Financial Marketing

The A/B Testing Guide for Financial Marketing

By January 3, 2019 No Comments

How often do you rely on intuition to guide your decisions in your financial marketing? Wouldn’t it better if, as much as possible, you could instead base these choices on hard evidence and data?

Fortunately, within the realm of digital marketing (which is what we deal with here at MarketingAdviser) financial advisers and other businesses can do just that through A/B testing.

In this guide, we’re going to take you through what A/B testing is and how it works, as well as how to implement this approach into your own financial marketing.


What is A/B Testing?

Another name for A/B testing is “split testing”. Essentially, it involves splitting your audience during a marketing campaign. One audience sees one ad (or set of ads), whilst the other audiences see a variation. After a decent time period, you compare the results in order to see which performed best.

For instance, perhaps you run a Google Ads campaign to show the same ad to your target audience – with one important difference (E.g. the headline copy). After 2 or 3 weeks, you delve into the analytics and see which ad produced the highest click-through-rate and impressions, as well as the best conversion rate.

So digital advertising can be an important area where A/B testing occurs in financial marketing. Yet another, possibly more common approach is to split test your landing page.

For example, suppose you run your Google Ads campaign again. However, this time you run just one ad variation but direct 50% of your audience to one version of your landing page, and the remaining 50% to a slightly different version.

After a period, you can then look at the user behaviour to see which landing page performed best. It might be, for instance, that a certain layout or colour scheme produces a higher dwell time, engagement rate or conversion rate.

One important thing to remember is that it is usually best for financial marketers to just test one variation at a time – regardless of whether you are split testing your ads, landing pages or something else. Don’t split test your Google ad headline at the same time you split test your ad copy, for instance.


Advantages of A/B Testing

There are several benefits of A/B testing to your financial marketing. By far, however, the best advantage is that these tests are low in cost but high in reward.

For example, suppose you write two articles for your blog on your financial website. That might take you two days to write two decent ones, with all the SEO features included on it. If the average number of leads your blog generates is 5 leads per blog over 12 months, then that’s potentially 10 leads that you can expect these two blogs to generate.

Suppose, however, that instead, you wrote one article and spent the other day creating an A/B test for this article. If this A/B test finds that you can generate 15 leads from this one article, then you have spent the same amount of time you would have done writing two articles – but you’ve produced more results.

Of course, there’s a chance that your A/B test could fail. However, this means that your next test will be even more refined. If the next test doubles your conversion rate (e.g. changing the position of your call to action), then you can keep that variation for all subsequent blogs that you write. That means that, no matter how many of your A/B tests fail, given enough time it almost always pays off to run them.


Goals of A/B Testing in Financial Marketing

Not all financial firms have the same goals when it comes to split testing in their financial marketing. Here are some common examples of goals with the financial firms we work with here:

  • Increased conversion rates. This mostly involves growing the percentage of website visitors who fill out the website contact form or subscribe to the company newsletter.
  • Decreased bounce rate. This is where we work to reduce the percentage of website visitors who leave our client’s website without visiting more than one page.
  • Increase traffic volume. Fairly straightforward – get more qualified footfall on the website!


How to set up an A/B Test in Financial Marketing

The first important thing to do when deciding to run an A/B test is to pick one variable.

In all likelihood, there will be many variables to choose from – headline copy, ad copy, call to action position, and so on. However, resist the temptation to test more than one at the same time. If you do so and your test fails, for instance, you will find it hard to know which variable to attribute the failure to.

The second stage of your A/B test is to decide upon your goal for the test. You might want to pick one from the list immediately above or choose another one from your financial marketing strategy.

Next, you need to set up your “control” version (i.e. the unaltered one) and the “challenger” version (i.e. the version with the variation on it which you wish to test). For instance, if you are A/B testing a landing page then the control version should already be there. You will need to set up the challenger landing page with the amend on it – e.g. an altered headline or call to action.

After this, you need to split your audience in a random and equal manner. For instance, you could jumble up your email subscriber list, cut it into two lists, and send a separate email to each list. One could contain a link to the control version of your landing page above, and the other could have a link to the challenger version.

You might want to consider sending your emails to a small portion of your total list, first. Once you have the results in and have determined the winner, you can send this version to the wider list.

From there, it’s a matter of gathering and analysing the results as they come in! Once you know whether your test has succeeded or failed, you can integrate the winning version into your financial marketing and move onto the next test – continually refining things as you go along.