Does Split Testing Actually Help Me Get More Opens?

Ask the question: what could make my emails better?

Ask the question: what could make my emails better?

Split testing is a marketing technique experts often state you should be undertaking on a regular basis. Yet when marketing their brand, leaders are sometimes hesitant to analyse their email marketing in this way, not knowing whether it does actually increase the number of opens in the long run or not.

So why is it that online marketing experts state you should be split testing? Is there any truth in it helping your business? Will it lead to an increase in your marketing results? Here are some of the key considerations:

What Is Split Testing?

Split testing is the process where you test two versions of a piece of marketing (landing page, email, social media, advert etc.) and see which one audiences prefer. For websites and emails, traffic or subscriber lists are randomly split in half, so one half will go to one version and the other half will go to another.

When the results are in, you should see if there are any major differences in the behaviours of those who saw the content. Then you can use this knowledge to produce more effective marketing materials.

Split testing is also referred to as A/B Testing.

Why Is It Split?

Some will question whether it really is applicable to test two variations of an email against an audience. This is often based on the number of variables that can affect the open rate. Audiences may prefer one email over the other but was it down to the wording of the email or the design?

So when split testing, it is important that you only change one variable, for example the colour of your call to action, or the wording of a title. If it is done in this way, split testing becomes the only logical way to determine which email variation is effective for marketing to your audience.

Short-Term Impact

The short-term impact of any split testing is always dependent on how effective your marketing was before the testing. If you actually had the most effective design and layout for your emails, then you will find that any other variant will lead to fewer opens and conversions. In the early stages of testing, you might find that this occurs anyway and therefore, you might get the impression that split testing will harm your email marketing campaigns.

Audiences sometimes react negatively to change, so if you’ve made a major change, audiences might react to the action of change itself rather than the variant. You might need to run the test for three to five weeks to test the long-term impact.

If the change does create a negative impact, then at least you know. However, one split test should never be enough. You should constantly be finding ways to improve your emails and what works best for your email campaigns.

Long Term Impact

The advantage of split testing is that once you’ve found a variation of your email design and copy which produces better results, you can use it as a control for future testing. Also, because you have found a more effective marketing design, as you create more emails, you will be getting more opens. So any subscriber interactions you may have lost previously will be gained again now at a greater rate.

Imagine that you lost 10% clicks on one variation but another produced 5% better results. On a subscriber list of 1,000 split evenly, you had a net loss of 5% opens (or 25 opens). However, in the next campaign, because you are only using the better variant, you have eliminated that loss and in the next campaign, the net effect on opens is increased.

Does Split Testing Work

There is so much research online documenting the positive results of split testing. Looking at some of the evidence on sites like Kissmetrics, Optimizely and others, tells you that a simple A/B test can help you achieve better results, including opens.

The results are clear. If you test, you can find a better way of running your email marketing campaigns, and subsequently, increase engagement. This should create more leads and sales to grow your business. So, can split testing help your business? Yes, it can.

Do you undertake any split testing? What results do you get?

Let us know in the comments.

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