A Simple Outline for A/B Testing Creative Messaging Across Channels


In the competitive world of higher education marketing, standing out requires more than just compelling imagery or catchy slogans. It requires a deep understanding of what makes your institution unique and how to communicate those unique points effectively to prospective students. A/B testing offers a straightforward yet powerful way to refine your messaging and ensure it resonates with your target audience.

This post hopefully provides a guide for higher education marketers on how think about implementing A/B testing to enhance creative messaging across different channels.

Understanding Your Unique Points of Differentiation

Every educational institution has unique characteristics that set it apart from others. These differentiators should be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy and brand voice. Whether it’s a vibrant campus life, robust financial aid, career opportunities, or diverse programs, identifying and emphasizing these elements can significantly impact your outreach efforts.

Campus Life and Community

The experience of campus life is a critical factor for many students. Highlighting aspects such as community engagement, student organizations, and on-campus activities can create a strong emotional appeal. Testing creative messaging around these elements can help determine what resonates most with prospective students. For example, compare messages that emphasize the inclusivity of the student community versus the excitement of campus events to see which drives more engagement.

Financial Aid and Support

Financial considerations are often a significant concern for prospective students and their families. Messaging that clearly communicates the availability of scholarships, grants, and other financial support can be pivotal in decision-making. A/B testing different messages about financial aid can reveal whether prospective students respond better to testimonials, statistical data, or personalized assistance stories.

Career Opportunities

Highlighting the career support and opportunities your institution offers can attract students who are focused on their future careers. Whether it’s through job placement rates, internship programs, or alumni success stories, career-related messaging should be tailored to appeal to practical, future-oriented students. Test different creative approaches, such as success stories versus detailed program descriptions, to see which is more effective.

Program Variety

The diversity of programs and courses offered can be a major draw for students with specific academic interests. Emphasizing the breadth and depth of your academic offerings, including unique or specialized programs, can attract a wide range of students. A/B testing messages that highlight program variety can help you determine the most compelling way to present your academic strengths.

Executing A/B Testing Across Channels

Social Media Posts

Social media is a dynamic platform for engaging with prospective students. By testing different call-to-actions (CTAs) in your social media posts, you can gauge what prompts the most interaction. For example, experiment with CTAs that encourage students to visit the campus, apply for a program, or join a virtual tour. Analyze which messages generate the highest click-through rates and engagement levels.

Ad Layout Text

In your digital advertising efforts, the layout and text of your ads play a crucial role in attracting attention. A/B testing different headlines, subheadings, and body text can reveal the most effective combinations. Consider testing variations that focus on emotional appeals (e.g., “Join a Thriving Community”) versus practical benefits (e.g., “Graduate Debt-Free with Our Financial Aid”).

Voiceover Text

For video ads and promotional content, the voiceover text can significantly influence how the message is received. Test different scripts that highlight various aspects of your institution. For instance, compare a voiceover that emphasizes campus life and student experiences with one that focuses on academic excellence and career preparation. Monitor viewer responses to determine which approach is more impactful.

Using Data to Understand Your Audience

Collecting and analyzing data from your A/B tests is essential for understanding how different segments of your audience respond to various messages. Use this data to refine your creative strategies and ensure that your messaging aligns with the values and interests of your prospective students.

All of your marketing should be tied to your CRM and linked together across devices as best as possible. Understanding how each message performs in platform and then understanding how each platform performs against enrollment goals ensures you are deploying the right message to the right audience.

Need to upgrade your strategy, execution and attribution? Reach out to sales@umbrelladm.com

Cool Content We Like:



Contact Us