A/B Testing for Marketing Success

One of the hallmarks of good marketing practices is consistent testing in the pursuit of constant improvement. Among the most common and easily implemented forms of marketing testing is the A/B testing approach.

The purpose of A/B testing is to alter only a single or small handful of variables in a testing scenario, and identify which has a greater effect in achieving the intended outcome.  For example, a company may create a new brochure, and on one version of the brochure highlight an online call-to-action, and in a second version the company highlights a telephone call to action.

In both scenarios, the company would (with appropriate tracking mechanisms in place of course) measure the results and determine how to inform their next campaign with the information learned from this A/B test, which call-to-action is more successful in generating contacts and sales.

A/B testing, also called ‘Split Testing’ has many derivatives. In the marketing world a common framework is the “Champion/Challenger” approach, where the  “Winner” of each round of testing faces a new “Challenger” in each testing cycle. The winner is only replaced when a new “Challenger,” or set of variables in the testing paradigm defeats it.

The best news is that this approach, as simple as it may be, is one of the most effective ways to make sure that you are focused on constant improvement of your business. It utilizes an evidence-based approach to make small incremental improvements. It is an approach that allows for the exploration of new and creative techniques while minimizing the amount of change that has to be absorbed by your business as you test various techniques.

Creating an A/B testing schedule is not difficult, and adhering to one is achievable while simultaneously managing your business. It doesn’t require re-inventing the wheel to turn out each new test cycle. Instead it actually encourages manageable, bite-size changes, which are adopted based on test results, rather than guesswork.