With the rise of digital marketing strategies and advanced analytics capabilities, it’s now possible to run split tests on different marketing efforts. A/B testing is a strategy involving multiple variations of the same marketing outreach to see which performs the best.
A/B testing is a great way to identify what your audience reacts to best so you can optimize all your marketing efforts for the greatest results. This article will explore best practices and key considerations for A/B testing, as well as some experiment ideas to get you started.
Isolate your variable.
Just like science class, the key to an effective experiment is isolating one variable. Don’t try changing copy, send time, and imagery all at once, or you’ll have no idea what change led to different results. Instead, be sure to only change one element of your content at a time.
Once you have your two options, send each to half your audience at the same time. Measure the results to see which your audience reacted best to. To get conclusive results, you may need to run experiments multiple times.
Start with high-impact tests.
It makes sense to start by testing elements that have the most significant potential impact. For example, if you’re working on optimizing emails, we recommend starting with optimizing your subject line because it has the largest opportunity for impact and will get the most views.
Go for conclusive results.
To get conclusive results, it’s necessary to have a large audience. Sometimes, this means paid advertising can be the best way to test since organic efforts don’t have a guaranteed reach.
To reach statistical significance, you’ll want to ensure that your tests are viewed at least 1,000 times. If your results for each test come in too close, you’ll need to run another. We recommend testing elements multiple times to ensure the best results.
Neil Patel has a great, easy-to-use calculator for determining the statistical significance of your A/B test results. Be sure to always track your results and consider segmenting by audience for the most accurate insight.
What can I test?
Depending on the size of your audience, you can run tests on emails, landing pages, and ads. Remember if you’re testing a landing page, you’ll want to hit 1,000 views for each variation before considering the results. This can take a long time for certain webpages depending on how much traffic you get.
For each marketing strategy, there are tons of different elements you can consider testing. As discussed above, go for the high-opportunity elements first.
In emails, you can test subject lines, preview texts, send time, send name, email layout, body copy, imagery, and more. We recommend starting by optimizing your subject line. Here are some tests you could try:
Asking a question vs. making a statement
Including emojis vs. not
Using exclamation points vs. not
First name personalization in subject line vs. not
On landing pages, you can test headers, subheaders, images, page, layout, form length, button color, button copy, and more. Headers are the highest opportunity change on landing pages since they’re the first thing viewers will see. Consider testing:
Bold text vs. not bold
All caps vs. title case
An exclamation mark at the end vs. none
Asking a question vs. making a statement
Ads also provide many opportunities for optimization and most social media advertising platforms now allow you to run split tests from within the platform. Consider testing audience, imagery, title text, body copy, button copy, and more. On social media, imagery can have an enormous impact since it’s the first thing viewers see. Different image tests you could run include:
Imagery with people vs. objects
Graphs and data charts vs. statistic highlights (numbers)
Imagery with men vs. women
Imagery with young children vs. adults
Always be testing.
There’s always an opportunity to optimize your content. Be sure to regularly run tests to ensure all your outreach is poised for the best results. Remember, over time, your audience may evolve and react differently. It’s important to regularly test your content to ensure you’re still using the most effective strategies.
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