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6 Steps to Building a Successful A/B Testing Action Plan

Posted by Kim Schick on December 16, 2014

One of the exciting aspects of digital marketing communications is that anything can happen. Consumers may be attuned to one campaign and not the other. The trouble is that as marketers we don’t always know what works. Finding the “sweet spot” of generating clicks, views, conversions, etc. can be difficult. A/B testing is an efficient way to find the sweet spot and continue to improve performance. A/B testing is a method that can be used across most channels to identify a more effective way to communicate with customers and impact the performance of a campaign.

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Below are critical steps within an action plan that should be considered to build an A/B testing campaign.

Follow these 6 steps to build your Digital Marketing A/B Testing Action Plan: 

1. Understand why you are testing. Determine a goal.
There are endless reasons to perform A/B testing. The end-all, be-all is always to drive customers to take action and make a conversion. However, it is necessary to understand what your leadership or client is looking to improve. Outline a specific conversion that will be the focus of the A/B test and make your team aware of it. Is it to increase transactions, increase enrollments or increase user-generated content? Once you know the goal of the A/B test you can move forward on building your Digital Marketing A/B Testing Action Plan.

 2. Set measurements of success.
A test can be evaluated by increased conversions. However, adding metric goals can indicate the level of success of the A/B test. If you surpass your measurement goal by 200% then your level of success is identified as extremely high. It also backs up future buy-in for more digital marketing A/B testing. Leadership or clients may have dollar-figure goals that can help guide campaign metrics to achieve realistic methods to measure success.

 3. Identify test limitations.
When first deciding to conduct an A/B test, it is very important to uncover and explain the limitations to all stakeholders. What are the pros and cons to the test results? What happens if we have no findings? Do we know how long it will take to get results and implement new findings? Do we have the applicable data to make the test happen? Can our resources fulfill this request? Think through all obstacles and share possible challenges with your team to evaluate limitations before you start building your test.

 4. Pick your A/B test.
There is no guarantee that you will choose a test that will drive results; however, there are caveats that need to be considered to ensure you have chosen a good candidate for a test. Here are a few keys to keep in mind when picking your test:

 Universe size: If the audience is too small you may not determine significant findings. Be sure to have a data analyst provide a universe size recommendation.

  • Not every test will have a winning result. Sometimes tests don’t show conclusive results and consumers do not prefer test A over test B. Don’t give up! Build this scenario into your plan so you can continue testing new ideas (see step 5).
  • Pick one item to test. In order to determine the driver of results you must have only one change in the test from version A to B. You don’t want to change the headline and the button color in test B. It will be impossible to have definitive results of the key driver to conversions of the A/B test.

 5. Determine what-if scenarios.
An important part of your Digital Marketing A/B Testing Action Plan should be a map of scenarios. You’ve already picked your first test, but what happens next? Have a few other testing ideas lined up to implement after you’ve completed your first test. The key is to always test. And have a plan in place on how to proceed once a winner is determined. There is always room for improvement, so continuous testing will only benefit your campaign. Keep in mind you may not find significant results and at that time you can say that both the control and the B test are equally relevant to the customer.

 6. Apply your learnings.
Build time into your A/B testing action plan to implement results into existing campaigns and future campaigns. Time and resources can be the biggest struggle when performing A/B tests. Your plan should include time to analyze and implement learnings. Remember, step 1 is to make a goal. In order to reach the goal, a roll-out of the winning results will need to take place.

Planning is a very important element to A/B testing regardless of whether the team is testing landing pages, content offers, ads or emails. At J&C, we recommend a variety of testing strategies to fit our clients' needs. A/B testing is one of our tried and true approaches for identifying what's working and what isn't and how to optimize tactics for stronger conversions. 

To learn about other strategies we enjoy for bettering lead generation results, download the eBook "30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas."

Topics: Best Practices, A/B Testing

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