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How to Conduct Effective AB Testing in Mailchimp for Email Marketing Success

By Tanya | Last Updated on April 17th, 2024 10:53 am

Email marketing is key to reaching your audience, and A/B testing in Mailchimp is a great tool to make your campaigns more effective. This method lets you send two versions of your email to see which one performs better. For example, you can test different subject lines or send times. Adding workflow automation tools into the mix can make this process even smoother. These tools help automate repetitive tasks, saving you time and effort. By using A/B testing, you can learn what your audience prefers and tailor your emails to meet those preferences. This approach leads to better open rates, more clicks, and ultimately, more success in your email marketing efforts.

How to Create an A/B testing Campaign with Mailchimp

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a powerful strategy in email marketing that enables you to send two variations of your emails to a segment of your audience to see which version drives better results. This method can be applied to various elements of your emails, including subject lines, the timing of when emails are sent, the content within the email, and even different call-to-action (CTA) buttons. By systematically comparing these variations, you gain valuable insights into what resonates most with your audience.

The beauty of A/B testing lies in its ability to make data-driven decisions rather than relying on guesswork. For instance, you might discover that emails sent in the morning have higher open rates, or that personalized subject lines significantly increase engagement. This knowledge not only helps in optimizing your current campaigns but also informs your future email marketing strategies. As a result, leveraging A/B testing effectively can lead to increased open rates, higher click-through rates, and ultimately, a more successful email marketing program that truly connects with the preferences and behaviors of your audience.

Make sure you have your email ready in Mailchimp before starting an A/B test. After it's set up,follow these steps to begin your split test.

1. Start Your Campaign

Start by setting up your campaign in Mailchimp, then select who will receive your emails. You can choose to send your campaign to all your subscribers or target a specific group for more personalized communication.

  1. Sign in to Mailchimp and click on "Create" then "Email" to start a new campaign.
  2. From the options, select "A/B test" or "Multivariate test" if you're on the Premium plan.
  3. Name your campaign and click "Begin" to proceed.

2. Choose Your Audience

Decide who will receive your email by selecting either your entire subscriber list or a specific segment tailored to your campaign's goals. This step ensures your message reaches the most relevant audience.

  1. Decide whether to send your email to all your subscribers or just a specific segment.
  2. If needed, create a new segment based on subscriber demographics or engagement levels, or opt for a custom segment if the pre-built ones don't fit your needs.

3. Set Up Variables and Preferences

Choose the elements you want to test, such as subject lines or send times, and set your preferences for how the test will run, including how winners are determined and the duration of the test. This customization is key to conducting a meaningful A/B test.

  1. Pick the element you want to test: Subject line, From name, Content, or Send time.
  2. You can test up to three variations. Adjust the slider to decide what percentage of your subscribers will receive each test email.
  3. Choose how Mailchimp will determine the winning version based on metrics like Click rate, Open rate, or Total revenue. You can also select Manual selection if you prefer to choose the winner yourself.
  1. Decide on the duration of your test.

4. Campaign Setup Details

This step is crucial for setting up your test accurately.

  1. On the Setup page, input the details for your variations, such as different subject lines or content.
  2. Select tracking options to monitor opens and clicks. You can also enable Google Analytics tracking.

5. Design Your Content

Designing your content allows you to create engaging and visually appealing emails that can significantly impact the success of your A/B test.

  1. Choose a template and design the content of your email. If testing content variations, design each one separately.
  2. Use the Description tab to note down what each variation represents, making it easier to analyze results later.

6. Finalize and Send

This steps help you to ensure optimal delivery and effectiveness of your A/B test.

  1. Review your campaign and make any necessary adjustments.
  2. Send your variations out immediately or schedule them for later.

7. Choosing the Winner

After the test concludes, review the results under the Analytics and Reports section. Select the most successful variation as the winner and send it to the rest of your subscribers.

By following these simplified steps, you can effectively conduct an A/B test in Mailchimp, helping you to understand what resonates best with your audience and improve your email marketing strategy.

Tips for Running Successful A/B Tests on Email Campaigns

  1. Start with a Clear Hypothesis

A clear hypothesis acts as your testing roadmap. Before you begin, identify what you aim to learn from your A/B test. For example, if you believe that personalized subject lines will increase open rates, your A/B test should compare emails with personalized subject lines against those with generic ones. This approach ensures your test is purpose-driven and results are actionable.

  1. Test One Variable at a Time

Testing one variable at a time, also known as a controlled test, allows you to pinpoint exactly what influences the outcome. If you change multiple elements at once, it becomes difficult to determine which change impacted your results. For instance, if you test two different subject lines with two different email designs at the same time, it's impossible to attribute success to just one factor.

  1. Choose a Significant Sample Size

The reliability of your A/B test results heavily depends on your sample size. A larger sample size can provide more accurate insights. Use statistical significance calculators available online to determine an appropriate sample size before you start. This ensures that the results you get are not due to chance but are genuinely reflective of your audience's preferences.

  1. Ensure Your Testing Period is Consistent

Timing can significantly affect the outcome of your A/B test. Running your test for a consistent period ensures that external factors, like holidays or weekends, don't skew your results. For example, if you're testing email send times, make sure to account for variations in your audience's behavior on different days or times of day.

  1. Analyze Beyond Open and Click Rates

While open and click rates are important metrics, they don't tell the whole story. Look deeper into metrics like conversion rates, the time spent on your website, or the number of pages visited after clicking through the email. This comprehensive analysis can reveal the true effectiveness of your email variations in driving meaningful engagement.

  1. Learn from Every Test

Every A/B test, regardless of its outcome, offers valuable insights. Document your hypotheses, the variations you tested, the results, and your interpretations. Over time, this repository of knowledge becomes a powerful tool for refining your email marketing strategy. Even "failed" tests teach you about your audience's preferences and help you fine-tune future campaigns.

By adhering to these tips, you can maximize the effectiveness of your A/B testing efforts, leading to more engaging and successful email campaigns.

Major Mailchimp Integrations

To further enhance your email marketing efforts, consider integrating Mailchimp with major tools for workflow automation. Appy Pie Connect can enhance your marketing efforts by facilitating major Mailchimp integrations with other applications you use, boosting both efficiency and the accuracy of your data.


A/B testing in Mailchimp is a powerful way to refine your email marketing strategy. By understanding your audience's preferences, you can make data-driven decisions that enhance the effectiveness of your campaigns. Remember, the key to successful A/B testing is clarity in your objectives, meticulous setup, and patience in awaiting results. With these practices, you're well on your way to maximizing your email marketing success. To further expand your options and find the perfect fit for your needs, consider exploring the best Mailchimp alternatives available.

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