A/B testing is a simple, risk-free tool that marketers can use to reach the maximum audience possible. A/B testing, in its simplest form, is running an experiment between two or more content elements in order to identify which one performs best. While it is a foundational capability built into most marketing automation systems, too many teams become comfortable with their routine practices and feel like they don't have time to split test. As a summer marketing intern for Netsertive, I’ve become officially obsessed with A/B testing.
Before you dive in to the world of A/B testing, have a clearly defined goal. Start with one variable to test at a time. For example, when sending an email campaign, the primary goal is to get someone to open the email and engage with your content. An obvious place to start with A/B testing is on email subject lines. Sometimes, the subject line that wins will surprise you.
When I did an A/B test for a recent email campaign about an upcoming webinar, I thought Version A (“3 Ways to Capture 2.8 Billion Facebook Users”) would generate the higher open-rate, but in actuality, Version B (“Webinar: Social Advertising”) had the higher open rate. After testing the two subject lines and looking at the open rates, Version B had an open rate that was a full 2% higher compared to Version B. This is one very simple example when A/B testing can generate not only better campaign performance but also a much better way to connect with your target audience.
In a world of content overload, it is essential to optimize every touchpoint. Reaching 2% more of your target audience through A/B testing is a nice win, but when you multiply that additional engagement across all tested emails and landing pages, you can see how split testing can make the difference meeting falling short or exceeding your goals.