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A/B testing is the process of posting two slightly different versions of one product—in this case, an email—and measuring the differences in their performance. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) uses an email tool called GovDelivery that can be used for A/B testing emails.

Create Your Draft Emails

Log in to GovDelivery and create all of the emails you want to test.

If you use an HTML-based template (such as the standard EERE GovDelivery template) you can follow this process:

  1. Go to "Topics" in the left column.
  2. Choose your email list.
  3. Click on "Bulletins" in the right column.
  4. Click on "Create Bulletin."
  5. Create your email.
  6. Click "Save as Draft" when you are done.
  7. Repeat for each email.

If you use an advanced bulletin template—GovDelivery's drag-and-drop template—you will need to follow a slightly different process:

  1. Go to "Bulletins" in the left column.
  2. Click on "Create Advanced Bulletin."
  3. Mouse over the template you want to use and select "Use this Template."
  4. Create your email.
  5. Click "Save and Next" at the top of the email draft.
  6. On the "Audience" page, click the blue arrow under "Recipients." Choose the list you want to send your email to.
  7. Click "Save and Next." Once you are at the "Review & Send" tab, it is safe to close your email draft.
  8. Repeat for each email.

Send Out Your First Email

Once your emails are ready to be emailed out, you will need to send them one at a time. Here is how you send the first email:

  1. Go to "Topics" in the left column.
  2. Choose your email list.
  3. Click on "Bulletins" in the right column.
  4. Click on the email you want to send.
  5. Under "Criteria," select "Random Recipients Selection."
    • If you use the advanced bulletin template, the "criteria" button will be located on the "Audience" tab.
  6. Change the drop-down box from "subscribers from selection" to "percent of selected subscribers."
  7. Enter how many subscribers you want to get this email. For example, if you want to send an email to half of your list, enter "50"—this will send this email to a randomly-selected sample of 50% of your list.
  8. Hit "Send Now."

Send Out Your Subsequent Emails

All of the emails you send out after the first will need additional filters.

  1. Go to "Topics" in the left column.
  2. Choose your email list.
  3. Click on "Bulletins" in the right column.
  4. Click on the email you want to send.
  5. Under "Criteria," search for the "Bulletin Activity" section. Choose "Sent."
    • If you use the advanced bulletin template, the "criteria" button will be located on the "Audience" tab.
  6. Change the drop-down box from "Subscribers who were sent" to "subscribers who were not sent."
  7. Under the "Select Bulletin," drop-down menu, choose the email you just sent.
    • If you are sending two emails, each to 50% of your list, you do not need to do anything else—if you hit "send," this email will go to everyone who did not receive the first email.
  8. Go to "Criteria" and select "Random Recipients Selection."
  9. Change the drop-down box from "subscribers from selection" to "percent of selected subscribers."
  10. Enter the percentage of your list who should get this email. Remember that you are only emailing a subset of your list. (For example, if your first list went to 30% of your list, this email will be going to the remaining 70%. Entering "50" here will go to half of that list—or 35% of your total list.)
  11. Hit "Send."

If you are sending three or more emails, repeat steps #5–7 to exclude all of the other emails you have sent.

Comparing Your Email Performance

Once all of your emails have been sent out, and a few business days have passed, you can compare your results.

  1. Go to "Reports" in the left column.
  2. Select "Bulletin Analytics."
  3. Enter a date range wide enough to cover all of your emails.
  4. Click on "Details."

At this point, you can pull two reports:

Detailed Reports for Each Email

Start in the Bulletin Analytics report, described above.

  1. Click on each email you tested. This will bring up the full statistics for this one email.
  2. Click the "PDF" Button to export this report to PDF.

Your team can then compare the PDF reports against each other.

Compare Your Emails Side-by-Side

Start in the Bulletin Analytics report, described above.

  1. Click on "Columns" at the top of the Bulletin Analytics Report.
  2. Choose the statistics you'd like to compare, then hit "Save."
  3. The Bulletin Analytics Report will update to show you the statistics you chose for every email in this time period.
  4. You can export this report to Excel by using the "CSV" button at the top of the report.

While this shows you fewer statistics than the full bulletin report, it allows your team to compare the statistics in a single Excel document.