The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Split Testing

Instagram is the world's largest photo and video sharing platform. Here's how to boost your conversion rate with Instagram split testing.
Jess Cook

What is a split test?

A split test is a method of testing two or more versions of a product to measure which one performs better. This is done by dividing the traffic to the website or app into two or more groups and showing one version to one group and another version to another group.

Split testing is an essential part of any marketing campaign. It helps marketers understand which content, design, or message resonates the most with their audience.

In this article, we will be discussing the importance of split testing on Instagram. We will also be exploring different ways to conduct a split test and what you need to know about the best practices for split testing on Instagram.

What is social media split testing and why is it so important?

Social media split testing is the process of splitting up one’s social media posts into two or more different versions, and then measuring which one performs better.

There are many reasons why companies do social media split testing. They may want to test a new messaging strategy, a new copywriter, or even a new design for their website. 

One of the most common reasons however is to find out what kind of content resonates best with their audience. This way they can tailor their content to what people are interested in and also get suggestions on how to improve it from there.

With social media split testing, users are given a few options to choose from and then they are shown the results. This can help companies determine which of their posts is the most effective or what kind of content resonates best with their audience. In some cases, companies will create multiple versions of one post, like creating a different image or adding in a different word.

What you need to know about Instagram content split testing

Split Testing is a marketing technique that is used by businesses to see which of two or more versions of a product or service is most effective.

Split testing is commonly employed by companies when they want to compare two versions of an advertisement, such as one with a picture versus one with text only, or one with a call-to-action versus without. a call-to-action.

It is also used when a company wants to see which color or font style will be more effective with a specific audience. The best example of a split test on Instagram is the one conducted by Motherhood Maternity, which is as seen below:

"A company called Motherhood Maternity was running ads on both Instagram and Facebook and they eventually found out that their ads were not performing as well on Instagram as they were doing on Facebook, they wanted to make sure their followers knew what they were missing. So they decided to test out a few different ad versions for Motherhood Maternity with one ad running on Instagram and the other ad running on Facebook. The results ended up showing a difference in the cost per conversion for their campaigns."

Instagram split testing best practices

alt="A showcase of an Instagram post performing well after following best practices"

The best practices you need when conducting split tests on Instagram include:

  • Define a goal and determine what you want to measure.
  • Create a simple script for your test and execute it.

Posting an ad in the same way on all three platforms is likely not going to produce the results you are looking for, so you will need to create different ads, images, stories, and captions for each platform.

Only relevant posts should go up on each platform. Keep your copywriting concise and on-brand, as you may be limited in how long you can tell a story across three different platforms.

The importance of split testing your photos on Instagram

Marketing your brand on Instagram is no easy task. You have to post the right content at the right time, and it's not always easy to know what that would be.

The one thing you can do to make sure you're doing everything possible for your brand is to split test your photos on Instagram.

Split testing means you will take two or more posts with the same content and put them up at different times of day, with different hashtags, etc., and see which one performs better.

When you split test two similar posts, the one that performs better might have been a different color or had a different image.

The Instagram split testing strategy that will safeguard you from failure

This Instagram Split Testing Strategy has been proven to work. The strategy has been tested and refined by many people and companies over the years. The strategy is based on the idea of testing two different versions of a post, in order to gain insights from the data gathered and make better decisions for future posts.

It is important to test your posts because it allows you to find out what works best for your audience, which helps you understand your followers better and make more informed decisions when posting content. This strategy is also based on the idea that there are no failures, only feedback.

Below is the strategy:

Step 1: Create two versions of a post

  • Make one version of the post. This is your control post. It is known as the "original." It doesn't have any changes made to it. This is your baseline against which you will measure the responses to your other versions of the post.
  • Create the second version of the post. This is your experiment. It will have one or two changes that you want to test out and see their effects on your followers.
  • Tag the control post with "original."
  • Tag the experiment with "experiment."
  • Upload both versions of the posts as different feed posts.

Step 2: Create your other versions of the post

If you want to test different captions or pictures, create a new version of the post and tag each new version with "control" or "experiment," depending on which one it is.

Step 3: Promote your experiment

Share this experiment on Instagram and ask your friends for additional feedback.

The best strategies for an effective Instagram split test strategy

alt="A pictorial representation of Instagram Split Testing Strategies"

There are many ways you can use split testing on Instagram, but it's important that you understand the best strategies for an effective Instagram Split Test Strategy.

You should always have at least three variations when doing an A/B/C test, so make sure that you have at least three different images for your posts.

You should also make sure that your content is relevant to your audience, as this will result in higher engagement rates and lower bounce rates.

You should also keep in mind that posting too often can result in a lower engagement rate and a higher bounce rate.

You should also make sure that you have at least one variation with original content and another variant with re-post content so that you don't have to worry about people becoming bored with your posts.

3 simple steps to successfully run an Instagram split test

Since a split test is a type of experiment that compares two versions of a webpage to see which one performs better, a split test can also be conducted on Instagram by comparing two different posts, to see which one has more engagement.

A successful Instagram split test will typically divide your audience into two groups: One group will see one post, while the other group will see the other post. This can be done via scheduling or manually.

If you decide to schedule your posts then you would want to split your audience into four categories: those who saw the original post, those who saw the test post, those who saw both posts, and those who didn't see any posts.

When you are manually splitting your audience into groups use a timer that displays how long each group has been exposed to one of the posts. This can be done with a timer app.

To run a successful Instagram split test and make the most out of your marketing efforts you need to consider the following 3 steps.

1) Choose two different posts and post them at the same time (with a short break in between).

2) Compare the results and analyze what worked best.

3) Repeat steps 1-2 until you find the best performing post

Bringing it all together

To succeed on Instagram is not all about posting and waiting for the algorithm to favor your post. It involves more than just that. Instagram split testing can prove to be very helpful if you want to improve your engagement on your Instagram page as well as determine which ad works best on Instagram. It can also assist in figuring out which post resonates well with your Instagram audience.

Boost ad performance in days with a 7 day free trial.
Claim Trial

How to Run a Multivariate Test

The Beginner's Guide

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Tiffany Johnson Headshot

How to Run a Multivariate Test
The Beginner's Guide

Plus, Get our Weekly
Experimentation newsletter!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Outliers is the weekly newsletter that over 10,000 marketers rely on to get new data and tactics about creative testing.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Are you crazy...

about catalog ads? You’re not alone. Join over 8,000 other marketers in The Catalog Cult - the world’s best newsletter about catalog ads.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.