I just spent my weekend building a presentation that I’ll be giving to a copywriting class this week over at UCF. Around this time of the semester, their syllabus covers A/B testing, so I’ve been collecting research and case studies that hopefully won’t bore them. But now that I’ve done the work, it makes sense to share it here, too!
A/B testing is the practice of testing something (a direct mail piece, an email, a web site) and adjusting one element of that piece (text, headline, or images) in order to find out if one outperforms the other. Then, you take those lessons learned and incorporate that into the control piece and test another element. The point is for continual improvement which, ultimately, helps the bottom line. Sometimes, if you’re targeting a new audience that you may not be completely familiar with, testing helps you find out what kinds of messaging will resonate with them the most.
We’ve only just begun doing testing as a regular element in our advertising for online. For e-blasts, we’ve seen greater open rates because of it, and for paid search, we’ve seen higher click through rates. But, we need to keep doing more of it and its everyone’s responsibility to remember that when running a campaign – account managers, copywriters, clients, and media planners.
Great websites/companies I’ve found that properly explain A/B testing and have lots of case studies are now in my blog roll. They’re also listed below. If you have a small company and are thinking of doing a direct mail piece, an email, or paid search, check these out.
A Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing – KissMetrics
A/B Testing Ideas – Visual Website Optimizer
The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing – Smashing Magazine
Google Web site Optimizer – Conversion Rate Experts