Data for Decision: How to Prepare for A/B Testing


From customer insights to market trends, data can shape business decisions. It can elevate a marketing campaign, boost sales tactics, and help business leaders explore new opportunities or revenue streams. Collecting data can be in various forms. But in an online setting, the common method is to do A/B testing.

Why choose A/B testing?

Before making a huge decision, a certain demographic or market needs to be tested first. That way, you avoid mistakes that can cost your company time, effort, and other resources. Think of it like you’re getting a learner’s permit exam online. Acing this exam is a necessary step before taking a driver’s license exam. In a way, the learner’s permit test filters those who aren’t ready yet to learn the rules necessary to drive.

A/B testing has tons of benefits to many professionals but most especially to marketing teams. No matter which part of your marketing campaign you want to test, A/B tests are often low in cost but high in reward.  After all, you’re preventing your company from committing to costly advertisements that are likely to fail.

But the common mistake of newbie marketers is to dive into A/B testing right away. As long as they have two ideas they want to test, they quickly launch the A/B testing on their website or through Google ads. It doesn’t hurt to prepare for the A/B testing—like there’s value in taking practice tests for a learner’s permit.

How should you plan for A/B testing?

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For newbie marketers and startup owners, here are some steps to cover before you begin A/B testing:

1. Choose one variable to test

As you try to optimize your website, email, or social media marketing campaigns, you might find several variables you want to test. But to assess A/B testing results effectively, you need to isolate one variable. Otherwise, when you test multiple variables, you won’t be sure which one affects the results the most.

2. Identify the goal

While you have to measure several metrics for each test, select a primary metric to focus on right before you run the test. It’s also beneficial to set the goal even before you set up the dependent variable. If you wait until afterward to set the metrics, goals, and changes you want to propose for the dependent variable, then you might not set up the A/B testing in the most effective way.

3. Split sample groups equally and randomly

To gain better test results, don’t forget to split sample groups randomly yet equally. For instance, if you need to test two email copy tones, be sure to test with two or more groups of audiences that are equal. If half of Group 1 are Baby Boomers, then 50 percent of Group 2 should also belong to that demographic.

4. Be sure to run on test at a time on any campaign

It’s easy to choose to run different tests on different variables for a single campaign. After all, that sounds efficient, but testing more than one thing for a single campaign can complicate results. For instance, if you’re A/B testing an email marketing campaign that directs to a landing page while also A/B testing that exact landing page, how can you know which variable changes caused the increase in leads? Is it the change in email’s call-to-action or the change in the overall design on the landing page?

If you prepare efficiently for A/B testing, you can expect more significant results. That’s more refined data to help your company leaders make the right decision for the growth and future of your organization.

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