Classic Designer: How to create a split test email campaign

Available on all ActiveCampaign plans. 

Campaign split testing lets you create up to five different variations of a campaign to send to different portions of your list. Then the version of the campaign that performs the best can be sent to the remainder of your list. 

Campaign split testing helps you see what types of emails can garner the most engagement from your audience so you can improve your email marketing strategy over time. 

Take note

Split test email campaigns are only available on the Classic Designer

Create a split test a campaign

  1. Click "Campaigns" on the left menu. 
  2. Click the "New Campaign" button. 
  3. Type the name of the campaign into the field provided and click "Split Testing."
  4. Click "Next" to advance to the next screen.
  5. Select the list that should receive your campaign and the split test type you want to use. You can choose from:
    • Test different email subjects and/or from information
    • Test different email subjects, from information and/or email contents
  6. Click "Next."
  7. Click the Template Type you wish to use with this email then click "Continue."
  8. Hover your mouse over the template you want to use then click "Select."
  9. A modal window will appear. Type the sender details and subject line into the fields provided. Click "Continue."
  10. Make your modifications to the template.
  11. If using the "Test different email subjects and/or from information" option:
    • Click the gear icon to open the campaign settings modal, then click "+ Add Test"
    • Provide a different subject line, preheader text, or update your "From" information
    • Repeat these steps to add more variations
    • To switch between different versions of the subject line, preheader text, and from information, click one of the test versions at the top of the Campaign Settings modal
    • Click "Close" when finished 
  12. If using "Test different email subjects, from information, and/or email contents," you will see a floating "Split Test" widget over your campaign layout: 
    • Click the + symbol to create a new variation of your campaign
    • Make modifications to the email layout
    • Click the gear icon to open the Campaign Settings modal where you can use a different subject line, preheader text, or "From" information
    • To toggle between each version, click the test version you wish to view in the floating "Split Test" widget
  13. When finished, click the "Next" button to go to the Campaign Summary page where you can test your campaign and set your split test options. 

Test your split test campaign

On the Campaign Summary page, you’ll have the opportunity to check your subject lines, preheader text, preview and test your campaign variations, and review a spam check score.

In the middle of this page is a “Send a Test Email” section with a “Split Test Email’ option. This lets you select an email variation to test before you send the split testing campaign to your list.  

To test a variation of your email:

  1. Click the "Select an Email" field then click the variation you want to test.
  2. Provide the email address you want to send the test email to, then click the "Send Test" button


Note that if your subject lines are the same, the emails will show up in the order they were created or you can temporarily change your subject lines while testing.

Send your split test campaign

Before you send your campaign, you'll need to set your split test options. These options are located toward the bottom of the Campaign Summary page. 

There are two options you can choose from, "Do not determine the winner" and "Determine (and send using) the winner." 

"Do not determine a winner"

This option sends your campaign variations to equal portions of your list. You can then view split testing reports to see which version performed the best after the campaign. It is not possible to modify these percentages. 


"Determine (and send using) the winner"

This option sends your campaign variations to different portions of your list. After a set timeframe, the variation that performed the best will be sent to the remaining contacts on your list. 

There three steps you need to take to set this up:

  1. Choose how the winning message should be determined.
    You can choose from best click rate or best open rate.  
  2. Determine when the winning message should be sent. 
    The default time period is set to two days. Most email engagement happens during this time frame.
  3. Set the email ratios.
    You can determine what percentage of your list should receive each email variation. In most cases, you'll want these numbers to be equal. The last percentage, "Winning email," shows you the percentage of remaining contacts who will receive the email variation that performed the best. 


Send your campaign

After you test your variations and set your split test options, you're ready to send your email. To do so, click the "Send Now" button or schedule the campaign to send at a future date and time. 

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