How to Use Twitter For A/B Testing

In the world of digital marketing, testing is something you’re never quite finished with.

The amount of time and energy that goes into every element of your campaigns is too much to risk on an idea that could fail.

To ensure that our investments are sound, A/B testing is constantly used to see which variables work better and resonate stronger with the audience.

A lot of people use expensive programs to do this, but did you know you can accomplish the same thing using Twitter?

You don’t have to pay a dime, but you can still get the feedback you need. Today, I’ll show you how to set up your Twitter for A/B testing.

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Getting Started With A/B Testing on Twitter

First thing’s first: we need to be on the same page in regards to the process of A/B testing. The idea is to have a control (A) and a challenger (B) which you split your traffic between. Services like Google Adwords, Optimizely, and Unbounce do this for you.

When you’ve finished your testing, you can then direct all of your traffic to the winning variation. The idea here is to increase conversions by measuring how well the two perform. Here are some of the things you can test:

  • Test two variations of a headline
  • Try two different CTAs
  • See which image creates more engagement
  • Test your content for local search engine results, and see which one better resonates with the community you’re targeting.

It’s important to get creative and optimize every aspect of your landing pages, so feel free to test as many elements as you like. Certain things should remain the same between the two, like mobile responsive features which are non-negotiable.

twitter dashboard

Next, we need to set up your Twitter Analytics and your dashboard as the new dashboard offers a lot of awesome feedback on your efforts. This is all free of course, but it doesn’t start tracking your data until it’s been set up.

The next step is to schedule the tweets you’ll be using for testing purposes. Keep in mind that you’ll need to post these variations multiple times to reach the maximum possible users. Scheduling them can be done within your dashboard, or you can use your tool of choice. Personally, I’m a big fan of Buffer for this purpose.

Over the course of a week or so, try sending out your variations about ten times. This will give you the opportunity to collect data on both versions.

Once you’ve finished that, you can export your data into an Excel spreadsheet. Head into your analytics and click on the “tweets” tab. Select the time period where you did your testing and click the “export data” button.

twitter results

You can also hunt down results in your dashboard if you prefer. Either way, you’ll now see which variation of your tweet performed better. This is great data if you’re trying to make an informed decision on certain elements of your marketing.

Now that you have this data, what should you do with it?

Well, you can use it to inform your practices on other social media channels as many of the data will work. For example, a headline that performed well on Twitter will most certainly perform well on Facebook.

5 Things You Should Be Testing on Twitter

Now that you know how to get started with your testing on Twitter, what should you be looking at with these tweets you’re sending out? Let’s take a look at five options:

1. Content Options

Start broad and look at the types of content you’re sharing. Do your followers react better to things like blog posts, or are they partial to technical content, or even news stories? You won’t know until you test.

Mix in things like visuals and animated gifs as well to vary your content and test other types of media.

2. Messaging

As you develop a voice for your brand, you’ll then need to find out how to best communicate using this voice. Consider these options when building your tests:

  • A headline pulled from the post
  • A quote from the content itself
  • Statistics or data used in the post
  • Questions regarding the content

3. Length of Tweet

Twitter is already limited with its 140 character limit, but even shorter messages tend to perform better on the platform. Try tweets that use up the entire limit, but also create some that are only 10 or 20 characters in the length.

Depending on your audience, you will see a major difference in engagement between varying lengths.

4.  Tone

While it’s generally agreed that a positive tone performs better than a negative one on social media, you should also experiment with this in your testing, and you should have the best tools for social media posting, some audiences prefer a casual tone, while others want something more firm or authoritative.

In other cases, even something as innocuous as your passive or active voice will make a difference. So, experiment with your tone to see what your audience responds to.

5. Hashtags

hashtagWhile the jury is out on hashtags, you should see how they affect your engagement. They’re great for extending reach, but your testing shouldn’t be hashtags vs no hashtags. Instead, try these options

  • Multiple tags vs a single one
  • Which tags in your industry perform the best
  • The placement of hashtags in the message

Final Thoughts

A/B testing is a hugely important part of any marketing strategy. By using Twitter and its suite of tools, you can achieve the same type of data that you would get from paid programs. Have you tried testing using Twitter? Let us know how it went in the comments!

Ronaldo Gomez is a seasoned freelance writer who specializes in all things of digital marketing. You can find him online @ronaldogomezllc

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