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Anti A/B testing: signups increased by 60% after removing the blog header

Traffic coming to a specific blog post rarely goes on to read your other blog posts. A visit to homepage or product page from a blog reader is even rarer. No wonder, blogs have unusually high bounce rates. The Visual Website Optimizer blog gets a ton of traffic, but only a trickle of it ultimately converts into signing up for the free 30 day trial.

Our original blog design is shown below; note that we had a huge ‘I love Split Testing’ heading towards the top of the page. Even though that’s the name of the blog and ideally it should be retained, our hypothesis was that it may actually be acting as an attention barrier. Note that it competes for attention with the top navigation bar which has product logo and other links related to Visual Website Optimizer.

Original blog design (with header) –

Enter ‘Anti A/B testing‘ – removing the top header

We decided to do a simple anti A/B test to increase signups from the visitors (like you) who have come to read articles on this blog. Now, wait, you may ask what exactly an anti A/B test is. Well, it’s nothing but a term we coined to describe a test where you test presence of an element v/s absence of it. In a typical A/B test, you create variations of an element (say headline, call-to-action buttons, images, etc.). However, in an anti A/B test you remove the element altogether and then see the impact on conversions. In our anti-A/B test, we removed the blog header completely. See below how the blog now looks like without the header:

Removed header from blog: +60% increase in signups

Test Results

Guess what? The variation which did not have the blog header increased signups by 60%. And not just the signups, just about every conversion goal that we tracked showed a dramatic improvement. Have a look at the results below:

Conversion Goal Increase in conversion rate
Signups for free trial +60%
Engagement rate (inverse of bounce rate) +20%
Visit to signup page +30%
Visit to homepage +13%
Visit to blog main page +78%

As you can see, even visits to the main blog page increased by 78% for the variation that did not have the blog header. The overall positive results obtained from the test re-enforced our belief that even small changes on the pages can have dramatic results. (See other A/B and multivariate test case studies for more examples)

Which anti A/B test will you do?

So, next time you think about optimizing one of your pages, try to think about which element on page you can afford to remove. Perhaps it’s the large product screenshot or video that’s hurting the conversions? Or, perhaps it is the trust / secure logo that’s decreasing the conversions?

Founder and Chairman of Wingify.

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