This post comes courtesy of Nick Campanella, a VoIP and CRM writer for GetVoIP.
A/B testing is a powerful strategy used mostly by marketers to determine the overall effectiveness of their ad campaigns, websites, emails, and content. The goal, of course, is to bring in more customers, but there has to be a balance between being promotional and personal. Too much in either direction can have a negative effect on your marketing strategy. Here, we’re going to be looking closely at A/B testing techniques to improve your ad click-through-rates (CTRs).
Test Responses to Ads on Social Media
Ads on social media can focus on tons of different variables. Pictures, videos, actionable headlines, links in the description, giveaways, tone of voice, time of publication, and more can all be tested to see what generates the best responses.
To do this, simply have one page as a control and another as the experiment. Run separate tests for each variable you test to ensure you know what’s playing a significant role in the potential increase or decrease in your CTR. Below, you can see an example of changing the subject using different emojis and personalization:
You can also analyze the responses you receive and test to see which ads give you the responses you’re looking for. Think an increase in likes, shares, follows, comments, replies within posts – and ultimately higher CTR.
This, of course, will depend on what kind of strategy you’re trying to implement. If you want more responses, you might have to change your calls-to-action; if you want a higher click-through rate, think about increasing the number, shape, size and location of buttons in your emails or on your website until you find a combination that works. These responses will represent what the customer experience is like, so they need to be positive whenever possible.
Test Calls-to-Action on Website and in Emails
Strong copy on your website and in emails requires strong calls-to-action. There are a number of ways to test if your CTAs are actionable. In fact, HubSpot ran their own tests on their CTAs and found significant improvements upwards of 70 percent.
Test the tone, perspective, diction, hashtags, verbs, pictures, timers, and headlines to ensure your ads aren’t leaving people wondering what they should do next.
Personalizing your calls-to-action can also make a significant difference in the overall effectiveness of your website and emails by adding another layer of personalization to the overall experience. Below is a good example of what kind of changes you can make:
Your CTAs should ultimately encourage your potential customers to make a purchase on your website or click on the ad in the email they receive to go to a product page.
Closing is just as important as increasing your leads. Knowing how to close will come in handy when you’re trying to retain your customers instead of reaching out for new ones.
Test Coordination Between Social and Physical ads
Test to see how much coordination your ads need in order to be more effective. This would require monitoring what channels your leads like to use, how and when your marketing team sends out ads, and how sales agents follow up after the release of those ads.
Tip: when using physical ads, make sure you have a website URL that’s easy to remember.
You also want to test to see if you should send the same ad across various channels or if your leads and website visitors like variety. Again, you should pay close attention to video formats, images, links, calls-to-action, tone of voice, grammar/diction, etc. to see what works best.
Psychology suggests that repetition improves memory, so if your goal is to have your audience remember your company regardless of if they are online or offline, you might want to consider keeping your ad content consistent and you might want to time the publication of your ads to ensure there’s a steady stream of content.
Coordination with your ads leads to a natural omnichannel experience that helps to boost the overall customer experience.
Test Keywords to Increase Traffic
Testing specific keywords to improve search results will ultimately help your business increase website traffic. You can do this by having one ad as the control and another with specific keywords placed in the headline and copy.
To find what keywords to target, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner to see how well keywords are ranking — or you can do a simple Google search to see what comes up in the suggested searches when you type in a keyword you wish to target.
From there, you would monitor which keywords lead to more traffic, more likes, more shares, more follows, more responses, and a higher CTR. The more people that see your ad, the higher the odds it leads to a purchase.
When you determine what keywords are most effective in your ads, make sure you’re incorporating them wherever it’s naturally possible (no keyword stuffing!).
Only Run Tests as Long as Necessary
Running tests only as long as necessary ensures your test results are relevant and your ads can be updated as quickly as possible. If you wait too long, you could potentially miss out on higher CTRs, which can lead to higher conversions.
The whole point of an A/B test is to determine what works best on a website or ad that encourages people to make a purchase by testing two different versions of the same page, or in this case, an ad.
Having tests running for too long also leaves open the possibility of forgetting about them, or having ads that might be ineffective or simply out-of-date. This affects consistency, which plays a significant role in the overall success of ad campaigns.
If you’re launching an ad campaign with outdated content, headlines, and designs, your audience may get confused, which will only encourage your customers to look elsewhere.
When you determine what changes are making an impact, you need to make sure you’re implementing the changes immediately.
Align A/B Tests with Segmented Audience
It’s becoming more clear that ads must to be personalized in order to be effective. Consistency is key when it comes to ads, so marketers need to be sure their ads align with each segment.
For example, if you want to increase your click-through rate, you need to make sure your content aligns with your customer’s lifestyle. Not doing so will put you at a severe disadvantage against another company that makes a point of personalizing their marketing strategy whenever possible.
Aligning your A/B tests with your audience means separate tests for each of your segments. Ad campaigns will be ineffective if they’re targeting the wrong audience. Go over your demographics, psychographics, and any other data before your ads go live. Key data to look at would be age, income, marital status, purchase history, time of purchase, race, gender, ethnicity, and loyalty.
Create ads that cater to each of these variables, test them, and make the changes as soon as you obtain enough data to make a decision. Make sure you’re giving customers a reason to make a purchase.
The Final Word
Customers no longer differentiate between companies based on the products they sell; they differentiate between companies based on the experience they receive across the funnel.
A/B testing to improve your ad CTRs is imperative for an effective marketing strategy. The smallest changes can make a difference. Some companies see significant increases in conversions just from tweaking their CTA buttons.
The most important piece of advice we can give you is to make sure the customer is always being prioritized. This means every step of the customer journey has to be aligned with optimizing the customer experience wherever possible. A/B testing can improve your bottom line if you keep these techniques in mind.
Image 1: via ActiveCampaign
Image 2: via Hubspot