Email A/B testing: A Complete Guide

You may believe that if you only watch Mad Men episodes, all you need is artistic intuition and good luck to be successful. Modern marketers need to be both creative and analytic despite Don Draper’s fictional success.

Data, the modern driving force of any marketing campaign, is data.

One of the best ways to gather this data is through A/B testing, especially when it comes to email.

This can increase your email’s open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate, resulting in more sales and revenue. This guide will explain to you how to implement an A/B testing Email Marketing Strategy in future campaigns.

What is A/B testing?

Split testing is also known as A/B testing. It involves sending two different versions of the same email to a small subset of subscribers.

The half of the subset that receives A receives it, and the other receives B.

Both versions of the email A/B test may appear very similar but will contain a small variation. For example, they might have a different subject line.

  • Subject line
  • Layout
  • CTA
  • Pictures
  • Copy length
  • Copy tone
  • Testimonials
  • Send time

After your subscribers have interacted with the two emails for a sufficient amount of time, you can then compare their open rates, click-through rates, or conversion rates (depending on which metric you are trying to optimize). You can then send the improved version of the email to your entire subscriber list.

The Power of A/B testing

If you don’t test your hypothesis, you won’t know for sure what will work to convert your audience.

A/B tests are an easy way to find out what your audience likes. You might be surprised to find out that your audience prefers something different than what you initially thought.

1 By ignoring this powerful technique, your email testing campaign could not reach its full potential. You could lose out on tons of business. You can gain an advantage over your competitors by A/B-testing your future email campaigns.

How To Run An A/B Email Testing

Follow these simple steps to use this powerful technique.

Determine Your Sample Size

You need a large enough sample size for statistically significant results.

Your subscriber list dictates your available sample size:

  • Subscriber list- If you have a large subscriber base, it is best to test the two versions of your email on a subset first. You could, for example, send 10% of your list to the first version and 10% to the second version. After the results have been received, you can then send the improved performance to the other 80%.
  • Subscriber list: If you have a small list of subscribers, it may be worth conducting A/B testing on your entire list, dividing the recipients in half. This will make sure that your results are representative of your whole audience.

Set Up Your Chosen Software

Many email programs, including Mail Chimp Constant Contact Campaign Monitor Active Campaign, offer A/B testing.

The A/B test software lets you send two different versions of an email to subsets within your subscriber list. The winning email version will be automatically sent to your entire subscriber list once the results have been determined.

You can still run an A/B test manually if you do not use email software. You can use email segments to divide your subscriber list in two and then send different versions of the email. You’ll then have to analyze the performance of each manual piece.

Select your Variables

It’s now time to think about specific changes that could improve the performance of your email and email accessibility. You may feel that your subject line needs to be more concise. Perhaps you believe that personalization will encourage more conversions.

Add the change that you believe will have the greatest impact on your campaign to the B-version of your original email.

Here are some aspects of your email that you can A/B test:


The subject line of your email can make or ruin the open rate. All your design and copy work will be wasted if you don’t manage to get your subscribers to open the email.

Here are some tweaks that you can make to your subject line during testing and see what impact they have on the open rate of your email:

  • You can rearrange the words in your subject line.
  • Use the subject line to ask a question
  • Include numbers or emojis
  • Try capitalizing your words.
  • Test out different subject line lengths.
  • Use language to create a sense of urgency
  • Add more personalization

It has been shown to boost open rates by up to 14%! Available rates can increase by as much as 14%. 2

Preheader Text

Preheader text can also affect the open rate of your email. This Text appears as a continuation of your subject line in your reader’s inbox.

Preheader text is a way to give you more space to grab the attention of readers and inspire them to click.

Sender’s Name

The sender’s email address is another factor that can impact the open rate of your emails. The email address that appears in the “From” box of your recipient’s email is your own.

You could use a real email address ( instead of the company name ( during an A/B testing.

This kind of connection with your readers may be the key to getting them to click.

Call to Action

After a subscriber opens your email, your next goal is getting them to click your CTA. Your CTA is, therefore, one of the features that you should A/B-test.

Test your CTA by:

  • Copy
  • Font
  • Text Size
  • Capitalization
  • Button color
  • Location
  • Email Frequency

If you see more clicks, then your CTA change is working.


Your audience may have different preferences when it comes to the design of your email. Some subscribers love images, while others prefer plain Text.

Try out different visuals to see what your audience prefers. You can do A/B testing:

  • Images vs. Plain Text
  • Multiple images vs. a single image
  • Real-life photos vs. drawings
  • Still images vs. animated GIFs
  • Colorful images vs. monochrome images
  • Stock images vs. company photos
  • Professional images vs. relatable memes

This level of precision will help you create highly targeted email campaigns that are tailored to your audience.

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