When it comes to running paid media ad accounts for your eCommerce store, testing is a crucial component. It is time-consuming and requires a lot of money for planning, analyzing, and iterating on tests. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of ad testing to make the most of your effort.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the art of ad testing for both Google and Facebook accounts.
We’ll cover best practices, do’s and don’ts, and popular test ideas that you can start implementing right away.
So, what exactly is ad testing?
Ad testing involves pairing different ad elements in your account to evaluate their performance.
The objective is to determine which creative aspects, such as messaging, design, placement, and more, resonate with your target audience and drive conversions. By testing different ad concepts – you can get closer to improving your ad performance.
Why is ad testing critical?
Ad testing is critical in digital marketing because it allows you to understand and iterate on what your customers want to see and who your customers are. It enables businesses to measure the effectiveness of their ads and determine which versions are performing the best. Ad testing is a data-driven method of identifying the messages and types of advertisements that resonate with your target audience. It can help you optimize your campaigns for maximum reach and impact resulting in the best ROI.
Facebook ad testing
Testing ads on Facebook is relatively straightforward. There are many different variables that you can test. Let’s dive deeper into some in this section. Facebook ads manager gives you the tools you need to create a test.
Types of Facebook Ad Tests
Testing Facebook ads is a simple process that involves experimenting with different variables. In this section, we will delve deeper into some variables and the tools provided by Facebook Ads Manager to help you carry out these ad tests.
Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is a powerful tool that allows you to test a single variable in a controlled environment. However, it can be expensive for some tests like creative and audience testing. Therefore, we recommend using it for testing the destination URL or the CTA.
Another way of bringing the costs of such tests down is to opt for a service like GetAds. GetAds delivers frictionless, image & video ads from a professional team that understands advertising.
Anyways, let’s move ahead with the types of Facebook ad tests you should run:
This test involves trying out different types of creatives, such as static images, videos, and user-generated content. You can test them in the same campaign by scaling the spending of the ad set that meets your desired goals. Alternatively, you can create separate testing and scaling campaigns and move any winning creatives into the Scaling Campaign.
Ad Copy Testing:
Although not the most critical element in your ad campaign, testing different ad copies can be impactful. We recommend pairing the same creatives with a distinct ad copy to see which messaging resonates the most with your audience.
You can test different ad copy styles, such as the one with emojis, writing lists, or keeping it short and sweet. To test ad copy, use an outline that involves testing different ad creatives and copy.
Testing different audience variants is a highly impactful test that can help you identify the audience that best resonates with your ads.
Interest stack, lookalike, and broad audiences are the three types of audiences you can test at the ad set level.
Interest stack involves using multiple interests in the same ad set. Lookalike audiences mean creating an audience with similar behaviors to your current customers. Lastly, Broad audiences rely on Facebook’s machine learning to bring customers that are most likely to convert.
Interest stacks are a combination of multiple interests that you can use as a starting point to reach your desired audience. You can group different interests that may relate to your product or service and let Facebook use them as a starting point.
For example, if you are selling fitness equipment, you can create an Interest Stack that includes interests such as “fitness”, “health”, and “workout routines”. Facebook will then find users who show interest in any of these topics and are most likely to achieve your goals.
Lookalike audiences are a powerful tool that allows you to target individuals with similar characteristics to your existing customers or website visitors.
To create a lookalike audience, you can upload a list of your past customers or website visitors, and Facebook will use its algorithm to find users who exhibit similar behaviors, interests, and demographics. It is an effective way to reach new customers who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.
Broad audiences are another great audience type to test. Instead of targeting specific interests or behaviors, you can set basic demographic information such as age, gender, and location and let Facebook’s machine learning find the right audience for you.
Facebook will analyze user data and find users who are most likely to convert based on your goals. Broad audiences can be especially useful for reaching a wide range of potential customers and expanding your reach.
Testing your Facebook ads is essential for finding the best-performing ad creatives, ad copy, and audience targeting for your business. With Facebook’s split testing tool, you can isolate and test different variables, such as creatives, ad copy, and audiences.
Other tests: CTAs & landing pages (and more)
Facebook Ads offers a plethora of tests to optimize your ad campaigns. One such test is the call-to-action (CTA) test, where you can change the button from “shop now” to “learn more” or any other CTA that you believe will have more impact. You can also test sending your ads to a specific landing page, product page, or homepage.
Google Ad Testing
Similar to Facebook, Google Ads offers various tests to optimize campaigns. As Google shows ads on multiple placements like search, display, YouTube, and more, there is a lot you can do to optimize each of your campaigns.
In this section, we will focus on search campaigns since they are the primary campaigns any Google advertiser will create.
Google provides an easy way to create a campaign experiment that automatically splits your campaign’s ad spend into two for the variations you want to test.
The experiments tool is more valuable than Facebook’s A/B testing tool, especially when testing different bidding strategies.
However, for other tests like keyword tests and ad copy tests, which you need to carry out regularly, it is not that useful. It is crucial to evaluate the test you want to perform and understand the tools provided by Google’s platform to carry it out.
Testing Bidding Strategies
Testing different bidding strategies is a test that every campaign will go through at least once. This test is particularly relevant for new campaigns when you switch from Manual CPC to any automated bidding strategy.
It might take time to get results from changing bidding strategies since Google’s machine needs to learn about your campaign and the users most likely to convert. To carry out this test, create an experiment in the experiments campaign and split the spend 50% between the base and the new campaign.
It is essential to test keywords in your search campaigns regularly. When you set up your campaign with phrase-match and exact-match keywords, you monitor how they work and how much money they spend.
When a keyword spends too much but converts poorly, it is time to decrease its bid (if you’re on Manual CPC) or pause the keyword altogether. When you feel like your ad group has learned more about what you want to achieve – and you want more volume – you can add broad-match keywords. Google has a valuable tool to do this, making it a great optimization tool.
Testing Ad Copy
Testing ad copy is more complicated now with the deprecation of Expanded Text Ads.
Before, you could switch out only one headline and test what specific message resonated with searchers. With Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), you can test different ad copies, but you’ll be playing with overall messaging instead.
For instance, if you run a skincare brand, you can try an RSA about its natural ingredients and an RSA about its sustainable packaging. Whichever ad performs best will indicate what your customers are most drawn to about your brand.
You can also play with pinning, pinning different headlines in the same spot, and seeing which one gets shown the most. With RSAs, you have to be more creative with your messaging.
Testing creatives (Performance Max campaigns)
The creatives that you use in your Performance Max campaigns have a significant impact on their success. Just like with paid social, Google will evaluate the different assets you provide and give you a score ranging from “Best” to “Low.”
It’s crucial to keep track of poor-performing creatives and replace them with better-performing ones. A helpful tip is to use your best-performing creatives from your paid social ads directly in your Performance Max campaign.
Landing Page Tests:
Testing different landing pages for your ads is an essential element of optimizing your campaign.
One way to do this is by changing the final URL of your ads to various pages, such as your landing page, product page, or homepage, to see which resonates the most with your visitors.
This method can yield significant results with minimal effort and doesn’t require the assistance of a CRO agency.
Additionally, there are several landing page-specific tests that you can carry out. For instance, you can conduct an A/B test or a multivariate test. An A/B test focuses on a particular aspect of the page, such as the “Shop Now” button color, and iterates on it.
If you’re testing only one feature, like the color or text, it’s an A/B test. Conversely, a multivariate test involves creating multiple versions of the variable you want to test to optimize the page’s success.
While your CRO agency will usually handle most of these tests, it’s also helpful to be aware of
them if you want to test specific parts of your website.
You can also conduct usability tests to improve your landing page’s success. Usability testing involves evaluating the user experience to determine how effectively users can complete a conversion. The goal is to create the smoothest experience possible for your website visitors.
Test One Variable at a Time
It is optimal to test only one variable at a time. It provides you with more actionable insights. Optimizing for multiple variables at once can lead to less actionable and confusing results.
For instance, if you test different ad creatives and landing pages simultaneously in two ads on Facebook, you won’t know whether the ad creative or landing page (or both) resulted in the difference if one ad outperforms the other. Testing one variable at a time will enable you to iterate and improve your ads faster while avoiding confusion from your results.
Allocate 10%-15% of Your Budget to Tests.
We recommend allocating between 10%-15% of your total ad budget towards tests. The remaining 85% – 90% is for scaling the winning pieces of your tests.
Using too much of your ad budget towards tests isn’t advisable because the ROI during tests is less predictable. However, if you allocate too little for tests, iterating and improving your ads takes longer, and you’re at a higher risk of ad fatigue.
Use Recommended Optimization and Testing Tools
To improve with each test – it’s critical to analyze the specific metrics. The ultimate goal is
always to increase ROAS for eCommerce brands, but different tests will have a higher impact on some stages of the funnel. Therefore, it’s essential to determine which metrics accurately reflect the effect of the variable being tested. For example, if you want to increase click-through rates, you’ll focus on the ads with the highest click-through rates.
Once you find a winning ad based on your metric, iterate!
Using a third-party tracking tool like Triple Whale can ensure that the data you collect is accurate, allowing your tests to be more effective.