How to A/B Test Ads

With digital marketing being more important for commercial success right now than ever before, it should be of little surprise that businesses and startups around the world are flocking to websites like Facebook and Google to reach more customers. Despite the obvious importance of digital marketing techniques, there’s been a serious drought of reliable strategies that businesses can leverage without spending too much money.

One cost-effective, simple technique that many business owners may be unfamiliar with is A/B testing. Here’s how A/B testing your ads improves conversion and streamlines your entire marketing process.

What is A/B testing?

Before you can enlist the help of A/B testing, you need to understand what it is. To put it simply, A/B testing is the process whereby a business splits its audience into two groups, exposes them to two different ad campaigns, and determines which campaign was the most effective. Sometimes called “split marketing,” A/B testing can help you figure out which messages are worth broadcasting to the masses and which are best left ignored if you don’t want to alienate or anger customers.

A/B testing must be a controlled process if you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor. This means you must have an A audience that’s roughly the same size as your B audience, for instance, and understand that you can’t change too many variables between your ad campaigns if you want your data to be sound and useful when the testing is done. Far too often, business owners conduct A/B testing that supposedly produces results but simply wastes their time, money and creative energy.


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1. Pay special attention to Facebook.

Entrepreneurs who are considering A/B testing should pay special attention to Facebook, where it’s easy to make small mistakes that add up over time. Familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of Facebook A/B testing, which includes brushing up on some A/B testing errors unique to Facebook’s platform, should be your starting point if you’re unfamiliar with this area of marketing.

Outside of Facebook’s peculiar domain, there are some standard A/B testing tips that can help you in almost any situation. As you peruse the rest of these tips, pay attention to how you might apply them to your ads, as no business is the same and not all A/B testing guidelines can be applied to your situation without some minor editing beforehand.

2. Don’t forget the text.

So, what should business owners pay attention to when relying on A/B testing to boost their conversion rates? First and foremost, don’t make the silly mistake of ignoring keywords, as the keywords the ad displays are often the most crucial elements of your marketing campaign. Conducting research or purchasing expensive research from someone else may not seem an alluring option, but if you don’t know what kind of keywords to rely on throughout your A/B testing, you may as well not waste your money in the first place.

Other textual elements of the advertisement are similarly vital. You should be A/B testing your headlines, for instance, especially if you are offering curated deals, as these are often the only things that readers actually pay attention to as a huge sum of data scrolls across their social media feed or email inbox. Outside of the textual elements like headlines and keywords, you’ll want to pay close attention to the technical aspect of your marketing strategy. For instance, when customers do finally click on your ads, which landing page are they directed to?

Running A/B testing on various landing pages to determine which ones have the most positive impact on potential customers is a great way to ensure a return on your digital investment. Far too many entrepreneurs ignore this, often because they don’t understand the importance of a good landing page. If business owners use their test data to figure out which landing pages customer prefer, they will enjoy better conversion rates. [Read related article: ]

3. Know how to monitor your results.

This final tip may sound simple, but many entrepreneurs ignore it. When it comes to monitoring your results and keeping track of the data you collect, don’t be afraid to invest in professional assistance. After all, if you’re not a data analyst, you may find it difficult or downright impossible to meaningfully interpret your data-heavy A/B testing results. In addition to learning how to interpret your results, you need to be able to share clean, easily accessible data that you can tap into on demand with your team, as siloing your results away into a secretive corner won’t help anyone.

Depending on how much traffic you get, you may also want to hold back on reading through your results right away. If you have high-traffic webpages, you may wish to allow your A/B testing to run for a few days before trying to cherry-pick useful results, as rushing things could invalidate your testing. You have to have enough data of a good enough quality before it can be of any use to your budding digital marketing operation. Never, ever be ready to declare a certain technique a winner until you’re entirely confident that you’ve accumulated enough data to be certain of your results.

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