Marketing is all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. That sounds like a nearly impossible task, but fortunately, marketers have plenty of tools at their disposal. One such tool is A/B testing, and LinkedIn has launched some new testing functionality to make this even easier. In this post, we are exploring how you can use LinkedIn’s A/B testing to power your most successful campaigns.
At its core, A/B testing is just a way of comparing the performance of two campaigns that have one different variable. For example, you might test an email campaign with two different subject lines or a different image on each, then determine which version performs better. A/B testing is great for understanding what resonates with your audience. By changing one key variable at a time, you can conduct side-by-side comparisons of the performance metrics you care about.
A/B testing is best for measuring:
- Ad creative such as copy or an image
- Audiences, by delivering messages to separate groups to see which performs better
- Ad placement, to determine if a different ad placement works better
A/B Testing and LinkedIn Campaigns
Think of marketing like a science experiment. Do you remember conducting experiments in high school science where you had to determine the variables and control group? A/B testing is similar in that it offers data that can be used to enhance your efforts. For marketers who love making data-driven decisions, testing of this type is essential.
To conduct A/B testing in a “scientifically sound” environment, all of your factors must be accounted for, and tests must be run in a controlled environment. This is the only way to trust that your results are statistically significant. According to LinkedIn, their customers have seen a 10-20% improvement in ROI after implementing A/B testing.
To get started, you must first determine which LinkedIn campaign element you want to test. Will you look at creative, your audience, timing, etc? Make a strategic choice to test a real hypothesis – don’t just make guesses. For example, if you have a theory that “our audience will react more favorably to bright colors in the ad”, then you would test the color palette of your ads. Only then will you know which KPI to evaluate following the completion of the test.
To conduct a sound A/B test, you’ll need two identical campaigns (A and B – hence the name). Campaign A is your control. Campaign B is your test campaign.
- Create a campaign in Campaign Manager.
- Once you have built the original campaign, create a duplicate (this will be your second campaign).
- Pick a single element to change in the second campaign (for example, using a brighter background color for our example above).
- When both campaigns are ready, launch them simultaneously. You need to make sure one doesn’t perform better just by virtue of being active longer.
- Monitor performance and review KPIs. Review overall campaign performance and any other statistics that are relevant.
- Optimize campaigns by making the better-performing version your permanent campaign. For example, if the brighter color really does perform better, then that should be your new permanent ad (until you test a different variable).
LinkedIn Campaign Manager also offers a number of predictive tools that are driven by data to help marketers make the most of their campaigns. One such tool to check out is called Brand Lift Testing. Similar to A/B testing, Brand Lift testing is designed to scientifically analyze the performance of your campaigns. Simply put, it compares brand perception between a group of members who have seen your ads and a group who have not. This way, advertisers can learn the incremental impact of their campaigns on key brand metrics.
By utilizing the testing tools available to you in LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, you can gain powerful insights that will make your advertising more effective. Plus, you can learn new things about what resonates with your audience that you can apply to other marketing tactics, such as content creation. All of this will dramatically reduce the time it takes to realize a strong ROI with LinkedIn advertising. Need some support maximizing your spending on LinkedIn? Let our experts help you make the most of your paid social investments.