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Introduction to A/B Testing

A/B testing is one of the best ways to figure out what types of marketing strategies your audience will engage with. It can be used to test all sorts of methodologies, from your web copy to your emails to calls-to-action. Effective A/B testing will lead to more compelling content, efficient advertising and generate more sales.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is a randomised experiment with 2 variables. It’s a way to compare the results of the 2 versions of a single element. They can be run in a variety of ways. A common A/B test that businesses run is an email subject line. By sending half of your contact list an email with subject line “A,” and the other half the same email with subject line “B,” you are able to compare the resulting data and see which one is more effective.

What to test

The first thing you need to do is figure out what it is you want to test. Many people test the following:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • colours
  • Font
  • Headlines
  • CTAs
  • Descriptions
  • Arrangement/Positioning
  • Buttons
  • Menus
  • Forms
  • Visitor Flow
  • Pricing Schemes
  • Offers
  • Ad Copy
  • Emails

What you’re testing should have a direct effect on your bottom line. Since A/B tests take a lot of time and effort to set up and analyse, running tests on frivolous elements will only waste your energy.

How to plan an A/B test

Once you decide what you’re going to test, you need to make a list of all the variables you’re going to assess. For example, if you’re going to test a marketing email, you may test:

  • Subject line
  • Body copy
  • Call-to-action

This will be a time-consuming process, as it may require multiple A/B tests in order to achieve the perfect email. You also need to know your baseline results that you’re already getting, so you can test the new variables against each other and compare the results. The tests need to be run at the same time in order to avoid variations in timing. All traffic/recipients need to be split in half simultaneously.

It’s important to run your A/B tests for an adequate amount of time to collect the data you need. This could range from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on what you’re testing. Running a test for not enough time can skew your results. So be sure to allow the test to run for a suitable amount of time before you compare results. 

How A/B testing can improve your bottom line

Accurate A/B testing provides you with empirical data that proves whether your marketing efforts are effective or not. This will tell you which version to run with, and increase your ability to craft effective marketing strategies from the jump, once you have a deeper understanding of what your audience will engage with.

If you are keen to learn more about how to increase your bottom line, download our free eBook:

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Tagged digital marketing, marketing plan, inbound marketing strategy, a/b testing, marketing strategy