Research has proven that consumers prefer SMS over other marketing methods. It also has higher conversion rates than things like social media or email marketing. So, it's no surprise that text is more popular than ever among brands.

But that doesn't mean customers are always happy with the texts they receive. In fact, Validity's State of SMS Marketing Report found that 96% of consumers have been annoyed by branded text messages. And according to the report, once subscribers are annoyed by branded texts:

  • More than 50% will delete messages without even reading them.

  • 58% unsubscribe from the text list altogether.

  • Almost 30% stop supporting the brand entirely.

But the reasons why texts bother customers vary. Some customers feel like they receive messages too often or don't remember ever filling out a sign-up form. Meanwhile, others complained about things like text length, message content, or even how many emojis were in a text. While some of these might seem like small complaints, if you don't pay attention to your target audiences' preferences, you could accidentally send an annoying text.

Multivariate testing compares different versions of your text head-to-head. That way, you know ahead of time if customers will respond the way you're hoping. This helps you ensure that your text communicates your message effectively and resonates with your audience without the risk of annoying them.

Looking at these A/B testing examples will help you understand how you can use this method to improve your SMS marketing and avoid A/B testing mistakes.

1. Standard text Vs. mixed media

Within your SMS marketing strategy, you send a variety of messages to customers—welcome texts, product updates, holiday greetings, and shipping notifications. And incorporating media can make communication more engaging. But it isn't always the best way to connect with your audience. A/B testing can help you understand when adding media to your marketing messages will help you better connect with your audience and when it's best to send plain text.

Even though media is more eye-catching, adding photos, videos, and other media to your texts also means they'll take longer to send. They'll also be more prone to delivery failure, especially since some text subscribers might not be able to receive branded MMS.

By comparing two versions of your message (one with plain text and one with media), you can discover when adding media to a message will create a better user experience. For example, you probably already have a welcome text template. By sending a basic text version and creating a new version that includes an emoji, you can get a better idea of how incorporating media will impact the customer experience. It will also give you data-driven insights to help you tweak future messages.

2. Photo Vs. GIF Vs. video

Consumers are more likely to engage with multimedia messages than plain texts due to their more visual nature. This means that by optimizing your messages with the right type of media, you can boost customer engagement and create stronger relationships with your brand. Plus, understanding what kind of multimedia works best in each situation can act as social proof that informs future campaign efforts and makes them more effective.

By comparing two versions of a text message, each with different types of media included—such as photos, videos, gifs, or clickable links—you can get a better idea of what resonates with your audience. Comparing different types of media also allows you to compare other metrics, like how long it takes for customers to respond or click-through rates for shopping links compared to video links.

3. 😀 Vs. 😀😀😀

Emojis are especially popular with younger audiences and can be used to give SMS messages more personality and engagement. But only if you use them the right way. A/B testing is key to deciding how many emojis should be used, as well as which type of emoji works best in each situation.

For example, you might want to compare different variations of a text message, one with a single emoji and the other using multiple emojis, to see which version resonates more with your audience. You can also:

  • Compare different types of emojis, such as "smileys" or "animated GIFs," to see which type gets the most attention or has higher click-through rates.

  • Test out different emoji combinations (e.g., 😃😃 vs. ☺️☺️) or even words combined with emojis (e.g., "congrats" + 🎉) to get an even better understanding of what your audience prefers.

Ultimately, split testing will enable you to send texts that are tailored specifically for your audience while also helping you maintain your brand's reputation by ensuring you don't accidentally end up sending an annoying text.

4. Short text Vs. long message

You may have heard claims that there's an ideal length for an SMS. But in reality, it depends on what you need to communicate and what your audience prefers.

Longer messages may be too cumbersome for busy consumers or too long to fit in a single text based on the character limit. Shorter messages, on the other hand, may not contain enough information to capture a customer's attention or convey the desired message.

By sending two versions of your message—one short and one long—you can compare open rates, click-through rates, and other engagement metrics like conversion rates for each message. Additionally, you may find that certain customers respond best to certain lengths of text messages; for instance, older adults may prefer longer texts with more details, while younger customers prefer shorter texts with less detail.

5. A.M. Vs. P.M.

Knowing when to send messages is critical for successful SMS marketing campaigns that reach your target audience at time that works for them. After all, it wouldn't make sense for a coffee company to send a text in the evening. It makes much more sense to send a message in the morning when customers are waking up and craving a cup of Joe. Unfortunately, the right time to send a message isn't always this clear-cut.

Sending a message at different times helps you learn when it's best to send text messages in order to boost engagement metrics and meet customers in their daily life. This way, you'll know what time works best for your audience so that you can create more effective campaigns in the future.

6. Discount Vs. promotion

More than 80% of customers say they're likely to click on an ad if it's offering a sale or a discount. That makes promotional and discount messages a great option for A/B testing because they get higher levels of engagement. And running tests on messages with higher engagement rates means the data in your test results will have greater statistical significance.

You can compare discount rates, promotions, or even loyalty rewards to see which ones are more attractive to your audience. You can also test call-to-action button placements to see what drives the most engagement. For example, one message might include a CTA with a clickable link to the sale page at the beginning of the message, while a different version places the link at the end of the text.

Incorporate A/B testing into your SMS strategy with Emotive

Using automated tools like Emotive's A/B testing tool makes it easy to run tests and get reliable data. You can easily upload the messages you want to test, automatically generate A/B test results for each version of your message, and segment your audience into different groups.

This helps you make informed decisions about what works best for your customers so that you can create more effective campaigns in the future. By utilizing these cognitive neuroscience principles with a powerful AB testing tool such as Emotive's, you can craft better messages, connect with your audience, and encourage loyalty that supports your e-commerce business growth.