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Intro to A/B testing: increase digital engagement

Do you ever wonder if your messages could be stronger for optimal impact?

Data is a communicator’s best friend. It allows a greater understanding of how well your message impacts your target audience. It helps answer questions around who cares most about your messages, what topics interest your subscribers, what techniques are most effective in generating a response, and most importantly, what elements of your communications strategy drive the most engagement. After all, the greater the engagement, the more likely your audience is to take a desired action.

While data can be used for measuring success, one of the strongest benefits it has is the ability to test the effectiveness of your communications. Enter A/B testing. A/B testing is a randomised science experiment of sorts, where you compare two variables for the optimal impact. A/B testing cuts out the strategy debate and makes testing your ideas quick and easy.

Testing uses data to help maximise the number of people who view, engage, and take action as a result of your communications.

With the GovDelivery Advanced Package for the Communications Cloud, you can automate A/B testing and streamline the delivery of the “winning” communication.

With our advanced A/B testing, automatically or manually test multiple variations of your messages and determine a winner based on your audience’s response.

Advanced A/B testing allows for side-by-side comparisons so you can better optimise your content and maximise the potential impact. With A/B testing, you can test many variables to see what resonates best with your audience, including:

  • Subject lines
  • Pre-headers
  • Message content
  • Plain text vs HTML
  • Images / video
  • Message length
  • Format (templates)
  • Landing pages
  • Call-to-action buttons
  • Colour choices
  • Language
  • Letter case

Testing explained: With A/B testing, you can view rtest results in real-time for on the spot optimisations (Test & Send) or view changes in engagement over time to inform your longer-term messaging strategy.

Try a smaller test first: Do you have a major one-time campaign coming up and need to maximise audience understanding and action? Run a real-time test to a small subset of your audience (e.g. where 10% of your audience receive option “A” and 10% receive option “B”). Then trigger the winning campaign within a set amount of time for the remaining 80% of your audience. Using a 10/10/80 ratio A/B test is ideal for on-the-spot optimisation.

Here’s what building an A/B test looks like in the GovDelivery Advanced Package for Communications Cloud:


And after you test the different bulletins, you’ll see your report indicating the winning bulletin:


Have questions or would you like more information on A/B testing? Check out our webinar on Creating a Culture of Testing: 30 Tests in 30 Minutes.