What is Split Testing? A Guide to Testing Your Marketing Campaigns
As an entrepreneur and marketer, your ultimate goal is to increase sales and revenue for your business. But, of course, in this economy, that isn’t always easy. Thankfully, there are some tips, tricks, and techniques that make it much more achievable. One of those techniques is called “split testing.”
When you start brainstorming ideas for marketing your business, you’ll likely think of several different approaches. From copy and keywords to concepts and graphics, there are countless factors that go into creating a marketing campaign, and all of them require a lot of thought.
But when you have a bunch of different, equally solid options, how do you decide which ones to use? That’s where split testing comes in.
What is Split Testing?
Split testing, also known as A/B or multivariate testing, is testing two or more variations of a marketing campaign to determine which variation performs better. Essentially, it’s taking multiple ideas and running them simultaneously, then analyzing the results to figure out which works best.
You can split test tons of things, including:
- Landing pages
- Social media posts
- Lead forms
- And more
Since it’s unwise to bank the success of your business on one idea without knowing if it will work, we always recommend testing your campaigns and marketing materials first with a small percentage of your budget. Split testing just doubles or triples that process, allowing you to test multiple campaigns at once and compare results.
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about split testing, including the benefits and different types of split testing. We’ll also offer a step-by-step guide on how to split-test your campaigns on various platforms, including Google Ads, social media platforms, and emails.
The Benefits of Split Testing
Not including the peace of mind that comes from approaching your marketing as a cautious, business-savvy entrepreneur, split testing offers a variety of benefits. It’s why 75% of the top 500 online companies use split testing. Here are three of the primary benefits of split testing.
1. Improved Conversion Rates
Split testing helps you identify the most effective copy, images, and calls to action for your audience. And as a result, it can increase conversions by as much as 400%. You can optimize your campaigns and marketing collateral down to the smallest detail and take as long as you want. In fact, we recommend split-testing every aspect of your campaigns until you end up with the perfect advertisement guaranteed to land you conversions.
2. Enhanced Customer Experience
Split testing allows you to test a bunch of different variables, and you aren’t the only person to benefit from that. By creating campaigns that you know appeal to your target audience, your customers will also benefit. Plus, more conversions equal more profit, which enables you to hire more people and enhance your customer experience.
3. Better Understanding of Your Target Audience
Half of marketing is collecting and analyzing data. Split testing allows you to gather specific data about your audience and their behavior. And by analyzing this data, you get to know your audience a little better. The information you gain from this analysis is extremely helpful in creating campaigns and customer experiences tailored specifically to your target demo.
Types of Split Testing
As you might imagine, you can do several types of split testing. Some people like to keep it simple, while others like to get much more granular. Fortunately, there are types of split testing for everyone.
A/B testing involves testing two variations of a single element simultaneously, like a headline, image, call to action, copy, and more. The goal of A/B testing is to create two almost identical options, with one small difference (for example, a negative-oriented headline vs. a positive-oriented headline), then analyze the results to learn which performed better. You can then use that data to maximize your marketing campaign.
Multivariate testing involves testing multiple variations of several elements within a single campaign. So, instead of focusing on one change at a time, you create numerous variations of several components, pair them up, and test them simultaneously. This method allows you to determine the most effective combination of ad elements.
Split URL Testing
Split URL testing involves creating two different landing pages and directing traffic to each one. Like A/B and multivariate testing, split URL testing is meant to show you which landing page will perform better. The elements on each page can range from slightly to extremely different, ultimately depending on your ideas.
Sequential testing involves testing variations of a campaign over time. So, unlike the other types of split testing described above, you make incremental changes to your campaigns over time. After each change, you track the results, analyze them, and decide if that change was right, if you should try something new, or switch back to what you had before.
We recommend trying sequential split testing once you have a campaign that you know works and want to focus on improving it.
How to Split-Test Your Campaigns on Various Platforms
There are several different split testing tools on the market, like Crazy Egg, Convertize, Hubspot’s A/B Testing Kit, Optimizely, Omniconvert, and more. However, you don’t have to purchase software to split-test your marketing campaigns.
Instead, you can strategically set up testing parameters and manually track the results. Split testing your campaigns manually often requires a few different steps. And depending on the platform you’re using, these steps may vary.
Here are a few simple step-by-step guides to help you split test on various platforms.
Google is one of the most popular places to run ad campaigns for new businesses. And that makes sense. If you’re going to get any traction online, Google is where you want to start. So, here’s a simple guide to split testing on Google Ads.
Step One: Set Up a New Campaign
Create a new campaign in Google Ads and choose the type of campaign you want to run.
Step Two: Create Ad Groups
Within your campaign, create ad groups that target specific audiences or keywords. The demographics include age, household income, gender, and more. Keywords are also super important and play a significant role in SEO and creating ad campaigns.
Step Three: Create Variations
Create two or more ad variations with different copy, images, calls to action, URLs, or even demographics. You can use any variation you like, but be sure to keep track of the specific variations you want to test.
Step Four: Run the Campaigns
Now, it’s time to run the campaigns. We recommend running them simultaneously for a short time on a small budget.
Step Five: Analyze the Results
After running your campaign for a set period (for instance, one week), analyze the results, and determine which ad variation performed best. Do this until you’re happy with every element within your campaign.
Social Media Ads
Whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn, split testing your ad campaigns might be necessary to create the best advertisement. So, here’s a quick guide to split testing on social media.
Step One: Create a New Campaign
Create a new campaign within the ads manager on your preferred social media platform.
Step Two: Create Ad Sets
Within your campaign, create ad sets that target specific audiences. You can even split-test different audiences if you like.
Step Three: Create Variations
Create two or more ad variations, changing the copy, images, headlines, links, CTAs, and whatever else you want to test. Be sure to keep track of what you’re changing.
Step Four: Run the Campaigns
Once you’ve created the campaigns, run them for a short period of time. You can run them for as long as you want. However, it should be long enough to achieve actionable results.
Step Five: Analyze the Results
After the time expires, analyze the results of your campaigns and choose the one that worked the best. We recommend doing this repeatedly until you’ve created the best ad campaign.
Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing campaigns are a little different than social media and Google advertising. So, here’s a quick guide to split-testing your email marketing campaigns.
Step One: Identify Variables to Test
Determine which elements of your email marketing campaign you want to test, such as subject lines, email copy, CTAs, images, or demographics.
Step Two: Create Variations
Create two or more versions of your email with different variations of the variable you want to test.
Step Three: Run Your Email Campaigns
Run your campaigns to a small percentage of your email list. You don’t want to exhaust your entire marketing list during your first or second test, so try to keep your pool relatively small.
Step Four: Analyze the Results
After sending the emails, analyze the results and determine which variation performed best. We recommend doing this over and over again until you find the best possible email campaign.
Start Split Testing Your Marketing Campaigns Today
Split testing is an essential tool for any marketer who wants to optimize their marketing and create a successful business. By testing different variations of a marketing campaign, you can gain insight into your target audience, build a highly converting marketing machine, and ultimately boost your company’s profits.
Whether you’re running an ads campaign, driving traffic to your website, or composing email marketing campaigns, split testing is the ultimate marketing hack to help you maximize your ad budget and grow your business.
Keep in mind that split testing can cost a bit of money. Some experts say you shouldn’t start split testing until your revenue equals $2 million or you get 100K monthly visitors on your website. However, these rules aren’t hard and fast. The most important thing is to ensure you don’t go outside your budget to split test.
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