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Introduction

What assumptions are you making about the performance of your company’s various campaigns? Stop and think about this for a moment.

Now, taking that question a bit further— do you really know whether each of your campaigns are formatted optimally, to drive as many conversions as possible? Or, are you just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best?

It is impossible to develop more effective campaigns and grow your customer base if you don’t know which elements of your campaigns are contributing to these efforts and which are working against them.

But there’s a way to easily figure this all out, moving away from guessing and towards confidence. The answer is A/B testing.

A/B testing is the most used method for measuring conversion rates, with more than two-thirds of businesses integrating A/B testing into their marketing strategy. In fact, A/B testing and the larger umbrella of conversion rate optimization, which, generally-speaking, is the transformation of passive site visitors into active, engaged users, have become so popular and valuable that now, 42% of companies employ more than one person to handle this vast area of expertise.

With A/B testing, any company can learn how to optimize their marketing campaigns, better understand their customer base, develop more relevant content, and improve return on investment (ROI). A/B testing is an efficient and cost-effective marketing strategy that companies cannot, and should not, live without.

So, with that being said, don’t waste another moment assuming, instead of knowing, your marketing campaigns are working. You could be alienating large customer groups or ignoring the potential to increase ROI for campaigns that do work, but could use improvement.

In this Article you’ll learn all the essentials of A/B testing, including:

  • The definition of A/B testing
  • Why A/B testing is important
  • The A/B testing process
  • A/B testing and marketing automation
  • Testing segmentation
  • A/B testing best practices
  • How to measure test results

Why Is A/B Testing Important?

By assessing the actions of buyers, A/B testing reveals what truly appeals to them. In doing so, it also advances consumer engagement, campaign effectiveness, and marketer expertise. Here are a few specific reasons why A/B testing should be a part of your company’s marketing strategy :

1. A/B testing increases engagement with customers:

The goal of A/B testing is to improve interactions between buyers and brands by uncovering which marketing methods most resonate with people. Since this type of testing applies to everything, from more engaging personalized emails to social networks, it opens up all channels to stronger communication.

2. A/B testing enhances campaign effectiveness and optimizes programs for a company’s target audience:

By trying out different combinations for a specific group of customers, marketers can eliminate elements that alienate users, drive people away, or have no effect on conversion rates whatsoever. In addition, all audiences do not respond identically to a single campaign.

3. A/B testing enhances marketers’ awareness and expertise of audience preferences :

A/B testing provides businesses with enormous amounts of data on audience behavior. The more tests marketers run, the more robust their understanding will be, and they can begin to make more intuitive choices in their marketing.

The A/B Testing Process

A/B testing starts with selecting the right elements to test and then following each step of a testing workflow. It’s important that marketers complete the entire process before preemptively making any changes to their campaigns.

They don’t want to make assumptions and jump the gun, otherwise, they will make an uninformed decision and risk eliminating or altering an element that was actually working well to drive conversions. It goes without saying that this would be a big uh-oh! A/B testing, when executed in full, enables you to avoid this mistake altogether.

First, let’s discuss what to consider testing, and then, we will discuss how you test.

WHAT TO TEST

When it comes to A/B testing, you can test almost anything. With that being said, here are some general areas to consider and pursue :

Messages : Which message and/or copy resonated the most with our target audience?

Visuals : Which visual impacted the most conversions?

Within messages and visuals, there are countless elements that can be tested. In particular, marketers should look to test elements that they believe directly affect conversion rates and are high impact for your business. Here are elements for you to consider testing, broken down by channel :

WEBPAGE

Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

Buy now? Purchase? Check out? Add to cart? Change your CTA text on your buttons to see which word or phrase converts the most visitors

Vary the location of your CTA button—make some more prominent than others Test different colors, shapes, and sizes of images for CTA buttons on your website

Content

  • Test gated content against non-gated content. Find out which gets more downloads and whether users are willing to fill out forms.
  • Test how your content is displayed. Do users prefer to scroll down the page, or click through to another page to learn more?

Copy

  • Test different headline texts. Try headlines that are more straightforward, goofy, or creative.
  • Test paragraphs vs. bulleted lists.
  • Test shorter vs. longer copy.

Visual Media

  • Test different types of imagery—people vs. products and photos vs. illustrations.
  • See how stock images stack up against images of your employees or customers in action.
  • Test auto-play against click-to-play for videos.

Site Navigation

  • Test the order of your menu items in your site navigation.
  • Test the display of your navigation bar. Do visitors prefer a horizontal or vertical orientation?

Forms

  • Test the length of sign-up forms.
  • Try a special offer, discount, or promotion to increase sign-ups.
  • Try asking for different pieces of information in your form fields.

Personalization

  • Test different page designs and messaging for new vs. returning visitors.
  • Test different content related to a visitor’s demographics.
  • Create seasonal or location-basedoffers and test them on visitors living in specific locations.

Pricing and Shipping

  • Test a free trial offer vs. a free demo offer for short-term and long-term conversions.
  • Test annual billing vs. monthly billing on your pricing page. Which generates more subscriptions?

SOCIAL

  • Test the size and placement of your social icons to see what compels users to share more often.
  • Test your profile images, cover image, and more to see what customers respond to.
  • Test different images in social ads. See which one, or style, gets the best results.
  • Test different types of social messaging on each channel to see what type of copy resonates.

EMAIL

  • Test the “from” name.
  • Test the greeting.
  • Test the length and copy of your email subject lines.
  • Test using imagery and rich media in your emails.
  • Test personalized vs. un-personalized emails by using the recipient’s name, or other known personal data, in the subject or body of the email.
  • Find the optimal time to reach your audience by measuring open rates on different days of the week and at different times.

MOBILE

  • Try different displays and navigation options, such as blinds, buttons, and blocks.
  • Try using different types of notifications—SMS, push, and in-app. Also make sure to test your messaging and offers.
  • Test where an in-app message or push message routes to: a page on your website or a page in the app.
  • Test rendering for mobile.

DIGITAL ADS

  • Test the headlines on your paid campaigns to see what gets more clicks.
  • Try changing the display URL on your ad.
  • Try different conversion page variations—copy, image, CTA, and form.



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