Simple A/B Testing to Optimize Social Sharing and Referrals

by Friendbuy

May 15, 2012

Birchbox is a $10/month subscription service that delivers hand-picked beauty and lifestyle samples to consumers. If subscribers like an item in their monthly box of goodies, they can come back and buy the full-size version.

As a hot, fast-moving startup, Birchbox wants to generate customer referrals and drive subscriber growth.

See how Nuuly used Friendbuy to drive thousands of new subscriptions within  weeks of launch. >>

A/B Test Execution

Placement: Purchase confirmation page
Test: Single variable A/B testing of preview headline

The Preview Content, or story, is the content that gets published into the newsfeed when a customer shares. The content can have a dramatic impact on story engagement and referral traffic to your site. For example, changing the image or copy that gets published into the newsfeed can result in more clicks to your site.

For their A/B test, Birchbox served two versions of a Friendbuy-powered sharing widget. (Every element of a widget can easily be modified on the fly; simply login to your account and set up a test - no developer or designer resources are required.)

In this example, a simple A/B test of the preview headline yielded stunning results. Here is the baseline version, “Widget A”:


Widget A


During the holiday season, Birchbox asked a simple question: “If we changed the preview headline to ‘The Perfect Holiday Gift,’ would that result in more clicks to our site?”

Incorporating this seasonal flavor led to compelling results: referral traffic from social newsfeeds more than doubled.  And another key metric, referral conversions, also doubled. Here is the A/B test winner, “Widget B”:


Widget B


‘Tis the season of sharing! There is definitely retailer joy in making a small, informed change that yields this kind of improvement.

See how Nuuly's referral program generated thousands of organic subscriptions within weeks.