Finding The Right Marketing Message with A/B Testing

Digital marketing is only effective if you have the right message. Different customers will react to messages in different ways. How do you determine what works? A/B testing can help you find the answer.

It’s all about effectively conveying benefits

From higher customer engagement to increased conversion rates (in other words, sales) and higher Return On Investment (ROI) for your marketing, the potential benefits of digital marketing far outweigh traditional marketing.

But digital marketing can only work if one basic principle is met: that your marketing message is relevant to your customers and has an effective call-to-action. One way to determine this is through the testing of different messages, and we call this A/B testing.

A/B testing in a nutshell

  • What: Also termed split testing, A/B testing keeps everything the same in a digital ad or page except for one variable such as the marketing message (A and B). Both versions are tested at the same time.
  • How: You split your ad audience/website visitors into two groups, who are exposed to A or B.
  • Outcome: Based on results collected over the experiment period, you can determine which message was more engaging or effective, and then diverting resources to promote the more effective message

This is a cost-effective method of testing different messages which in turn should help you achieve a better chance of success. It also helps you craft more effective marketing messages in future.

What can I test?

A/B testing can be used to test various things, such as ads for Facebook, landing pages (a webpage that serves as an entry point for a website or a particular section of a website) and the search ads you run through Google Ads.

There are three general elements you can change when running an A/B test:


1. The audience you target

Digital advertising gives you the ability to target customers based on specific demographics. It could be age, gender, income, education or location. Chances are each of these demographics will react differently to your marketing message. A/B testing allows you to send the same message to different audience segments and see which group is more responsive. Then you simply focus on the more profitable group.

For example, if you're a gym based in Singapore's CBD you can test different locations on your Facebook advertising. You may find anything within two MRT stops from your location doesn't convert so focus your advertising spend on the areas directly surrounding your business.

2. Marketing message

Different customers react to messages in different ways - you can never be 100% sure your carefully crafted marketing message is going to resonate. A/B testing allows you to create multiple ads with slightly different marketing messages on each. For example, if you're selling cakes, you can have different ads that promote cakes for children's birthdays, or wedding cakes.

Offering a deal may work better than stating you have a new range of products in. When it comes to your call-to-action the term “Find out more” on search ad may produce more clicks than “Buy today”.

3. Images

A striking image, photo or video is an effective way to grab a potential customer's attention. For products you may have a variety of different photographs - still shots of the product or shots of models wearing or using the products. Keeping the marketing message and target audience the same you can run ads showcasing all your images to see which one attracts the most interest. Agin, you simply direct your budget to the best performing ad.

For advanced marketers

A/B testing can run directly through the platform your advertising on, the whole process is automated for you.

When creating a Facebook ad campaign you can create multiple versions of the same ad, you just need to change a few things on each version - the call-to-action, key marketing message or the image. It can be done through the Facebook platform with a Business Manager account.

For your Google search ads you run A/B testing through the Experiments tab in your Google Ads account. If you want to compare different websites or landing pages Google Optimize - is a customer engagement tool specifically for A/B Testing and creating personalised messages. Google Optmize is a free tool that plugs into your Analytics account and allows you to test different messages and layouts on your landing page. The tool allows you to drag and drop different images and messages in a visual editor so you don't need any designer skills.


Summary:

  • Digital marketing revolves around conveying your idea effectively.
  • A/B testing identifies which marketing message is most effective for your business.
  • A/B testing involves creating multiple ads and changing one element to see which is most effective.
  • Target audience, marketing message and images are all elements that can be changed and tested.