What Is the Variations Feature? How To Vary Images & Text For Evergreen Posts
This article will help you become a Variations expert in no time!
In the Post Editor there is a blue button to 'Add A Text Variation' this article explains what this is and the power it holds 🧙🏼
By the end of this article you'll learn:
- Who can use Variations?
- What are Variations?
- Do Variations count towards my plan limits?
- How to add text Variations to your post
- How to reorder text Variations
- How to delete a text Variation
- How to add media Variations
- How to reorder media Variations
- How links work with Variations
- How to use custom Variations for each profile
- How many Variations can I add?
- How many different posts will I end up with?
- How to maximise the number of Variations in a post
- How can I tell when I'm about to run out of Variations?
- How to see Analytics for each Variation
Who can use Variations?
All SmarterQueue customers on all plans can enjoy Variations! 😆
What are Variations?
Variations let you easily post a different caption or media each time your Evergreen post is recycled
With Variations you can...
- Keep your Evergreen content fresh
- Prevent duplication of posts.
- A/B test different text and media
Here's an overview video showing all of the things you can do with Variations:
Do Variations count towards my plan limits?
Nope! You can create as many text or media Variations for a post as you like, and it will still only count as one post per platform.
This is because there's only ever one copy of the post in your Queue at a time. It gets recycled back into your Queue after it is posted, and it will use a different Variation in the next cycle, but it's still just one post.
How to add text Variations to your post
You can set up Variations when creating or editing a post, within the Post Editor.
- When creating a new post in the Post Editor, below the post text box there's a button 'Add Text Variation'.
- When you click 'Add Text Variation' you’ll now be able to write another caption for the post.
- The newly-added caption will be pre-filled with the text in Variation 1 ready for you to edit.
- You can see in the example above, we've quickly changed #1 to #2!
- Each caption is labelled with the order in which they'll be published: "Variation 1", "Variation 2".
- The green text label shows which text Variation will be used the next time the post is published.
How to reorder text Variations
To change the posting order of your Variation, click on the move icon above the trash icon.
- Drag and drop the captions into your desired order, using the move icon
How to delete a text Variation
If you'd like to delete a Variation, click the trash can to remove that specific Variation.
How to add media Variations
There are two related, but different ways that you can add multiple images to your posts
You can select between:
Creating a multi-image post
Facebook and Twitter allow you to attach up to 4 images in one post. You don't have to add text Variations in order to have a multi-image post.
- Select 'Multi-image post'
- Add up to 4 images
- You'll see the images displayed, grid style in the Preview pane.
NB: The layout and crop of the images may look different when published.
Varying the media each cycle
- Select 'Vary media'
- Add unlimited images
- The preview pane lets you flip through all the different Variations, and you'll see a different image/video will be used each cycle.
How to reorder media Variations
You can re-order media in Multi-image posts, as well as change the order that media will be shown when varying the media each cycle.
Below is an example when we select 'Vary Media'
- To reorder the layout of your uploaded images (shown in 'Preview' on the right), simply drag and drop your images into your preferred order.
- The actual layout and crop of the images will vary depending on the shape and order of the images, and cannot be accurately predicted. Usually, the platforms will favour the first image.
- We show an estimate of how the multi-image post may appear.
- The style of the grid cannot be adjusted.
Selecting 'Vary media'
- Above, you can see that 'Vary Media' is selected
- With this option selected, you can add unlimited media, for any platform 🎉
- Only one image/video will be shown per post, but a different image/video will be shown on each cycle
- The first image will be used for the first Variation post
- SmarterQueue will then work its way through the other images in order (image 2 for cycle 2, image 3 for cycle 3 etc)
- After the last image Variation has been posted, it will go back to the first image variation, and cycle through them all again until the post expires or is removed from your Queue
- NB: You can add multiple images/GIFs, or multiple videos, but you cannot mix images/GIFs with videos. You can, however, mix images with GIFs.
How links work with Variations
When adding a link to your post, the same link will be used across all Variations. Think of the link as a core part of the post.
The purpose of using Variations with links is to test different captions/images when sharing the same link.
Once you've added your link, it will be shown as the placeholder: [[link]]
You should not try to change the link between Variations, or add different links to each text Variation.
It's easiest to add your link before adding any text Variations. This is because when you click 'Add text Variation' the link will automatically be copied to each new text Variation.
For Twitter posts, you should ensure that the placeholder word [[link]] is present in every text Variation. Otherwise, the Tweet will be published without a link.
If you use Bitly for click-tracking, a unique bitlink will be used in each cycle, so that you can tell exactly how many clicks each Variation got.
💡If you forget to add the link (URL) before you create text Variations, copy the placeholder [[link]] into any Variations without the link. Do not copy and paste your original link (URL).
P.S If you'd like to test different links, you should create a separate post for each link.
How to remove a link
Once a link has been "attached" to a post, it's not sufficient to remove the link from the post text - the link will still be attached to the post. Instead, you should use the Remove button to completely detach the link from the post.
- Click on 'Link Settings' on the right-hand side
- Under 'Original Link' click the red 'Remove' button
- This will remove the link from the post, which will apply to each Variation
- You can then add a new link if desired!
How to use custom Variations for each profile
While Variations are most useful for Twitter posts (to prevent duplicate posts from being published as retweets), you can use Variations on any social media platform!
You can also customise the text Variations for each social profile, as well as how many text Variations there are for each profile.
For example, this lets you add more Variations for Twitter, where you may want to share the same post more frequently, but keep it looking fresh.
You can see in the example above, we've set this Variation to post to Both Facebook and Twitter!
On the right, the 'Preview' shows how both platforms will post, along with the ability to click through your previews (by clicking the arrows above the Variation preview).
How many Variations can I add?
You can add as many text and media Variations as you like! See below for more details about adding media Variations.
How many different posts will I end up with?
The number of unique posts that you end up with depends on how many text Variations you have as well as how many media Variations you have.
As a rule of thumb, if the number of text and media Variations line up (3 captions x 3 images), you'll get fewer unique posts than if they don't line up (e.g. 3 captions with 4 images).
Here's how many Variations you'll get when you add different numbers of text and media (image, video, GIF) Variations to your post...
- 1 media with multiple text Variations = The same image will be used for each cycle, but a different caption will be used for each cycle.
- Multiple media Variations with 1 text Variation = The same caption will be used for each cycle, but a different image/video will be used for each cycle.
- 3 media Variations with 3 text Variations = Creates 3 unique posts, this is because they will cycle at the same rate, so the text and media will always be in sync. The first text will always be shared with the first media, the second text with the second media, and the third text with the third media.
- 4 media Variations with 3 text Variations (or vice versa) = Creates 12 unique posts, this is because the text and media cycles are out of sync.
💡 If you want a specific media with a specific caption, make sure you have the same number of media Variations as Text Variations. (You can add the same media more than once, to be used in multiple media Variations!)
💡 If you want to maximise the number of unique (non-duplicate) posts, create a mis-matched number of text and media Variations.
Here are the basic calculations for you!
We recommend 5 x 6 as getting the most bang for your buck! 🏇🏽
- By creating 11 different pieces of content (5
How to maximise the number of Variations in a post
By adding multiple text or media Variations, you can create a large number of unique posts.
This depends on 3 things;
- How many text Variations you've added
- Whether you have selected 'Attach all images to each post', or 'Use a different media Variation each cycle’
- Whether the number of text and media captions matches up
How can I tell when I'm about to run out of Variations?
Let's say you create 10 variations of your Evergreen post. The next Variation from your 10 available Variations will be posted each time the Queue completes a cycle, and the post comes back to the top of the Queue.
When the Queue reaches the last Variation for a post, the Variation label will be shown in orange. You can look for this orange label in your Queue List view to easily find posts that you may wish to retire.
A better option is to set the Evergreen expiry options, so that the post will automatically expire after the last Variation has been published. If you have already created your Variations, simple click on the option to Expire the post after it is published a set number of times. We will automatically fill the value to match the number of Variations you have, so that each Variation will only be published once.
If you've set a post to expire after a set number of cycles, the hourglass icon indicates that the post has expiry options set. On the last cycle we'll show the Evergreen label in orange, to indicate that the post will be expired after this cycle.
If you don't set any evergreen expiry options, the 1st Variation will be published again after the 10th Variation. For Twitter, this will result in a duplicate Tweet, so it will not be published as fresh content.
How to see Analytics for each Variation
Want to discover how your Variations performed? Follow these simple steps...
1. Navigate to 'Queue' in the top navigation bar
2. Find the post (by using search or scrolling in list view)
3. Click on the three dots (top right of the post, see the green arrows below)
4. Click on 'View Stats per Cycle'
6. You'll see the Variations Analytics displayed (similar to below)
Now you can easily see how to best engage your audience!