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A/B Testing 101: What It Is and How It Is Used in Marketing

As marketers, part of our role is to understand which digital marketing strategies work and which don’t. Marketing research helps marketers determine whether or not a tactic is efficient and actually benefiting a brand. A part of marketing research that contributes to evaluating different strategies is A/B testing. Now, what is A/B testing and how do marketers use it to their advantage? Let’s dive in…

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing, which is also commonly referred to as split testing, is the process of comparing two versions of a web page, email, or other marketing tactic and measuring the difference in performance based on the elements presented. A/B testing is often used by businesses to measure the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. In fact, according to 99 Firms, “More than half of marketers use A/B testing as a method of conversion rate optimization.” By producing an A/B Test, marketing researchers are putting two different scenarios against each other and measuring the performance data of each to determine the most efficient strategy. For a deeper dive into A/B testing, check out this video from Data Science Dojo.

Types of A/B Testing

Because there are so many elements that contribute to a marketing tactic, there are several different types of A/B testing that can be conducted. Some ways to analyze the performance of specific elements include:

  1. Serif Font vs. Sans-Serif Font
  2. Static Image vs. Moving Image
  3. The positioning of Elements on Page
  4. Opposing Colors
  5. Call-to-Action Verbiage

These are just some of the many different A/B tests that can be conducted. Take a minute or two and review these seven excellent examples of how companies use A/B testing.

Benefits of A/B Testing

There’s a lot that goes into producing these digital marketing tactics, including call-to-action buttons, visual elements, testimonials and even words or phrases. A/B Tests are two versions that are nearly identical, except for one element that is different. By simply altering one element, marketers are able to determine whether a specific element is working or not, as well as which elements work best. For example, let’s say a hospital is sending out an email blast encouraging patients to sign up for a mammogram. A healthcare marketer may want to send out two email blasts with call-to-action buttons that have different verbiage. One may say “schedule an appointment” and the other may say “sign up for your mammo today”. By analyzing the conversion rates of both buttons, the hospital will know which element was more beneficial and reached their goal.

Whether it’s via an email blast or a website’s landing page, marketers are always looking for innovative ways to reach their target audiences. Not only do A/B tests allow marketers to get more intel on what their audience responds to, but it also gives them the opportunity to determine the value behind specific elements in digital marketing. After all, understanding what works and what doesn’t is essential in marketing research.

Did you enjoy this post?  Read about how brands are using Instagram to survey customers in my last post!

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