of all the possible elements of web stories within a single article. Once you consider all the different elements that are available and their potential interaction you will soon understand why this is so. This is why we invite you to start experimenting and learning. The sooner you get into making web stories, the sooner you will see what design style works for your brand. Once you get a distinct sense of style, you can look to implement some A/B testing to fine-tune the individual details. As we mentioned, these details can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your story. This is why it is well worth your time to tackle A/B testing with web stories.