A-B Testing with Variable Data Print

Variable Data Printing

How to harness the power of print and the smarts of digital marketing with A/B Testing

What is A/B testing anyway?

In web analytics, A/B Testing is a controlled experiment with two variants, to determine the best marketing outcome.

You might want to test the headline of a display advert, “Free Delivery” versus “Unbeatable Prices” for example.  Web analytics allows you to track which advert gets more traffic, and ultimately more sales.

When you discover which advert gets better results, you try a new test and improve on your results each time.  Ultimately your advertising becomes smarter and you get higher conversions.

A/B Testing with Printing

A/B testing with print

Now with the digital capabilities of Variable Data Printing, A/B testing comes into the real world. Variabale Data Printing (VDP) is like the old mail merge in Microsoft Word, but on steroids. VDP allows you to change not only the headline, text and contact details, but the entire layout with Responsive Print Design. Variable Data lets you split your print run into an A/B test, or even an A/B/C/X/Y/Z.

But how do you track the analytics of printing you ask?  Just like you do in the digital world of landing pages and email addresses. Here are a couple of techniques for tracking the results of A/B testing via printing:

  • Use a different URL for your A/B test, such as website.com.au/A and website.com.au/B
  • For an even better result, use a different domain for each A/B test, such as websiteA.com and websiteB.com.
  • Use a different email address for your call to action, such as action-A@email.com and action-B@email.com.
  • Use a special offer code, for prospects to enter into your website landing page.

When customers respond to your printing either online, by email, phone or over the counter, it’s essential that you get some feedback about which print campaign they received – the A or B test.

A/B testing with design and colours

Responsive Print Design is a technique that changes the design of printing based on variable data.  For example, all of the women in your database could receive your magazine with a feminine colour scheme, and advertising content for females.  In the same print run, the men in your database would receive the same magazine, but with a masculine colour scheme, and adverts just for blokes.  Responsive Print Design can even be a random A/B test, checking which magazine gets a better response, with the green title or the blue title.

Variable Data Printing

Read more about Port’s Variable Data Printing.

Variable Data Printing

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