A/B testing is a digital advertising strategy that allows marketers to continuously test which ads get a higher engagement and conversion rate with their target audience, this is increasingly being used on social media campaigns. Testing different ads can include changing various elements such as copy and creative to discover which combination will resonate with your audience.
A/B testing is not a new strategy and has evolved over recent years Traditional marketers would test ads on TV and newspapers which has now evolved into testing website landing pages and now into social media. A key benefit for the modern-day digital marketer is that now it’s easier than ever to test all elements of a campaign and track which element delivers the best response. Continue to read our blog on why you should include A/B testing in your social media strategy.
What is A/B testing?
It can be said that A/B testing is a form of free market research, that allows marketers to test variations of advertising on their target audience, whilst still generating sales/results. A/B testing can also be known as split testing as you separate your audience into groups to show them variations of an ad. From this, you can compare the analytics of each ad and which was the most effective, along with which audience performed best.
Split testing should only be used when testing one variation at a time, if you want to test a wider variety of formats, copies and creatives at the same time this would be multivariate testing. If you use A/B testing and the results are very similar to each other then you may not find a conclusive answer as to which combination works best. Instead, try multivariate testing and test each variable, to accurately uncover which setup works best for you and your audience.
How can A/B testing help your social media strategy?
A social media presence is essential for almost every brand, but how can you build a well-defined social media strategy that has a substantial impact? By testing and optimising your ads. By using an A/B test approach you can find the winning formula that can boost your ad results and your sales. You can split-test and optimise on all social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
By using A/B testing on social media you can find out helpful information to make your strategy more effective going forward. For example testing whether a video performs better on Instagram compared to a static image, showing each to a random set of your target audience. If the video performs better than you can go forward and test variations of the video itself by having a long version and maybe one that’s only 30secs.
The same logic can be applied to all elements of your social strategy, even split testing the tiniest details of your plan can help improve your results. Throughout a digital marketing campaign, you will gain insights on what works best for your brand for each social channel. The more testing you conduct the better you will understand what your audience responds to, discovering more of their preferences are over time.
Elements you can A/B test
A/B testing allows marketers to quantify subjective variables in their social media advertising. The elements that you can change on A/B testing can be the copy, format, imagery, videos or call to actions. Your social copy on ads including titles, descriptions and even word count can impact engagement and click rates on social. For example, if you are advertising a new product, try a variety of different phrases to see what your audience enjoys most.
You can also split test layouts of the ads including testing whether a Facebook carousel Ad works better than a Static Facebook image ad. When successful brands do A/B testing, it is usually their visuals they test – image or video. You can test regular image versus GIFs or test different video lengths. Hootsuite’s research on visuals shows that Twitter audiences respond very well to GIFs. Your call to action (CTA) is another incredibly important element of your marketing as this is where you ask the audience to engage with the brand. Therefore getting this part right is crucial, so make sure you try different CTAs when testing content to see which one gets more clicks. Research showed that a red CTA button outperformed a green one by 21% based on 2,000-page visits.
Testing Target Audiences
Another way you can use A/B testing on social media is instead of showing different variables to your posts to similar groups of your target audience, you can show the same ad but to different target audiences. This can highlight what each target audience delivers the best results.
The best target audience isn’t always obvious, for example, if you sell wine, the apparent target audience would be wine lovers, however “foodies” may provide similar results or even better. By testing different audiences you will generate higher quality data, ensuring a maximum return on your marketing investment. It’s good practice to start your advertising campaign with a short test period first with a smaller budget to confirm the top audience choices.
Within Facebook, you can build a saved audience based on the interests and behaviours of what you think your target audience is, then from this you can create a lookalike audience against your saved one. By using a lookalike you can reach more and new people outside your original customer list and fan base. It’s important to remember that audiences’ compositions are not static therefore will move and shift with the trends. Therefore you should continue to test target audiences on a regular basis to make sure you are still targeting the right people, by doing this you can set your campaign live with confidence.
A/B testing on social media is one of the best methods out there to be able to create a data-driven strategy to take your brand to the next level. The same social media post can achieve a different response based on the description, CTA or image. By committing to testing you are able to fully optimise your social media strategy and find out the best target audience for your campaigns.
There are so many different ways to test your content and we only listed some in this blog however there are so many others to explore. By adding A/B testing to your social strategy you can enhance your campaigns but also see more benefit from the different social media platforms that you are already using. If you have been struggling with your social media strategy, Jam Digital can help! The team at Jam Digital Marketing, live and breathe social media therefore you will be in the best hands.
If you need support or advice with your digital strategy, Jam Digital can help. Outsourcing to Jam can offer your business the opportunity to optimise your time and budget through partnering with our team of experts, ultimately we will generate the best results for your business.
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