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A/B testing

What is A/B testing?

An A/B test is a technique that consists of developing two versions of the same element or product, with the sole intention of measuring which of these two versions works better.

You can use A/B tests for many digital marketing strategies, such as:

  • Determine the best design for a web page.
  • Measure which is the best version of an app.
  • Test two versions of a newsletter.
  • Check which landing page will get more conversions.
  • Calculate the effectiveness of two different CTAs.
  • Test the best design of two web logos.
  • Test specific elements of the design such as buttons and images.
  • Check the effectiveness of two copywriting strategies for a product.

1. How does an A/B test work?

This method consists of developing two versions of the same element/product before launching it on the market, this applies to both physical and digital products. For this reason, in our case, we will focus on an example based on the creation of an A/B test to find out the best subject line, between two versions, so that we can find which email marketing campaign would offer us the best ROI.

Of course, we could create more versions for the same test A/B, but usually an A/B test is used to decide between the two “best” options.

To do this, we created two subject lines for a newsletter of an animal shelter that seeks to raise funds among its members.

In the first one, we would include the subscriber name and ask a simple question to which we know subscribers would respond positively: “Name, do you really love pets, right?” The second one would be more direct: “A pet’s life depends on you”. The message would be the same, only the subject line would change.

After that, we could select 20% of the email list and send the first subject line to half of this group; that is, 10% of the list: “Name, do you really love pets, right?” The other 10% would receive the second subject line: “A pet’s life depends on you”.

After 24 hours, we could check the open rates for both campaigns to see which one got better results. Once we know which subject line was the winner, i.e. which message was opened the most times, we can send the newsletter to the remaining 80% of subscribers.

2. Advantages of A/B testing

In general, creating an A/B test for any marketing strategy brings you numerous advantages:

  • Increase return on investment. A/B tests allow you to easily find out what really will work with your target audience.
  • They allow you to experiment with different options. What worked a few months ago may not be as effective today, so you have to constantly experiment in a controlled way and A/B tests are ideal for that.
  • They help to improve engagement. Through subtle changes, A/B tests show you, unequivocally, the way your audience wants to be treated, the tone of the conversation they like the most, the content that is relevant to them, etc.
  • The details make the difference. You may not have been aware of it, but minor details, such as font size or color, could make the difference in the result of a campaign, and A/B tests will help you to finetune your strategy. A/B tests highlight the importance of details.