How to A/B Test Your YouTube Titles and Descriptions

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Carla Marshall
March 7, 2022
How to A_B Test Your Titles and Descriptions

For many creators, crafting perfect YouTube titles or custom thumbnails can be daunting because we all know they can affect your video’s click-through rate (CTR).

YouTube Watch Time: Learn How A/B Testing Can Increase It

We brought you some golden tips on how A/B testing custom thumbnails can bump up your YouTube watch time in a previous post. In this post, we will show you how to split test your titles, descriptions, and tags too! Take a look at our video for more info:

Before we jump into A/B testing, let’s talk about how crafting a compelling YouTube title is one of the elements that takes your video from a poorly viewed one to a must-watch.

So what goes into making a great title? We’ll be covering this in much greater detail in an upcoming post, but the basics are:

  • Include the keywords you want to be found for or rank for
  • Give some insight into what viewers can expect (i.e., a how-to or a vlog)
  • Stick to 70 characters or less

How to A/B Test Your YouTube Titles with TubeBuddy

Did you know that some of the biggest channels chop and change titles if their video is underperforming? They take every opportunity to maximize the impact of the title, to increase CTR and the prospect of being suggested by YouTube.  And you can do the same!

If you’re on the TubeBuddy Legend Plan, you can easily perform A/B tests on any of your YouTube titles. But what does that mean? 

A/B testing is simply a way to compare two versions of something to determine which performs better. Also known as split testing, two or more versions of a variable (thumbnail, title, etc.) are shown to different segments of YouTube viewers to determine which version leaves the maximum impact.

On YouTube, log into TubeBuddy, and select ‘Video A/B Testing’ from the dashboard dropdown. Then just click on ‘Create A/B Test Now.’ A new window will open, and from here, you can select which video you want to test a title for. 

Once you find the video you want to do an A/B test on, TubeBuddy will ask you which kind of A/B test you want to do. This post is focused on titles, tags, and descriptions, so we’ll select the ‘Metadata Test’:

Next, choose to run the test for a set number of days or until the results are statistically significant. Then, click continue until you see the ‘Original Title/Test Title’ page. Here, upload your alternative title next to the original. If you only want to test a new title, keep scrolling through the pages until you reach the ‘Ready to Start?’ window. Now just click on ‘Yes, Start the Test,’ and you’re good to go!

What to Expect from TubeBuddy’s A/B Testing Reports

If you want to test a different title or description, or perhaps a different link in your description box, you can do that, and we can track your results for you.

Go back to the main ‘A/B Testing’ home page and select the video you are running the test on. A new window called ‘A/B Test Status’ will open to give you all the needed details. 

If you want a quick overview, just check the left-hand column for the overall scores on your test, as well as recommendations. 

The right-hand side of the reports drills down on some specific metrics that have surfaced because of the test. These include:

  • Click-through rate
  • Watch time per impression
  • Daily clicks
  • Daily impressions
  • Total views
  • Traffic sources

If the overall score is very narrow, you can use these more specific metrics to inform your decision whether to keep the original title or pick the new one.

TubeBuddy A/B Testing Tips for YouTube Creators

Although we make A/B testing your metadata or thumbnails a piece of cake, there are some best practices to know if you want to succeed with this feature.

#1 Change One Element at a Time

If your video isn’t performing as well as you think it should be, it’s best to change one thing at a time. If you change the title, thumbnail, and tags simultaneously, it’s going to be hard to pinpoint which of those changes made a difference. 

#2 Pick the Best Test Conditions

TubeBuddy’s default time for an A/B test is 14 days, but you can easily change that and choose a shorter time range. If you select the statistical significance option, the time range could be anywhere from a couple of days to many, many weeks. Choose the best option for you to get the best results. 

#3 Know the Test Limitations

We do have a limit that only ten A/B tests can run concurrently. There’s no limit on how many tests you can run on your titles, descriptions, or thumbnails per month, or in total, just no more than ten at the same time. 

That could mean you are running four tests on different thumbnails for four separate videos, plus four title tests for four other videos, and then two description tests.

As your tests finish (depending on the time limits requested), you can quickly add more until your limit is reached again. 

#4 Schedule A/B Tests for the Future

As you’re setting up your A/B test, you’ll see that you can schedule it for a future date. This will be helpful if your publishing date is also in the future. You can run a test on a published video as well as on unlisted and scheduled videos.

Why A/B Testing is an Invaluable Tool for Creators

There are many, MANY variables involved in success on YouTube. Some are generally out of the creators’ hands. But most are not, and the attention to detail paid to these factors can pay dividends. 

A/B testing custom thumbnails, titles, descriptions, and tags can put you back in control of the CTR your content attracts. And as you know, increased CTR leads to higher views!

Upgrade to TubeBuddy Legend today to start your own A/B tests. It opens up a world of insights that will inform you how your titles and descriptions are resonating with viewers.

Carla Marshall Author

Carla Marshall

Carla Marshall is the Content Marketing Manager at TubeBuddy. She has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, & SEO