How A/B Testing Can Aid in Higher Education Marketing

Pete Schauer

Marketing Director

When Rasmussen College, a not-for-profit private college with campuses in 22 states, wanted to increase leads from pay-per-click traffic on their mobile site, they utilized A/B testing. A new mobile-friendly website was created that included a click-through menu to improve conversions. Leads increased by 256% after having a mobile-optimized landing page, helping the school to meet and exceed its goals.

What is A/B Testing? Why is it Important?

A/B testing, or split testing, involves two variants of something. One is the “A” version, and one is the “B” version. Both variants are then delivered to an audience in a controlled environment to see which is more effective. In Rasmussen College’s case, people converted only after a mobile-friendly website was made.

You, too, can use A/B testing to improve student lead generation efforts. Here are a few reasons why running A/B tests is important.

  • Avoid unnecessary risks

  • Reduce bounce rates

  • Improve student engagement

  • Get simple, straightforward results

  • Enhance student recruitment efforts

What Can Your College Use A/B Testing For?

Split testing can be used across many channels to improve conversion rates and other key metrics. Let’s explore a few areas where your college can run A/B tests.

Online Forms

Getting your landing pages right can be tough. It’s tempting to ask for too much information from students, but doing so could scare them away. At the same time, asking for too little might not be enough to personalize your communications. Use A/B testing to see if one form converts better than the other.

CTAs

Calls to action should be compelling and eye-catching, though you have to balance this with being too pushy or over the top. This is where split testing comes in handy. You can test various aspects of your calls to action such as certain color buttons or action words. Measure the results to see which CTA gets the most clicks.

Social Ads

All social ad types benefit from A/B tests because there are so many things to measure: placement, targeting, creative options, and more. You don’t know how each element works to convert leads until you test them. Use split testing to evaluate the effectiveness of your ad content, CTAs, images, mobile vs desktop, and targeting features.

One word of caution: do not let your split tests take the place of normal campaign monitoring. Your content should be tweaked accordingly to fit the growing needs of your audience. Combining your normal optimization efforts with A/B testing is ideal and will have a positive impact on student retention rates.

About the Author: Pete Schauer

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Pete Schauer is the Marketing Director at SEMGeeks. He holds a M.A. in Digital Communications from William Paterson University and has 8+ years in the digital space with companies such as Bleacher Report and Social Media Today in addition to SEMGeeks. His background includes creative and professional writing as well as strategic digital marketing communications and management.

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