Cheap and effective A/B market testing with Twitter

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Cheap and effective A/B market testing with Twitter

Introduction

In any marketing campaign, the main goal is to get the best possible results.  The response rate is a critical measure of how many people respond to the campaign.  The method for communicating with potential customers, as well as the style and content of the materials all make a significant difference to how well people respond.

It is important to try a few different variations of each part of an advertising campaign to see which one works the best.  In marketing circles, this is called A/B Market Testing.

The idea is very simple – Try two versions of an advertising campaign where one small variable is different.  Check the response rates, and see which version works the best.

What should you test?

In short – you should test everything!  This includes:

  • Headlines
  • Advertising layouts
  • Fonts
  • Colours
  • Use of pictures
  • Website landing pages
  • Pricing variations
  • Layout variations

It is often surprising to find out what works best.

How to setup A/B market testing on Twitter

When it comes to A/B market testing, Twitter is awesome.  Twitter provides the ability to easily present a quick message or an image to a large number of people.  It also provides very clear metrics that show the engagement for each tweet.

If you’re not on Twitter yet, or don’t have any followers, that doesn’t matter.   Twitter will help you to find an audience.  Just sign up for a twitter account and you’re ready to go.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Create your content. This could be a website, blog, landing page, eBook, advertisement image, etc.
  2. For written content, write a few different variations that all link back to the article but in different ways. The easy way to do this is to use the headings in the content to help come up with ideas for different tweets.
    For images, create a couple of different variations of the image that you want to test.
  1. Make sure that each tweet has some appropriate hashtags in there. This will help to present the tweet to a suitable audience.   If you’re not sure where to start, list the keywords that relate to your content, and search for them on http://hashtagify.me/.  It will quickly show you hashtags that exists on twitter, their popularity and related hashtags that you could use.
  2. Post the tweets. I tend to schedule tweets one a day over a series of days.  There’s no need to login each day to post the tweets – just use Tweetdeck or one of the many other social media scheduling programs to schedule all of them at the one time.
  3. After the series of tweets have all been delivered, login to the Twitter analytics platform to see what worked and what didn’t. [Note – the analytics are updated nightly at midnight UTC time.  You will need to wait until the day after each tweet to see the results.]

An example

Here’s a simple example.

I recently wrote an introductory article on the Internet of Things – what it is and how it works.  On twitter, I advertised the article in 5 different ways, each focussing on different elements of the article.

Check out the summary of the tweets and their different engagement level.  This info is from the Twitter analytics platform.

Sample A/B market testing results from Twitter

A/B market testing on twitter

As you can see, the concept of dreaming about home automation gadgets was a clear winner, with a massive 10.6% engagement rate – almost three times higher than any other variation that I tried.  It is also more than double my average engagement rate of 4.9%.

This tells me that home automation gadgets are a topic worth writing about.  Maybe I should write an article about the top home automation gadgets for every home?  Or review particular devices?

I note too that the article title had a very low engagement rate – only 1.9%, and less than half of my average rate.  The article could do with a new title!

Summary

Hopefully by now you’ve been convinced that Twitter is great for A/B market testing.  This work is easy to do within an hour or two, even if you’ve never logged into Twitter before.  It is highly effective, and best of all, it’s free! The results are also very clear and can give you great insights into what your customers are actually interested in.

Next steps

For homework, how about you try this for yourself?  Pick some material that you currently publish, try a couple of different variations and let me know how it goes.

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves turning complex tech jargon and concepts into articles that everyone can understand.

Acknowledgements

Men’s hairstyles image designed by Freepik.


4 Comments

David

10/03/2016 at 8:04 am

That is an outstanding article that taught me something clever to try – well done!

    Leon Troeth

    10/03/2016 at 11:36 pm

    Hey David, Thanks for the nice comment 🙂

Jonah

14/03/2016 at 4:25 pm

Hi Leon. I’m Jonah from Hashtagify.me. Thanks very much for the mention 🙂 Have a nice day!

    Leon Troeth

    14/03/2016 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Jonah, no worries. I love using Hashtagify.me! I use it all the time! Leon

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