What is A/B Testing in Marketing?


The purpose of A/B testing is to help marketers make better decisions. But what is A/B testing? A/B testing is an experiment performed by marketers where two or more variants of a marketing effort such as a flyer, video, email, banner ad, social media post, e-newsletter, website page, campaign, or mobile advertising, are shown to users, and a statistical analysis is performed to determine which variation performed better for a specific goal. A/B testing, however, does not provide marketers with the answer to their problems as A/B testing requires us to make changes to our marketing efforts and test them against each other to see whether the change made an impressionable difference or not. It does not tell us what elements to change or how to change it; that part is up to the marketer.

When creating an A/B test, it is essential for a marketer to only change one aspect of a marketing effort to determine which version of the campaign performed better. For example, in a recent campaign, I made a set of videos. Both videos contained the same informative content, the same video graphics, the same words and more. However, to conduct an A/B test, I chose to alter the two videos slightly to determine which video would perform better. Video A had a recording of my voice reading the content that the viewers were reading off the screen and video B had background music in place of the voiceover. The statistical analysis I will receive from this test when the campaigns are done running will assist me in making the determination of which video was more successful in helping me to achieve my overall marketing goal. From here, I can optimize my marketing efforts and implement the video that was more successful in ensuring I meet my campaign goals.

Choosing Elements to test in A/B testing

As you move through the marketing process, you might have several elements you want to test. However, it is important to only choose one item at a time to measure its performance. If you decide to test more than one element at a time, you will struggle to determine which element impacted the change in performance.

Elements you may consider changing may include:

Ø  Layout

Ø  Graphics

Ø  Images

Ø  Color scheme

Ø  Sound

Ø  Headings

Ø  Subheadings

Ø  Email subject line

Ø  Ad copy

Ø  And more

There are many elements you may consider changing to evaluate the element and the impact it may have on your campaign but be sure only to make one change to determine that element’s effectiveness. Testing more than one component of a campaign will complicate your results. If one element statistically performs better than the other, you now know which option to use. If there was no real statistical significance, you could move on to test another element or continue using the original.

Whatever your campaign goals are, be sure to include A/B testing in your marketing process to maximize performance and reach your campaign goals.



Melina Miller

Melina Miller

Marketer Specializing in Digital Marketing, Marketing Analytics, Content Marketing & Personal Branding

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