If you’ve ever tried to lose weight (or even if you’ve ever opened up a glossy magazine) you’ve probably seen it: a photo of a tiny pile of almonds next to a massive burger, with a headline admonishing you to “Eat This, Not That!”.
Here at ShareProgress, we don’t care what you eat. But we do care what you test. So with that in mind, we’re bringing you Test This, Not That. Better A/B testing was your New Year’s resolution, right?
Making your Facebook headline more direct
We’ve found in our testing that a more direct Facebook headline (think: “SIGN THIS PETITION”) is more effective than a descriptive headline (“These whales need help”) at getting your friends to click through and actually sign that petition. Try it out, and see if it boosts your petition signatures from social sharing.
Minor changes to your Facebook image
Changing the image that accompanies your Facebook share text can be valuable if it’s an image that conveys meaning in a way that gives you insight about your messaging. Is a picture of a happy whale more effective than a picture of a sad whale? What’s less helpful is testing whether a picture of one whale is more effective than a picture of two whales. You want to learn information from testing that can be replicated with future content.
Changing a single element
If you change everything from the email subject line to the message inside the email and the length of the email and the tone of the email, it’s hard to tell which change drove success. Instead, think back to high school science class and control your variables. Change the headline and see what happens. Then use that successful headline when you try changing up the length of the email and seeing what happens. Test. Repeat. If you really want to try a bunch of different approaches at once, try making it a thematic test: is a message reflecting on past success better at boosting signatures than a message looking ahead to upcoming battles? Test. Repeat.
Testing that one thing one time
Always. Be. Testing. Or, if you’re on Twitter, #AlwaysBeTesting. After you test that one thing, try another thing. And then another thing. The more you test, the more you know about your social audience and what drives shares and action among your people.
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