In the world of direct response marketing, A/B split testing tactics are a tried and true method to secure optimal ROI for marketing materials. For small business owners, this term may seem like a foreign concept. Yet, it is crucial to understand the basics of this kind of testing when approaching marketing tactics.
What is A/B split test marketing?
In its simplest terms split test marketing functions as a way to efficiently measure two different forms of something in order to determine which is more effective. Imagine a disagreement between you and your friend. He is adamant that taking the train is faster, and you are sure that a taxi is the way to go. How do you decide? By testing and finding out exactly who is right.
A/B split testing works the exact same way. You can put out two different versions of a given campaign and test it on a smaller scale before releasing it out into the world. Marketing professionals have known for a long time that this kind of trial run helps save money and improve overall efficiency. However, when it came to print advertising and direct mail, A/B split testing required hefty investments and a lot of patience, explained Entrepreneur contributor Kim Walsh-Phillips.
The social media advantage
In the past, business owners would wait up to 90 days just to figure out what version of their marketing worked best. Luckily, in today’s modern marketing arena social media is king. These digital platforms allow for quick and efficient tracking which saves businesses time and money.
As Walsh-Phillips pointed out, marketing needs to be based on sturdy facts – not educated guesses. Data should determine what is or is not included in your campaign. Businesses who neglect to craft a fact-based marketing plan are ultimately losing money. Creating small test campaigns is the best way to prevent wasting marketing investments.
Best testing practices
Clearly, testing can help business owners gain some important insights about their potential marketing campaigns. Does a strictly text-based post work best for your audience? Or does the addition of an image boost engagement? Does the picture of pizza or the picture of a pasta dish garner more likes?
But how exactly do you measure these types of results and what are some best practices surrounding testing? Let’s take a look.
1. Conversions are the golden ticket: There is an outdated notion that clicks are the currency of choice in marketing. In terms of ROI this is not always true. Just because an ad gets 300 clicks doesn’t mean it is the best option. Look into which piece of content garners the most conversions. These are the engagements that make your business money and as such mean your marketing has done its job, explained Walsh-Phillips.
2. Find your data sweet spot: In order to get accurate results there must be enough data collection to come to accurate conclusions, explained Buffer Social contributor Kevan Lee. Lee suggested a minimum of 100 samples to get started. This will ensure that there is a concrete pool of consumers to garner accurate results. The more samples, the better, as a wider pool allows for better and more wholesome data.
3. Color me clickable: Just because you have determined the best image from your testing pool doesn’t mean your trials are over. Walsh-Phillips suggested that leaders test out different color schemes. Does a red background get more clicks than a purple one? From there, tweak a few more aspects. What wording works best to get a click? “Learn more” or “click here now?” The more testing, the better – and with social media A/B split testing being so quick and cost-efficient the extra efforts are worth your investment.
4. One test at a time: While testing multiple fields can result in better marketing material, it is important to isolate the different components. Best practice for testing involves honing in on one aspect at a time, explained Lee. Focus your first test on an image switch but keep the headlines the same. Next round, change the headlines and keep the images consistent. This will ensure optimal data from your testing efforts.