A Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing on Social Media

Created on:
March 23, 2022

A/B testing refers to comparing two versions of the same thing to determine which performs better. Although the test is currently used to test websites and apps, its first use was recorded 100 years ago. Ronald Fisher, a statistician and biologist, was the first person to figure out the principles behind A/B testing in the 1920s. He used the test to run agricultural experiments. Marketers widely adopted the method in 1990s.

How A/B Testing Works

An A/B test compares two versions of the same thing, say a website or screen app. You select a webpage and modify it to have two web pages. The modification can be as simple as changing the headline or background color. Show the website's original version (control) to half of your target audience and the modified version (the variation) to the other half. As visitors use either the control or variation website, their engagement is measured and collected for analysis. The data can help determine if the change has a positive, negative or no effect on the user’s behavior.

Where Can A/B Testing be Conducted?

The good thing about A/B testing is that it works with any social media content. Here are the most common items tested with A/B testing. Social media posts, Call to Action, E-mails, Webpages, Facebook ads.

A/B Testing Process

A/B testing is a straightforward process. Here is a step-by-step guide of conducting the process: You must collect data to identify which content to optimize. It is recommended to start with areas with low conversion rates or low engagement that need improvement. Create conversion goals to help you determine whether or not the variation is more effective than the original version. The conversion goals can range from more e-mail signups to increased buying. Develop a hypothesis detailing why you think the variation will work better than the original version. A clearly defined hypothesis allows you to create meaningful conclusions from the test and create more comprehensive hypotheses for subsequent tests.

Once you have a hypothesis, introduce the desired changes to the content you want to optimize. You can do it manually or use a software. The change can be customizing the navigation elements, changing the website color or other visible customization. Initiate the experiment and wait for your target audience to participate in it. The participants will be divided into control and variation groups, and their interaction will be measured and recorded. Analyze the collected data to determine if there is a statistical difference between the original and variation versions. Use the results to modify your marketing strategy appropriately.

Advantages of A/B Testing

A/B testing is a vital tool used to determine the effectiveness of different marketing strategies. Here are some of its advantages: Increased Conversion Rates, A/B testing can determine the kind of content that converts many of your website visitors into buyers. Using the technique allows you to figure out what works for your customers, allowing you to increase conversion rates. Using A/B test results allows you to make the right changes to your marketing strategies. Applying the modifications that positively influence your visitors will increase their engagement with your content. Conducting A/B tests on your webpages and other areas experiencing high drop-off rates can enable you to determine how to keep your visitors engaged. Using the results to conduct modifications can influence visitors to stay longer on your pages and reduce drop-off rates.

Disadvantages of A/B Testing

Despite being beneficial, A/B testing has its share of disadvantages. Here are some of them: A/B testing consumes a lot of time than other testing methods. Setting up the test and running it to completion involves many activities. The testing has limited use as it is only suitable for measuring simple goals. Complex goals can be difficult to measure using the test.

Bottom Line

A/B testing is a robust user experience research method used to test various marketing strategies. It can work on multiple marketing content, and the testing process is straightforward. While A/B testing results in increased conversion rates, increased content engagement and reduced drop-off rates, it’s time-consuming and its use is limited to certain areas.

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