Today content is just about everywhere. It is usually one of the first ways your audience will interact with the brand. It’s important that your content gives them value and paints a good picture of your business. Content testing is how you make sure the things you post are well-received and understood by the audience.
In this blog, we will cover what content testing is, the ways you can test, and a step-by-step guide on planning and conducting a content test. If you aren’t familiar with usability A/B testing, check out this page that covers everything you need to know.
Once you are brushed up on how to test with Poll the People dive into this blog on testing your content.
What is Content Testing?
Content testing is a research methodology that is used to understand the quality and value of your content to the users and readers.
In less technical words, content testing is a way to know how good the content you’re posting is. In the testing process, you’ll gather feedback that tells you if the content speaks to pain points or issues and if it helps users achieve their goals.
Content testing is used mostly by marketers and social media managers when they are first starting their content strategy or launching new campaigns.
But you might think it’s only for social media or something like blogs. Instead, it can be used for any kind of content a business presents to the audience.
Things like landing page copy, email content, or any other text, images, etc. that you want the target user to see.
Just like with any other resource you want it to be successful from the start, right? Testing can help reduce the risk of your content pushing customers away or low engagement.
Goals For Content Testing
No matter what project you might be working on, the end goal is typically to increase sales, engagement, sign-ups, or other conversions. With content, the only way to make sure you’re doing that is to create great content.
Bad content can have a lot of negative effects but the biggest one is creating a negative user experience. Content that doesn’t solve pain points or give value to the user can leave them confused or unengaged.
Bad content is more likely to drive potential customers away from using your products or services.
On the other hand, good content can create great user experience, engage them with the rest of your business, and prevent them from becoming confused or disinterested.
Your business needs to focus on great content, it’s not only good for search engine optimization (SEO) but also great for creating thought leadership, educating potential customers on your value.
Like I said before, content is everywhere, it’s not enough to just make content and post it. Content that doesn’t help grow some part of the business is really just a waste of time and money.
What Content Should You Test?
Honestly, whenever there is content for your business, it’s worth running a content test. And we haven’t seen a business that uses no content at all.
Think about every piece of content for your business.
- The home page
- Menu or navigation buttons
These are some of the most common parts of content that we’ve seen people test but there are a lot more use cases for usability A/B testing. But, all of these things need to be clear to the viewers so they are definitely worth testing.
As always, to decide what you should test, do some digging into the most important content you have and keep in mind the urgency of everything.
If it’s something that is critical to your business like the menu buttons, it’s important that the content is easily understood and helps users navigate your website.
When you’re planning to test your content make sure to provide things like design prototypes or some kind of visual representation of the content to help the testers understand what you’re trying to do.
When your content is live the viewers will be seeing your content in context, so that’s usually how you should test.
What Should You Test For?
So you know some of the things that you should test and if you’re making a content testing plan you’ll dive into the most important content to optimize for your business.
If you’re going to complete the content testing process the right way you need to consider a few factors when you ask for feedback. Those factors can be broken down into five categories:
Usability is basically how easy the content is to engage with. If you’re looking to test something like CTAs, you don’t get hundreds of words to explain the call to action.
You really only get three to five words to effectively show the value of clicking on that button. If your users have to read instructions on your CTAs there’s clearly an issue.
Testing the usability of your content will show you just how user-friendly the content is, how likely someone is to engage with the content, and if you’re getting your point across.
This one is pretty simple, you want your users to be able to read and understand your content. If they get to the end of the sentence or headline and have to read it again and again the quality just isn’t there.
No matter what we’re reading we always expect to be able to quickly scan through content and not have to digest every word.
Testing your content with real people to ask them about how easy it is to understand some of your most important content will help you find the language and tone moving forward.
Accessibility is just about how many people can use your content and get the same value out of it. Good accessibility means that users from every walk of life can get the same benefits or knowledge from the things you’re showing them.
A good example of accessibility is making sure your video content has subtitles for those that might not be able to hear it so they can understand your content too.
I’m guessing you want as many customers as possible, accessibility widens your audience and allows you to target a wider range of users.
What’s the point of making content if people can’t find it? Searchability of your content has to do with SEO and lets you know if users can find what they’re looking for.
The amount and quality of the content you make has a big impact on Google rankings. Getting it right can boost the chances of more people finding and interacting with your business.
Content testing will help find out if your content is good enough to rank on Google or good enough to get traffic which will also help SEO.
Tone & Voice
The tone and voice of your brand messaging is something that should be established before you test content. But, making sure the tone and voice of your brand’s content is in line with the overall tone and voice is important.
Your content has a voice to communicate with the users, making sure that voice is effective makes a big difference. Asking for responses on the voice or tone in your test will let you know if the way you put your content together is effective.
Remember to keep the tone consistent, changing the way you write or speak to customers can cause problems. But also keep in mind the context of your content, an FAQs page will have a different tone and voice than a post congratulating your new employees.
How To Test Content With Poll the People
We have an in-depth guide to running a usability A/B test with us, but we’ll give you a high-level overview of content testing.
So, now you know some of the things you can test and what you’re testing for, let’s go over the steps in testing:
- Identify A Hypothesis
- Setting Goals
- Creating Variations
- Launch The Test
- Analyze Results
We mentioned it earlier but doing a little bit of research into the most important things to test is a great start to getting the most out of content testing.
Make a shortlist of the most urgent and impactful content your business has. It can be the landing page copy, the images you use in Facebook posts, or headlines but make sure you’re testing the most important content.
You can always go back to the less urgent content you’re producing. There are a lot of things you can test and we have templates for just about every kind of content. You have to know what your plan is and the research step will help.
2. Identify a Hypothesis
Once you’ve done your research you need to think about what the impact of testing the content will be. A hypothesis for your test is how you’ll track the success of the test.
A clear hypothesis will keep your whole team on the same page and let you know if you’re testing the right thing. A hypothesis like “Creating more colorful images for our Instagram posts will result in more likes” is a good way to understand if the new image style works.
You’ll be able to prove if your test made a difference, help in later steps of the testing process, and let you know if content testing will help the business grow.
3. Setting Goals
Setting goals for your test goes hand in hand with the hypothesis. The beauty of creating specific goals is that you’ll gain confidence in your decisions and easily find issues with the content.
Obviously, the goal of your content is to increase engagement, conversion, or traffic but the goal of your test needs to be more specific. We usually have a general idea of what we want to get out of the test but haven’t drilled down to the specifics.
Creating detailed goals will ensure testing is the right thing for your business and help communicate findings to the team.
4. Creating Variations
In usability A/B testing for content, you use two versions of the content and test them against each other to find the best options.
This can be a current version of your CTA tested against new messaging. In the test, you’ll have users vote on the better version and ask them about engagement.
5. Launch the Test
We’ve outlined a lot of steps but this might be the part you’re thinking about the most. The good news, it’s one of the easiest steps in concept testing.
The first thing you need to decide is what type of test you want to run, it can be images, text, or a whole landing page, among other things. Just click on one of our templates, keep in mind the hypothesis and goals of your test.
Once you asked your questions and inserted your variations it’s time to choose your audience. Poll the People has a dedicated panel of thousands that will vote on your variations and give you detailed explanations as to why they chose that version.
About 100-200 responses is good enough to be confident in the results but if you want more just choose a larger number if you’re on a budget choose less. It’s that easy to get your target responses.
That’s all it takes, once you take a look at the preview and review the design of the test all you have to do is click launch. Then sit back and wait for the responses to roll in, it only takes about 60 minutes to receive all of your feedback.
6. Analyze Results
After the first five steps of the content testing process, you need to jump into the results dashboard and learn if your test was a success.
You’ll get insights from each person that took the test, filter through all of the feedback, and find the most valuable results. Poll the People makes this step easy, you’ll get charts, graphs, and written feedback.
The most valuable part that other testing platforms might not give you is the written feedback. Take a look at all of the input, not just on the winning version. You might find feedback that shows you opportunities you might not have found otherwise.
The last part of the content testing process is to take the findings and make changes to your content that will help grow your business.
Make sure to spend a good amount of time sifting through the feedback, it’s where you’ll find out if your hypothesis was right and if your goals are achieved in this round of testing.
Notice that I said, “this round” that’s because you shouldn’t just do one content test. You’ll find some ways to improve but continuing to test will help you optimize every part of your content.
So why not get the most out of what you’re showing your audience? We have a great platform that is easy to pick up and gives you great insights for improvements.
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