Real world A/B testing

Widely used since the 18th Century, AB testing is now one of the primary sources of web-site improvement but it’s also nice to see the conventional (ycrta: old) world embracing testing so it was interesting to see a US charity magazine (MotherJones) doing exactly that by testing two different covers to it’s February issue. They had a really in-depth and important article on Haiti a year after the quake hit but realised it was an old and therefore difficult sell versus it’s competing popular article on the commercial growth of cannabis.

The answer, it seems, was to selectively test different covers so regular subscribers got the in-depth Haiti image on the front whilst the regular versions on the newstands got the Weedmart version.

Online readership jumped 60%, probably drawn by the easy-to-read cannabis article. The testing story soon got picked up and that in it’s own right has no doubt generated traffic and sales for the magazine. Which just goes to show that sometimes HOW you do something can generate it’s own buzz.