4 reasons why you need to A/B test

August 2, 2016 Francis Dignan

A/B testing: something that every marketer is aware of, yet so rarely utilised to its full potential. It really is one of the most valuable tools at a marketer’s disposal though, and here are a few reasons why.

 

1. You can’t please everyone all the time

It’s completely normal to want your ads to reach the widest possible demographic, and to convert like nothing has ever converted before. Realistically, though, it just isn’t going to happen. A selfie-obsessed Snapchat addict is going to want to see something totally different to a technophobe thumbing through the online newspapers.

A/B testing is one way to find out what works with your different demographics. Ideally, you should already have your buyer personas set up, so you’ll have a rough idea of how to target them in a more general sense. Testing allows you to refine this though. It allows you to try two different variations on the same demographic and see which works best with them. Chances are, you’ll get vastly different results for each group of people, as everyone has their own triggers which make them respond.

One more thing. Don’t try and target ‘millennials’. It may be the advertiser’s dream to catch this audience, but it’s not going to happen. Why? You’re trying to target, essentially, everyone under 30. This is such a broad, vast, massive range of people that there’s no way to grab the attention even half of them. Target based on interests, rather than age.

 

2. Taste is subjective, stats speak the truth

You have two options for your next ad campaign. One is the graphic designer’s choice. It’s on trend, beautiful, with amazing imagery and creative copy. The other is led more by a data driven approach. Still a classy design, but with a focus on conversion, and what has been proven to work in the past.

Both designs look fantastic, and both could potentially perform incredibly well, so how do you choose? Well, this is where A/B testing comes into it’s own. There doesn’t need to be any sort of dispute, or decision, you just run both for a day or two and see which is performing better. Decision made, and backed up by cold, hard data. You can’t argue with data.

3. Make sure your offer is the right one

More often than not, your business will have more than one product or service which they want to offer people at any given time. This can be based on the season, or an event, or simply the fact the your company is having some sort of sale, but it will very rarely be just one thing you want to push.

You need to decide, first, on which audience segment to target. Then which offers you think will appeal to them most. Narrow it down to 2 or 3, but then the key once again is to test. This will tell you directly which of your products or services to push at that given moment. Without testing, you’re either just going to run all three at once, spending 3 times as much, or simply guess which one you think will be the best option for your audience.

With testing though, you can be sure that the ad you decide to push in the end is the one that your audience most wanted to see, and more importantly click on, as you have the data to back up the choice.

 

4. Nailing the copy

The smallest changes can make the biggest differences. This is especially true when it comes to the copy on your banner ad. This is what can make or break your conversion, as this is the real meat of your campaign. What do you want to say to your audience? How are you going to get them interested? Crucially, how are you going to get them to click on your call to action (CTA)?

There’s no right or wrong way to word these things. Of course, for the CTA there are some general rules (keep it short, use an action verb), but other than that it all depends on your target audience, brand, and whatever you are offering on any particular ad.

You can make as many drafts or alternatives as you want, but there’s no way to tell which will convert most effectively, which is why you need to test a few alternatives. You might be surprised by the results! Just changing the CTA from ‘click here’ to ‘buy now’ could see a huge uptake (or downturn) in your conversion, so experiment with a few options before deciding on your definitive campaign.

 

So What Now?

Now you can see the huge benefits of A/B testing, so you’ve just got to start doing it. You should notice an instant improvement in your overall results, as you know you’ll always be showing the best performing, most popular version of your ad campaign. If you’re not sure on how to get your analytics, look into it. You might use a platform with the function built in, and if not, you can give BannerFlow a try for 14 days, for free! Or you can book a demo below, and find out how easy A/B testing can be.

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