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3 use cases for A/B testing on mobile

Most marketers are familiar with A/B testing ? also called split testing ? as an essential tool for better, more data-driven decision-making. The most common use cases for marketers are A/B testing ad copy/creative, email subject lines, Web sites and mobile applications.  

Just about every marketer these days is A/B testing Facebook ads and email subject lines.

For mobile marketers, A/B testing often means optimizing conversion funnels within your mobile app by experimenting with calls to action, new user flows, images and layouts in addition to A/B testing advertising that drives mobile acquisition. 

But A/B testing solutions can be used for so much more than basic optimization.

Here are three often overlooked, but powerful, use cases for A/B testing, specifically for mobile marketers.  

1. Run holiday campaigns
Running time-sensitive marketing campaigns in a native mobile app can be really challenging given Apple and Google?s sometimes unpredictable approval process. It is nearly impossible to make sure that Valentine?s Day messaging would be deployed on exactly Feb. 14 as the new day begins past midnight EST.  

However, most mobile A/B testing solutions allow you to control the timing of the deployment of your A/B tests. 

You can create an A/B test where version B of your app is the Valentine?s Day messaging and then deploy the A/B test at exactly the time you designate. 

You can immediately set 100 percent of your users to see version B and, voila, you have leveraged A/B testing to launch a timely marketing campaign.

What is even better, you can set 10 percent of your users to continue to receive the original, non-holiday version of the app so that you precisely prove the ROI of your holiday marketing. In fact, this is exactly what the Retale app did with a Black Friday campaign.

2. Target messaging to specific audiences
One of the biggest challenges with business intelligence these days is that there is so much data that acting on the data is more difficult than collecting or sometimes even analyzing the data.  

Increasingly, customers are bombarded with marketing messaging from everywhere, so highly targeted experiences are necessary to get above the noise.

This again is a problem that A/B testing can help to solve.  

Most A/B testing solutions offer more than the simple ability to send version A to a random 50 percent of users and version B to another random 50 percent.  

Any mature A/B testing solution on Web or mobile will enable a marketer to select targeting criteria based on device, operating system, geography, language, new versus returning user, and any number of other custom attributes.  

Marketers can leverage this capability to run campaigns that are targeted to the specific user based on demographic, geographic or behavioral information.  

Facebook has been letting marketers target based on this information since 2012. It is time that you use the same level of sophistication when it comes to your mobile app or Web site.  

As an added bonus, A/B testing lets you compare that targeted messaging data to your untargeted messaging to see the real ROI of that effort.

3. Creating a unified customer experience with omnichannel data
We live in a world where customers are not just engaging with brands in stores, on Web, or on mobile. Customers engage on all those platforms.  

The customer who buys through your app is oftentimes the same customer that follows you on Twitter and browses through your Web site.  

To better reach the modern customer, marketers need to leverage omnichannel data while executing well on each individual platform. 

A GREAT MOBILE A/B testing solution can be an easy-to-use, powerful tool to bring together all types of data so that your mobile app can provided the targeted experienced for every single user.

Imagine John who clicks on a promotional tweet about 20 percent-off summer sandals on his iPhone. Would it not be great to send him directly to that promotion in the app? 

And if he does not buy, remind him three days later via email that the promotion is almost over?  

Surprisingly, a sophisticated mobile A/B testing solution can help you do achieve this level of marketing.

Lynn Wang is vice president of marketing at Apptimize, Menlo Park, CA. Reach her at