What is a control page?
A ‘control’ in A/B testing or Split testing refers to a page of a website or version of an app screen that you compare to other variants to identify areas that may be changed to boost conversions or other metrics. You can test minor modifications to the control page or two entirely different pages from the control page.
During the test, a set of individuals will see the original page when your traffic is divided (for example, 50/50 for an A/B test), while a different group will see the variation. The control group is the set of people who view the original page and the location of people who viewed the modified page is the experimental group. Only if you see statistically significant gains in the target metrics should the control page after a test be changed to the tested version.
Why is a control page needed?
A control page is needed to benchmark how better or worse the proposed modification is in comparison to what you already have. You must measure the conversion rates of both your
default version and the experiment/variant to evaluate the new version successfully.
Suppose the conversion rate of control is 10% and the proposed variant has a conversion rate of 11%. You tend to implement the variation as it shows improvement over the default page. This evaluation cannot be made without a control page.
What if there isn’t any control page?
It’s crucial to have information on how users are using the website. Only after the metrics are measured on your control page you can further improve them. In experimentation, a resource and duration estimation study is carried out before a test is started to determine the bandwidth required to allocate it. The conversion rate obtained from the control page is necessary for this research.
Control page in VWO
By modifying headlines, photos, fonts, and other elements on your website with VWO’s Visual Editor, you can quickly put up an experiment. The original page is used as a baseline or control by default. However, you also have the choice to specify any other variation as a baseline in the VWO reports. Take an all-inclusive free trial to understand how this works.