Create an A/B Testing Campaign

This feature requires Author user level or higher.

Each time you create a campaign, there are many ways to present your content, but you may wonder which way is best. Use an A/B Testing Campaign to test how small changes to your campaigns impact your results.

Below, you'll learn how to create and edit A/B Testing Campaigns.

Before You Start

  • Before you create an A/B Testing Campaign, familiarize yourself with how A/B Testing Campaigns work and the terminology.
  • Send combinations to at least 5,000 subscribers to make sure you receive the most useful data from your test. If the size of your list or segment doesn’t allow for 5,000 subscribers in each combination, we strongly recommend that you test your entire list and use your campaign results to inform future campaign content decisions.
  • Wait at least four hours after you send an A/B Testing Campaign to send a winning campaign. Many subscribers won’t engage with your campaign sooner, which can misinform your test results. Shorter test times may cause a losing combination to go out to the rest of your list.
  • In A/B Testing Campaigns where Content is a variable, choose the winner by best click rate, since opens occur before a subscriber views your content.

Create an A/B Testing Campaign

A/B Testing Campaigns are built in a series of steps, just like other campaign types. If you haven't started building an A/B Testing Campaign yet, start at the beginning of these instructions. If you already started and saved your progress, skip to the step you want to work on.

To create a new A/B Testing Campaign, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Campaigns page.
  2. Click the drop-down menu next to Create Campaign, and choose A/B Testing Campaign.
    Create Campaign drop-down menu, with cursor clicking A/B Testing Campaign.

Recipients Step

On the first step of the Campaign Builder, choose the list or segment you want to send your campaign to. To send to a segment, configure a new segment on this screen, or choose a saved segment.

Variables Step

You'll configure the elements you want to test on the Variables step.

  1. Click the Plus icon for the variable you want to test.
    Image displaying variate choices
  2. Click the Plus or Minus icons to add or remove additional variations of the variable.
    Cursor hovers over plus icon to choose 3 subject lines.
    You can test one variable with up to three variations. The number of variations equals the number of combinations, as shown in the Summary.
    Screen of 3 subject lines totalling up to 3 combinations.
    For example, to test three subject lines, we'll generate three combinations of your campaign.
  3. Under How should we split your recipients?, click and drag the slider to set the percentage of your recipients you want to send your test combinations to.
    Screen of cursor dragging slider to 80%.
    Send combinations to 100% of your recipients if your list or segment doesn't allow for 5,000 subscribers in each combination. If you're testing Send time, this is your only option.

    Review the Summary to see how many of your subscribers will receive each combination.
  4. Choose whether to determine a winner based on open rate, click rate, total revenue, or manually. Then, choose how long you want the test to run.
    Screen showing how winner will be chosen, with By Open Rate after 4 hours chosen.
    At the end of the test phase, we'll send the winning combination to your remaining recipients.

During the test phase, you can convert to manual selection to choose the winner from the campaign report.

Setup Step

Depending on which variable you test, the Setup step will present multiple Email subject, From email address and name, and Subject line fields.

  1. Type in your variation content in the field provided. Send time variations settings also appear on this step.
    Screen of three different subject line options.
  2. Check the boxes next to your preferred settings or tracking options to include.

Content Step

The Content step is where you add content for your campaign. What you see on this step will vary if you choose to test content.

Test Subject Line, From Name, or Send Time

  1. Choose your layout on the Template step of the Content Builder.
  2. On the Design step of the Content Builder, design and test your campaign.
  3. When everything is how you want, click Confirm before sending.

Test Content

The Content setup page shows a preview for each variation of your campaign content. To add content to each variation, follow these steps.

  1. Click Add Content for a variation of your campaign.
    Screen of content setup page with cursor hovering over to add content to the first variation.
  2. Choose your layout on the Template step of the Content Builder.
  3. On the Design step of the Content Builder, design and test your campaign. When everything is how you want, click Next.
  4. On the Description step of the Content Builder, type in text to describe the variation of the content. Your subscribers won't see this description, but it will help you remember the differences between each variation.
    Screen of Content description step, with Administration Building Photo to describe the content.
  5. Click Continue to content to return to your content variations.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for each content variation. On the Template step, use a different template or select a variation you already designed in the Previous Variations tab.
    Screen of Previous Variations tab with one variation option.
  7. When everything is how you want, click Next.


Confirm Step

The Confirm step is where you’ll review the combinations that make up your A/B Testing Campaign.

  1. Review the Pre-Delivery Checklist. Click Resolve or Edit to make changes to any section of the campaign.
  2. After you're finished, Send your campaign now or Schedule it to go out later.
    Screen of Schedule and Send buttons.

Account users with a Manager user level or higher will receive an email when a winner has been automatically chosen, or after four hours if you haven't yet picked a winner manually.

Manually Choose a Winner

If you chose Manual Selection from the drop-down menu on the Variables step of the Campaign Builder, you'll be able to view the campaign report after tests are sent, and choose a winner.
Screen of Manual Selection choose from the What metric should determine the winner drop-down menu.

To manually choose a winner, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Reports page.
  2. Click View report for the A/B Testing Campaign you want to work with.
  3. An alert will tell you how long into the testing phase you are and recommend that you wait at least four hours.
    Feedback block showing information about how long the test has run and the recommendation to wait 4 hours before choosing a winner.
  4. Review the report for each combination. Under Finalize your test, click the radio button next to the combination you want to send to your remaining subscribers.
    Screen of cursor choosing an option from the combination results table.
  5. Click Send To Remaining Recipients.
    Cursor clicks the Send To Remaining Recipients button.
  6. Click Send Now in the confirmation pop-up modal to send the winning campaign.

Convert to Manual Selection

After you send your test with the choice to have the winner chosen by open rate, click rate, or total revenue, you may decide that you want to manually choose the winning combination instead.

To convert to manual selection after you sent your campaign, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Reports page.
  2. Click View Report for the A/B Testing Campaign you want to work with.
  3. Click Convert to manual selection.
    Feedback block showing the cursor clicking the option to convert to manual selection.
  4. In the pop-up modal, type CONVERT in all caps and click Convert.
    Screen of modal with CONVERT typed in the field and the cursor clicking Convert.
  5. When you’re ready, choose a combination to immediately send to your remaining subscribers.

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