The Basics Of A/B Testing

Much like the machines on your shop floor, you want to make sure that your industrial marketing is optimized for peak performance. A/B testing (also referred to as split testing, multivariate testing, or iterative testing) can help you continuously calibrate your marketing efforts, ensuring maximum results.

Not familiar with the term, or curious how A/B testing works? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What Is A/B Testing?

A/B testing is the process of creating two (or more) versions of digital marketing assets — emails, web pages, ads, etc. — in order to identify which version performs better.

For example, in order to improve the click-through rate on a web page, you would split your web visitors into two groups (A and B). Visitors in Group A will see a blue button, while visitors in Group B will see a red button.

ab testing

With the right technology and expertise, you can gather data and determine which version prompts more people to click the button.

Why A/B Testing Works

Think about the different elements that make up your various marketing assets — words, images, color schemes, layouts, etc. What do all of these things have in common?

They are entirely subjective.

What looks great and reads well to you may not resonate with other people. Your colleagues will likely have their own opinions, which can lead to arguments and debates. Even worse, your prospects will have their opinions, which can lead to poor results and missed opportunities.

A/B testing takes the guesswork out of digital marketing through the collection of data. By measuring the results of each test, you can get an objective understanding of what works and what doesn’t. That presents a lot of possibilities. 

Do your prospects prefer red or blue CTAs?

Test it!

Should your subject lines be written as questions or statements?

Test it!

Is it better to put your forms on the left side of your landing pages or the right?

Test it! (We did.)

Armed with this knowledge, you can continuously fine-tune your marketing assets and campaigns in order to improve your results.

What Is The A/B Testing Process?

There are four phases of the A/B testing process.

Planning

During this initial phase, you want to start gathering data that will serve as your baseline. Depending upon what you want to measure, this may require investing in different technologies, such as HubSpot or Optimizely. You may also want to get familiar with Google Analytics.

With the baseline data available, you should determine your goals. What do you want to improve, and what do you need to measure?

Building

It’s time to get to work. Start by looking at your goals and creating a list of ways you can achieve them through A/B testing. Form an official hypothesis for each one (e.g., By making change X, I expect to improve Y results), and order your list by which hypothesis you have the most confidence in.

Now you can begin creating and deploying your variations using your technology.

Learning
This phase is when you gather and analyze data. Make sure each interaction is captured, and keep an eye on your tools and data to spot early trends and make sure nothing is amiss.

When the test has run its course and you have gathered a statistically significant sample size, you can crunch the numbers, see how each version of the test performed, and determine whether or not your hypothesis proved correct.

Acting

If your hypothesis was correct, begin incorporating what you learned across your campaigns. If it didn’t quite work out, use it as a learning experience and formulate new tests you can run in the future.

Want To Put Your Marketing To The Test?

A/B testing can help you continuously optimize your industrial marketing campaigns, boosting visitor metrics, click-through-rates, conversions, and lead generation in the process.

Want to get started? There are literally thousands of experiments you can run, across all of your marketing channels — email marketing, PPC, social media, landing pages, etc. Check out our eBook, 23 A/B Testing Ideas You Should Try Now for some inspiration. If you need help setting up your tests, or if you have any questions, contact our digital marketing experts.

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