A/B Testing | Glossary

A/B testing is an effective way of trying out two different versions of a marketing technique, to see which is most effective and if any changes either positive or negative impacts.

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What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a way to test out different aspects of your marketing strategy on various segments of your audience. It’s a term often used when discussing website optimization, but A/B testing is useful for emails, advertisements, social media posts, and any other form of marketing.

The most effective A/B testing follows the scientific method. This means only changing one variable at a time, for absolute confidence in what is causing any differences in the output. For most marketing experiments A desirable output will mean more engagement, more leads, higher clickthrough rate, or more shares of a blog or article.

However, as changing one variable at a time — for example, a header or a CTA — is a slow way to gather data, marketers may employ multiple changes at once. This might mean changing the header and CTA to ones that have worked before, but sharing the content with two different audience segments. Testing multiple aspects at once is not as accurate as there’s no clear way to understand what element drove the success or failure of campaigns.

Benefits of A/B Testing

A/B testing provides critical data on which customers are most receptive to what type of marketing. This can allow marketers to completely overhaul their content marketing strategy by altering:

  • Language
  • Format
  • Target audience parameters
  • Use of graphics versus text
  • How much they prioritize one form of content over another e.g., short-form content or long-form content
  • The use of forms or other contact detail collection methods
  • Allocation of marketing budgets
  • Which third-parties they work with for support

Marketing budgets for most companies seem to have declined during 2023. A/B testing can help chief marketing officers (CMOs) and other marketing professionals ensure they spend every dollar wisely. The goal is to streamline every process and maximize conversion rates, while reducing the overall cost per conversion (CPC). A/B testing is generally a low-cost process but can yield results that drastically improve the performance of marketing campaigns.

The other benefits of effective A/B testing can include:

  • Lower cart abandonment rate for ecommerce stores
  • Lower bounce rate i.e., how many people leave websites and blogs quickly
  • More leads
  • Higher lead conversion rates
  • Improved brand reputation via more engaging content
  • Increased organic web traffic

A/B testing is an ongoing process and can help companies pivot in line with shifting consumer trends.

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How to Perform A/B Testing

There are multiple ways to carry out A/B testing and many marketing support services offer templates and advice on how to begin. The basic steps are as follows:

  1. Decide what aspect of marketing you want to test — this could be a blog, a landing page, or a social media campaign.
  2. Choose a single element to change. For a social media campaign, this could be an image. For a blog, it might be the header, subheadings, or length.
  3. Create a control piece that won’t change during testing and is identical to your test piece except for the element you’re testing.
  4. Choose a sample audience to test both versions on. Make sure the sample audience is big enough to yield meaningful results. For example, if you only have 100 followers on Instagram but 5000 on Facebook, your Instagram following might not be the best fit for an A/B test.
  5. Collect data on the results of your test. There are proprietary software options for this, or you might have an in-house data manager for this.
  6. Decide which version was more successful and implement changes if necessary. You can also re-run the test changing other elements of the campaign material.

Remember to document every result. As well as feeding into improved marketing campaigns, effective A/B testing is an effective tool for engaging stakeholders in your growth strategy.

When to Use A/B Testing

A/B testing is ideal for when:

  • You need to understand why a particular campaign isn’t effective
  • You want to replicate the success of a hit campaign
  • You want to implement continuous improvement
  • You want to assess the effectiveness of marketing techniques you’ve never tried before
  • You want to expand your reach or move into adjacent markets

The important thing to remember when A/B testing is that you need two versions of content with only a single significant change. This allows you to understand exactly which change caused either positive or negative impacts to your reach, your conversion rate, or the volume of leads you’re generating. Reliable, accurate data collation and documentation is key to successful A/B testing.

Scripted can help provide the content you need for any aspect of your content marketing strategy. Our AI-powered solutions follow prompts to give you the A/B testing emails, press releases, ad copy, or web pages that fit your testing criteria. Alternatively, you can work with one of our many talented subject matter expert (SME) writers. Our carefully curated pool of content creators includes experts from across more than 50 industries so you can always find someone who understand your business requirements. Register for free, upload your organization’s brand or style guide, and order content today!

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