The Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing in Marketing

ab testing

Digital marketers are constantly seeking ways to improve their strategies. A/B testing, also known as split testing, has emerged as a valuable technique for marketers. It allows them to test different elements of a campaign to determine what resonates best with their audience and optimize their approach.

Understanding A/B testing

A/B testing is a method used in marketing to compare two different versions of a webpage, email, ad, or any other marketing asset to determine which one gets better results. It involves creating two versions, A (the control) and B (the variant), with a single differing element. The purpose is to discover which version leads to higher conversion rates, click-through rates, or any other desired action from the audience.

Defining the goal

The first step is to determine the company’s desired objective. This could be to increase email click-through rates, improve landing page conversion rates, or boost e-commerce sales. Defining the goal is essential because it determines what elements will be tested and what metrics will be used to measure success.

Selecting the element to test

Decide which element the company will test. It could be the headline, call-to-action (CTA) button, images, content layout, or any other element that could impact the goal. Make sure there’s a clear hypothesis about how changing this element will influence user behavior.

Creating variations A and B

With the goal and the element to test in mind, create two versions of the marketing material: A (the control) and B (the variant). Only the selected element should differ between the two versions. For instance, if a company is testing a CTA button, version A may have the current button color, while version B has a different color.

Splitting the audience

The next step is to split the audience into two groups. One exposed to version A and the other to version B. Ensure the split is random to avoid bias and accurately measure the impact of the changes.

Implementing tracking

To measure the effectiveness of each version, companies need tracking tools. These can include web analytics tools like Google Analytics, email marketing software, or dedicated A/B testing platforms. Implement tracking to record key metrics related to the goal, such as conversion rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, or revenue.

Running the test

Let the A/B test run for a sufficient period to collect a statistically significant amount of data. The length of time required for testing may vary depending on the audience size and the specific goal the company is testing.

Analyzing the results

Once the company has collected enough data, it’s time to analyze the results. Compare the performance of version A and version B based on the tracked metrics. Determine which version outperforms the other.

Implementing the winning variation

If one version clearly outperforms the other, implement the winning variation as the new standard. This optimized version will become the control for future tests. If the results are inconclusive or the impact isn’t significant, companies may need to refine their hypotheses and run additional tests.

Ronn Torossian is Chairman of 5WPR, a leading PR firm

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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