What Is A/B Testing & Why It’s Essential in Marketing
In today’s digital landscape, consumer needs are changing all the time, so brands can never be certain what messaging or creative will ultimately resonate with them.
As such, A/B testing has become increasingly critical for marketing teams in order to make effective yet efficient decisions.
A/B testing enables marketers to test different elements of their campaigns across all the digital advertising channels – including social media, email and SMS marketing, retail media, programmatic or CRO – to determine which messaging and other creative elements convert target shoppers.
By eliminating the guesswork and relying on raw data, A/B testing can help brands optimize their marketing efforts to drive higher performance and lasting growth.
This comprehensive guide will outline the basics of A/B testing, as well as its importance and the effectiveness of various A/B testing tools. We’ll also share a MuteSix case study to see firsthand how our extensive A/B testing maximizes the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns.
What Is A/B Testing?
A/B testing, or split testing, compares two versions of a marketing campaign to determine which one performs better. A/B testing aims to discover statistical significance between strategies and make informed decisions based on data rather than assumptions.
How Does A/B Testing Work?
A/B testing takes many forms.
The simplest involves splitting your target audience into two groups, with each receiving a different version of the marketing campaign. The performance of each version is then measured and compared to determine the highest-performing combination.
A/B testing can sometimes include multivariate testing, where multiple campaign elements are tested simultaneously.
The differences between these versions can widely vary. Everything from the placement of a CTA to the selection of key value propositions can be measured and iterated upon using A/B testing.
Marketers can perform A/B testing manually, but many email automation systems and social media platforms can support A/B testing. However, given the high costs of advertising and stiff competition, more rigorous and high-speed A/B testing is often necessary in order to quickly churn out winning content.
Why Is A/B Testing Essential in Marketing?
A/B testing is a non-negotiable for brand marketers today. There are two key benefits. First, it helps improve the customer experience because it ensures shoppers are seeing what they want to see. Second, it drives significant sales results because every detail is optimized to convert leads. Both metrics are crucial for success in today’s digital marketing landscape.
A/B testing provides valuable data that helps brands to make informed decisions about their existing and future campaigns and improve their overall effectiveness. After all, what brands may think is effective messaging matters less than what shoppers feel is most effective. What’s more, that changes at each step of the customer journey, so it’s critical to meet the right customers with the right messaging at the right time.
Given how challenging it is to stand out in social feeds and email inboxes, your creative really needs to work hard. That is why it is essential to work with a digital marketing agency like MuteSix well versed in high-speed creative A/B testing and customer journey mapping and relevancy.
6 Benefits of A/B Testing
Let’s explore more benefits of A/B testing in depth.
1. Boost Your Content’s Thumb Stop Rates
Given the pure saturation of ads alone, it’s easy for shoppers to skip past ads on social media. A/B testing can help improve thumb-stop rates, which is a metric that allows marketers to measure the efficiency of a piece of content’s hook or the first three seconds of a video.
By testing different variations of creative elements such as images, font, CTA placement, and messaging, A/B testing can help marketers determine the highest-performing elements so as to boost engagement.
In particular, on content-heavy platforms like TikTok and Instagram, those first three seconds are extremely important. A/B testing helps you determine the winning formula to get users to stop scrolling and engage with your ads.
2. Lower CPCs
A/B testing can also reduce cost-per-click (CPC) rates. By testing various elements driving toward a landing page, like headlines, call-to-actions, and images, A/B testing helps marketers determine the strongest elements for conversions, leading to an overall lower CPC.
3. Lower CPAs
If your principal goal is to acquire new customers, A/B testing can also be critical for experimentation and market research, like a test run for your baseline target audience.
A/B testing helps offer real-time test results in a brand’s quest to acquire customers and determine how and when they respond.
4. Higher ROAS
From a brand marketing perspective, A/B testing also helps to streamline and maximize your digital ad spend. Lower CPCs and increased CPAs also mean a better return on ad spend (ROAS), delivering more value for brands over time.
Plus, there’s evidence that brands that conduct A/B testing scale build their brands faster. So, in addition to a better return, you’ll also see a faster return.
5. Improved Conversion Rates
Conversion is often the goal of digital advertising, especially for e-commerce brands. A/B testing enables brands to see which CTAs lead more shoppers to a homepage or checkout page. When it comes to your CRO, A/B testing can really help optimize the online shopping experience, which is essential in getting customers to complete a purchase and return for repeat purchases.
6. Higher Engagement Rates
With multivariate A/B testing, brands can take a sample size of the target audience on different paths and see which ones lead to more thoughtful engagement with the content.
How You Can Run Effective A/B Testing
Given how competitive the market is and how costly ads are, it’s important to leave the A/B testing to the experts. At MuteSix, we excel in customer journey mapping and high speed creative A/B testing, which enables us to determine not only the highest-performing campaigns, but the highest-performing content at each step of the customer journey.
At MuteSix, we let our shoppers grade our work because no matter how impressive we may think an ad is, it’s up to the shoppers to tell us how effective it is.
Twillory Case Study: How A/B Testing Helped Double Revenue
To better understand the impact of A/B testing, take a look at our work with Twillory, a performance menswear brand for which we used structured iterative creative testing to best align messaging with the customer journey.
With Twillory, much like with all our clients, we conducted extensive A/B testing, trying out different product features, copy iterations, executions including UGC vs. branded content, and creative formats like testimonials vs. product imagery.
We ran many tests simultaneously, monitoring performance closely to make real-time adjustments when necessary and scale across different platforms accordingly.
And it paid off in the end. As a result of our extensive A/B testing, we helped Twillory double its annual revenue, increase its customer base by 58%, and boost its click-through rate by 34%.
The MuteSix Difference
While it’s clearly important, A/B testing is surprisingly not popular.
In fact, 39% of brands don’t A/B test their email campaigns, missing out on massive bumps in acquisition and retention.
There are many testing softwares for brands to choose from, and it’s essential to have experienced operators using that technology behind the scenes. Determining statistical significance and monitoring many test posts is complicated, granular work.
At MuteSix, that work can translate into actionable, game-changing data, informing your entire digital marketing strategy. We’ve accelerated growth for some of the most well-known brands using real-time data to inform creative that meets market, customer, and brand needs.
Through data-backed, omnichannel media buying, growth marketing, and creative strategies, our team of forward-thinking experts scale brands to success faster and more efficiently than any other agency.
Ready to grow your brand? Reach out to us today for a marketing consultation to see if you qualify for a free omnichannel audit.
A Refresher on A/B Testing | Harvard Business Review
Is A/B Testing Effective? Evidence from 35,000 Startups | Harvard Business School
Email Marketing: Education group utilizes A/B testing to increase open rates by 39% | MarketingSherpa