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How to split test in Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly known as ExactTarget)

We know that if you’ve made it this far then you must understand the importance of split testing… no wait multivariate testing! It’s the only way to properly test when you’re dealing with a significant amount of data.

One of the questions we get asked the most is how to go beyond the default A/B testing in Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly known as ExactTarget). The great news is that there is a way! It’s not the quickest of processes, but it’s definitely worth a try because the benefits will outweigh the extra effort…

Your easiest option is to use Phrasee’s Salesforce Marketing Cloud app! All the magic of Phrasee… with all the effort of split testing taken care of by our awesome app. Find out more about it here on the Salesforce appexchange

But if that’s not an option for you, buckle up – here’s how you can multivariate test in SFMC:

  1. The first step is to create a master data extension which contains the entire database that you want to send the split test and winner to.
  2. Next up you need to create a new data extension, when you do this you should be presented with a few options – go for the “random data extension” pictured below. This will allow you to randomly split up the master data extension you created above.
  3. Select your source data extension – this will be the master one you created first.
  4. In the next view use the button at the top to add a data extension for each of your splits and add the number of recipients you want to be added to this data extension from the master.Once the test splits have been created click “add remainder” to create the data extension you will send the winner of your split test to. You can select a specific folder to save them all in for organisation. Once done click save and build.
  5. Now, if we’re honest this is probably the most time consuming part of the whole process… You need to create a user-initiated email send for each of the data extensions you created above. Attach the email body content (we’ll assume you already set this up), select one of the split test data extensions, and copy in one of your test subject lines.
  6. Once you’ve created all of the email sends schedule them all to go out at the same time, and then it’s time to play the waiting game…
  7. Create one last user-initiated email send to the remainder data extension with the winning subject line and schedule the winning send.
  8. Pat yourself on the back because you just managed to multivariate test in Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

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