The Smartest Way to Run A/B Testing

February 26, 2015 Ad Tech, Clients, Retargeting, User Tracking

If there was a better way to market to your buyers, wouldn’t you want to know?

A/B testing is growing in popularity and for good reason. When you choose to run tests on your landing pages and ads, you gain insights that help you make more informed decisions. You’re able to optimize retargeting campaigns with strong data to back up your decisions.

So what’s the best way to tackle this monster? Wait to dive into standard A/B testing like button colors and photos, and spend some time getting to know your audience. Before you start dishing money out on testing, try these methods to gain a deeper understanding of your audience and what moves them.

Surveys – Whether you include them on your site or mail them out individually, surveys are a solid method for gauging opinions. Be careful about including multiple-choice questions, because doing so assumes that you already know what answers your audience will give you. You’ll get more useful responses if you ask open-ended questions. Limit surveys to about three questions, and only include the ones that you think will offer truly valuable info.

Including surveys on your site can be as simple as adding a suggestions box to the bottom of each page of your site. You might set up a popup that asks visitors what influenced them to leave without making a purchase. These tidbits of info can play a major role in the formation of your testing strategy. If you know that many users leave without converting because they don’t feel that they have an adequate amount of product information, your tests may observe the way that users respond to different copy on product pages. Surveys are an awesome resource for determining where you can make improvements to your landing pages!

Face-to-Face or Phone Calls – Have a client nearby? Ask to take them to lunch or coffee. Focus on their personal experience using your product. You’ll build a stronger bond with them and gain a deeper understanding of the people that use your product. Stay focused on listening to them, and fight the temptation to use this as a selling opportunity. Your goal here is to learn and take notes. If you’re conducting the interview over the phone, you may want to offer an incentive such as a discount or a freebie to thank them for their time. Similar to conducting the interview in person, use phone calls to take note of client experiences and discover what matters to your customers.

Social Metrics – Social media can play an important role in selecting what tests you will run. You’ll be surprised how much you can quickly learn about your clients’ interests and demographics by simply checking your Facebook and Twitter analytics. We learned that the majority of Meteora’s followers are males with interests in comedy and entrepreneurship, so we often refer to this data and use it to guide our marketing strategy. You can speak to your customers on a more personal level if you know what they care about. Although it may seem minor, info like this can provide insights that lead your A/B testing to be more efficient.


photo credit: Timemanagement via photopin (license)

Using the Meteora Platform for Testing

Learn which of your ads are most effective by testing them within the Meteora platform. In this example, a user has 3 banners that are all the same size, meaning that they utilize the same ad spaces online and are therefore a good baseline for comparison. If we look at all of these, focusing solely on click-through rate, ad #1 has .11% CTR, ad #2 has .12% CTR, and ad #3 has a much lower CTR. When we consider the ratio of clicks to conversions, we can see that ad #1 is incredibly powerful in comparison to the other two. Perhaps the call-to-action in this ad resonates well with the target audience. To test this theory, we may try to model more ads after ad #1. This method may help your company to experience greater success on the Meteora platform.

There are virtually limitless tests that you can run within the platform to further improve your retargeting.

  • Adding an additional campaign targeting a specific location can show if a particular area is more responsive to localized ads or more widespread campaigns

  • If you are approaching your budget cap, increasing your weekly spend may increase your conversions

  • Scheduling a campaign to run within specific timeframes versus running continuously

  • Running seasonal ads versus a continuous ad group year round

  • Altering your segments may lead you to reach a more engaged audience

Be cautious of adding too many filters while testing your campaigns, because your conversions could take a serious hit. Read this post about refining your retargeting to learn some best practices, and never hesitate to contact a Meteora accounts team member for guidance!

Applying Your Knowledge Outside of the Meteora Platform

Once you’ve gathered up a good case for testing, you may want to begin making changes to your landing pages. If it’s your first time running A/B tests, you can try testing more than one component at a time. Since you’re armed with a generous amount of new information about your clients, you can build version A and B with noticeable differences. Maybe version A has a blue background, emphasizes a large photo and contains five call-to-actions; and version B has a green background, several photos and one emphasized call-to-action. After testing major differences, you can get down to the dirty little details by comparing individual aspects. This method may give you a bigger bang for your buck, because you’re more likely to see greater changes in conversions in a smaller amount of time than you would by running a hundred small tests that lend the same final result.

When it comes to A/B testing, it’s all about the research before the research. You can save time and money while running your tests if you invest in some simple market research prior to beginning. We recommend that you speak with a Meteora accounts representative about any major changes that you want to make while testing your campaigns. We’re ready to help lead you in the right direction, and we want your campaigns to be as effective as possible, too!


More Good Resources for Learning About A/B Testing:

The Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing

How to Run A/B Tests That Give Your Business Big Wins

The A/B Test: Inside the Technology That’s Changing the Rules of Business


main photo credit: portfolio-1024×683 via photopin (license)

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