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11 Ways to A/B Test Your Texts

March 24, 2023

11 Ways to A/B Test Your Texts

6 min read

A/B testing is an essential method of optimizing messages. By experimenting and fine-tuning different elements, you can understand ​​what works best with your audience and if there are areas for improvement for your texting strategy.

The ABC’s of A/B Testing

What is A/B testing exactly? It’s an experiment that compares multiple versions of a marketing campaign or piece of content to determine how different variables impact performance. They call it A/B testing because typically you test a different variable at a time – version A on one part of the audience and version B on the other.

Typical A/B Metrics:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Opt-out rate
  • Conversion rate (CVR)

A/B Testing Best Practices

Here are some key testing tips that make for the most informed test results:

  • Make A/B/C/D Versions. Test one variable at a time to know for sure what difference worked or didn’t work. With Prompt.io, you can create multiple variants so you can run multiple A/B tests with each variable as a separate version.
  • Use a Good Sample Size. Create smaller groups for testing before using the winning test on a larger group. Be sure not to use too small of a testing group, or you won’t get a good sense of accuracy in the results.
  • Keep on testing. A/B testing should be an ongoing practice for your campaigns. What works one month could be different the following month. So it’s best to keep A/B testing as a way to confirm your message is optimized. 

[Also check out How to use AI to Build SMS Scripts and A/B Tests For Your Next Campaign]

Types of A/B tests to run on SMS

Here are some ideas and examples to help you get started on testing your own texting campaigns:

1. Send and Wait Times
Try to send the same message at different times and on different days of the week to see when your audience is the most active. When you start to see any trends in a certain direction, get more granular by testing different hourly intervals. Also test the timing of your triggered messages to see how different wait times impact performance. 

2. Link Placement
If you have a text message that requires a link for further action, where you place the link can affect how many people click it. Run ‌tests to see if placing links near the top, middle, or bottom of your message drives more conversions. You can also experiment with your sequences to see if you should add a link in your first text or a later text.

3. Text-only vs. Text with Images
Incorporating multimedia (images, video, or audio) is a great way to add more interest to your texts. BUT that doesn’t mean your customers might not engage with text-only messages (SMS) instead. Keep the copy the same for each variation, so you’re only comparing the impact of having visuals vs. not including them.

4. Image Type and Content
If you’ve determined that your audience is more likely to engage with messages that include visuals, test different types of images to see which ones convert best. That could be anything from the file type (GIF/video vs static) to the image itself (portrait vs graphic).

5. Emojis
Emojis can be another great way to add personality to your text messages, but they can also be taken as a really casual form of messaging. Run an A/B test comparing messages with and without emojis. 

6. Format and length
A single SMS message supports up to 160 characters. Test out shorter messages of 50-75 characters as well as longer messages. Experiment with line breaks that space out your message or no link breaks as well. 

7. Copy variations
One of the most popular A/B tests for text messages is different copywriting approaches or positioning. This can include leading with an issue, adding personalization to your messages, or introducing links using different words. Check out our blog on how to use AI tools for building SMS scripts.

8. Personalization
People appreciate it when something was made specifically for them. Test out if adding personalized information about a recipient improves engagement. This could be as simple as addressing them by name or as specific as data such as past donation values or interests. 

9. Tone of voice
Some audiences prefer straightforward text messages and some enjoy a more casual tone of voice. Play around with different tones or styles until you find something that resonates with your subscribers and aligns with your brand voice.

10. Call to action
Ending your text messages with a clear call to action can help encourage subscribers to click through and shop immediately. But engagement can depend on the language you use. Test different options or if you should capitalize it. 

11. Other Engagement Opportunities
Another way to track engagement is to provide more options for your audience to provide input. Prompt.io has InstantApps that help deliver surveys, volunteer sign-up forms, and much more. A/B test your messages with different options to see what your audience reacts to the most. 

Have questions about A/B testing your next SMS campaign? See these tactics in action by speaking with a Prompt.io expert.

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