Is A/B testing a hoax? The truth about taking a more scientific approach to message testing

a/b testing [eybee tes-ting]


In digital marketing, A/B testing is a research methodology that compares two or more versions of a product or message to determine empirically which version is superior.

Smart, right? You’re trying to decide which headline, subject line, or ad copy to choose. So you push it to market and test it out. A logical way to find out what performs best.

But there’s the problem with industry standards when it comes to A/B testing.

Primarily, it lacks actual strategy beyond the testing of two basic things. It’s too simple. And misses huge opportunities when it comes to leveraging the current moment to collect data and learn as much as possible.

A/B Testing With Scientific Purpose

When marketers tell their clients, “we’re gonna A/B test it,” what does that actually mean?

Most of the time, they’re picking two versions of the copy they like best. Then throwing some creative into the “dynamic creative” tool on Facebook, and finally picking the one that performs best. It starts and ends there. This is not the stuff of long-term strategy.

It doesn’t do much to help brands achieve their goals for growth. A/B testing involves more than throwing a handful of spaghetti noodles at the wall and waiting to see what sticks…

  • It’s about isolating the elements of products or messaging, then using methodical modalities to test them.
  • It’s about taking results from tests 1 and 2 and mashing them up to make test #3, rinse, repeat, and repeat again.
  • It’s about knowing how to interpret and implement the findings because, having knowledge is one thing, wielding it like a sword is another.

The Secret Sauce

We’ve been at social media marketing long enough to have established methods that work freakishly well.

What we do is not “A/B Testing” in the general sense of the word. It’s a layered and deliberate process involving a brand audit on the front-end followed by a series of sequenced A/B tests. We methodically lower ourselves into a very desirable result: the highest performing, most resource-efficient advertisement possible.

To maintain control and consistency in the process, separate tests are conducted on isolated variables like content, headlines, tone of voice, and visuals. Once we get our results, we mash and combine and test again until we’ve funneled down to the most potent and powerful version.

Our goal is always to bring the most highly qualified audience into a brand’s ecosystem. Without alienating the current audience – we always control for this.

A Relevant Side Note:

Millions (yes, MILLIONS) of dollars are wasted annually by businesses producing and publishing social media content in order to “drives likes,” with no real effect on greater business goals. When we use social media channels to engineer the right message at the right time and place, we can drive measurable business growth and facilitate the consumer journey with efficiency and purpose.

Performance Is KING

When we undergo this process with our clients our performance is way above industry benchmarks. Generally speaking, KW benchmarks tend to be 1-4% points above industry, which for click through rate (CTR) hover somewhere between 1-2% depending on your industry and whether or not your audiences are warm or cold. You can check out some of our case studies here

Why does this matter?

Let’s say that of all of your website traffic, 2% convert to sales. Now, you have a specific budget to drive a certain volume of traffic to your website. In two difference cases, you can spend the same amount of money on a traffic-driving ad. If the ad’s CTR is 1%, this will be the equivalent of $60,000 in sales. At 3% CTR, that’s $180,000 in sales.

Want to keep this convo going? Let’s connect

KW Content is a global content and social media marketing agency that develops and launches content and social media programs for purpose-driven brands. Strong Brand Social is our favorite place to hang out! That’s where we provide the absolute best (and most accessible) social media marketing education that empowers small brands to develop their own high-performing marketing programs that are guaranteed to drive growth. Teaching from our proven agency methodologies, we simplify the process and demystify the art of social media marketing to offer focus, efficiency, and measurable results to small business owners, brand directors, and social media marketers. [Learn more.]

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Raving fans with unquestionable loyalty

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Bigger audiences, more customers, and better connection

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