A Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing in Event Promotion

A/B testing in event promotion is a fantastic way to improve your event registration numbers. But what is it, and how can you make the most of it? In “A Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing in Event Promotion,” you can learn more about the benefits of A/B testing and best practices for incorporating A/B testing into your event promotion strategies to get the best results.

What is A/B testing?

Most event organizers build comprehensive marketing strategies to maximize the ROI of their events. Event promotion examples include landing pages, email campaigns, social campaigns, and paid ads to drive registration and attendance for events. But it’s wise to use data, not intuition, to optimize all event promotions. Hence, A/B testing.

A/B testing, also referred to as “split testing,” is a marketing experiment, wherein the event organizer splits the audience to test variations of a landing page, email campaign, or ad to learn which version performs better. For example, one half of the audience will receive version A of an email in their inboxes, and the other half will receive version B. 

Where can I use A/B testing? What can I test?

In event marketing, there are numerous channels for promoting your event. Therefore, when A/B testing, it’s important to prioritize what you want to test and improve. This may be your landing page, a Facebook promotional campaign, or an email campaign, for example, and there are many features within each promotion that you can test. Here are some A/B testing examples to consider:

  • The subject line of the email (“Join us in Detroit for BizBash!” or “Don’t miss out: BizBash”)
  • Length of the email message
  • Personalization (“Liz, your ticket is waiting” or “Your ticket is waiting”)
  • Email template design
  • Landing page colors
  • Call to action (“Sign up here” or “Get more info here”)
  • Offer (“Free admission for the first 100 to register” or “Get a 20% discount by registering today”)
  • Testimonials (one from X company or one from Y company)
  • Pop-ups (one promoting free swag or one promoting free food and beverage coupons)
  • Images
  • Email sender names

How often should I run event promotion testing?

You can run as many A/B tests as you would like to maximize the effectiveness of your event marketing strategies, but it’s inadvisable to test more than one thing in a single campaign. For example, if you are promoting an event via email and you test the email subject line and the email layout at the same time, how will you know which change caused the increase in event registrations? 

A/B Testing Process

Most event organizers come to the planning table with a plethora of event promotion ideas. A/B testing will enable you to measure which ideas truly impact your event’s success. To achieve the best results from your A/B tests, take the following 6 steps:

  1. Pick independent variables to test. As you seek to optimize your event promotions, you might identify a number of independent variables to test. Remember that small changes can yield big results, so keep it simple and begin by choosing those variables that are easy to change, such as a subject line, a call to action, or an email send name. Remember, you can test more than one independent variable, just not at the same time. 
  2. Define your goals. You’ll likely measure several metrics during any one test (opens, clicks, click-through rates, etc.), but it’s important to identify one primary metric before you begin testing. For example, your primary metric, or “dependent variable,” could be event registrations. This will be influenced by how you change the “independent variables” in your event promotions (subject lines, registration page layouts, offers, etc.).
  3. Create a “control” and a “challenger.” Once you have defined your independent variable and your dependent variables, you can create a control scenario, for example, your event landing page in its current form, and a challenger scenario, such as your event landing page with a different call to action. 
  4. Split your sample groups. For tests where you have control over the audience, such as in an email campaign, you want to make sure you split the audience into at least two equal sizes. How you do this will depend on the A/B testing tool you use, but it’s important the audience be split randomly.  
  5. Run your test. Let the games begin! Make sure you run your test long enough to obtain a meaningful sample size. Otherwise, your results may not be statistically significant. You also want to run your variations simultaneously to avoid bias. If you run one variation in the morning and another in the afternoon, how do you know timing wasn’t the variable, and not the subject line, call to action, or independent variable you’re really trying to measure? 
  6. Analyze the outcome. Once you’ve concluded your test, it’s time to review the results. Be sure to keep your eye on the dependent variable. For example, if you’ve changed the subject line in an email campaign, it might be easy to get caught up in open and click rates, but remember, your dependent variable is actually event registrations. 

Which tools can I use?

There are lots of tools on the market to enable A/B testing for event promotions. You can test your Facebook ads using Facebook’s Campaign Manager, LinkedIn ads, and Google Analytics will allow you to test up to 10 full versions of a single web page, and Optimizely provides A/B testing tools for digital experiences. If you are using email campaign software, most of them have built-in tools for A/B testing, including Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, and Active Campaign. Hubspot software will also allow you to test emails, calls to action, and landing pages. 

What is the outcome?

The point of A/B testing is to have a measurable outcome. If one variation of your event promotion is better than the other, then you have a winner! Disable the “losing” variation of your promotion and move forward with your event marketing. 

Keep in mind that while the A/B test(s) you just ran can make your event promotions more effective, there’s always room for further optimization. Don’t hesitate to run an A/B test on another feature.

Start A/B Testing Today

For more information on A/B testing or to learn how some of the world’s biggest brands use A/B testing for event promotion, contact 6Connex today. Here at 6Connex, we have over 15 years of experience with in-person, hybrid and virtual event technology. Schedule a demo today to see what we can do for you.

 

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