In 2015, Mayo Clinic’s Social and Digital Innovation team ran two months of A/B testing to better understand how our followers respond to @MayoClinic tweets.
A/B testing is a way to compare two versions of an ad or marketing message to see which is more successful in getting your target audience to do a desired action (e.g., clicking the ad, entering an email address). Basically, A/B testing will allow you to tweak future messaging to make marketing more successful. Click here for more information on A/B Testing. Here's what we learned:
General Twitter Guidelines
Tweeting for Engagement (RTs, Replies, Favs)
When Tweeting for URL Click-throughs
Test Your Own Tweets
How Do You A/B Test on Twitter?
A true A/B test requires two messages be run simultaneously and to randomly assigned. Each ad would be delivered to 50% of your target audience. The only way to do that with tweets is to use Twitter Ads.
We, however, took the free-of-charge route of posting multiple tweets for the same article throughout the week, thinking this would yield useful insights about how to improve our tweets. The great frequency of tweets from our account, large size of our audience, and the short half-life of a tweet lends itself to giving you fairly accurate results.
We also tested our hypotheses multiple times over the two months. For example, if we were testing (A)"top tips" vs. (B)"5 tips," we'd run that test during week one. We'd then find a different article to run that same test during another week to see if it delivered the same results.
We first needed a way to measure success. Since two Twitter goals involve sharing useful, shareable health information (reach) and driving traffic (clicks) to our sites, we chose the two measures of engagement, defined as retweets, replies, and favorites combined (these drive reach), and click-throughs.
Try Testing One or All of These
Share the wisdom and let us know what you tested and learned to make your tweets more effective, either in the comments section or within the SMHN Community.
Written by Makala Johnson and Tony Hart, members of Social and Digital Innovation team for Mayo Clinic.