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The Edge 365

New Thinking that Drives Marketing Results

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  • Jon Rivers

Learn How to Improve Engagement with A/B Testing on Social Media

Finger about to press a button to stop a webpage split test. Concept of A B testing. Composite image between a hand photography and a 3D illustration.

Every day we get into conversations with Channel Partners asking does social media marketing really work? With so many articles, videos, and webinars talking about social media, what you need to do, which you could spend the rest of your life consuming all the content to find out the secret sauce to what you need to do. What we have found is the best way to learn is to take your content and test it on your audience. And what better way to find out what works and doesn’t is to use an A/B testing strategy.

A/B Testing – What is it?

A/B testing is a method of research where you test variations of your marketing to determine what works and how effective it was.

The best approach to A/B testing is when you test one element at a time. If you try too many at a time, you have no clue what is working and what isn’t.

An example of A/B testing with social media posts is you could merely post the same headline, link preview, and text but change out the images for each post.

Or another option is you use the same image, link preview, text, but you change out your headline text.

But whatever you do, you will not change out multiple of elements because you want to understand is which of your headlines or images are working better.

A/B Testing – Why use it?

For many, when we kick-off social media marketing for the first time, we make assumptions. Right, these may be made on recommended best practice, but remember they are still made on assumptions. The bottom line, you will not understand what works for you with regards to social media until you start testing.

Once you think you have gotten the hang of social media, the social networks go and change their algorithms, and so does your audience. What may have worked 6-months ago may not work today, so the only way you’re going to know is you have to continue A/B testing.

A/B Testing – How can you use it?

A/B allows you to test anything you want, but as long as you remember one thing, and that is, you can “only one element can be tested at a time.”

Text – This is one of the most critical elements of your social media post, and it’s effortless to test. You can quickly check by changing the post length, add emojis, changing out the headline formats, etc. But don’t forget the rule; otherwise, you will not know what is working.

Visuals – By now, you’ve probably heard that humans process visuals 60x faster than text, so making sure you have visuals as one of your top A/B testing elements is undoubtedly essential. Try not on static images but try swapping out for GIF’s, videos, or multiple images and so on.

Headline and Link Preview – If you’re going to be promoting your blogs to social media, then experiment with the headlines. There are statistics out there that say it can vary as much as 500% depending on you have the right headline. By changing up your headlines, you give your audience more opportunities to click on your content.

Hashtags – A favorite topic of ours. Another area you can try different hashtags to see how people react to your content.

Day and Time of Post – When is your audience most active? When are they online? What are the days they are engaging more? These are all excellent A/B testing options to try.

A/B Testing – Best Practices?

When it comes to A/B testing, you need to make sure you have a strategy in place and the mechanics to record your results. If not, then you will not fully understand what’s working and what’s not.

Determine what you’re testing because just saying I am going to test for the “best engaging post” isn’t enough. With social, there are so many different metrics, so do you measure reach, shares, likes, or link clicks. What you measure is up to you, but you need to have to decide on what it is.

Look at utilizing UTM parameters to help measure website traffic or other tools.

Whatever you do, make sure you are recording all your results.

Social media and your audience will continue to evolve, and you need to make as well so sure you are continuing to run A/B testing regularly. Look at going back and rerunning some old tests and see how they perform today compare to the last time you ran them so you can see if and what may have changed.

Test often, and you will give yourself a better chance of improving your social media and be able to answer the question, “Does social media marketing work?”



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