Wouldn’t it be great if you can grow your Etsy sales by knowing exactly which product photos are driving the most clicks and conversions? Is the product image of a cushion in the white background better than the lifestyle shot? Is it the close-up shot of the necklace that is driving more traffic or the shot of it paired with an outfit?
Which brings us to the question- If there was an empirical way to learn exactly which photo is driving more traffic — and therefore conversions — to your shop, would you use it? (Spoiler: there is.)
Which is a better product image?
Take a look at the two photos below. In one of them, you can see how it would look once it is worn. The other one is a product shot on a white background. Which of these two images do you think will generate more traffic and grow your Etsy sales? Take a guess before scrolling on.
The seller, in this case, had chosen the image with feet as the primary image. But when we tested the images, the results showed that the one in white background generated 30-50% more traffic.
Here’s another example two images of the same necklace. Which one do you think would drives more sales? Go on and take a guess again.
Applying the same logic as the test above, one would guess that the image on the white background would be getting more clicks. But our tests show exactly the opposite result: 20% more traffic for the photo on the right.
So why did the white background image perform well in one test and not so much in the other? The reason is, some photos will work better featured in real-world context while others while others won’t. As humans, we like to look for rules and systems to guide our decisions. But we’ve seen again and again that the best rules, too, have exceptions. We’ve learned that the only way to know which image would work best is by taking a few and testing them.
By now we have tested tens of thousands of photos and there one overwhelming takeaway: It is almost impossible to predict which photos will work best without running a test if you want to grow your Etsy sales!
A/B testing is king if you want to grow your Etsy sales
The value of testing and making decisions backed by data is highly valued in business and professional circles. The statistical technique we use, called the “A/B test”, is the same one used by businesses like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix, researchers around the world, and regulatory agencies like the FDA to scientifically figure out what works. Consultants charge tens of thousands of dollars to run and analyze randomized experiments for large businesses. Whatify makes these professional techniques available to everyone. We are experts at running and analyzing A/B tests and we want to share our expertise with you so that you can increase sale conversions and build a more successful business.
How does A/B testing really work?
When it comes to growing your Etsy sales, think of A/B testing as a systematic way of “trying different stuff” in a way that is formulated to produce effective results. A/B tests address specific problems that might otherwise affect an experiment’s findings:
- Confounding Variables: If you try photo A on Wednesdays and photo B on Saturdays, you might find that photo A is better. But is this really because of the photo, or do you just get more traffic on Wednesdays than Saturdays?
- Noise: If you test two photos and photo A gets 13 views while photo B gets 16 views, does that really mean that photo B is better or was this due to chance? If you thought that photo A was better before the test, is 16 vs. 13 enough evidence to overturn your original judgment? Can we be sure that photo B is not performing better due to luck?
We’ll look at confounding variables first. In a perfect world, everything would be exactly the same when you test photo A and photo B.You could try testing both photos on Wednesdays, but you also want the time to be constant. You could try testing both photos on Wednesdays at 8:30 pm, but now you have to test the photos on separate weeks (you can’t simultaneously make both photos primary!), and calendar date might matter too. Trying to hold everything constant seems impossible.
The way that A/B testing solves this problem is by essentially “flipping a coin” to decide which photo will be primary at any given time. This might seem counterintuitive — how does randomizing the test hold things constant? The trick is that if you flip a coin every few hours to decide which image is primary, then on average all the other variables cancel each other out. You won’t end up testing the two photos on exactly the same days or exactly the same times, but you can be certain there are no systematic biases.
With confounding variables out of the way, we arrive at the issue of noise. Once we know there are no systematic biases, we use statistical methods to figure out if one photo might perform better due to random chance and incorporate that into our analysis — AKA we make sure that one photo isn’t just getting lucky. We also combat the chances of luck creating false results by running the test for an extended period of time. If a photo performs well over a long period of time, it is less likely that its results are a product of luck. We combine all of these factors to determine whether all of the data together suggest that photo A or photo B will more successfully convert sales.
The results will grow your Etsy sales.
Why should you believe us? Because we double checked.
We use only half of the available data to generate our recommendation. We then “cross-validate” by using the other half as a “control” to learn how many more views our recommendations acquire in comparison. If the “winners” we pick on the first half just “got lucky,” they won’t out-perform other photos in the second half of the data. On the other hand, if those winners really are better, we should see that they continue to generate more traffic in the “unused” half of the data. If that’s the case, we can be confident the estimated improvements we generate are not due to false positives. This is how we determine how much our recommendations increase sales for your shop.
Want to know more?
If you’re interested in learning more about how A/B testing is used in the business world, check out this article. If you love the mathematical aspect and want to dig into the details, try this textbook.
And you’re just interested in using A/B testing to grow your Etsy sales and increase traffic and conversions to your Etsy shop by 5-25%, then try signing up for Whatify. (It’s free.)
This is a guest post from Whatify.
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