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Inbound Marketing Blog

Don’t be too smart: the value of A/B testing.

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I was watching — okay, mostly listening — to a YouTube video from Dave McClure  and four words jumped out at me: "Don't be too smart." Hence the title of this blog post. Dave was talking about Metrics and what he actually said was, "Don't be too smart; do lots of A/B tests."  Dave went on to talk about a whole bunch of other stuff, but for this post, we're going to focus on that one bit of sound advice. Here at Mindscape, we use A/B testing all the time, so Dave's comment resonated.  

What's A/B testing anyway?

Simply put, A/B testing is comparing two versions of an element, to see which performs better. For example, on a recent cart abandonment project, we tested two versions of an offer. Half of the site visitors received an offer that was time-limited (version A), and the other half received an offer without an expiration date (version B). We then measured the performance of each. We expected the urgency of the time limit to perform better but saw more conversions with the un-dated offer. That's A/B testing.

What's so cool about A/B Testing?

Very simply, it makes decision-making faster and your marketing more effective. Instead of arguing about whether a red button is better than a green button, test both. Whichever button gets clicked more often is the button that you implement.

How do I use A/B testing?

Many web marketing platforms such as MailChimp and Hubspot have A/B testing baked in. For example, with MailChimp, you can test subject lines. MailChimp alternates which subject line subscribers see. After a certain point (20% for example), MailChimp selects the most effective subject line (based on open rates or clicks) and sends it to the remainder of the list.

A great place to use A/B testing is in your CTAs. Compose two options, and see which more users click. But the key to A/B testing is that you only change ONE ELEMENT. If you change images, headlines, and the color of your button, you don't know what is powering the increase — or decrease. By limiting your test to a single variable, you're getting actionable data.

Our shop is focused on results, so testing and measurement are essential. A/B testing plays a frequent and important role in delivering more leads, more sales, and more profits for our clients and it can do the same for yours.

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Topics: Marketing

Stephan Hokanson

Written by Stephan Hokanson

Stephan Hokanson is MINDSCAPE's Senior Content Strategist. He has worked in marketing for decades.

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