ESM Digital's Higher Ed Marketing Blog

A/B Testing: The Basics

The goal of any marketing campaign you run is results. You want prospective students to come to your page, fill out a form, enroll and then attend your programs. But how do you know if what you’re doing is really effective? And how can you tell when you make a change or two, whether or not those changes are having a positive impact?

By continually running A/B tests and always striving for more.

At Effective Student Marketing, we are constantly looking for ways to improve upon already good results to make them even better and to bring down costs for our clients. One way we do that is through A/B testing.

Think back to your seventh grade science class. Remember those experiments that had dependent and independent variables? Maybe you were trying to determine if music really helped plants grow. You set up identical plant-growing environments except one plant got to listen to music, while the other didn’t. Then, you measured your results to see if the plant that got to boogie also got bigger.

A/B testing in marketing is a little different, but the same principles apply. For example, let’s say we want to determine whether or not where we place the form field on a landing page could lead to increased conversions. We might create two separate landing pages, one with the form in the upper left hand corner, and another with it in the lower right corner. We would then serve an equal number of prospects the pages with the different form field location  so we could measure and compare which page receives more conversions.

Sounds simple, but when you consider the myriad factors we might consider during any given campaign, it gets way more complicated. We might examine color schemes for Facebook ads, subject lines in emails or calls-to-action on landing pages. We also may serve different ad variations to different target audiences, choosing a variety of call-outs. We might highlight program features to one user, while promoting class flexibility to another. And each iteration needs time and painstaking examination to determine its success—or failure.

If you’d like to learn more about how we use A/B testing to bring about increased student enrollment for our clients, contact Effective Student Marketing today for a free consultation.