Split-testing, or A/B testing, is one of the most important concepts in designing new features on a website.  Anyone can do it for a very small amount of money (if you know how), but I wanted to share a real-time example of split-testing in action.

Facebook is currently testing a new user-interface, which means they may be gearing up for a major overhaul.  My fiance (Photo A) logs into Facebook and sees the new layout, while I (Photo B) login to Facebook and see the old version.  Facebook’s analysts will measure the clicks of group A and compare them to group B, and if the analysts determine that group A is more productive or optimal against its metrics, they’ll implement the changes for all of Facebook’s users.  Click the images above to see the different layouts that Facebook is testing.

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  Email him at will@alumnifidelity.com