Testing should be at the core of your digital marketing activities. Not only does it help you understand the impact you’re making, but it gives you a much fuller understanding about your customers’ behavior. It not only tells you where you’ve been, but where you should (and shouldn’t) go with your campaigns.
A/B testing is the most ideal testing method which should be done. Most of you probably understand what A/B testing entails, but for those who don’t an A/B test is a process through which you provide different versions of an advert on your digital platforms to your target audience, and then measure their reactions to those versions in order to understand which is more effective at driving the behavior you needed.
A/B tests should be carried out regularly across campaigns as these insights can provide incremental lifts that build on each other to optimize your results
What To A/B Test
Almost anything can be A/B tested, but try to focus on the larger aspects to prevent getting caught up on minute details that won’t have a large impact. Try testing around the following aspects:
For those that tend to wonder, “When is the best time to target my consumers?” Using research previously used for other media channels such as TV, newspapers etc. can be a bad idea especially as behavior differs on all channels. Channel behavior tends to vary, so you should test and see how your consumers respond digitally.
For testing time of day, I recommend a full 50-50 split test. Allocate up to 50% of your budget for all hours of the day and 50% once data has been captured for a period (at least 2 weeks) and target your consumers during their most active period. For example, one current theory for retail clients is that consumers are making more purchases in the evening, when they are engaged with their tablets or mobile devices while watching TV.
Creative tests involve more work, because they require the creative team to design more than one version. But, the results of a creative A/B can be very dramatic and impactful.
For example, you can test general imagery in one version and specific product images in another version. But, creative testing can also be as simple as including a button versus text or adjusting the font size of the copy.
Text Subject Lines
The simplest and most common item to A/B test is the subject line. If you hadn’t planned to test any of the aspects above in a campaign, at minimum you can set up a text subject line test.
For example, test including the offer in the subject line versus teasing the offer, or a longer subject line versus a shorter subject line. Text is often given the least amount of thought in regard to a creative image or digital adverts, but they play a very key role. Even if you do not change anything else, you can improve your reach simply by focusing on better copywriting and testing for optimization
Determining Results & Acting On Results
Interpreting the results from A/B testing is one of the most important parts. More times than not, a clear winner will emerge and your decision will be easy. Often these results tend to determine what actions need to be taken depending on the objectives but usually Click through rate (CTR) is what we usually use to determine which creative has been more successful.
A/B testing is worthless if you do not implement what you learn. Create a spreadsheet where you record the tests performed, results, and confirmed decisions. I also recommend categorizing your tests to make it easy to search or filter by type. Even if you only make one test per week, at the end of a year, you would have 52 tests. By categorizing, you can easily search later when someone asks “What offers have we tested?” or “How does capitalization affect clickthrough rates?”