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A/B Test Strategy: What It Is, and Why It's Such a Valuable Tool

Posted by Jennifer Dragon on November 8, 2017 at 3:21 PM

A/B test strategyYour marketing strategy is already turning in great results — performance metrics all indicate that channels are generating ROI for the company.

The temptation may be to sit back and rest on your laurels. After all, you've built a marketing machine that's getting the job done. However, good results don't necessarily mean that your strategy is generating the best results possible.

That's where an A/B test strategy comes into play. Even if you're happy with the results of your current digital marketing strategy, A/B testing is a surefire way to make sure you never stop searching for ways to raise your standards.

Understanding A/B Testing

A/B test strategy is actually a very simple concept that has been around for decades, long before there was a computer in every household. Essentially, it involves creating two versions of a piece of content — an "A" version and a "B" version — and promoting these two pieces of content at the same time. Both versions are identical except for a single element that's being tested.

The changes can be subtle background color changes or call to action copy. However they can also be more specific like testing out using discounting in your ad versus not including it.

In some cases, successful A/B testing can reveal insights that contradict our beliefs regarding the best practices for digital marketing. HubSpot noted that an updated edition of SimCity was struggling to drive preorders for the game using a promotional banner at the top of the home page. In an effort to improve performance, the company scrapped the banner altogether and presented homepage traffic with two options for ordering the game.

According to HubSpot, the bannerless version resulted in a 43.4 percent spike in purchases. Most marketers would assume that the banner is a mandatory asset, but this instance proves the value of testing that assumption with an A/B test strategy.

Tips for Successful Testing 

The final, crucial key to successful A/B testing is patience. Some marketers, in a rush to get results, may feel inclined to test more than one variable at a time — but this practice defeats the purpose of A/B testing altogether. When more than one variable is changed, you can't isolate the performance and analyze the value of a certain element.

A/B testing isn't an overnight fix for marketing performance, but it is a tried-and-true method for learning more about your marketing strategy and what type of content performs best with your audience. Take your time and trust that the process will reveal new options for optimization over time.

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