For advertisers, the competition on Facebook and Instagram is stiff. Demand is rising, costs are up, and the platforms aren’t gaining enough new users to cover the ground.
What results is a highly competitive marketplace in which creative is king — the one thing that can differentiate your brand from the pack and really deliver significant returns for your efforts.

But with so many placements, dwindling attention spans and a desire for hyper-relevance, falling on those picture-perfect creative elements can be difficult. The key to doing it right? That lies in your testing.

Creative Ad Testing Tip 1: Test the Subjective

The problem with creative is that it’s very subjective. Sometimes a piece of copy, an image or a headline will perform great for no real rhyme or reason, and homing in on the why behind your top creative elements is nearly impossible.

This is where having an established testing blueprint in place can shed some light, helping you identify the best-performing creative parts of your ads, as well as how they measure up to other ads and creative elements.

There are two methods you can take when testing: A/B testing or multivariate testing.

A/B testing involves a clean split test, measuring one single variable across two different ads. Multivariate involves testing elements across different audiences, ad units, concepts and more. If you’re new to testing, consider starting with A/B testing first.

Creative Ad Testing Tip 2: The Blueprint

Before beginning, you should create a testing blueprint first. It should include a column for all potential variables — audience, platform, ad type, bidding strategy, etc.

To start, consider testing these elements across two different ads:

  • Ad type (video vs. static image, stories vs. carousel, etc.)
  • Call to action
  • Use of emojis
  • Use of customer reviews
  • Copy (headlines, use of caps, etc.)
  • Mobile vs. desktop

Once your ads are running, commit to keeping them up and going for at least a week. After the first day, gauge which ad is performing best and review basic stats like impressions, reach, clicks and CTR.

On days two through four, check out your engagement levels and make any initial optimizations if something is very clearly working/not working. After the full week, optimize your ads toward the winning creative variation, and continue testing new elements.

When evaluating your results, Lauren Guerrieri, the Senior Manager of Paid Social at Tinuiti, says to ask yourself:

 

 

  • How did the creative align with your core KPIs?
  • What was the click-through rate and how does that compare to your baseline rate?
  • What did post engagement look like (likes, comments, shares, etc.)?
  • How quickly did the first purchase or conversion happen? (A fast conversion indicates a more relevant ad. A late conversion likely means your message isn’t very relevant to the audience you’re reaching.)
  • How relevant was the creative and how did it resonate with users? Did they connect with the ads?
  • Did it drive new visitors to your website?

If there’s not a clear-cut winner once you’re done testing, Lauren recommends switching KPIs and re-testing the two against a different benchmark. Keep running the tests until you start to see a winner emerge.

Bonus: Pro-Tips for Testing Success

Overall, we recommend putting at least 5% to 10% of your monthly budget toward testing.

We also recommend:

  • Testing your creative with your best customers first. This helps you determine your viability of concept while still keeping costs low.
  • Refresh your creative frequently to avoid ad fatigue. Facebook actually recommends doing this once per week if possible.
  • Align your test with one or two major KPIs. Be specific and realistic about where you set the bar for success.
  • Innovate and be unpredictable. The best creative is engaging from the first second a user sees it.
  • Design for mobile and motion first. Video will always tell a better story than static imagery.

 

 

You should also commit to running all new campaigns, creative elements, audiences and any other new effort through your testing blueprint. This helps you get the most of your remaining budget by devoting it to your highest-performing, most-proven tactics first.

Want to learn more about testing your ad creative? Check out our recent webinar now.

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