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The ABCs of A/B Testing for Content Marketers4 min read

4 min read

The ABCs of A/B Testing for Content Marketers

There’s an undeniable art to content marketing – but there’s a real science to it, too.

A/B testing has its roots in direct marketing, but these days content marketing has commandeered the practice with such aplomb that it’s hard to imagine using it anywhere else.

The purpose is simple: Find out what the consumer prefers. And for once, the process is relatively simple, too.

How A/B testing works

Let’s say you’ve just created a monthly newsletter and you want to make a button on your website inviting people to sign up.

What text should go on the button? It could be “Sign up here”, “Sign up now”, “Receive the newsletter”, “Join our mailing list” or any number of other options depending on your desired action and outcomes.

What colour should the button be? You might want green for ‘go’, or red to stand out. Alternatively, you may opt for one of your brand colours.

Where should the button go? Perhaps at the top of the page, perhaps below the fold. There are seemingly endless decisions to be made for even the most simple features.

The trick is to test the difference between just one thing at a time. For example, you would keep the text and colour the same but only change where the button sits. Or you would keep the button in the same place and as the same colour but change the text.

The page will have to be built so that a portion of visitors go to the test version and the rest go to your normal page.

If you start seeing a difference in how many people sign up to your newsletter, you’ll have your answer. You can then continue tests, slightly altering the various elements to find which combination produces the best results with real data to back it up.

A/B Testing

Why A/B testing works so well for content marketing

Content marketing is really all about the numbers: the clicks, the traffic, the page bounces, the time spent on each site or landing page, and the goals.

A/B testing can create data relating to the large majority of content aims. With concrete data, it has the power to improve conversion rates, bounce rates, click-throughs, social media shares, and much, much more.

When EA games launched a new version of SimCity they used A/B testing to find out why they weren’t selling quite as much as they were expecting. Initially, they designed the page with a promotional banner at the top of the screen. As a test, they removed the offer, and saw a resulting 43.4% increase in sales.

What can you test?

A/B testing works for just about anything to do with content, so get creative with your variations.

Headlines are a common thing to test, especially when you are pushing your content on other platforms to link back to your site. Similarly, subject lines for emails make an obvious test choice, as they can help you decide what really entices a customer to open the email.

Your call to action is a huge area in itself, as discussed above (with the buttons). This can relate to checking out a shopping basket, signing up to a newsletter, making a purchase, requesting information, downloading a report, sharing on social media, or any other requests you may have for your customers.

Speaking of social media, don’t forget that you can test this, too. Come up with a few different ways to tweet about the same link and see which one brings in the most clicks.

It doesn’t end there! You can even test for the time of day. Does an email get more clicks in the morning or afternoon? Are people more likely to read your Facebook posts on different days of the week? A/B testing can help you find out.

Don’t be afraid to take a risk and try something you’ve never done with your website, social media, or email marketing campaigns. A/B Testing is an excellent way to learn about your audience and drive those content marketing results. As they say: No risk, no reward.

Looking for memorable, perfectly curated content for your business? Get in touch with the team at Croud Australia.