Have you ever noticed that little checkbox when setting up an email draft- the one that says “Enable A/B Testing?” This is a Account Engagement (Pardot) feature (available in Pardot Plus, Advanced, and Premium Editions) that allows you to test two different versions of your email to a smaller group within your send lists to find out what your prospects are clicking on. Like any other Account Engagement (Pardot) feature that you haven’t used before, it can feel intimidating to check that box, but it actually is a smooth feature that capitalizes on the information you already know.

What To Expect:

You can choose to create your email as an A/B test from the get-go, or later in the process by editing the email's basic info. Which approach is best depends entirely on how different Email A and Email B will be. For instance, if you only wanted the standard variable of a different subject line for each, it would be simpler to not set up the email as an A/B test until you had completely built out your email and have it send ready. Then, go back and edit it to be an A/B test in the basic info tab. If you'd like your email's design to be substantially different for A and B, it may make more sense to check the box up front and keep them separate from the start.

This is all done because when creating an A/B, test, you are essentially making two different emails. Two subject lines, two sets of HTML, two text versions, etc. This can add extra time in the import phase if you’re not planning accordingly as suggested above.


Once you have turned on the A/B checkbox there are several other features in scheduling that are slightly different from your normal email sends. When navigating to the sending tab, you will see that there is an A and a B set of sender information and subject line that you could change depending on what you want to be tested. Below is the actual A/B test information.

The Settings:

How long do you want the test to run before a winner is selected?
This setting decides how long the test will actually run before one of the versions (A or B) is selected as the most successful, and that email is then sent to the entire audience.

What criteria do you want to use to determine the winner?
This feature lets you choose between “Clicks” or “Opens” to determine which of the emails will be the winner. “Clicks” runs off of the idea that the winner is determined by the amount of times prospects click links within each email. “Opens” runs off the idea that the winner is based on how many prospects open each email.

Tip: If you are changing the subject line and pre-header text for the test, then the winner should be determined by opens. But if you’re changing something within each email design, then the winner should be determined by clicks.

What percent of your audience do you want to use for testing?
The percent of the audience setting is used to determine what percent of the list(s) you are sending to will receive the A/B tests. It can be as low as 10% or as high as 50% depending on how much of your audience you want to add to the A/B test.

A/B testing emails can help demystify what prospects are engaging with and why. This is especially helpful as you continue to plan for future email designs, subject lines, and content. Utilizing the information that can be gleaned from A/B testing can be the difference between knowing and not knowing your target audience.

Questions about A/B testing? Fill out the form and an Account Engagement (Pardot) expert will be in touch to help!

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