B2E Data Blog

Make Data-Driven Marketing Decisions with A/B Testing

Sep 16, 2022 9:04:43 AM / by Keith Snow

Your last digital ad campaign didn’t perform well. Time to scrap the whole thing and start over?

Maybe all you need is a different shade of blue.

It may sound trivial, but sometimes small – even VERY small – changes can have surprising
effects on response rates.

How will you know which tiny tweaks could make a big difference? This is where A/B testing
becomes a valuable part of your process.

A/B Testing in Marketing

When you really think about what goes into your marketing campaigns, even a seemingly
simple ad can have a lot of different variables. Things like:

  • Headline
  • Key message
  • How the message is phrased
  • Imagery
  • Colors
  • Call-to-action (CTA)
  • Where the CTA is placed
  • …. And much more

Marketers use experience, intuition, and insights to assemble these variables into marketing
pieces they believe will resonate with their audience. But if the metrics aren’t as strong as they’d
like, they’re left guessing about what didn’t work.

Instead of operating on feeling, A/B testing is a more scientific approach. The test results help
marketers more confidently identify what will be most effective.

To draw reliable conclusions from an A/B test, it is performed by changing only one variable at a
time. Otherwise, it’s impossible to discern which change had an impact. The target audience is
split equally and randomly, with each segment shown either the “A” or “B” version. The
performance of each can then be measured and compared.

AB Test - Written on Blue Keyboard Key. Male Hand Presses Button on Black PC Keyboard. Closeup View. Blurred Background.-1

Google’s “50 Shades of Blue” Experiment.
Most people are familiar with the ads that appear in organic Google searches. Did you know the
color of the link can make a difference in whether or not you click? And not just the overall color,
but the exact shade has an impact on behavior. This is what Google discovered in its “50
Shades of Blue” experiment, which took A/B testing to another level.
Google diced its user audience into segments, showing each a link in a different shade of blue.
They ran the test dozens of times, fine-tuning the shade until they determined that a purplish
shade of blue was superior to a greenish shade.
This may sound like a lot of effort for a shade of blue. Could it really make that much difference?

According to Google, that this simple tweak resulted in an additional $200 million in advertising

While few businesses are operating at Google-level revenues, the experiment highlighted the
potentially powerful impact of testing and tweaking the seemingly small things.
Healthcare Org Increases Campaign Lift by 90%

When a California-based healthcare organization focusing on Medicare patients was ready to
embark on digital advertising for the first time, they enlisted B2E’s help to test the waters. They
wanted to understand the response rates of different creative, and specifically which segments
of its 65-and-older audience would be most receptive. The ultimate goal was to increase the
sales response of its marketing efforts.
B2E developed a targeted list of patient prospects within a 30-mile service area of the
healthcare organization. We then delivered a highly targeted IP-derived digital ad campaign that
measured the performance of six ads with different messaging. In addition, A/B tests were
conducted to measure the difference in response rates when prospects received digital ads in
conjunction with direct mail, versus receiving direct mail alone.
B2E measured the results at 30 and 60 days, determining that incorporating digital ads
increased the sales response with a 90% lift over direct mail alone. The increased number of
new customers drove an additional $33,000 in net revenue (and was also recognized with a
2022 NOVA award from the American Marketing Association Iowa Chapter)!
What’s more, B2E was able to provide the organization with detailed personas of the most
responsive customers. When combined with additional insights around the best-performing ad
creative, the healthcare organization can now smartly target and optimize its future digital
marketing campaigns with precision.
As you prepare your next digital marketing campaign, let data guide you to the optimum
decisions. Plan, test, and refine your way to outstanding results! If you need help from an
experienced, SOC 2-certified data marketing agency, reach out for a complimentary
Keith Snow

Written by Keith Snow

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