E-commerce Tips & Tricks 5 min read
11 Jun 2021

Email A/B Testing: 10 Email A/B Testing Mistakes That Limit Your Success

Email A/B Testing: 10 Email A/B Testing Mistakes That Limit Your Success

With more and more people using email marketing to reach out to their potential customers, the need for creating effective email campaigns is more critical than ever.

Businesses across different industries are practicing email marketing techniques to capture the attention of their target audiences.

Experts consider email an intricate marketing asset that needs constant testing to align well with your email marketing goals.

With Email A/B testing, you can spot and track the high-impact changes in email copy, subject lines, and other elements to boost conversions.

We all know how important email marketing is for the success of your online business. But sadly, only a few ecommerce owners are aware of the significance of email A/B testing.

In this post, we're going to highlight everything you need to know about email A/B testing. We will not only walk you through our tried-and-tested email A/B testing ideas but also pinpoint the most common email A/B testing mistakes every ecommerce business should avoid for ultimate growth and success.

What Is Email A/B Testing?

Email A/B testing is the process of sending two different email variations to two subsets of your subscribers to identify which specific variation is bringing more value to the table.

Businesses implement different email A/B testing ideas depending on their resources, the nature of their product, and their target audience.

For some businesses, only comparing two or more subject lines is enough.

However, businesses dealing with high-end products often choose more advanced email A/B procedures to compare two entirely different templates to identify which one gains more clicks.

Thanks to email service providers and testing tools, email A/B testing is no more a headache for ecommerce owners. But yes, the process still isn't as simple as it may sound.

Many marketers and owners make avoidable email A/B testing mistakes that cost them an arm and a leg. We're going to talk about a few of those mistakes in the subsequent sections.

A/B Testing Statistics

Email A/B testing is important. If you don't trust us, these statistics will help you know the real advantages of A/B testing for your email marketing campaigns.

Did you know more than 39% of online businesses don't test their segmented emails?

We know that this statistic is alarming. But what does it have in store for you?

Yes, you guessed that right. When you start A/B testing your segmented emails, you get a competitive advantage over those not paying heed to this factor.

Hubspot, a famous US-based developer, and marketer of inbound marketing software has conducted a marketing experiment by testing the impact of using a personalized sender's name instead of a generic one.

The results they got were pretty interesting.

An email version with a personalized name received 0.53% higher open rates. Also, the CTR received by the same email was more than 0.23%.

Still not convinced? Here are some other benefits of performing Email A/B testing for your campaigns.

Benefits Of A/B Testing Your Emails

It Helps You Identify The Needs Of Your Subscribers

The purpose of creating any marketing campaign is to lure and captivate your customers. If you think the email sequences you're crafting are out of this world, sending them out without seeking a second opinion from your subscribers is still not a good idea.

Performing email A/B testing provides you with a chance to let your prospects decide what works best for them.

It Gives You A Competitive Advantage

Another obvious benefit of A/B testing your emails is it gives you a competitive advantage over your competitors. Since we have already talked about this benefit in the preceding section, we're not going to repeat it here again. So let's move to the next advantage.

Excludes Guesswork

Sure, you can always put your intuition into practice to determine what works best for your target audience.

But why is this practice not recommended? Because the risk factor will always be there.

A/B testing is based on facts and figures. Also, you leverage the best testing tools to test your emails. With email A/B testing, it will be easier for you to form your future analytics on something that is not biased and more reliable.

It’s Affordable

You get a clear picture of your target audience's response when you A/B test your email campaigns. This enables you to get rid of other marketing tactics contributing less to your revenue generation process.

It Improves Open And Click-Through Rates

Email A/B testing allows you to hit all the right spots that trigger your customer's interest. Your open and CTR will automatically increase when you create and send emails according to your customer's needs.

Email A/B Testing Ideas You Should Consider

Subject Lines

Subject lines are the most critical part of your email. Why? Because it lets a recipient decide whether or not they want to click on an email.

Given its significance and its impact on open and CTR, subject lines should be a major area of focus of your email A/B testing.

Length And Word Order

A Return Path research indicates that the ideal length for an ecommerce email must not be more than 61-70 characters.

But what if your customers are willing to spend more time reading your emails and look forward to an in-depth copy instead of a few lines?

That is where Email A/B testing comes in.

Similarly, you must also test different word order variations to assess what's contributing more to your open rates and conversions.

Email Copy

According to recent research, the average human attention span has reduced from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds today.

Now, what does that mean?

You'll struggle to get your customers to click on your emails if you fail to convince them through your email copy. And you only have a margin of 8 seconds to do that.

With Email A/B testing, you can test different variants of your email copy to determine which one caters best to your customer's needs.


Did you know you can increase your click-through rate by a whopping 14% when you add an element of personalization to your emails?

Just like Hubspot, you can also test this element by A/B testing two variants of a single email - one with the generic name and the other with a recipient's name.

Apart from that, you can also conduct email A/B testing to check the viability of other elements in your email, such as visuals, images, CTA, tone, etc.

10 Email A/B Testing Mistakes That Limit Your Success

1. Not Testing Your Triggered Emails

The biggest email A/B testing mistake many marketers make is they only take into account their segmented emails.

According to research, more than 65% of brands never test their transactional or triggered emails. That's a missed opportunity.

While testing your segmented emails provides you with an opportunity to have the edge over your competitors, A/B testing your transactional emails can significantly improve your chances of getting incomparable success even if you test them only once a year.

2. Focusing On Too Many Elements At A Time

Trying to test too many email elements at a time can cause more harm than good for your A/B testing campaigns. While it may be tempting to test multiple things at a time to save money, the outcomes will not give you a clear picture of the final results.

So, instead of testing many things, focus on testing two variants of a single element. For instance, blue CTA button or red? CTA placement above the fold or below it?

3. Not Having A Clear Hypothesis

The biggest mistake marketers make is they start split testing just for the sake of making some changes here and there. Email A/B testing is a technical process. You can not achieve your desired results without knowing your goals or having a clear hypothesis.

Know why you're performing A/B testing and what your goals are.

For instance, if you're looking to boost conversions through emails, you should decide if you want to achieve your conversion goals via CTAs, email copy, or anything else.

If it's CTA, you can split-test two variants of a single clear-to-actions (CTAs) button to determine whether you're getting more conversions by placing it above the fold or below it.

4. Not Choosing A Metric That Is In Line With Your Campaign Goals

The purpose of initiating email campaigns is to boost sales and conversions. You must keep this goal in mind before you perform email A/B testing for your campaigns. 

Marketers think that their subject lines should be good enough to increase open rates, or they can only get more clicks when their content is good.

Sure, these metrics contribute to achieving these individual goals. But the fact is all email elements work together to help you achieve your primary goal, which is conversions. 

In a nutshell, every element of your email affects activity down the funnel.

5. Choosing A Very Small Sample Size

Choosing a small testing audience is another email A/B testing mistake many marketers make to save some cash.

Yes, you might save some bucks by reducing your sample size, but the result you get would not be reliable.

To avoid this and ensure your outcomes are statistically significant, you should select a large sample size.

6. Getting Your Timing Wrong

Email A/B testing and timing go hand in hand. Not running the A/B test long enough increases your odds of getting unreliable results. Aim for a testing span of at least 4-hours and more.

Again, you need to understand that performing A/B testing just for the sake of testing won't do any good to your campaigns. You should have a goal in mind, and you must be willing to spend enough time and resources to get the most accurate results.

7. Not Having A Plan

When we talk about online business, everything starts with a plan. You need to have a robust A/B testing plan if you want to get the most of your tests.

The A/B testing plan comprises three essentials- hypothesis, emails you want to split test, and results.

With this information at hand, you can determine whether or not your hypothesis was accurate or in line with your testing goals.

8. Not Confirming Your Results

Confirmation is an integral part of your testing process. The thing is, single-split testing can never be conclusive. Many times, you notice results because of the novelty effect that fades away with time.

Hence, to avoid false results, it is critical to repeat the email A/B test at least twice or thrice to confirm and believe the results you're getting.

9. Not Choosing The Right Testing Tools

Present-day marketers are lucky in the sense that they can use a myriad of testing tools to improve the A/B testing process. Invest your time and resources in finding out the options that fit your individual business needs.

Some tools are pricier and come with a range of advanced split testing features, while others come with a reasonable price tag.

The key here is to use the most accurate data so that you can get the most accurate results with whatever tool you use.

10. Not Using Segments Of Active Email Subscribers

Choosing two entirely different groups of subscribers is another email A/B testing mistake marketers make.

For instance, you won't be able to get precise results when you send out one variant of any option to the group of active subscribers and another variant to those who do not engage with your campaign regularly.

As a result, the group of active subscribers will win over those who're not currently participating in your campaigns.

Debutify CORP

Debutify CORP

Debutify is the easiest way to launch and scale your eCommerce brand.

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