How many times have you created a social media marketing strategy and been entirely sure of its success? You researched the target audience and keywords, added carefully crafted content enriched with multimedia, and everything looked so promising on paper.
But after the end of the campaign, it turned out to be a fiasco. Your idea didn’t resonate with your audience. You lost time and money.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to predict the results of your SMM campaign?
Good news — there is!
Social testing will provide all the necessary data to make informed decisions aligned with your marketing goals. This article will introduce you to the concept of social testing, its application and the tools that facilitate the whole process.
With the assistance of a social media marketing agency, you can gain the confidence and expertise needed to ensure the success of your strategies.
Table of Contents
What Is Social Testing?
Social testing or social media testing refers to the process of evaluating the effectiveness and impact of social media marketing efforts.
During the experiment, you create several different forms of the post you want to publish on the social media platform, test the performance of each of them among the target audience and measure the results by the initially set goal.
Some social media goals and, therefore, social test goals can be to increase the reach, improve audience engagement or encourage lead conversion.
For example, you can conduct social testing to see how adding multimedia content, such as GIFs, increases engagement on Twitter. Create one ad with a GIF and one with only textual content. After the campaign, the results will tell you which form brings more engagement — that is, which is worth investing in. Contact some of the top social media marketing consulting services to level up your social media presence if social testing confuses you.
Social media testing aims to improve the company's overall strategy and maximize the return on investment in social media marketing campaigns.
Two Types of Social Media Tests
To conduct social media testing, you first need to define your goal.
The goals can be:
- Checking which CTA generates more clicks.
- Determining how much engagement Facebook ads with and without images receive.
- Identifying how hashtags affect the number of impressions on Twitter.
The results of all these social tests indicate which SMM campaign is the most profitable.
You can perform testing in two ways: A/B or split method.
Let's see the features and uses of each of them.
A/B testing is the most common form of social media testing.
This method of social testing is based on changing one variable while the rest of the content in both copies remains identical. For example, if you want to determine whether a Facebook post with or without emojis gets more engagement, you can post them at the same time on the same day of the week — a week apart.
Because of the rapid changes in how social networks work, you should repeat the experiment several times — for example, at different times of the day or on different days of the week — to ensure the final results.
A/B testing can include the following variables:
- Content types: textual vs. video content
- Captions: descriptive vs. short
- Hashtags: with vs. without
- Copy: question vs. statement
- Type of Image: illustration vs. vectors
While the A/B model is ideal for one variable testing, opt for a multivariable test to check more differences.
Multivariable testing, also known as multivariate testing, is used in social media marketing to determine the optimal combination of variables that influence a desired outcome, such as engagement, conversion or click-through rate.
Multivariable testing allows you to change multiple variables simultaneously and measure and compare their effects on the outcome.
Some of the variables whose performance you can measure in multivariable testing are:
- Different types of content (textual vs. video) paired with different captions (long vs. short)
- Different content (within the same type—for example, short and long textual content) with a diverse targeted audience to see which resonates better.
- Different CTA copies with and without the emojis.
- Different CTA buttons with different landing pages.
For example, in a social media ad, you could simultaneously test ad copy, image, CTA and targeted audience to determine the combination that results in the highest conversion rate.
This type of social testing is not limited to paid ads — you can also perform it organically to get relevant results.
Multivariable testing can provide more comprehensive and detailed insights than A/B testing.
It allows marketers to test multiple elements of an ad or post at once and see how they interact with one another to influence performance. However, it is also more complex and requires a larger sample size to obtain statistically significant results.
Where Can You Run Social Tests?
You can perform social testing on social networking platforms or using customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.
Social media platforms provide built-in social testing tools that make your job easier. You don’t have to monitor different channels, and they leave no room for misinterpretation of the results.
Let’s take a look at Facebook’s, Twitter’s, Instagram’s and Pinterest’s social testing.
Facebook offers both A/B and multivariable social testing.
You'll find A/B social tests on Ad Manager, which provides information about the running ads, ad tests and their status. Clicking on each test will provide more details and insights into the metrics.
Multivariable tests are placed in the Experiments section of your Facebook business account.
Running both types of social media tests is quite similar and very simple.
Click on the "Create an ad" button. Fill out the prompts to create and set up the ad, as well as the demographic characteristics of the target audience. Publish the ad and track the results.
After the test period is over, Facebook will provide reliable results. You will receive a report on the ad's performance based on your criteria. It will show which ad has the best possibility of accomplishing your SMM objectives.
Considering Twitter is primarily a conversational platform, you want to create tweets that cause audience engagement — replies, retweets and quotes — as this brings greater visibility and reach.
Twitter supports the A/B model of social testing.
To perform A/B testing, create an ad and run it, then return to Ads.
Copy the content of the first ad, except for the part where you will insert the variable you are testing.
Track the progress of both ads from the Tweet activity dashboard. Unfortunately, Twitter does not provide results as Facebook does. To see how your ads rank, you will have to manually look at and compare the metrics — the number of impressions and clicks of your ads.
Social testing on Pinterest refers to the A/B testing model; variables include images, copies and CTAs.
Create Pinterest business accounts (you don’t necessarily need a new one; you can also change the existing accounts to “business” in settings).
Start the ad campaign by setting all parameters — business goal, budget, targeting audience and optimization, which can be automatic (recommended) or custom. Create two ads that will differ in one variable you want to test. Upload your ads and click the “Launch” button.
Monitor ad results in the “Ad performance” section under the Ad overview dashboard.
LinkedIn supports several different types of ads, and you can check their effectiveness using social testing. The platform supports both kinds of social tests — A/B and multivariable models.
Whether you want to create a single image or a carousel ad, whether the purpose is promotion or employment, social testing allows you to adjust the variables — images, video and ad text. After you've entered the first ad, copy its body and set the variable to create the second one.
A conversion tracking dashboard will provide you with information about the performance of your ads. LinkedIn, like Twitter, doesn't have a built-in feature that provides test results; you must manually check them by tracking metrics.
Instagram has various features that allow users to test the performance of their content, such as insights for business profiles, which provide information about engagement and reach, as well as follower demographics.
However, Instagram currently doesn't have native A/B or multivariable testing features built into the platform. However, there are third-party tools we'll discuss that offer A/B and multivariable testing capabilities for Instagram below.
Top Three Social Media Testing Tools
Social testing on social media platforms is one option; CRM platforms are another, ideal for organic testing of landing pages and other website content.
CRM platforms usually have built-in tools for social testing. However, if they don't have them or you want to confirm the results, social media testing tools are the way to go.
Social media testing tools help businesses evaluate campaigns' effectiveness by measuring metrics such as engagement rates, impressions and reach. They provide valuable insights into content that resonates with the audience and the one that needs to be improved.
Additionally, testing tools can help optimize social media presence and identify the best times to post content for the best SMM results.
Among the large selection of social media testing tools, we singled out the three best:
OptinMonster is a CRM platform that comes with built-in social media testing features, including:
- A/B testing: OptinMonster enables A/B tests on different layouts, contents, headlines and CTAs to determine the most effective combination for the targeted audience.
- Behavioral personalization: The tool tracks visitor behavior and displays personalized campaigns based on their actions, helping to increase engagement and conversions.
- Exit-intent technology: OptinMonster uses this technology to detect when a visitor is about to leave a website and displays a targeted opt-in form to capture their attention and encourage them to sign up for a mailing list or make a purchase.
- Real-time analytics: OptinMonster provides real-time analytics on the performance of campaigns, allowing businesses to quickly identify what's working and what needs improvement.
- Pricing: Free plan; Basic $9/month; Plus $19/month; Pro $29/month; Growth $49/month.
HubSpot CRM provides a built-in social media testing tool to help businesses measure and optimize their social media performance.
Some of the key features and characteristics of HubSpot's social media testing tool include:
- A/B and multivariable testing: HubSpot’s tool splits your page traffic 50/50% so you can get precise testing results. In the multivariable model, you can test up to five-page variations.
- Analytics and reporting: HubSpot's social media testing tool offers detailed analytics and reporting on various social media metrics such as reach, engagement, and audience demographics.
- Scheduling and posting: The tool enables businesses to schedule and publish social media posts in advance, ensuring they reach their target audience at the right time.
- Collaboration and team management: HubSpot's social media testing tool includes collaboration features that allow teams to work together and manage social media accounts effectively.
- Integration with other HubSpot tools: The tool integrates with other HubSpot tools and platforms, making it easy to access and analyze social media, marketing and sales data.
- Pricing: Free plan; Profesional $800/month; Enterprise $3600/month
Leadpages is a lead generation and landing page building platform whose social testing features allow you to check the performance of landing pages you promote on social media accounts.
Some of the critical features of Leadpages' social media testing tool include:
- A/B testing: Leadpages enables businesses to run A/B tests on different landing page elements, such as headlines, images and CTAs, to determine the most effective combination for their audience.
- Precise and detailed real-time analytics: Leadpages provides real-time analytics on the performance of landing pages, including total and unique visits, conversions and total conversion rate.
- Landing page templates: Leadpages provides landing page templates optimized for different goals, such as lead generation, sales and event promotion.
- Conversion optimization tools: The platform provides pop-ups, alerts and lead magnets that help businesses increase engagement and capture more leads.
- Mobile optimization: Leadpages design mobile-responsive pages, ensuring they look great and function correctly on any device.
- Pricing: Free plan; Standard $37/month; Pro 74/month.
Social Testing: Final Thoughts
Social testing should be integral to any business's marketing strategy to succeed in today's highly competitive digital landscape.
Conduct social media tests on social media or CRM platforms, following guidelines for A/B or multivariable testing models. You’ll gain valuable insights into your customer's preferences and pain points. Use this information to improve customer satisfaction, increase brand awareness and drive conversions.
Social testing will help you identify what works and what doesn't in your SMM campaigns, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your strategies for the best results.
If you need help with social testing, hire one of the top social media marketing agencies whose experience will put your business in the right hands.