A/B Testing With Images Versus Words

By February 24, 2015 No Comments

It’s been commonplace for marketers to apply A/B testing to identify changes that will increase or maximize engagement or interest with a particular piece of marketing or advertising.  As the name implies, two versions of advertising (A and B) are compared, which are identical except for one variation that might affect a user’s behavior. Marketers usually focus on testing the copy, but it’s time to focus on the images.

Optimizing the copy on a website, in an email subject line, or specific words in an ad is one of the most popular ways to A/B test.  But compelling copy can only get you so far. If you really want to reach new customers, you need to optimize the images to drive maximum engagement.  Why?  Because, as human beings, we are wired to respond to images over text – 90 percent of the information sent to the brain is visual. What’s more, according to a recent 3M study, images are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

So don’t you think it would make more sense to spend time testing the images versus the words?  We do; so we tested optimizing the images in many of the native advertising campaigns we launched over the past 12 months.  In A/B tests, we noticed that ad engagement increased by 65 percent when a new image was tested versus simply changing and testing the ad copy.

This is not to discount the power of words, but at the end of the day, subtle changes to an image will have more of an impact then fretting over what words to use.  Think about using different images to test with your content depending on your audience and see which images perform best.