Digital marketing opens up many doors for business owners to promote their companies online. In 2018, advertising and digital marketing are changing rapidly. We’ve seen many important updates and changes take place from the recent Medic update in SEO to Google’s overhaul of its product line, including Google Ads and DoubleClick.
With these exciting changes, it’s tempting to jump on board the bandwagon and believe that digital marketing is what’s going to bring your business immense prosperity.
However, going into digital marketing without a plan or any way to measure your results will lead to ruin. See, the problem with many businesses who invest in digital marketing is that it’s unclear what needs to be changed when the campaigns don’t perform up to standards.
That’s because there was no testing performed, and that’s a massive problem. No testing and you’re going to chuck money out the window aimlessly.
In this article, we’ll show you why it’s always important to test your digital marketing campaigns and also why it’s a necessary part of the process.
What is Testing in Digital Marketing Known As?
Testing in digital marketing is also referred to as A/B testing. You may have heard this term when reading discussions about Google Ads and pay-per-click campaigns. Those digital marketing campaigns are heavily reliant on testing because instantaneously, you could lose a ton of money shortly over seemingly small mistakes.
However, A/B testing doesn’t only apply to PPC campaigns. You can apply the principles of A/B testing to any other kind of digital marketing you want to perform. A/B testing can include the following scenarios:
• Changing the color or text of a call-to-action button on a landing page
• Creating different headlines for an email to increase open rates
• Promoting a 1000-word blog post over a 500-word blog post on Facebook to see which one gets more positive engagement on your website.
These are just some of the examples of A/B testing you can perform on your digital marketing campaigns.
Is A/B Testing Necessary for My Digital Marketing Campaigns?
In short, yes. A/B testing is important to use because you have a point of reference from which you can improve the performance of your campaigns. You’ll see in real time what kinds of content, images, emails, and social media posts your target audience likes or dislikes. Based on the performance, you can make adjustments and see how those updated campaigns perform and gather information on what occurred.
It may seem like extra work, but sometimes, all it takes is one change to see a substantial difference in conversions on your site. It may be that some of your target audience prefers a call-to-action button to be near the top of the page rather than in the middle.
You could assume these notions from the start, but testing gives you a way to prove it. Assumptions are only the beginning and should not be the entire basis for your digital marketing campaigns. There are going to be factors harder to take into account until you run the experiments and see what happens.
What Are Some Tips and Strategies for A/B Testing That I Could Use for Digital Marketing?
A/B testing in digital marketing doesn’t have to be complicated or take up that much of your time if you follow these tips. Once you incorporate the advice into your marketing, it will become second nature to test your campaigns as you go.
1. Create Customer Surveys with Specific Questions
You won’t always get the full picture just from looking at Google Analytics data alone. Always remember that there’s a human component in your marketing and analysis. Take the time to create customer surveys for users to fill out to get an understanding of what they think when they browse your website and take action. Make the questions specific to what problems the customer is dealing with. Some good examples of marketing survey questions might include:
• What motivated you to purchase on our website?
• How did you discover our website (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?
• Did this page answer all the questions you had regarding our products and services?
• Would you recommend our product to a friend and if so, why?
It’s advisable to include your survey on an existing landing page rather than on a new window according to SurveyMonkey.
2. Repeat Your Tests to Get a Decent Sample Size
Running a marketing campaign only once and then abandoning it is a horrible strategy. You won’t know for sure what worked until you’ve repeated your tests at least several times. The more times you run the test, the better your sample size will be from which you’re able to conclude.
Also, keep in mind that it’s usually best to test your campaigns on a smaller scale as a proof of concept.
From our experience with digital marketing, we always start with a prototype and a small experiment to see what happens. When there’s a particular amount of success, like getting 5-10 leads in a week or a lead generation website makes it to the top 10 in a local search the keywords we want, we replicate this successful model repeatedly for other locations and audiences we want.
If you’re ever in doubt about the sample size of your group, use this sample size calculator from Optimizely to calculate the expected conversion rate, minimum detectable effect, and the statistical significance. We typed in 5 as a possible conversion rate using this tool and these were the results.
3. Narrow Your Audience Down
Get as specific with your audience as possible. This will make testing for specific variables much more effective. You won’t be so bogged down by irrelevant information. Also, you get more specific data you can use to improve your digital marketing campaigns.
We recommend performing some keyword research and developing a buyer persona before spending much on creating live digital marketing campaigns.
Examples of A/B Testing in Different Digital Marketing Campaigns
Here are some real-life scenarios where you’ll be using A/B testing much of the time. You’ll see how useful testing can be for your digital marketing efforts.
John is the owner of a local gym and wants to increase the number of sign-ups. He works with a web designer and a copywriter to create three different versions of a landing page promoting the latest discounts. The main difference between these landing pages is the placement of the signup forms and the color of the sign-up button.
PPC campaigns are created in Google Ads linking to each landing page with similar ad text. The success of the campaign is measured through the number of sign-ups on the landing page.
Whichever landing page performs the best in the number of sign-ups is the starting point to base future campaigns based on performance. John runs the tests several more times to make sure that the observations are sound. From this information, he now has an idea of what types of landing pages will perform well in the future.
When branching out into new local areas, there are going to be differences in the demographics for each one including age, gender, and interests. Customization becomes essential for ensuring success in getting favorable conversion rates. You should see what the biggest trends are for that area and carry out your tests. Testing in digital marketing is always an ongoing matter.
Be careful when you’re running tests and don’t immediately get the results you were hoping for. Ending a campaign too early based on inconclusive data and results is never the best ideal. Give your digital marketing campaigns enough time to breathe and settle before making any drastic decisions and changes.
Website and Marketing Optimization
You can gather information on how your customers reacted to the marketing materials you sent. For example, you can see which email performed best and try out different headlines to grab attention.
Alternatively, you can review the content on your website and see which blog posts get the most engagement and traffic. In all these cases, when you see something that strikes a chord with your audience, it’s generally wise to implement these changes to other parts of your site.
Other A/B testing variables might include:
• Call-to-action Button Positioning
• Content Readability
• UX/UI Design and Layout
There’s always room in your digital marketing to test out variables and gather valuable insights from your customers. Not testing your campaigns will leave you puzzled as to what changes are needed. Also, you remove all the second-guessing out of the equation and develop far more effective digital marketing campaigns in the process.