Split Testing – What’s that All About?

split testing for marketers

In today’s B2B marketing landscape, the ability to optimise a campaign’s performance is

Return on investment is what marketers are ultimately concerned with. Therefore it’s essential to evaluate metrics that provide insight into why, or why not, a campaign is performing well during execution. With digital marketing a lot can be achieved with split testing or A/B testing.

A good example is with email marketing. Here metrics have typically offered insight post campaign through analysis of the click through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, email sharing/forwarding rate etc. However marketers have been unable to answer the question “Why?”. Why was a campaign successful or unsuccessful?

Without fully understanding ‘why’, regardless of what the metrics are depicting, you are in the dark and unable to identify how to make performance improvements.

But there is another way, it’s called split testing and is also known as A/B testing.

What Is A/B Testing?

A/B or split testing is essentially where you test the performance of two different version of your creative in order to identify which version is higher performing. Armed with this knowledge you can optimise your campaign.

In email marketing, when setting up an email blast you can randomly split a small section of your database into two groups: A & B. You then deliver a unique message to each group to determine which is more effective, before sending the higher performing creative to your entire database. Major email marketing platforms such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor offer this service and highlight the following example:

When sending out an email touting your new vanilla ice cream, one group gets a subject line that says, “Creamiest French Vanilla Ice Cream Available Now” and the other reads, “Lowest Prices on Vanilla Ice Cream Around!” You can then test version A against version B to see which has a higher open rate, click through rate, and even conversion rate.”

For a large email marketing campaign, using split testing can have a profound impact on the overall success levels.

What To Test?

What to test depends on your goals. Mailchimp suggests if your goal is to increase the number of email sign-ups, you might test length of the sign-up form, types of fields in the form, display of privacy policy, ‘social proof,’ etc.

The goal of A/B testing in this case is to figure out what prevents visitors from signing up. Is the form’s length intimidating? Are visitors concerned about privacy? Or does the website do a bad job of convincing visitors to sign up? All of these questions can be answered one by one by testing the appropriate website elements.

Even though every A/B test is unique, certain elements are usually tested and you should try the following:

  • Subject line
  • Use of personalisation in the headline
  • The call to action wording, button size, colour and placement
  • Headline or product description
  • Form’s length and types of fields
  • Product pricing and promotional offers
  • Images on landing and product pages
  • Short vs long form content
  • Layout of landing page

By watching the key metrics such as the click through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate etc, you can compare and contrast the different versions of your campaign and choose the highest performing version.

A/B or split testing can offer significant insight into your audiences and how to optimise your campaign. It’s time we all got a bit more scientific with our marketing.

Please get in touch if you would like some help to start testing your campaigns, whether emails, landing pages or other digital marketing assets.