How to Conduct an A/B Split Test

Alex Mastrianni

A/B split testing is one of the easiest ways to learn more about how your audience behaves and what kind of subject lines, copy, and other key parts of an email encourage subscribers to take action. The goal of a test isn’t necessarily to get a lift in conversions, but to learn something about your audience to help you improve future campaigns. Make testing a consistent habit and you’ll have a valuable set of data to reference when making decisions.

A/B split testing is the act of randomly splitting your list into two groups (A and B) and deliver slightly different messages (based on whatever you’re testing) to determine which method is more effective. Here are a few guidelines for what to test, how to test, and what to do next.

Decide What to Test

Think about what it is that you want to learn from a test. If you’re interested in increasing open rates, test subject lines to see what kind of language resonates with subscribers. If you’re testing calls to action, test an all-text link versus a button. Our clients typically start out with testing:

  • Subject Lines
  • Body content
  • Send day and time
  • From address
  • Images vs. no images
  • Personalization vs. no personalization
  • Body copy length

Choose One Variable

Once you’ve decided what you want to learn, choose one variable per test. Otherwise, how will you know what exactly it was that drove results? Do not test subject lines, send day and time, and from address all in one email; stick to one item per test.

Determine the Success Metric

Your success metric will likely be determined by your variable. Are you measuring opens, clicks, conversions, registrations, etc.? Determine this in advance.

Gather Results

Examine results and determine what version worked best. Which version had the highest opens or clicks, based on the success metric? Make a note of the winner and analyze why that might have happened. Use the results to shape your next test!

Learn from your Peers

Looking for more testing inspiration? Check out this webinar, Test for Success, to hear other tests Informz clients have conducted.

Confer with the Experts

Our Professional Services Team is constantly running tests as they work with clients to improve their email marketing results. If you’re interested in their help, contact us today!

How to test subject lines

About the Author
Alex Mastrianni

As the Marketing Manager at Informz, Alex drives the development and implementation of our content marketing plan and marketing campaigns. Outside of work, Alex is a pop culture junkie, ice cream fanatic, and semi-pro vacation planner.