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Convert Every Click: Make More Money Online with Holistic Conversion Rate Optimization by Benji Rabhan

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Chapter Four

Split-Testing Strategies

Do you remember when blind taste tests were the popular format for TV commercials? Probably the most famous was the Pepsi Challenge, but there were blind tests for Mexican beers, ketchups, and even chocolate chip cookie dough. You also sometimes see blind smell tests for perfumes and blind touch tests for fabric softeners. A more recent example of a blind test is the Bing It On test, where Bing faces off against Google.

My dad used this same technique when I was a kid to convince me that yellow American cheese tastes the same as white American cheese. I was a relatively picky eater and didn’t like yellow cheese at all. I’m a fairly visual person, so for me the way a food looks affects how it tastes. My dad got really frustrated when I wouldn’t eat the yellow cheese, so he made me two sandwiches and had me try them with a blindfold on. I really couldn’t tell the difference. I was vindicated later, though, when he tried to trick me by putting fat-free cream cheese into the regular cream cheese container. I could tell the difference right away!

The concept of split testing in marketing may have originated with blind tests, but modern technology on the Internet has made the idea of split testing much simpler, more achievable, and much more valuable for businesses. A split test today is a little different from a straight blind test, but they both originated from the scientific method. In the cheese example, I knew I was being tested. The user context ...

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