A/B Testing can increase the efficacy of your digital marketing efforts. Here’s how to get started.
By Kennan Walton
When it comes to creating digital campaigns that convert, best practices, industry knowledge and marketing experience only take you so far. You may think you know what will resonate with your audience, but until A/B testing your campaigns, you can’t know for sure.
What Is A/B Testing in Marketing?
Often referred to as “split testing” because groups of users are split into two groups (the “A” group and the “B” group), A/B tests answer a basic question: Do customers prefer option 1 or option 2? The key to an effective test is to create two different versions of one piece of content, with changes to a single variable. From there, the content should be served to two similar audiences so you can compare performance metrics between the two. Here are five ways to A/B test your assets and take the guesswork out of campaign creation.
1. Display Copy
Whether it’s an email subject line, Facebook ad text or a landing page headline, these short snippets of text often determine whether or not a user takes action. To determine the most effective copy for your unique audience, draft two versions of the same general message — perhaps one is an engaging question, while the other makes an emotional appeal — and deploy them to your A/B user groups.
2. User Experience
Sometimes simple placement swaps can make a major difference. Perhaps your email or landing page template includes a call-to-action button near the bottom of the page, and you’ve always followed the template to a tee. For one set of your A/B test, you may want to consider moving the CTA to the top of the page. Keep in mind, though, that to test CTA placement, you’ll need to keep everything else the same. Avoid the temptation to write new CTA copy, change the button color or try a new font, since multiple changes only muddy the results.
3. Design Elements
If there’s wiggle room within your branding guidelines, consider split testing a single design element. This might mean increasing headline size, swapping out one font for another, or changing an accent color used throughout. The goal here isn’t to completely redesign any assets — your A/B testing efforts shouldn’t require a heavy lift from the creative team.
Another simple swap that can make a major impact, image testing is key to understanding what kind of visuals resonate with your audience. The digital attention span is a short one, so compelling imagery is essential to capturing the eyes of your target users. Consider testing lifestyle photography against illustrations and graphic text or run a test with similar images that feature people of different demographics.
5. Modal Windows
The modal form pop-up has become such a ubiquitous fixture across the internet that it now feels like an essential part of any web design. But do you know if it’s really the most effective way to gather your audience’s email addresses and other information? To find out, try testing your existing email sign-up modal against something slightly different: Perhaps the modal appears at a different point in the user’s scroll, or you replace the pop-up altogether and redirect the user to a new page.