LYF Solutions


MailChimp is a great tool to send out emails to your subscribers and customer base. However, how can you get more out of the emails you send, ensuring a higher chance of success?

One nifty tool most MailChimp lovers are unaware of is the A/B test feature. This enables you to get more from your email marketing by understanding what works and doesn’t, before your entire database receives the email you wish to send.

What is A/B testing?

A marketing term, also known as split testing that explains a process where you take a portion of your audience to sample two or more variations on them. This could be a different image, text or call to action button. The split test that performs the best based on the success objective you’ve chosen, determines whether A or B wins.

Why A/B test?

A/B testing allows you to work out what has worked the most on a percentage of people. It is based on the belief that a % of people will display a similar behaviour or do the same thing as the rest of your audience. In most cases, this is true – as people typically follow the same paths.

How to do an A/B test in MailChimp?

When creating a new MailChimp campaign, select the A/B testing campaign option.

How to do an A/B MailChimp campaign

You can test different versions of:

  • Subject lines
  • From name
  • Content
  • Send time

By doing this, you can test different combinations on a percentage of your mailing list.

So for example, you could test 3 subject lines on an email that talks about how to choose the right coloured wig.

Test MailChimp subject lines

Those subject lines might be:
1. How to choose the right wig for your hair
2. The secret to Winter wigs
3. What colour wig are you?

You then need to select the % of the audience you want to test this on. For large databases over 5,000, you could choose 30% or more. However, for those with a small number of subscribers, you might like to test 25%.

MailChimp email tips

Note: MailChimp recommends you have a minimum of 5,000 on your database in total. Although, in tests we’ve still found the tool valuable to understand what users do and don’t like.

After you have selected the test percentage, you can then determine what will mean a success for your split email test. In this example, we decided open rate is a success. Then we allowed three days to give people the chance to go through their inbox. You can change this based on your needs. After the selection, MailChimp does the hard work for you, by sending out the email that performed the best to the rest of your subscribers.

A/B testing MailChimp success

If you’re looking to begin your first A/B test, try subject lines as a start.

Tricky open rates

Open rates (as a success measure) are not perfect. For example, if an email provider blocks images of an email opened and the user does not allow these images to be displayed, the email will not be counted as opened. This is why comparing other results is necessary to review your marketing efforts.

Another measure of success that could be of use is the click through rate (CTR). Although, this result is impacted by your content, not only your subject line.

Getting A/B testing right in your MailChimp

The art of A/B is to keep each test a fair comparison. That means, when testing for example two items of content, it would not be fair to send out two very different newsletters to a percentage of your audience. This is because there could be several reasons why one email worked and the other didn’t.

Campaign 1: This is the correct way to do an A/B campaign as the variations differ only one way.

A to b testing good example

Campaign 2: There are too many variations, which will impact your results.

A to b testing not good example

The A/B test feature in MailChimp is useful in ensuring you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns. The next time you send out an email, give this a go and see what results you can improve by experimenting with A/B split testing.

Like it? Share it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.