With the explosion of online media, there is an enormous amount of data being shared for the online consumer, making it more challenging for marketers to get their coveted attention. As your target consumer is bombarded with marketing messages from various sources, you need to have a go-to strategy to ensure your content receives the attention it deserves. As a content marketer, it is important to take the guesswork out of your strategy and learn to define what content resonates best with your target consumer. This is where A/B testing comes into play.
What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing (also called “split testing”) is a form of statistical hypothesis testing using randomized experimentation with two variables (A and B) with the goal of identifying changes to web pages that increase or maximize an outcome of interest (e.g., click-through rate, bounce rate, etc.). Split testing your content is the key to creating quality content which in turn drives quality traffic to your marketing channels.
Why Should You A/B Test?
A/B testing allows you to make the most of your existing traffic. When you test your content, your audience will tell you what they like by sharing, responding, or taking some kind of action. The content that gets the best results will give you insights into what type of content you should create in the future. Using the data from the A/B tests to make changes to your web pages or content can lead to an increase in your marketing ROI.
What Can You Test?
Almost anything on your website that affects user behavior can be A/B tested. In this article we are going to cover just a few of the many factors that can be tested.
Headlines play a crucial role in content marketing. A great headline can pull your audience in and a bad one can repel them. That being said, it makes sense to try two different headlines to see which performs best. You should look beyond just clicks as a metric to measure the success of your headlines. How is your audience responding to the content? Are they sharing it? Commenting on it? The best headlines are the ones that get the reader to engage AND put them in the right mindset to consume the content.
A list of Headline Analyzers:
The old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and the same holds true in content marketing. A good image helps illustrate points and break up long pieces of text. However, an image that is irrelevant or poorly placed can actually serve to confuse or distract the reader. So it is important to A/B test your images & their placement.
Here are a few ideas that you can test:
- Stock images vs. images you took yourself
- Photos vs. illustrations
- Images with people vs. images without people
- Diagrams & charts vs. photos
Length of Content
This split test may be the most time consuming but can provide you with insight on how your audience consumes your content. Each site and their audience is different, so the only way to determine what length of content your audience responds to best is to A/B test it. To get the best results, you need to create two different versions of your content and track the results. Repeat this test with several pieces of content until you find the sweet spot.
Call To Action
When wrapping up your content, you should have a strong Call To Action telling your reader what to do next. In content marketing, your CTA may differ from those that are on product or service pages. Instead of asking visitors to purchase something, you may encourage them to leave a comment or sign up for an email newsletter. To figure out which Call To Action works best, you need to — you guessed it! — split test them. Your CTA is likely to be determined by the subject matter of your content and the goals you hope it will achieve. Below are a few of the many CTAs you could use in content marketing.
- Subscribe to Email Newsletter
- Visit a product or service page
- Read more content
Using these helpful tips and tools, you should be able to confidently start A/B testing your content and dramatically improve the results of your content marketing campaign, virtually eliminating guesswork. When you test your content, your audience will tell you what they like by sharing, commenting, and taking action. Trust us, once you start split testing, you’ll never want to go back!