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Everything You Need to Know About Split Testing For Your Marketing

January 16, 2021
Education
Marketing Automation

As a marketer, you are constantly developing creative ideas to gain new customers and increase sales. How do you know which marketing campaigns will be more successful and better received by your audience? 

A/B testing is how. By using data-driven A/B testing, marketers can compare two variations of an advertisement on the internet or social media apps to determine which generates more traffic and conversions. 

This article will explain what is A/B testing as it pertains to marketing and discuss ways to implement A/B testing into your own marketing campaigns. 

What is A/B Testing in Marketing?

A/B testing, also known as split testing, helps marketers compare two different versions of the same thing in order to figure out which one yields better results. 

The purpose of A/B testing is to better understand customer behavior and preference toward a product or service. A/B testing uncovers which parts of a campaign work and don’t work. This provides an opportunity to fine-tune marketing campaigns to boost revenue and subscribers.

When carrying out an A/B test, the size of each sample group is very important. Having uneven sample groups can skew the results. If there are ten people in one group and four people in the other group, the insight you gain from the test’s data is probably inaccurate. When deciding on group sizes, your confidence in the resulting data increases as the sample size increases.  

For example, if you’re a candy company deciding on your next product launch, you can use A/B testing to receive feedback on potential flavors. You would split your test subjects into two even groups, giving one group banana flavored candy and the other pineapple flavored candy. 

Some of the data you would analyze from each group would be how much time it took to accept each flavor, how fast each flavor was devoured, and which flavor warranted requests for second helpings. The resulting data would help you decide which flavor to launch next. 

Analyzing Your Marketing with A/B Testing

Use A/B testing to assess your marketing strategy by comparing two versions of your campaign. A few examples of elements to test include the call-to-action (CTA) button color, social media posts, website fonts, product descriptions, or image placement on a landing page.

To determine your sample size, you can use an A/B sample size calculator.

Having large, even sample sizes during testing will help you gain a more accurate representation of the audience’s preferences. The data from your A/B tests should allow you to make positive changes to your marketing strategy. 

Let’s discuss a few tactics on how to maximize your marketing success with A/B testing.

Scheduling Your A/B Tests

Scheduling is a crucial aspect of A/B testing. 

In order to obtain an accurate representation of the data, you need to carry out testing in comparable time frames. Consider seasonal peaks and plateaus when scheduling your testing. 

Results are more reliable when A/B tests are run during similar time periods. If you decide to test your webpage traffic on Black Friday and a non-holiday Monday in February, the resulting data doesn’t accurately represent your traffic. 

Google Analytics is a tool that provides snapshots of traffic patterns over several months. The results from the traffic patterns help you choose an ideal period to run an A/B test. If you already know your peak and slow seasons, make sure your tests are carried out during comparable time periods.

Testing Landing Pages 

Your landing page should grab your audience’s attention and convert them on what you’re presenting them with. Consider using a heat map to indicate what parts of your landing page generate the most clicks. The results of your heat map will help you decide which parts of your website would be most beneficial to test. 

If you don’t have a heat map, consider testing the below elements of your website. These A/B testing experiments are designed to help you understand more clearly what your audience responds to.

  • Placement of Call-To-Action (CTA) Buttons: A CTA lets your users know the action you want them to take. The text, font, color, size, shape, and position of your CTA buttons should entice your readers to act on your offer. When carrying out CTA tests, don't change multiple aspects of the button simultaneously because this can make your results hard to interpret. 

If you changed both the color and size between sample groups, how will you know if it was the color or size that enticed them to click? If you are testing the CTA color, don't change any other aspects at the same time. A simple button color test carried out on Hubspot showed that a red CTA button did better than a green one by 21% based on 2,000-page visits.

  • Text, Images, Infographics, and Videos: When creating advertisements, how do you know which one your audience finds more informative? With A/B testing, you can compare videos against pictures, or short infographics against more extended versions.

 You can also compare the best placement for your ads within a webpage. For example, when you click on the professional writing review website The Writing Judge, the first text you see is "Top 3 Writing Services List". These words will naturally draw attention toward that element and provide needed information.

Tool tip; check out Unbounce

Testing Content Depth

Comparing content depth through A/B testing is one way to determine whether your customers prefer in-depth information, or simply a basic overview. 

Testing your content depth is fairly straightforward. Marketers can create two pieces of content, one with a short basic overview of the product and the other significantly longer with more detailed information. The resulting data can help determine which type of description performs better.

A/B testing helps you find the right balance between longform and short form content. Having the right content length impacts your SEO, conversion rate, and the length of time users spend on your website. Creating a blog is another way to add longform content on your website and grab your audience’s attention. Statistics show that brands and retailers who also have blogs receive 55% more visitors to their website. 

Blogs create an avenue to provide longer content with more information, so you don't have to overload your other pages with text. However running a business, marketing, and maintaining a blog can get overwhelming at times. Luckily there are online writing review services such as Writing Judge to help you write fantastic content.

Testing Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great digital marketing strategy for gaining more information from your customers. However, recent research says the average open rates across more than a dozen industries ranges from 25% to 47%. 

Even for above-average businesses, only about half of their subscribers are likely to open their emails. 

How do you create the perfect email that increases the open rate? 

A/B testing can be used for email marketing by sending out email variation A to half of your subscribers and variation B to the other half. Remember to change only one element for each test and to have an equal number of people in each test group. 

Recommended Reading: How to A/B Test Your Email Campaigns

Some of the elements to consider when sending the two versions include:

  • The subject line: upper or lower case letters, bold fonts, ask questions or make statements, to use emoticons or not, etc.
  • Use different form names in the sender's details
  • The content of the email itself, like CTAs, email length, personalization, images, etc.

Conclusion

A/B testing, or split testing, can be applied to your marketing strategy by comparing two versions of a campaign to determine which one performs better. 

Maximize your marketing success by A/B testing your landing pages, content depth, and email marketing. Schedule your tests so they are during comparable time frames and make sure your sample group sizes are equal and preferably large. 

The data from A/B testing helps marketers understand audience behavior on a website and consumer preference toward a product or service. When done properly, A/B testing can help your marketing strategy maximize ROI, reduce costs, generate leads, and increase conversion rates. 

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