Do you split test your Facebook ads? Did you know that you can use split testing to get more bang for every buck you spend on Facebook ads?
Why you need to split test your Facebook ads
Split testing (also called “A/B test”) Facebook ads is the best way to find out which ads work well and which don’t. You make decisions based on real data instead of feelings, notion or opinions to guide what your ads say and look like.
When you split test, you can track your ads’ performance and compare apples to apples so you can determine which one provides the best results related for your goals. And you keep the one that’s working.
You’re probably a bit excited to get going, but hold on a second. Let me give you an idea how it works.
How does split testing work?
The basic idea behind split testing is comparing between an original (controlled) ad and the different variations (one element is being changed) and run them over the same period of time to find out which one garners the most clicks, sign-ups, or conversions.
Try to imagine this.
You have an A version (the original), and a B version (the variation) of whatever you wanted to test. They’re tested against a different hypothesis or idea. The process is then repeated over and over again, and the winnings keep piling up. Once you have the winning version, it becomes the new standard, and will be “variation A” in any future tests. Makes sense?
Interestingly, when you Split Test an Ad, you may find ads that unexpectedly perform better. And that’s the value of split testing - giving you an objective comparison between the Ads rather than what you like.
Now, let’s start discussing the ways to split test your Facebook Ads.
5 Variables you need to Split Test to get better results
As specialised Facebook Ad Managers, people often ask us “What variables do I split test?”
Although there’s no textbook answer to this, there are general best practices that we’ve learned from split testing hundreds and thousands of Ads.
Before you start split testing your Ads, you should know that you don’t want to tweak too much at one go or else you may not be able to identify what works and what doesn’t.
That’s why in this article, I’ll give you the five variables you need to start testing to consistently improve your Ad results.
Split Testing Variable #1: Image
The image is the first thing people see in a certain ad. It’s what makes them stop and read on. It influences the feeling of those who see the ad and decides if they will pay any attention at all to your Ad.
You can test different ideas on your image. Here are some of them:
Use Different Colors
Quoting from Kissmetrics,
When marketing new products it is crucial to consider that consumers place visual appearance and color above other factors such as sound, smell and texture.
If you want to learn more about color psychology and how it influences purchases, refer to this infographic from Kissmetrics.
Let’s find out how colors can affect the performance of your ad.
Check out these two images from BaubleBar. The image of the first ad is colorful while second version has three main colors. What can you say about their images? Do you think the first image performs well than the second one?
Feature Real Faces
Do you think pictures of real faces might be an effective image?
In general, attractive women, men, and smiling adorable babies are all great additions to an Ad as long as you don’t insert them in obviously irrelevant situations. Do you agree?
The images from Udemy’s ads below use real faces of humans in their images.
What can you say about these two images?
One of the best practices when creating an image is change the placement and formatting of objects to get a user’s eye to where you want it. The image below draw the viewer’s eye exactly to where you want it, and emphasize that subject.
Similar to smiling babies, images of cats and dogs are captivating.
Take a look at the ads of BarkBox - both ads have featured cute pups with their goodies. Though they both use dogs, the images are still different. What have you noticed? Which image you think got the most engagements?
Images that are eye-catching or elicit emotion are highly recommended. Once you’ve identified a handful of suitable images for your ad, it’s time to test.
Split Testing Variable #2: Copy
A Facebook Ad Copy consists of three parts:
- Body Copy
- Link Description
You start with a compelling headline, which we believe is what captures people’s attention after the image. Then, there’s the body copy where you explain your offer. Finally, you add in more details in the description (the little text below the headline).
Now, let’s tackle each of them.
Aside from the image of the ad, the 25-character headline is what you instantly notice in the ad. It is where you pay your most attention to.
Look at the headlines of these two ads from Freshly.
The first version’s headline says “Get 6 meal for $30. Order by Sunday September 6th!” while the second version says “Eat Great. Save Time. Feel Awesome. Get 4 Meals Free Right Now”.
Which of these two ads you think perform best? I am pretty sure it’s the second version. I think it has to do with the fact that people are usually looking for a solution to a specific problem. They are in research mode and want answers. A clear headline with a relevant benefit usually confirms that they have found the right solution which the first version is lacking.
Writing compelling and pithy headlines can be challenging even for the most experienced writers, so If I were you, I would test your headline like crazy in the early stages of your ads.
The Body Copy is what you say and how you say something about the ad. This is where you explain your offer. The message in the body copy needs to be consistent with the headline and description.
These two ads from Drive with Uber have different body copies. The first version mentioned a whopping “$884 earnings” which is obviously higher than the second version. On the other hand, the second version, highlighted the importance of time using the phrase “make your own schedule”. But come to think of it, “$22/hr earnings” is simple to understand. What do you think? Which body copy is more effective?
This is where you put more justification to your headline. You may notice that the description has the smallest font among the three parts of the copy this can also impact your entire copy if you will do some tweaks.
Here are some ideas to help you when you craft description:
- Social proof - Use social proof to influence the purchasing decision of the person who’ll see your ad. It can be a product review, testimonial and social media stats.
- Authority - Credibility is important. Associate your product with a highly influential person or brand.
- Urgency - No one wants to miss out on a good deal. Combine it with a sense of urgency, people will take an action.
Which of the description ideas have you used in the past?
Split Testing Variable #3: CTA Button
Facebook gives you these call to action options:
- Apply Now
- Book Now
- Contact Us
- Learn More
- Shop Now
- Sign Up
- Watch More
These first ad from ALOHA has a “Shop Now” call to action while the second one doesn’t have call to action. If you want to improve the clicks, conversions, and other KPIs, you could split test the best wording through a call to action.
Test your ads how would it perform with or without CTA button or both ads have different CTAs. Sometimes a button that says “Shop Now” is more effective than a button that says “Learn More. Sometimes it’s the other way around.
Split Testing Variable #4: Precise Interest
Split testing goes beyond just what you see at face value to the strategic process behind the ad campaign as well. You have the ability to reach exactly who you want. Sounds awesome right?
When doing split testing, you can select 2 or 3 precise interests for each ad copy (especially for businesses with smaller budgets or if they’re new to split tests and they need to start small and pick up the ropes) and those precise interests should vary for each ad copy.
Facebook identifies interests from:
- Listed interests
- Education and job titles
- Pages they Like
- Apps they use
- Groups to which they belong
For example, if I am going to choose the interests for my new social media marketing eBook, I would choose like this:
It may take you a long time to figure out the precise interests that made the most sense for your particular ads. But all you can do is test, test, and test.
Split Testing Variable #5: Ad Placement
Do newsfeed Facebook ads work better than sidebar ads? You can figure that when you start split testing your ad’s placement.
The secret to making your display strategy a success is well obviously, having the right ads in the right place.
You can now decide for yourself where you wish to show certain ads to users. Facebook gives you options where your ads can be displayed. Here are the:
- Mobile Newsfeed
- Audience Network
- Desktop Newsfeed
If you’ve run the same ad for some time and it’s facing ad decay, it may be time to relegate it to the right hand side.
If you want to run a STRICT A/B test on your ads, try running your Ads exclusively on the right hand side. If you can achieve good results even on the RHS, chances are, your ads will do great on the newsfeed!
If you want to get maximum reach, then choose all the placements. That makes sense. If the landing page is not mobile responsive, you might want to exclude the mobile newsfeed. Depending on what your offer and what your objectives are, you will find that working with different placements will make sense.
So if you are serious about knowing the right placement for your ad, it’s time to do split testing.
What will you split test?
Would it be the headline? Or the image? Who or what you want to target? The body copy? Or would it be a matter of where you place your Ads?
Split testing is critical, so I suggest you to experiment and split test ONE variable at a time.
If you need more advanced ideas, sign up for our list below - Jason is putting together a series of Split Test videos that’ll show you his BEST advice coupled with REAL EXAMPLES of what he’s tested and the results he’s got! Sign up now:
Learn how Split Test your Ads to Profitability
All right – now that that you know the variables to split test, it’s time to start testing!
What variable do you split test in your Facebook ads? Has it made a difference for you in terms of cost, clicks or conversions? Let us know in the comment section below.
P.S. Thank you AdEspresso for the wonderful list of curated Ads.