Daniel Burstein

Webinar Testing: Slight title change produces 45% increase in clickthrough rate

October 8th, 2012

As with most A/B testing stories, it all started with an argument.

I’m presenting on an upcoming MarketingSherpa webinar about B2B social media marketing with Nichole Kelly, President, SME Digital, and Eddie Smith, Chief Revenue Officer, Topsy Labs (this webinar is free, thanks to a sponsorship by Marketo).

We presented a similar session at B2B Summit 2012, and I was pretty smitten with the title I came up with – “5 B2B Social Media Career Killers … And How to Overcome Them.”

But, William Duke, Marketing Specialist, MECLABS, had the audacity to question my title.

To the split testing machine … for a quick lesson on the power of testing webinar titles (and why you should never fall in love with your babies).

This was a single-factor split test, with the only difference between the two treatments being the title of the webinar … a high noon showdown between the title William wrote and my own.


Treatment A

Subject Line: 5 B2B Social Media Career Killers … And How to Overcome Them

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Treatment B

Subject Line: How to Overcome the 5 Most Common Social Media Mistakes in B2B Marketing

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William’s more straightforward subject line received only a small (but still significant) increase in opens. Below is a screenshot taken directly from the MECLABS Test Protocol:


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However, the difference in clickthrough rates was really quite impressive for such a small and easy change …


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(We receive questions about clickthrough rate every time we write about it. Here, we’re measuring CTR as unique clicks per email delivered. If we measured unique clicks per email opened, the clickthrough rates would be 8.34% and 11.7% respectively.)


What you need to understand

The small difference in open rate can likely be attributed to the already high motivation of this particular list of MarketingSherpa subscribers. In other words, they will open almost any email they see from someone at MarketingSherpa, regardless of the subject line.

However, the 45% relative difference in the clickthrough rate suggests William’s much clearer title was more appealing to the list once they actually opened the emails. Once again, I’ve learned that, as Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, always says … clarity trumps persuasion.

Perhaps a more important lesson for me (and I’m talking to all you writers out there) is that the biggest challenge to higher conversion rates is my own hubris. That title was my baby, and I was in love with it. It was just so darn clever.

William saw more clearly, and identified the most straightforward way to communicate the webinar to the audience.

And, as the test pointed out, William was right. So we’re changing the name of the webinar.

However, if William is reading, may I just point out … the Jaguars should have traded for Tebow, and I am still right about that.


Related Resources:

How to Overcome the 5 Most Common Social Media Mistakes in B2B Marketing – Thursday, October 11, 1 p.m. EDT

Customer Theory: How we learned from a previous test to drive a 40% increase in CTR

Social Media Microsite Test: 3 lessons based on a 154% increase in leads

Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute Daniel oversees all editorial content coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – working with our team of reporters to dig for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a frequent speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has more than 15 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

Categories: Analytics & Testing Tags: , ,

  1. October 8th, 2012 at 05:50 | #1

    Don’t feel bad about this. You’ve got to love your own baby right until the start of the test. Then you need to let go and trust the numbers. Maybe someone else’s baby is better-looking.

  2. October 8th, 2012 at 18:24 | #2

    K-I-S-S still reigns supreme, thanks for sharing the details. Although I usually opt for the more clever headlines myself, it’s clear over thinking it’s always best.

  3. Jason
    October 9th, 2012 at 12:43 | #3

    There’s an old grammatical rule that says never to begin a sentence with an actual number. Better to spell it out. Reinforces your point about clarity. Numbers are best understood embedded in the context of a sentence.

  4. February 5th, 2013 at 18:25 | #4

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How lengthy have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging glance easy. The entire look of your web
    site is magnificent, as smartly as the content material!

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