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The Basics of A/B Testing in Pardot

The Basics of A/B Testing in Pardot

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Marketing A/B Testing is far from being anything new. In fact, it’s been around for quite some time. 

A/B Testing as we know it today first came about in the 1990s and has been evolving ever since, while still staying true to the same core concepts — comparing two versions of something to figure out which has the best performance.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of marketing A/B testing and how you can use it in your Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) instance to optimize your marketing assets.

What is Marketing A/B Testing?

As previously stated, A/B Testing compares one email to another and via algorithms, decides which version performed best. More specifically, you want to change a single variable between the two emails, keeping everything else the same. 

For example, does “Learn More” or “Download Now” drive more traffic via your call-to-action? Or, perhaps you want to determine whether a subject line that reads “Urgent: Read Now” is more appealing to your audience or “Time is running out” is the better way to go. 

How does A/B Testing Work in Pardot?

By testing your audience’s responses, you are able to customize your content based upon email performance as well as user preferences to personalize their experience

Within Pardot, you can easily apply marketing A/B testing to your emails to configure a variety of variations based upon:

  • Imagery
  • Subject lines
  • Call-to-actions
  • Image placement
  • Image content
  • Email send time

The thing about A/B Testing is that you can always be using it because your audience is always evolving, and as a marketer, it is your responsibility to remain responsive to that customer base. Luckily, Pardot’s A/B Testing functionality is fully automated and easy to use.

Within the automation platform, you need to start by determining which variable you wish to test —  headline, banner image, subject line, etc. From there, you need to choose your metric — opens or clicks. Finally, you decide what percent of your audience you want to test these emails on (up to 50% of the segmentation). Once these factors are decided, it is time to run the test. 

For example, let’s go with subject line as our variable and opens as our metrics. Based upon which version had the most opens, Pardot will automatically deploy the “winning” email to the remaining audience — the email with the most opens.

You’ll find the checkbox to enable A/B testing in the Basic Info menu within your email draft.

How can your company use A/B Testing?

This simple automation innate to Pardot can help businesses of all sizes to better target their audience and increase actionability on their part. As our world becomes more and more digital, A/B Testing easily lends itself to marketing teams worldwide to evaluate marketing’s effort and effectiveness. 

The important thing to note is that one test is never enough. Always keep testing and changing with your audience so you are not left behind.

A/B testing is one of the most powerful tools Pardot offers its users, and it should be taking full advantage of. With that said, be mindful that you are choosing only one criteria and one metric for each A/B test that you run to see the most effective results.

Let us know your thoughts on using marketing A/B testing in the comments section.

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  • Cara Weese is an Engagement Manager at Sercante. Cara earned a BA in English from Doane University in Crete, Nebraska. She began her career in editing, but quickly found herself working in digital marketing. She now holds certifications in marketing expertise, Pardot, and Hootsuite. Prior to joining Sercante, she worked in copywriting and social media, then found her niche in email marketing and became a Pardot Admin before moving into the consulting space. At Sercante, she serves as a CRM & Marketing Automation Strategist, helping clients realize their full potential and drive business growth through digital marketing. When she's not working, Cara enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys reading and writing and can often be found in her library nook reading with her kids. She wakes each day with a passion to help others achieve success. With an expertise in marketing automation, she strives to share her talents with her clients and to build long-term relationships that help individuals and businesses grow.

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