Split Testing – What Is It?

Published Feb. 9, 2021, 12:10 a.m. by Samuel Mukuria

In my community, there’s this ancient saying that goes “It’s only a fool that tests the depth of a river with both legs.” In simple terms this like a warning. If you are not sure about something, it’s good first to do a test before getting into it with your all. The same happens in the digital marketing world. It’s full of different target audiences with different preferences. This is why a digital marketer needs to run tests to know what suits which audience/customer better and what does not. This where split testing comes in.

Now let get into our topic - Split Testing - What is it? How is it done? Why is it important in today’s digital marketing world?

Optimizely defines split testing to conduct controlled, randomized experiments to improve a website metric, such as clicks, forms completions, or purchases. This is true only that split testing - also known as A/B testing - is not limited to a website metric alone; it’s also done when running Social media (Facebook) ads and in applications and development to ensure the final app suits the targeted audience needs best. The baseline control sample is compared to a completely different variation of the same sample in the split test. In contrast, in A/B testing, the baseline control sample is compared to various single-variable tests performed on the same sample.

Let’s see several examples of split/AB testing and how they are done.

Split/AB Testing In a Facebook Campaign.

Here different campaign elements are used, and the one that works the best is chosen at the end. Let’s narrow down and see how each element of a Facebook campaign can be used when carrying out a split test.

Different Images – Here, the advertiser or digital marketer uses two different images let say image A and B publish them for several weeks while Facebook runs the tests when the time set for the test lapses Facebook gives back the results and the image which outperforms the other is chosen.

Use of Different Call-to-Action (CTA) Buttons – Here same ad with different CTA buttons is subjected to the target audience for a certain period, and the CTA outperforms the other(s) when it comes to clicks is chosen as the best one to use.

Different Ad placement - Here, the advertiser carries out the test by playing with the ad placement element. S/he can set the one ad placement on the left side column for those accessing Facebook using desktops, another one on the newsfeed, or just setting the ad placement as automatic. The ad is left to run for some time. When the time lapses, the advertiser gets the result and makes an informed decision on which placement resonates the best with the target audience.

Different Audiences – This is a split test where the advertiser uses the same ad but subjects it to different audiences (in terms of age, location, likes, etc.) for some time. When the time lapses, the audience, which resonates with the ad, is chosen as the target audience.

Split/AB testing in app development.

Here the developer can split his/her target audience into two. Let say audience A and B. After splitting the audience, the developer can release the app to the audiences and ensure that the in-app experience is different for each audience. The developer then goes on and tracks the user interactions/engagement with the app. The developer settles with the in-app experience that outperforms the other.

Split/AB Testing on a website.

Here the website developer plays with CTA buttons, contact collection forms, sign-up forms, etc. For instance, a developer can create two different CTA buttons then monitor how the audience is interacting with the buttons. The button with outperforms the other is chosen.

Now that we know how the split/AB test is done, let’s get to know its merits when it comes to digital marketing.

  • One advantage of carrying out a split/AB test is that it reduces the room for guesses thus better results.

  • Split testing helps in the right audience targeting compared to running an ad to an audience based on assumptions.

  • Through split/AB testing, an advertiser/digital marketer/app/web developer emerges more informed on the decisions to make in the future.



Although many people/organizations ignore this practice – of course, not at Errandsguy Limited – it’s one of the best practices for digital marketing.