A/B testing tools: the top 8 in the game

list of top a/b testing tools

A/B testing tools are all about letting the numbers speak for themselves. But which A/B testing tool is right for you?

UX designers are all familiar with the idea of user or usability testing. But once that website is up and running, does that mean it’s the end of testing for us? The answer is a definite no.

Just because something is online doesn’t mean the work is done. Much to the contrary, now is the time to carry out experiments to see what can be improved. The name of this game is conversion and the things designers can do to increase it. And that is when A/B testing tools become handy.

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Conversion can mean just about anything – from carrying out payment to a purchase to simply clicking a subscribe button. How does a change in this element impact the number of users who went on to click the button? Does this color make users more or less likely to click it? A/B testing will help you find out: all you need is the right tool.

Why you should care about A/B testing

UX design is many things. It touches on interface design, navigation, interaction, visual design and many more. And so, it can be really challenging to deliver a final design that ticks all these boxes. How do we know what makes a successful design? Which way is up? Was that last change an actual improvement – or was it just a change?

why it matters: a/b testing tools

The thing about UX design is that it can be subjective. In truth, what makes a good UX design is entirely up to the user. If the user dislikes or doesn’t fully understand something, it immediately becomes an issue for the designer – even if that particular area of the prototype is great by designers’ standards.

The people creating and building products need the ability to put themselves in the shoes of users. And while most of us have empathy on some level, truly seeing things from the point of view of another individual is incredibly difficult. It’s quite often that design teams are surprised when they test a particular component or screen to find that users don’t approve of it.

Each user has different standards, preferences and tastes. Finding a way to please most users can be quite like sailing across the pacific with no GPS, not even the stars to help guide you.

That is the main reason why design teams will invest lots of time and effort into usability testing, user testing… and A/B testing tools. These are all the tools at the design team’s disposal to make sure they understand what the user wants and needs. You need to validate everything, to know anything.

A/B testing: how it works and why it’s special

A/B testing is all about comparison. While other forms of testing focus on certain aspects of the design, A/B testing is quite specific: two different versions of the same design, compared.

The advantages of running an A/B test are usually quite clear. The test points out areas for improvement and possible mistakes made in the design. It shows the right direction, with the help of users. Its main goal is to push conversion of the website until it reaches optimal levels.

Lots of different metrics contribute to good conversion. Generally, these are more familiar to marketers than to designers, but in the end it all comes down to the same point: to improve on the design until conversion is where we want it to be.

But how do we go about that? If your website is already online, you want to get as much data as you can – to find out where you are, before you choose a destination.

Once you get a clear picture of the website’s performance, you can start creating hypotheses as to what does well and what could do better. It’s important you have these hypotheses, as they will give direction to your research and testing. You’ll know which areas to focus on, what you want to improve, and what you hope to achieve with the optimization.

Remember: Good A/B testing tools help you harness information regarding how users behave, laying all the data down at your feet. The interpretation of that data, however, is up to you.

Once you have your initial data and your hypothesis, you can select what variable you’ll put to the test. It’s important you have only one variable, which means there can only be one discrepancy between the two versions.

a/b testing tools for conversion optimization

This is for the simple reason that if you make many changes, it will be impossible to know which one is responsible for the changes in user behavior. You want to have total control over the variable, so you have total trust in the data that arises from the test.

All this planning will result in two different versions of the same product. A/B testing tools show you the data on how users reacted and interacted with both of these versions – which you compare, and draw conclusions from.

Top 8 A/B testing tools to rock your website conversion

A/B testing is enjoying more and more popularity over time, due to how effective it can be in pointing out what works with your audience. With its growing popularity comes a growing number of A/B testing tools out there that enjoy all sorts of features – but which one is the one for you?

How we know all this: For this post, we took a close look at reviews from users from each respective tool on G2. For the full list of comments and reviews, do check out their platform.

Check out these amazing A/B testing tools and start making plans for the optimization of your website.

01. VWO

VWO may be the biggest A/B testing tool in the market. It’s grown to be massively popular, particularly among large companies such as Target and eBay – and it’s easy to see why. Mostly aimed at professionals on the business side of digital products, it’s interface is simplicity itself.

popular among a/b testing tools: VWO

VWO enjoys an intuitive interface, with a simple drag and drop editor that should represent a quick learning curve for designers. Furthermore,  the platform makes it easy to draw conclusions with the way it presents data, with its SmartStats feature. 

The VWO blog is full of interesting and educational content on optimization. It touches on design theories but also on the business side of optimizing a website, offering something educational for everybody.

Additionally, you can couple their extensive A/B testing tool with other subscription packages that are very powerful in nature. With the VWO Insights package, for example, designers can actually see recordings of users – their exact behavior compared between the two designs.

02. Optimizely

Another giant in the A/B testing tools field. Together with VWO, Optimizely is a favorite among users from all sorts of backgrounds. Their tool is meant to eliminate guessing altogether from web products, and they offer users all they need to do just that.

a/b testing tool: optimizely

The platform is made specifically for marketing and product management teams, giving users all they could possibly need to run tests and discover which way is up, at every step. Optimizely also offers a great alternative for large companies, as their business plan helps users establish authority and roles for other team members.

The potential: By using Optimizely wisely, folks at HP pushed the performance of a page on their website up by 20%! That meant an additional $260K per quarter. You can check the case study for more information.

03. A/B Tasty

Both our previous A/B testing tools were very well-suited for large enterprises, but A/B Tasty seems to be a good fit for medium and small companies.

According to reviews by users, the platform itself works well – but the real star is their customer service. Putting the client first is the only way things are done over there, and users are thrilled. Sometimes, A/B testing tools need a human touch.

a/b testing tools: a/b tasty

Of course, no A/B testing tool is perfect. Users seem to believe their cookies setting or the global code to set tracking to be unnecessarily difficult, which does represent a few areas for improvement. But even with those recurrent complaints, users would still recommend it to a friend – which says a lot about how much users rely on the platform.

04. Convert

Among A/B testing tools, being simple and easy to use is a major selling point. But about those who have a lot of technical knowledge, and need to be able to get deeply technical in their tests? Well, it seems those users flock over to Convert.

Users can, for example, filter their tests according to JavaScript events just like they would filter according to geographical location. Convert allows you to recreate any page in their platform, excluding the need for you to inject code into the actual product.

a/b testing tool: convert

Users seem eager to recommend Convert due to its technical capabilities, customer support and overall features. Some users, however, do warn that the interface isn’t always clean or completely intuitive – but most tools that offer a more technical side struggle with those issues. All in all, users were happy with the tool!

05. Omniconvert

Among A/B testing tools, Omniconvert seems to offer a good balance between what users need and what they want. The platform itself has very good reviews from users in terms of how complete it is, and the different ways users can apply it to their work.

Like many A/B testing tools on this list, it offers additional features that can be interesting for designers. For example, users can go from email opt-ins, to personalization and surveys in one platform. Users are also quick to praise their customer service for their quick responses and overall ability to solve problems as they come.

a/b testing tool: omniconvert

Something worth mentioning is that the platform works with pre-established templates that users can edit to represent the ideas they want to test. However, some users have claimed that makes their life a little more difficult, as some changes simply cannot be made within the interface.

If coding is not a skill you can implement on these tests, this might not be the tool for you.

06. Freshmarketer

Freshmarketer is among the A/B testing tools that embodies a lot of different marketing-oriented activities – but those can come in handy for designers too. Users swear by the platform’s sales funnel feature, as well as its dashboard design – making it easy to manage all current activities being carried out. For A/B testing tools, the dashboard is crucial!

Another huge positive is the many different integration and extension options available for users, ranging from Google Analytics, Google Chrome to WordPress and Kiss Metrics. We particularly enjoy their dynamic heat maps!

a/b testing tool: freshmarketer

Among the negatives from users, we find comments on a rather steep learning curve if users hope to make the most out of it. Small issues, such as heat maps not being stored within the tool once any changes are made, are also to be found.

Separately, the price range can be considered rather salty for business’ wallets, particularly if you’re with a small company. Of course, considerations on pricing can vary greatly depending on your point of view. For example, you could say that Freshmarketer is expensive for a heat map tool – but is it really expensive for a comprehensive A/B testing tool?

07. Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg might be a familiar name to many readers out there. The tool is popular due to their heat maps and recordings of user behavior on websites – but their testing abilities got them on this list of A/B testing tools.

Crazy Egg offers a simplistic version of A/B testing, which doesn’t get as technical or as deep as some of the tools on this list. That is perfectly fine – sometimes you just don’t need all those features. Sometimes, you need something that gets straight to the point and Crazy Egg does that very well.

a/b testing tool: crazy egg

No to mention that Crazy Egg is integrated with a wide variety of tools… including Justinmind! We love it when combining forces becomes a reality in the UX game. If you’re wondering what integrations we have at your disposal, do check out the full list of Justinmind integrations.

Upside: Their pricing varies a lot, which leaves a certain margin for all sorts of professionals to use the tool, no matter what the budget looks like.

Some users do wish some changes be made, such as the option to subscribe and pay for the service annually, rather than monthly. Another common user observation is that the heat maps experience some issues when it comes to parallax pages – an issue found throughout the heat map tool sector.

08. Instapage

Like many A/B testing tools, Instapage is a landing page builder. Luckily for us, it also offers some great A/B testing and heat maps for those landing pages! It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine building pages with Instapage, and then building them for real using a proper prototyping tool.

Users are quite happy with the level of freedom Instage page gives them when it comes to designing and building the actual pages, as well as the quick ability to create separate tests. Other users are less happy with the interface design, although it remains intuitive throughout.

a/b testing tool: instapage

An interesting comment by a user pointed out an important concern when it comes to A/B testing tools: granting permissions to users. Instapage doesn’t actually have a system of roles and permission for teams in the platform.

Designers who work within larger teams will be painfully aware that having control over who can do what is crucial – different people can make changes that wouldn’t have been approved by the rest of the team. An easy example would be designers making changes that cannot be implemented by developers, or marketers changing things that compromise the work of designers.

The wrap up: A/B testing tools are a must

A/B testing tools have a lot to offer designers. They go straight into the heart of digital business: conversion. Whereas for marketers, conversion is a prime concern from the start, designers are all about offering the best experience – which is why A/B testing tools are so valuable.

They help designers understand a business side of UX that may not necessarily come naturally to them. A/B testing tools should make the testing itself easy on you, while offering the data in the best way possible.

The information you get from these tools needs to be reported in a way that you can digest, allowing you and the team to draw the right conclusions from the tests. A/B testing tools need to have the documentation and representation of statistics down, otherwise their whole purpose may be compromised.

Rebeca Costa
In-house writer, usability enthusiast and patron of all sleep-deprived designers