A/B testing your social media strategy is a great way to see which aspects of your campaign are working and which aren’t.
Here’s everything you need to know about A/B testing and how you can successfully apply it to your social media strategy to yield great results and improve your marketing.
What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing, sometimes referred to as split testing, is a scientific method for trialing slight variations in a marketing campaign and seeing which works best.
Simply put, you split your audience into two different groups and show each group a variation of the same ad, with the one variable that you’re testing changed. You’re then able to see which version is most effective by the responses you receive.
A/B testing is different from something like automation testing, as instead of looking for bugs and errors, you’re investigating people’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions.
You can use different metrics to measure the success of the campaign, depending on what factors are most closely aligned with your individual marketing strategy and brand values.
Why Should You A/B Test Your Social Media Strategy?
A/B testing helps you to produce marketing materials that are relevant to your audience, resonate with them well, and achieve the results you desire.
This allows you to make well-informed decisions about which areas of a marketing strategy are effective and are worth dedicating your time and resources to.
A/B testing can also help you get to know your audience better by leveraging social media analytics tools, which provide valuable insights and data for effective A/B testing of your social media strategy. It can identify key likes and dislikes in different sections of your audience, which can inform your marketing decisions and facilitate more effective marketing personalization.
Modern marketing is fast-paced, with customer behaviors and social algorithms changing frequently. This can mean that a marketing strategy that’s working well now may not be performing as well in six months’ time.
Regular split testing allows you to keep on top of current trends and ensures that your marketing campaigns continue to resonate with your target audiences. With social media marketing continuing to grow in prevalence, producing relevant ads has never been more important.
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A/B testing can also help you get to know your audience better. Social media tools can provide valuable insights and data for effective A/B testing of your social media strategy. It can identify key likes and dislikes in different sections of your audience, which can inform your marketing decisions and facilitates more effective marketing personalization.
4 Tips for Successful A/B Testing
Just as you have to contend with mobile testing challenges when trialing your website on mobile devices, there are a number of obstacles you’ll have to navigate when performing A/B testing on your social media strategy. Here are some hints and tips to help you get it right.
Choose a Good Sample Size
When you’re undertaking A/B testing, you need to make sure that the sample size you use is large enough to provide reliable results.
A sample size that’s too small will mean that your results may be skewed, which will impact your ability to make well-informed decisions.
It’s also important to consider who makes up your sample audience. Who are your target demographics, and are they well-represented in your test sample?
Test Appropriate Features
The first step when performing A/B testing is to decide exactly what you’re going to test.
Many different features can be split-tested, so prioritizing features that you want to have a high impact, such as your calls to action, are a good place to start.
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Here are just a few examples of features of your marketing campaign that can be A/B tested.
Text will be a key feature of many marketing campaigns, appearing in social media posts, content marketing, email marketing, and a variety of other places.
Different audiences respond differently to language, so features such as tone of voice, post length, and writing style can all be A/B tested to see which variation is most effective.
As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” While this means that images are a great way to quickly get your point across, it also means that the wrong image in the wrong place can do more harm than good.
When it comes to A/B testing the visual aspects of your marketing, you can look at whether still images are more effective than animated GIFs or videos. You can also investigate the use of graphs and infographics versus photographs, as well as how text is incorporated into your visuals.
Calls to Action
A call to action (CTA) is a key feature of a social media marketing campaign, as it’s when you try and persuade your audience to do something. This could be asking them to share your post, sign up for your email newsletter, or visit your product landing page.
Research shows that Facebook ads utilizing CTA buttons perform much better than those without them.
Image sourced from databox.com
Whatever it’s asking them to do, it’s important that your CTA is unmissable, enticing, and has clear intent.
You can test different language styles for your CTA; should it be persuasive or commanding? You can also try different fonts, colors, positions, and sizes and see what makes it really stand out.
Test One Element at a Time
It’s absolutely crucial that you only test one feature at a time when A/B testing.
There may be many aspects of your marketing campaigns that you wish to test, but testing them all at once means that you’ll have no real idea about what your audience is reacting positively or negatively to.
Test one element, and once you’ve obtained your results, you can repeat the tests with a different variable altered.
Thoroughly Analyze the Data
Analyze the data that’s been generated by your tests. If all has gone well, you’ll have a clear answer about which version of your ad works better, but you may also be presented with other findings that you wouldn’t have expected.
A/B testing can tell you a lot about the likes and dislikes of your audience and how they’re interacting with your marketing. These findings can then be applied to great effect in future campaigns, so the next time you’re creating content, you’ll know exactly what to include.
A/B testing can also be applied to optimize the performance of your email marketing campaigns, such as A/B testing your email newsletter design and subject lines for improved open rates and engagement.
Achieve Success With an A/B Test
A/B testing helps you to understand what aspects of your social media marketing efforts are resonating with your audience and which may need improving.
Remember to use appropriate sample sizes for your split tests and carefully analyze the results that are generated. This will help you to make well-informed decisions and allocate resources efficiently.
There are numerous features of your marketing that you can test, and the more you do, the more refined your marketing will be. But remember, only test one element at a time!
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