As Newsletters Go, Two-Columns Are Better Than One

A/B Testing

Like most small business teams, our marketing group doesn’t have much time or budget to dedicate to A/B testing. So, we only test what we can afford to test and afford to change. Typically, these aren’t major endeavors but minor tweaks that can help optimize a message or marketing piece, better engage our audience and/or convince them to take action. Surprisingly, sometimes it’s the subtlest of changes that can result in significant improvements. This was the case with the A/B testing we recently ran on our monthly newsletter.

We were curious to see if a simple format change to our newsletter could improve open and click thru rates. We had a solid and clean, if unspectacular, one-column template that we had been using for the past year, but a marketing colleague gave us a tip that splitting the layout into two columns (image on the left and text on the right) would perform better. As A/B tests go, this was a pretty easy one for us to set up and run.

Dialsmith newsletter 1 column version A/B testing

One-column version

Dialsmith newsletter 2 column version A/B testing

Two-column version

So, we created a two-column newsletter template (in addition to our original one-column version) and flowed the same content into both. We randomly split our contact list and sent half the list the one-column version and half, the two-column version. We did this for two months, doing a new list split each month.

The results were consistent between the two sets of emails we sent out. They indicated that the two-column version not only performed better when it came to open rates (24% to 19%) but also click-thru rates (5% to 2%). If only we could show this type of performance improvement on all our marketing efforts with such little changes. But for now, we’ll take what we can get and run with it.


AB image courtesy of www.tomfanelli.com