The Benefits of A/B Testing Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

Jun 12, 2017 | Social Media/Digital

By Hayley Gurtler, Media Manager

Are your squeeze pages and digital marketing campaigns providing value to prospective residents? A/B testing is a simple way to measure the value of your digital campaigns, and get the most out of your digital marketing efforts.

A/B testing allows you to test one single aspect of your campaign by creating two slightly different versions of a squeeze page or a pay-per-click (PPC) ad. Then, compare the two versions by showing them to similar visitors at the same time. The version that performs better holds more value.

While A/B testing is a simple comparison, it is a complicated process that requires a strict, scientific method. By observing visitor behavior in a web analytics tool like Google Analytics or AdWords, you can see how your page or ad is performing.

To gain further insight into how visitors are interacting with your website, use tools like heatmaps, visitor recordings, form analysis and surveys to determine what your target audience is responding well to and what is keeping them from converting. Once you’ve had a chance to review your current performance among your target audience, you are able to create a basic hypothesis for a given test you’d like to conduct. Remember, when creating a hypothesis, you should aim to test only one variable at a time, making sure to avoid multi-variant testing. One example might include testing the word “Get” versus “Request” in your call-to-action headline.

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After comparing the visitor behavior data and key performance metrics, such as traffic, clicks, bounce rates and conversion rates, you will likely be able to determine a “winner.” Because you should only test one variable at a time, you might need to conduct A/B testing for an extended period of time before you’re confident that your squeeze page or ad is optimized for conversions. Creating an A/B testing calendar or plan will save time and will keep your A/B testing efforts moving forward. You might find that you need to revise your plans occasionally as you learn new things about your target audience, but an initial plan is certainly helpful in the world of digital optimization.

Why should you A/B test your digital marketing campaigns?

A/B testing is an effective tool when it comes to digital marketing because it can easily define what needs to change in order to have a successful squeeze page, PPC ad or website. Whether you want to increase conversions, provide more value for prospects or increase your return on investment, A/B testing is a great starting point.

Test multiple elements

It can be difficult to know what to start testing, but the good news is, you can test just about anything! Common A/B tests can be applied to contact forms, images, buttons and, as previously mentioned, text. However, fonts, headline style, the position of different elements on the page can also be tested. After all, even the smallest of edits can have a dramatic difference in visitor engagement and conversion rates.

Better engagement with your content

By creating two versions of a PPC ad or squeeze page, you are able to measure which version results in improved visitor engagement. The version that performs better likely has more value to the visitors you’re targeting. Asking the “why” questions will provide insight into your audience and could potentially spark ideas for additional tests. Understanding what might have caused a result will help determine if a result requires further testing or should be applied to other campaigns. Such insights obtained from online A/B testing are likely useful for other facets of marketing campaigns, and should be shared with not only your client, but also your team members from other departments.

Reduced bounce rates and increased conversion rates

A/B testing is one of the best ways to discover a solution to reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates. The time and effort of testing and tweaking different elements on a squeeze page or ad can help reduce the number of visitors who “bounce,” or leave without spending any time interacting with the content.

When you determine what content is performing better, it becomes easier to tailor it in a way that engages your unique audience. Understanding how metrics work together can also provide interesting insight. For instance, if a page results in significant time on page and a low bounce rate, but no one seems interested in following through with the call-to-action, then something about the location or wording of the call-to-action might need to change. If no call-to-action exists on a high-performing webpage, it might be worthwhile to test adding one.

Quick Analysis

One of the best aspects of A/B testing is how easy it is to analyze the results. Because data is being collected in real-time, you can analyze the data as it’s coming in. Even better is that A/B tests don’t require millions of page views or clicks to provide meaningful results. Even a hundred or so interactions can quickly determine what’s working and what’s not working. This means that you can conduct multiple A/B tests in succession to quickly optimize your content.

It’s also important to remember that not every test will result in extreme results. Some tests simply show that both options perform similarly. This is not always a bad result. It just means that whatever test you conducted did not have a significant impact on a page or ad’s performance. In other words, a test might show that your target market receives both options similarly, or it might indicate that you need to test another variable to further optimize your digital presence.

A Cost-efficient Approach

Often, making major revisions to a squeeze page or website can be costly and might not have the desired impact. However, A/B testing a squeeze page or website first can prevent having to make major changes after it’s live. Taking small steps to ensure each element is optimized for success can increase return on investment and minimize performance risks.

To learn more about A/B testing and the benefits of a well-designed digital presence, please contact Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013 or Rick Hunsicker at 214-906-3801.

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