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Dos and Don’ts of A/B Testing

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Dos and Don’ts of A/B Testing
  1. Do Test Tons of Different Variables
    There are so many variables you can A/B test in your marketing. Color, size, subject line, content offer, templates, layout, timing, frequency — the possibilities are almost endless!
  2. Don’t Test Them All at Once
    Smart A/B testers understand the importance of focusing on just one variable for each test they conduct. If you’re testing the effectiveness of one call-to-action over another and are modifying two different variables such as design and messaging, how will you be able to isolate the reason for whether one CTA was more effective than the other?
  3. Do Start Simple
    Dip your toes into the A/B testing pond by testing something simple like CTA button color or size on a webpage. While there are definitely more advanced tests you can conduct like testing more complex website features, there’s nothing wrong with starting small and working your way up. In fact, even a minor change can cause major results.
  4. Don’t Be Afraid to Try More Advanced Testing
    Once you feel comfortable with simple A/B tests, don’t be afraid to graduate to more complex tests such as A/B/C tests or page level test designs, which pits two dramatically differently designed pages against one another. While this may seem to conflict with the direction of not testing more than one variable at once, it actually makes sense if you consider the whole page as the variable you’re testing.
  5. Do Always Be Testing
    There’s no reason why you can’t constantly be testing something, and if you have the bandwidth to do so, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be testing two different things — like a CTA on one page and the layout on another page — at the same time. The more intelligence you can generate at one time, the quicker you can optimize your marketing.
  6. Don’t Limit Your Tests to One Marketing Channel
    Furthermore, don’t think you can only test one channel in your marketing mix like website design or email marketing. You can conduct testing in every marketing channel at your disposal — on your blog, in social media, in your search engine optimization — everywhere! Just be sure you’re using the right metrics for the channel you’re testing.
  7. Don’t Assume Your Results are Statistically Significant
    Not every test you conduct will generate significant results, so don’t assume they all will (you know what they say happens when you assume, right?). Just because one email subject line performed slightly better than another doesn’t mean that test was significant.
  8. Do Analyze Whether Results are Statistically Significant
    Instead of assuming, actually analyze whether your test results are statistically significant. This blog post offers some tips and tricks on how to determine statistical significance.
  9. Don’t Give Up if Results Aren’t Significant
    If, through your analysis, you determine that your test results aren’t significant, don’t despair. This may happen from time to time, but it shouldn’t deter you from conducting future tests. Determining that your test wasn’t statistically significant can teach you something in itself: that the variable you were testing doesn’t have a big impact on the results.
  10. Do Make Changes Based on Test Results
    Once you’ve analyzed the results of your test, act accordingly! If your test was statistically significant, implement the winning change. If it wasn’t significant, recognize that the variable you tested didn’t impact the results, and try testing a new variable.

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