How to Test the Effectiveness of Your Affiliate Links Using A/B Testing (In 3 Steps)
Data is the foundation of successful affiliate marketing. Still, many business owners make opinion-based decisions without evidence to back them up – especially when it comes to affiliate links. Unfortunately, this can lead to fewer conversions and poor overall web performance.
Fortunately, you can avoid this trap by running an A/B test before you make any adjustments to your affiliate site. Also known as a “split test”. This is a low-risk, high-reward strategy to determine what elements of your website need improvement. With this knowledge, you can make effective, data-driven changes.
In this post, we'll discuss what A/B testing is and explain how to set up split testing using Pretty Links' rotation feature. Let's get started!
An Introduction to A/B Testing
A/B testing is a method you can use to compare web elements and determine which are most effective. A typical A/B test involves two versions of a web page where everything is kept identical except for a single variation, such as the color of a button or the anchor text for a link.
This type of test can provide you with insights into audience behavior and lets you see how users interact with your affiliate site. With that data, you can make changes to your existing strategies and eliminate some of the guesswork associated with marketing and web design.
Additionally, conducting A/B testing enables you to experiment with theories for improving your current site. For example, you may notice that an affiliate link at the bottom of your posts is experiencing low engagement. You might wonder whether moving the link higher up on the page will increase its click-through rate (CTR).
Before making the change permanently, you could conduct a split test in which you display two versions of the same post randomly to visitors – one with the link at the bottom and one with the link at the top. This will test your hypothesis and demonstrate whether moving the link will increase conversions.
How to Set Up A/B Testing Using Pretty Links (In 3 Steps)
Pretty Links' rotation feature enables you to easily perform split tests on your affiliate links. The process only takes three steps. Let's walk through them one at a time.
1. Plan Your Split Test
The first step in split testing is to make a plan. To start, you'll want to analyze your website to determine where engagement is low. You can use Google Analytics to see what pages have low conversions or high bounce rates. You can also use a behavior-tracking platform, such as Hotjar, to visualize user behavior:
Hotjar offers helpful services, such as heatmaps, to help show what areas of your affiliate site capture your audience's attention. It can show you where users click and move, and even how far they scroll on a given page. You can also conduct audience surveys and view recordings.
After you analyze your site, you should form a testable hypothesis. For example, you may suspect that your affiliate link is too far down on your page (as suggested by a heatmap showing that it's rarely clicked on). You can use that information to plan out two testing versions of the page: one with the link where it currently is and one with the link in an alternate location.
2. Set Up Your A/B Test Using Pretty Links
The next thing you'll want to do is create the two versions of your page, following the plan you made above. It's vital the two pages are identical except for a single variation.
Once the pages are ready, you can set up your A/B test using Pretty Links' rotation feature. Start by going to Pretty Links > Add New, and add the link to the first version of your page as a Pretty Link.
Then, select Pro and choose Rotation from the Dynamic Redirection menu:
By clicking on Add Link Rotation, you can enter the URL for the second version of your page. You can enter up to 20 alternative URLs, but we'd recommend sticking with just two versions for now.
You can also assign each URL a “weight”, which will control how many users see each version of the page. For best results, you'll typically want to leave both weights at 50%. This way, 50% of visitors will be randomly sent to your Page A and 50% to Page B.
Finally, check the box labeled Split Test. Then select a Goal Link. This will be the link you want to track the performance for. For example, you might enter the affiliate link for a particular product promoted on the page, so you can see how many people click on it when visiting versions A and B.
3. Analyze Your Test Results
Once your A/B test is in place, you can simply sit back and let it run its course. It's best to set aside at least two weeks to run the test. This should allow ample time to collect data.
We also strongly advise against making changes to the test while it's running. Keeping everything consistent will ensure that you get the most accurate results.
When you're ready to view your test results, click on Split Test Report located under the link you customized in the previous step. This will show you a graph of your collected data:
At this point, you can use the information you've gathered to make improvements to your affiliate content. If one page clearly performed better than the other, you'll know which one should be made permanent. On the other hand, if neither page performed as well as you were hoping for, you might run additional tests with new variations, until you find a version that delivers optimal results.
Making opinion-based decisions is rarely an effective strategy if you want your affiliate links to generate consistent revenue. Fortunately, split testing can help you avoid marketing mistakes and make informed choices that offer better results.
To recap, here's how you can test the effectiveness of your affiliate links using A/B testing with Pretty Links:
- Analyze your website to discover where engagement is lacking.
- Set up your split test.
- Assess your results.
Do you have any other questions about A/B testing? Let us know in the comments section below!
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