Have you ever heard about A/B testing? If you have not then it is a good thing you came here. Maybe you had a rough appreciation of it and you wish to understand it further, then this is also for you. In this article, I shall look at how to effectively do A/B testing in social media. Bear in mind that A/B testing is in itself a principle so it can be used in different areas. Actually, A/B testing, in general, predates the social media era so it has been around for quite a stretch.

What Is A/B Testing?

A/B testing (also called split testing) is a research approach where you seek to conclude how certain tweaks affect a particular grouping of people. It is a technique used in testing out marketing approaches and how they perform in light of any tweaks one might use. The A/B aspect somewhat refers to the fact that you will be using two separate random groupings. To each grouping, you will introduce a tweak or variation that is different from the one for the other grouping. You will then analyse to see the results obtained and try to establish why the results are so. The crux is to try to figure out what marketing approach will be most effective. It is a rule of thumb to deal with one variable or variation at a time. This will ensure that the conclusions you draw will be largely attributable to that specific variation.

Why A/B Testing In Social Media Matters

I have dealt with so many topics regarding social media. I have at length dealt with subjects such as how colour psychology can be used in social media. I have also looked at which type of content is more potent – for example, generally, video content is more engaging. I have also explored the different social media platforms by explaining which is best for what and why. So much I have talked about but I have also emphasized a lot on how contexts matter. Video content is king but Strive Masiyiwa’s Facebook page in 2018 was ranked the best Facebook page in the world. The other 9 in the top 10 were all largely video-based pages. Yet Strive Masiyiwa is not necessarily video-based – most of his content is microblog like.

Why am I saying all this? To show you that contexts can vary from business to business. So how then can you know what will work best for your context? That is where A/B testing comes in. By effectively conducting that you will get to ascertain what really works best for your own social media platform. So how do you effectively do A/B testing in social media?

Know What To Test First

There are basically two key components to any social media presence. As a business with social media accounts, you most likely do either or both of two things. These are general posts (which can be organic or paid ones) and ads. These two components are made up of several individual parts or characteristics. Those parts all have a bearing on how a post or an ad performs. Thus, you can individually do A/B testing for each part or characteristic. Some of the key examples of these are the post heading or headline, the length of a post, or the image or thumbnail used. You can even play around posting at different times to make comparisons. Instead of tweaking the content, you can also explore different target groups. The truth is there is so much you can make variations on and draw conclusions from. Making tweaks for those parts or characteristics does have a bearing on the nature of results to be obtained.

Some Important Guidelines In Social Media A/B Testing

The first key guideline is that you must ensure all other variables are constant when testing. This means it should be one variable that you will tweak or change to see how it affects results. Let us suppose you want to see how using text posts with different lengths (along with an image) affect the outcome. This means with each test you will just change the length of the text part whilst the image remains the same. It really is akin to how we used to conduct science experiments in high school. It is also important to be objective in the stuff you will conclude from. Look at the metrics that really matter. Some of the pivotal social media metrics are engagements, shares, reach, and impressions. By looking at how those metrics change with each tweak made you will objectively figure out what truly works. Do not forget also that analytics is central to all this – both social media analytics and Google Analytics.

There is significantly no limit to what you can explore. You just have to take note of where and how you should tweak or make variations and then you draw insights from that. By continuously or regularly doing this you will notice exactly what you should do to get the best results. Just to give you some hints: you can test how images perform versus GIFs. You could test out text-only posts versus text and image posts. You could explore how a text-only post fares versus a video only post. You get the idea right? It can be quite a lengthy (and unending) exercise but the fruits will be worth it. Most Zimbabwean businesses are yet to do A/B testing for their social media platforms. It is high time everyone does because it is tried and tested to work wonders.