Increasing clickthrough rates and conversions with AB Testing

Brandon LazovicJuly 15, 2017

The goal of any digital marketing campaign is to engage with your audience by producing content that catches their attention. This may seem like a simple observation, but it can be difficult to gauge what will produce high Click Through Rates (CTR) and conversions. Throwing idea darts at a metaphorical dartboard is commonplace in the industry, but the method of AB Testing is what marketers use to test which darts successfully stick.

What is AB Testing?

AB Testing, otherwise known as split testing, is used to compare two pieces of content shown to a sample target audience.  The content is tracked to see which of the two has the highest CTR, conversions, or other metrics. Organizations often use AB Testing on a small portion of their audience before widely promoting or distributing content.

Marketers can learn what ad copy will attract the most clicks, the layout that will convert the most visitors on landing pages to customers, which headlines and subject lines result in the highest engagement, or any element in their campaign that they want to test. Successful AB Testing often results in decreased spending, increased profits and better campaign metrics, which are leading priorities for any organization.

Examples of successful testing

One company that practices AB Testing is Upworthy, a media entity that boasts 11 million followers on Facebook, 500,000 followers on Twitter and 160,000 subscribers on Youtube. They use AB Testing to curate the perfect headlines and leads in articles for the best chance of going viral. Here are more examples of companies that successfully used AB Testing:

  • Highrise, an email lead generation company, which tested different headlines and subheadline combinations to produce a 30 percent increase in clicks.
  • Humana, a company that offers Medicare plans to patients, compared two different banners on their homepage with call-to-action buttons. A cleaner variation of one banner provided Humana with a 433 percent increase in CTR.
  • Hubspot tested sign-up forms inside of a blog post and on a separate sign-up page. The results showed that a form embedded in their post performed 71 percent better than a link to a landing page that contained the form.

AB Testing is simple and effective

AB Testing is a powerful tool at the forefront of most marketing campaigns and should be implemented by any marketer. It's difficult to know what content will resonate with your audience, which is why AB Testing is used so you can see what variation sticks the best on the dart board. Most people think that content goes viral by accident; it's actually a highly manufactured process by marketers who have empirically tested multiple ideas to see what works before promoting the best one to the bulk of their audience. Facebook often uses it in its algorithm and Instagram will be sure to follow as various updates to its algorithm roll out in 2018.


How have you used AB Testing in your campaigns and how successful was it? What metrics were you testing for? Let me know in the comments below!

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