Best Practices - A/B Testing Campaign

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Why you should A/B test your marketing campaigns

Instead of guessing what resonates with your constituents, A/B testing helps you make decisions based on data. It will tell you if your marketing campaign is working or more importantly if it is not.


Set Goals - Know what and why you want to test

Do you know your baseline? Know where you stand now to show positive/negative trends. Look at how you can improve your open rates. This will help you determine your hypothesis. A hypothesis is an idea about what you need to test, why it needs to be tested, and what changes you'll see after you make any changes.

Focus on frequently sent emails

To start, only focus on testing emails you send frequently. Then start branching out to other email campaigns.


Ensure your audience is large enough so when the system randomly selects the test group your results will be statistically significant. You can also find more information here.

Test one element at a time

To understand what is really impacting your results, it's best to select one variable at a time.

Wait the optimum amount of time

Be patient! it is important to wait long enough to gather enough data to ensure the right email is being selected as the winner. Select here to see our recommendations.

Check results

You want to make sure the results mean something before you move forward and implement them into your marketing strategy. Confirm the results of tests and build on your leanings.

Test and test again

What resonates with your audience today may change as time goes on. There fore, it is important to continue to test and identify how your constituents respond.

Avoid these mistakes

  • Not having a hypothesis
  • Comparing results from outdated campaigns
  • Changing metrics mid-way
  • Not segmenting your audience before testing

Variables - ideas and tips to test

Subject Line

  • Personalization - use tokens to personalize one of the subject lines
  • Question vs. Statement
  • Short subject line vs. a longer subject line - Ideally subject lines should be 40 characters or less
  • Emoji vs no emoji
  • Add humor vs. being straight forward
  • Change around the words slightly between subject lines
  • Sense of urgency vs. no urgency


  • Personalization - use tokens to personalize one of the subject lines
  • Question vs. Statement
  • Emoji vs no emoji
  • Short Pre-Header vs. a longer Pre-Header
    • Generally, keep Pre-Header text between 40-130 characters
    • Most mobile Pre-Header text is between 30-55 characters long
  • Add call to action vs. no call to action
  • Do not repeat the subject line
  • Make your subject line and Pre-Header text work together
  • Build curiosity

From Name and Sender Address

Ask yourself - Will the targeted audience more likely recognize and respond to an individual's name, institution or group?

  • Department/Group Name vs. Individual's Name (maybe a high profile figure name)
  • Full Name vs. First Name only
  • Different email addresses