Have you ever used A/B testing in your business? It’s an excellent method for comparing two different versions of something to determine which performs better for your business. This could be two advertisements, direct mail pieces, email campaigns, web pages, promotions, apps, or almost any other marketing tool. We’ll dive into A/B testing and how it can impact your marketing initiatives in your business.
What Is A/B Testing and How Does It Work?
Sometimes referred to as bucket testing or split-run testing, A/B testing is a statistical method for comparing the effectiveness of two different versions of something. For our purposes, that something will be a marketing tool, as described above.
This is a testing method that can be used by companies large and small to determine what works best for their respective situations and circumstances.And while this experiment can be utilized for both online and offline marketing, it’s easier to implement, control, and measure when applied to digital marketing activities.
First and foremost, all concerned parties need to be in agreement on exactly what is being tested. The more specific, the better. For example, you could run two digital ads that are identical in every aspect except the call to action, visuals, or the headline. But not all three because when you have too many variables, you end up with “noisy” results that make it impossible to determine which element caused what result. Similarly, all other factors must be equal.
Audience, timing, exposure, duration, etc. must all be essentially the same. This is precisely why A/B testing is easier to conduct in the digital marketing arena. Finally, the results must involve a “control” — that is, the current version of whatever you are doing, so that you have a baseline result against which to compare whatever you are testing. This baseline version can either be run simultaneously with test version A and B or as version A as the baseline and version B as the variant being tested.
What Are the Benefits of A/B Testing
The famous American merchant John Wanamaker is credited with having said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Statistical testing has striven to figure out “which half” is worth the investment. A/B testing is an excellent tool to be used for this purpose.
But what worked for the likes of John Wanamaker in his time may or may not work for your small business. Indeed the same could be said for the business down the street or the peer company in another state. Marketing results are sometimes uniquely relevant to the individual business that is achieving them. Or to put it simply, what worked for John might work for you and then again, it might not. How do we find out which is the case? A/B testing!
What Are the Pitfalls of A/B Testing
The greatest caveat of A/B testing is that of false or misleading results. In order to avoid these, be as clear and concise as possible about what is to be tested and do not compromise the controls that are put in place. However, a lack of internal controls is not the only source for statistical “noise” in the results. Unpredictable external occurrences can cause unexpected results not only in the test bucket but also in the control. In the end it is important to have a competent, qualified individual examine the data and perform (or at the very least evaluate) the analysis.
Common Goals of A/B Testing from a Marketing Perspective
The holy grail of A/B testing is to be able to select the better of two single variables as they relate to your business, to your goals. The answer in each case may be very different for each business, yet the essential goal is still the same for all players. This is why there may be value in comparing notes with stakeholders from other companies, from other sides of the vendor/client desk, and even from unrelated industries. Constructive dialog is healthy.
The Spring-Green Way
At Spring-Green our industry-leading marketing strategy includes A/B testing strategies and marketing analytics to constantly monitor results in real time for constant improvement. Call 1-800-777-8608 or visit us at www.growmygreenindustrybusiness.com if you would like to learn more about growing your business with Spring-Green.