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What is AB testing and why is it important?

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by Mathilde Vanelsacker

In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, it is essential to make decisions based on data. One effective tool marketers use for this purpose is A/B testing.

But what does A/B testing actually entail? Why is it so important? And how can you optimize it using platforms like HubSpot? Learn all about A/B testing in this blog, from the basics to concrete examples and practical insights.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is a method in which two versions of a website, app, email campaign or other marketing material are tested to determine which version performs better. In A/B testing, a random selection of the audience is divided into two groups, a group A and a group B, with each group being shown a different version. By comparing the results of the two versions, you can determine which version gives you the best results.

For example, imagine you want to send an e-mail campaign to generate new leads. You can test two different subject lines to see which version appeals to more people and leads to a higher open rate. This can help you optimize your email marketing strategy and get better results.

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Why is A/B testing important?

A/B testing is important because it allows you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your marketing strategy. It provides insight into what works and what doesn't, so you can use your resources more efficiently and get better results.

In addition, A/B testing allows you to better understand your target audience and figure out their preferences and behaviors. By testing and experimenting, you can discover which approach is most effective in attracting and converting leads.

A/B testing is a valuable tool to improve your marketing efforts and stay ahead of your competition.

Examples of A/B testing

There are numerous ways to conduct A/B testing to optimize your marketing strategy. Some examples include:

  • Testing different call-to-action buttons. Experiment with different designs, colors and placements of call-to-action buttons on your Web site to identify which version generates the highest conversions. For example, test a bold color against a more subtle hue, or vary the text on the buttons to see which wording is most effective.
  • Run A/B tests on the content structure and images of your landing pages to determine which version achieves the highest click-through rate. For example, consider different content types, images and order of content elements to discover which combination is most appealing to your target audience.
  • Test various subject lines in your email campaigns to determine which version leads to the highest open rate and click-through rate. Experiment with subject line length, tone and relevance to understand which approach has the most impact on your audience.
  • Testing your website's navigation. Examine the impact of changes to website navigation, such as changes to the search function. A well-functioning search function is often crucial to the overall user experience. Test different layouts, functionalities and placements to determine which configuration contributes most to a positive user experience.

The key to successful A/B testing is setting clear measurable goals and carefully analyzing the results. By systematically testing and experimenting, you can improve your marketing strategy step by step and optimize the performance of your campaigns.

How does A/B testing work in HubSpot?

In HubSpot, you can easily run A/B tests to measure the effectiveness of your marketing materials. Before you begin A/B testing, it's important to prioritise your efforts. You can do this by first looking at the number of website visitors, how many people click through, how many people bought your product, etc.

Below is a general roadmap for running A/B tests in HubSpot:

  1. Determine what you want to test, for example, the subject line of an email campaign. It is important that you start with 1 goal.
  2. Create two different versions of the marketing material you want to test, for example, two different subject lines.
  3. Go to the 'A/B test' feature in HubSpot and select the type of marketing material you want to test.
  4. Upload the two versions of the marketing material and set the test parameters, such as the size of the test group and the duration of the test.
  5. Start the A/B test and let HubSpot automatically track the results.
  6. Analyze the results and determine which version performs best based on the predetermined goals.
  7. Adjust your marketing strategy based on the insights gained from the A/B test.

AB testing Hubspot_Run a test-1

Where else in HubSpot can you use A/B testing?

  1. One of the most common uses of AB testing in HubSpot is on website pages. By creating different versions of a page and showing them to different segments of your audience, you can discover which layouts, content or call-to-actions perform best.
  2. Another important feature of HubSpot's AB testing capabilities is for marketing emails. This allows you to create different variants of an email and send them to different parts of your contact list to see which version generates the highest opening and click rates. *
  3. AB testing in HubSpot is not just limited to marketing. It can also be applied to"Sequences," a feature within HubSpot's sales tools. By testing and optimizing different sequences, you can improve the effectiveness of your follow-up emails and outreach strategies.

* Nice extra in email marketing:

HubSpot offers the ability to do "A/B distribution". This means that you can set your database to 'A/B 30%' for example. This means that if you have a large contact list, for example, you can test your A/B on 30% of your contact list . The other 70% will then be automatically sent the winning version after a period of time that you can choose (for example, 24 hours). If the score between version A and B would be very close, you can still set them to get version A.AB test distribution

Adaptive testing

Adaptive testing is a more advanced form of A/B testing available in HubSpot's Enterprise license. Whereas traditional A/B testing is a bit more static and you manually create different variants of an element, adaptive testing adapts dynamically. This is based on user behaviour. This means HubSpot automatically identifies the best-performing variant and drives more traffic to it, allowing you to optimize more efficiently without having to make manual adjustments. Unlike A/B testing, which uses an equal distribution of traffic across variants.

The distinction between the two approaches can be crucial, depending on the complexity of your tests and the resources available. Considering the benefits of adaptive testing can be worthwhile, especially for companies striving for continuous optimisation and maximum efficiency.AB test or adaptive test


By using A/B testing in HubSpot, you can quickly and easily experiment with different versions of your marketing materials and evaluate their performance.

Not yet a HubSpot user or interested in getting started with A/B testing or adaptive testing? Request your demo here and sit down with one of our Koho Collective experts.


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