- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

A/B Testing in Digital Marketing – What it is & why you need to (Part 2): A/B Testing Offsite Campaigns

A/B Testing your offsite campaigns

By Ian Jeffrey, Co-Founder and CEO, Breathe Life

In part one, A/B Testing For Your Website, I set out to explain the basics of A/B testing and ideas for testing elements of your website that are most likely to impact conversion. If A/B testing is a new concept to you, I recommend giving it a read. Meanwhile, here are a few (‘TL:DR’) takeaways from part one:

  • Data is the lifeblood of the insurance business
  • A/B testing delivers data on customer behavior and is a proven best practice in digital marketing
  • Statistical significance is critical to effective A/B testing
  • Focus on items most likely to have a meaningful impact on customer engagement on your website
  • The goal of A/B testing is to identify what works, do more of what works, and eliminate what doesn’t work

Why A/B testing is important

KPMG’s 2019 overview of top InsurTech trends noted that “Insurers that lack data, or the partners and models that generate it, can expect to find their business models severely challenged.” This is especially true when it comes to new customer prospecting because cost of customer acquisition is the most critical lever. It stands to reason, then, that paid lead-generation campaigns including digital advertising and email marketing should be based on data.

A/B Testing Offsite Campaigns

Prospecting is a core competency that transcends digital marketing campaigns, but for the purposes of this article I’ve focused on some of the most popular paid lead-generation tools that are distinct from your website: email marketing and digital advertising. And as I did in part 1, I’ll be focusing on testing opportunities most likely to have a significant impact.

  • Email Marketing — In the context of email, A/B testing is the process of sending one variation of a campaign to a subset of your list and different variation to another subset of the list. As I described in part 1, identifying what you want to test and what you are measuring helps to filter the potential “noise” from other possible variations (e.g. views on mobile vs. desktop) given a statistically relevant sample size. Some of the most impactful A/B testing opportunities in email marketing include:
    • Subject lines: the most prominent content with the biggest impact on open rates, and there are a number of factors to consider including length on the subject line, word order, and personalization.
    • Visuals: improved open rates result in more people accessing your content so a strong first impression helps, consider measuring the impact of images, CTAs, and distinct styles.
    • CTAs: following your email open rate, CTA conversion is the holy grail of email marketing and there are several things to consider including placement of the CTA on the page, buttons vs text, and copy.
  • Advertising — There are more digital advertising channels than I have time to cover in detail so I’m including ideas related to the most popular: pay-per-click (PPC) and display:
    • PPC: given the cost of PPC advertising, A/B testing PPC campaigns makes sense and there are only a few things that can be tested including the headline, body text, keywords, and where the ad links. Optimizing for both click throughs and conversions will result in the best ROI.
    • Display: A/B testing display ads is very similar to testing any other content (e.g. headline, visuals, CTAs, copy, etc.) but there is another important factor to consider – network optimization. High-quality traffic is the goal, so it also makes sense to test audiences, segments, time of day to improve ROI.

By now you surely understand the basics of A/B testing and how it might apply to a broad range of digital marketing activities. It’s likely also crossed your mind that the A/B testing concept can be applied more broadly in your organization including workflows or software development.

There is no question that A/B testing requires some effort and expertise, especially when it comes to sampling and interpreting results (subjects for another time) but you don’t need to go it alone. Many marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot and Marketo include services that simplify A/B testing and there are also platforms such as Optimizely that specialize in A/B testing. You can also hire data expertise from a consultant or agency depending on your needs.

Lastly, there is also an emerging class of insurance industry specific SaaS platforms that include A/B testing services. The best of these platforms can even help you accelerate your time to results by aggregating anonymized data across users of the platform to improve conversion rates faster.

The ability to cost effectively acquire new customers online define what success looks like in the insurance industry. My goal in writing this series is to help you understand how to make A/B testing work for your company and ultimately win more business in the digital age.

About the Authors

Ian Jeffrey has been a marketer and entrepreneur in Montreal and Silicon Valley since 2001, and is currently CEO and Co-founder of Breathe Life.

About Breathe Life

Breathe Life is helping protect families around the world by transforming the way personal insurance is bought and sold today. For more information, please visit

Source: Breathe Life