What is A/B testing?
Imagine, entering a playground with two packets of the same flavored candies, candy A and candy B. Candy A is in the shapes of many small animals, whereas candy B, is of the same shape, a sphere. Now hand out one candy from each packet to the kids playing, and then sit and wait for the kids to come back, asking for more candy. (Children are greedy they always come back for more)
Whichever candy is more in demand will definitely prove to be successful, yes?
This is exactly what A/B testing is. The candies are the two variations of the mail, and the children in the playground are your subscriber list. But in more technical terms; A/B testing, also sometimes known as split testing, is a completely randomized test with two different target audiences.
How does A/B testing work?
First of all A/B testing should never be considered an isolated exercise, meaning, just doing the test will not ensure success. It is always a part of a wider CRO ( or Conversion Rate Optimization) program which is a digital marketing strategy for improving the conversion of the website.
What can you test?
What is the very first thing you notice when you receive mail? A subject line; one of the most important parts of an email. What if just toggling with this single line, can lead to the success of your campaign or god forbid, failure. This toggling itself is called A/B testing. Let's see in what ways this altercation to subject line can be done;
An optimal subject line should have 41-50 characters, hence a test can be done, with (A)shorter subject lines, and (B)lengthier, ie; 40 characters and 50-60 characters. This is still not a complete iron-clad method, as some people might be using different devices to open their mail, because on mobile phones, the subject lines are hidden, due to screen space, and on computers are fully visible.
The order in which you place the words in your email subject line can make a difference in how people read and interpret them or if they will even read them, which can potentially impact your email opening rate. Consider these two examples;
Enjoy all things warm and delicious, a sweet offer for the sweet tooth in you, up to 50% off on all products
50% off on all products for the sweet tooth in you, enjoy all things delicious
What would you choose, click on, the first mail or the second? And that will give you your answer as to which will give better turnover rates.
Imagine this, you are whiling away your time on your smartphone, or maybe working on it, and suddenly you get a notification, with your name in bold. Will you be more likely to open it or ignore it?
According to various studies, using the subscribers' name has been proven very fruitful, as it brings a personal touch to the mails, and leads to more clicks. Famous brands like Sephora and Converse use personalization in their mails.
Well, apart from subject lines you can test a few more things.
The first image is of H&M, and is self-explanatory, as to what product they are advertising, in these cases, there is no requirement of reading the wordy content. But the second image may leave the reader with an air mystery, which is again correct, as they are advertising a surprise for their subscribers.
Using images can have either a positive impact or a negative impact. Many times subscribers can get distracted with images and may end up ignoring the content. This will reduce conversion rates.
It is very important to choose a proper theme for your emails. The theme should complement your website or product which you are advertising. In A/B testing two different themes can be selected, it will help figure out what theme works best with the type of brand you own.
This is one of the most important types of A/B testing. Creating two types of content one wordy and the other short, to decide which will lead to more subscribers.
How to carry out the test?
Before going forward with the actual test, it is advisable to;
Download ready-made A/B testing templates, straight into your excel document.
Or, looking for AI-generated A/B testing platforms online
One of the best places to find both the available options is Campaign Monitor.
The latter is less manual labor, and advisable for websites, with huge subscriber, lists. Whereas using the first option is better for small brands, which will give them first-hand experience into the subscriber behavior.
Summing it up, A/B testing can be both fun and worthwhile to work on, and the way the tests can be conducted is totally up to you.