From A/B Testing to AI: Optimizing Your Next Campaign

Author: Whitney Koch

As a digital marketer, your plate is not just full, but overflowing.  You have an endless to-do list: design social media posts, plan email campaigns and write a blog. On top of that, the tools and platforms you use are constantly changing. Oh, and don’t forget the new trends and technologies you have to stay on top of (ahem, ChatGPT). You’re likely using some form of marketing automation already. And hopefully, it's helping you be more efficient.  But is it making you more effective?

Take your game a step further by analyzing the data from your automation tools. Experimenting and following the data will help you connect with your target audience and generate leads. This is the process of optimization.

Over time, optimization will make you more effective. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of what does and does not work for your audience. With a refined marketing strategy and improved performance, you’ll reduce wasted spending and yield a higher return on investment (ROI).

Assess & Set Goals

You can’t optimize what you’re not measuring. But how do you know what you should measure or even what success looks like?

A good place to start is with a baseline that you can grow from. What’s your average website traffic? How many followers do you have on each social media channel? What’s the open rate on your emails? How many prospects are filling out the Contact Us form?

Next up is your target audience. What do you know about them? Use customer surveys, competitor analysis, and social media listening to gain insights into your audience and build out ideal customer profiles so you know who exactly to target.

With your assessment complete, you can define what it is you want to achieve with your marketing efforts. Goals give you clarity, purpose, direction, and vision. They are what help you be successful. 

Ideally, your goals will be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Knowing what exactly you want to achieve with your marketing allows you to assess whether your current strategies and tools are up to the task. Eventually, you can use the results of your testing and optimization to determine new SMART goals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Leverage customer surveys, competitor analysis, and social media listening to gain insights into your target audience
  • Use SMART goals to ensure clarity and accountability
  • For maximum impact, align your marketing goals with the overall business objectives

A/B Testing for Data-Driven Decisions

“In God we trust. All others must bring data.” -Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Though it can be tempting to rely on gut feelings when making marketing decisions, it’s best to rely on data.

What is A/B Testing? 

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a powerful methodology for optimizing just about anything in your marketing. To run this experiment, you create and send 2 variations of a piece of content to 2 similar segments of your audience to determine which variation performs better.

What should you test?  

Subject lines. Calls-to-action (CTAs). Graphics. Copy. Your options are limitless. Refer to your goals and ask yourself which element in your content might influence them. (Though you may be tempted to change multiple elements in your test, doing so will actually muddle the results and you won’t know which change had the most impact.)

Why Sample Size Matters

Next, you need to determine the sample size. To ensure the results of your test are as accurate as possible, you must have a large enough sample size and keep everything other than your single chosen variable the same.

Measuring Statistical Significance

After running your A/B test, you thoroughly analyze your data. An A/B testing calculator can measure the statistical significance of your results for you. (This free testing kit from HubSpot includes a calculator.) The ideal level of statistical significance is 95%, meaning you can be 95% confident that the difference between version A and version B is real and not a coincidence.

Now What?

If there’s a clear winner, implement that change. We recommend you run another A/B test on a different variable so you continue to optimize your content.

If your results are inconclusive, you can stick with your control (“version A”) or run another A/B test. You can test variations on the same element or test another variable to see if that will lead to a statistically significant change that could help you reach your goal.

Key Takeaways:

  • Test one element at a time to isolate the impact of each change
  • Test with a large enough sample size or for a suitable length of time to obtain statistically significant results
  • Continuously iterate and refine your campaign backed on A/B test findings

Harnessing the Power of AI Tools

Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t going anywhere. According to PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study, AI will have a positive economic impact of approximately $15.7 trillion globally by 2030, about $3.7 trillion of which will be in North America. Much of this growth will come from increased productivity thanks to AI technology.

AI allows you as a digital marketer to do more in less time with less effort. Campaign performance tracking is one area where this technology can have a big impact. Automated solutions give you real-time analytics and reporting to identify areas of improvement. And you can feel confident in your decisions knowing the data is more accurate.

If people can’t find your product or service online, your business is in trouble. This is where effective keyword research–and powerful AI tools–can help you deliver quick wins and boost your business’s bottom line. Instead of spending hours trying to tease out the keywords you need on your site so your target audience can find you, try a keyword research tool like Moz. Enter a URL or keyword into Moz’s free Keyword Explorer, and in moments you’ll have a comprehensive keyword analysis with actionable suggestions. Once you know which keywords your audience is searching for, you can use them to optimize your web content and start being found. 

Another AI tool that benefits your customers and ultimately the bottom line is chatbots. The majority of B2B and B2C customers do online research before making a purchase. Having a chatbot on your site to provide personalized communication 24/7 improves customer satisfaction and increases engagement. Additionally, these bots can gather valuable information about your customers that you can use to optimize your marketing. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. Explore tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, or Moz for data-driven insights into campaign performance
  2. Combine the power of AI tools with human analysis to gain deeper insights and make informed decisions
  3. Utilize AI chatbots to enhance customer experience, provide instant support, and gather valuable feedback

Continuous Monitoring and Optimization

No doubt you have mountains of data from your marketing campaigns–we collect it because we know there’s gold there. But all that data is useless if we don’t mine for the gold buried within it.

AI and automation tools can do the grunt work for you faster, more efficiently, and more frequently than you could on your own. With comprehensive data literally at your fingertips, you must prioritize analysis. 

Regularly measuring campaign performance against your key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you see patterns and respond to them quickly. Knowing how your KPIs are trending will determine where you need to focus your attention; translating the data to see what’s going on behind the numbers will determine how to focus.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Implement a consistent monitoring process to identify trends and make timely adjustments
  2. Leverage heatmaps and user behavior analysis tools to gain insights into user interactions
  3. Embrace an agile approach to marketing: make data-driven decisions and adapt quickly to changes

Are you ready to become a more effective digital marketer? Here are 5 steps you can take to get started!

  1. Leverage AI
  2. Set SMART goals
  3. Automate time-consuming tasks
  4. Conduct A/B tests on your content
  5. Analyze the data to optimize your campaigns

If you’re struggling to take the first step, we’re here to help! Reach out today so we can set you up for success.