A/B Testing is the process of “trying out” elements to see which ones get the most engagement. Have you ever wondered which elements on your pins do better than others? What makes a person click on your pin in the first place? Is it the text size, the colors, the background image? How can you tell what aspects work and which ones aren’t as good?
The simple way to test your pins to see what works and what doesn’t is know as A/B Testing. While A/B testing sounds complicated, it’s not. With a few tips, you can start using it for your Pinterest Strategy.
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1) What is A/B Testing
When starting with Pinterest, we might think saving our best pins is all there is to getting traffic. We focus on design and how to create beautiful pins. Investing in scheduling and creative tools, we might think we have most of our bases covered. We’ve created content, designed amazing pins, and researched keywords for our titles and descriptions. And then we wait.
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What if there is a way to know our audience better? Is it possible to understand what pins stand out the most, what keywords your audience will click on, what types of pins do the best and get the most traffic? What if there was a way to test out what elements worked the best for your specific audience?
Testing Your Pinterest Pins with A/B Testing
What if I told you that you could know? It’s called A/B Testing, which marketers use on various platforms, from email marketing campaigns to website usability. Some have jokingly stated that A/B Testing stands for “Always Be Testing” because one test will not do. Testing should be an important part of your marketing strategy, whether on Pinterest or your website.
Your Pinterest strategy will benefit from knowing how to A/B test your pins to see what works the best. Ultimately, you will save time because you’ll gather data from your pins that let you know the best ways to reach your audience.
The main idea of this test is to take one or two elements and test them. In an email campaign, this might look like using buttons in an email instead of text links or using graphics vs. not using graphics.
To run an A/B test, you need to create two different versions of one piece of content, with changes to a single variable. Then, you’ll show these two versions to two similarly sized audiences and analyze which one performed better over a specific period of time (long enough to make accurate conclusions about your results).(Source: Hubspot, “How to do A/B Testing”)
The best A/B tests focus on changing one variable for a specific amount of time and then using the resulting data to make changes to your strategy. Knowing what compels your audience to click on your pins is a critical component in marketing to their pain points.
2) What Should I Be Testing?
A Note About 2020 Changes
Pinterest made a few changes in 2020 for “fresh content”. They are putting an emphasis on new, relevant content and less on re-pinning. Tailwind, a Pinterest partner, wrote about the changes:
Overall, we recommend focusing your Pinning energy on creating new, fresh content—if the vast majority of your Pinning is re-saving other creator Pins, then we would definitely encourage you to begin shifting some of your effort towards creating more Fresh Pins to maximize your distribution on Pinterest!
Pinterest’s latest best practices recommend avoiding sharing the same Pin to more than 10 different Boards because Pinning the same Pin to too many Boards can actually reduce its effectiveness and limit its potential reach.Tailwind – What Counts As Duplicate Content?
While they consider fresh content to be more than just a text overlay change, Pinterest says it’s OK to include duplicate content in moderation. How this affects your A/B strategy remains to be seen.
Tailwind suggests making text overlays with the same image to look something like the image below. Notice how the text is much different in each image. Also, the image itself is either cropped or resized. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t help with A/B Testing. Keep this new change in mind, but also note that it’s still fine to A/B test using the directions in this post. This might change in the future though.
Elements to Test On a Pin
In the post, “AB Test Planning: How to Build a Process that Works,” Jaan Matti-Saul of CXL talks about the main areas of testing:
- Call to actions – Placement, wording, and size.
- Copywriting – Value propositions and product descriptions.
- Forms – Length, field types, and text.
- Layout – Homepage, content pages, and landing pages.
- Product pricing – Try testing for revenue by testing your prices.
- Images – Placement, content, and size.
- Amount of content on the page – Short versus long.
I’d also add that should try changing colors in text and layouts and see the results. Remember to focus on one element, not all of these at once.GO FURTHER Interested in learning how to create perfect pins?
3) Why Do Marketers Use A/B Testing?
While many marketers have tools and analytical set-ups that would make your head explode, the main reason they use A/B Testing is to see what works and what doesn’t. Some marketers could write books about data, analytics, and complicated techniques that get results, but testing doesn’t need to be complicated. You can start with basic changes and see how your audience reacts.
At the heart of every marketer is a desire to solve a problem. The aim is to find solutions that work for their audience. You don’t need to know head-spinning formulas. You just need to pay attention and track what the best use of your time and money is.GO FURTHER
You can learn more about creating an overall winning Pinterest strategy with this blog post.
4) What terms should I know before using A/B Testing?
For beginners, I recommend Pinterest 101 and The Pinterest dictionary which has some basic terminology if you aren’t familiar with Pinterest.
Here are Pinterest terms for a more in-depth understanding of Pinterest:
- Hashtags – Keywords used on pin descriptions by placing a hash (#) in front of the words.
- Pin Description – 500 characters or less that authentically describe your pin content.
- Pin Titles – A keyword-rich name for your pin. The title should align with the pin and the URL content.
- Boards (also known as “pinboard”) – A board is an area on a Pinterest page that allows you to organize your pins into collections for others to find. It consists of several images with the same topic or theme.
- Smart Feed – Pinterest’s feed, which highlights new content and is based on an algorithm that focuses on quality and relevance. Your pins will show up in a Smart Feed and display to various audiences based on the quality, relevance, and if it is newer content.
- Product Pin – Similar to a standard pin, but uses the Rich Pin feature available to business users. It shows updating pricing information to users.
- Article Pin – Also a Rich Pin, this focuses on blog content and shows the author’s website in bold text.
- Recipe Pin – These pins are like product and article pins, but for cooking and meal prep posts.
- Video Pin – These are short videos with or without sound that showcase a product. Video pins get more engagements and impressions than standard pins.
- Pinterest Business Account – A business account allows you to showcase your brand, see analytics, promote your pins, and upload products to Pinterest. You also need a business account to create ads.
For A/B Testing, these terms are helpful to know:
- Pinterest Ad account – Ad accounts are available through business accounts on Pinterest. You can create up to 10 ad accounts per business account.
- Ad Campaign – Every ad campaign has three levels: campaign, ad group, and ad. Campaigns house ad groups and each ad group contains a collection of ads.
- Ad Group – According to Pinterest, an ad group “works as a container for your Promoted Pins and gives you more control over how you budget for, target, and run your campaigns.”
- Ad – A product, video, carousel, collection, or standard pin that can run as a promotion to drive traffic or sales to your website.
- UTM Code – A tracking code used on the end of a URL to track clicks and engagement with a pin.
Want to set up an ad account on Pinterest? Visit Pinterest for complete instructions.
5) What are the Pros and Cons of A/B Testing?
As mentioned previously, the benefits of A/B Testing is drilling down into what works with your audience. Here are some advantages of testing you should consider:
- If you can design a pin and post it to Pinterest, you can A/B Test
- You’ll save time by knowing which keywords and imagery your audience appreciates
- You only need to change one variable
- You can do it once a month
- It can help you save money by using ads that work
- You can get more eyes on your content by using pins that get clicked
- You’ll have a better idea of the content that works best in your niche
While there are many benefits to testing, here are a few disadvantages:
- It can seem overwhelming at first
- You need to design more pins than normal
- Having a basic knowledge of Google Analytics, or in the least Pinterest Analytics is necessary
- You need to keep an eye on your Pinterest data
- It requires time to plan and make changes
- It will take trial and error before you see what works
While you won’t see the time-saving benefits instantaneously, you will eventually have more time when you realize a strategy that works. You’ll also save money on ads, and you can target keywords that work—not just on Pinterest, but elsewhere.