How do you know if your headline will speak to your audience?
How do you know if your email subject line will be enticing enough to get someone to open your email?
How do you choose to use a static graphic or a video for your Facebook Ad?
The Answer…A/B Testing!!!
What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing is also known as split testing. It is a marketing tactic that compares at least two versions of the same campaign on a specific channel in order to determine which version your consumers prefer.
Channels you could test on include, but are not limited to:
- Social media
- Landing pages
- Digital advertisements
Examples of individual campaigns on these channels could include:
- The homepage of a website
- The headline of a landing page
- The initial email a new customer receives after signing up for a service
Ultimately, it all comes down to one element you want to test or compare, whether that’s the size of a clickable button, the wording of a call-to-action, the fonts used, or another element concerning design, formatting, or language.
For example, you could set up a test that compares a blue background versus a green background for a company’s homepage. The page has had a blue background for years, but the company has seen steady dwindling conversions and wants to know if users are enticed by a change in branding and therefore may be more receptive to a green background. Running an A/B test would measure which color has a greater effect on click-through rates, page views, and conversions. If the blue background prompts a significantly higher number of conversions, and the green background drives customers away, the company will know which color will help them meet their business goals.
What to test first?
When deciding what to test, a good rule of thumb is to test one by one, feature by feature, bit by bit. By doing so, you are able to pinpoint the exact elements that are hindering the effectiveness of your campaign.
When launching new campaigns, it’s important to determine the overall impact of that campaign on your consumers and their user experience. By trying out different combinations for specific groups of customers, you can eliminate elements that alienate users, drive people away, or have no effect on conversion rates whatsoever.
A/B testing can provide you with enormous amounts of data on your audience’s behavior. The more tests you run, the more robust your understanding will be, and you can begin to make more intuitive choices in your marketing efforts.
So here are some features that are most commonly tested during the A/B testing stage:
– Test different types of imagery—people vs. products and photos vs. illustrations.
– See how stock images stack up against images of your employees or customers in action.
– Test auto-play against click-to-play for videos.
– Test different headline texts. Try headlines that are more straightforward, goofy, or creative.
– Test paragraphs vs. bulleted lists.
– Test shorter vs. longer copy.
– Buy now? Purchase? Check out? Add to cart? Change your CTA text on your buttons to see which word or phrase converts the most visitors
– Vary the location of your CTA button—make some more prominent than others
– Test different colors, shapes, and sizes of images for CTA buttons on your website
– Test the length of sign-up forms.
– Try a special offer, discount, or promotion to increase sign-ups.
– Try asking for different pieces of information in your form fields.
– Test the “from” name. Test the greeting.
– Test the length and copy of your email subject lines.
– Test personalized vs. un-personalized emails by using the recipient’s name, or other known personal data, in the subject or body of the email.
– Find the optimal time to reach your audience by measuring open rates on different days of the week and at different times.
A/B testing is an ongoing process and not a one-time-only event. People, trends, and preferences change over time, and you will have to respond accordingly. The best way to stay at the top of your game is to consistently test elements across all your campaigns so that you don’t neglect any opportunities for bringing in sales and conversions.
The beauty of A/B testing is that the possibilities are endless. You can always learn something new and continue to improve your marketing efforts. It simply takes perseverance and creative thinking.
So if you can take away anything from this post…
Don’t guess. Test!