Split testing ads have a lot of benefits, however, most advertisers won’t bother split testing their ads. Why? Because it’s a lot of work and it’s expensive. But are the results not worth it though? Let’s find out together in the 7th post of this Facebook Ads Domination series!
What Is Split Testing?
Split testing, also referred to as A/B testing, is testing 2 or more ad elements against each to find the best converting one. It’s a lengthy process especially if you want to test all elements in your advert – from the images to the headline, description, placements, call to action, and more.
Successful marketers and advertisers on Facebook will tell you that their secret to success is split testing their ads. By split testing, they are able to eliminate ads that don’t result in good conversion numbers. By the end of their tests, the highest converting ads are used when they scale their advertising and target a bigger audience.
For instance, if you have three different audiences and you want to see which audience is going to convert best for your ad, you can do a three-way split test. This means you show the same ad to Audience 1, Audience 2 and Audience 3.
After a period of time, you then look at the data Facebook gives you and you’re able to determine which audience responded best to that ad.
With that knowledge, you can then create a lookalike audience to target other people with similar characteristics as the winning audience. So if Audience 1 won the split test, you could create a lookalike audience of Audience 1.
This not only increases your probability of success but you know with 100% certainty that that specific advert is optimized for a particular audience.
What Are The Benefits Of Split Testing?
Split testing will undeniably benefit those who have the budget to burn through in the early stages of a campaign. Most adverts won’t convert – that’s money down the drain. You may split test a lot of adverts, and you may not find a winning ad set until the 101st ad you launch.
That essentially means you paid for the first 100 ads for nothing. But is that really the truth? Of course not. It just means you’ve sifted through the dirt to find the pot of gold at the end! In most cases, the winning ad set can easily pay for all the failed ads!
So, here are some of the benefits of split testing and why you should start implementing this in your Facebook ads right away:
1. There’s no guesswork involved – only pure, hard facts.
With split testing, you’re eliminating many reasons for why your ad isn’t successful. It’s sort of like a checklist. Ads 1 to 100 failed, but Ad 101 is smashing success. So you literally just crossed off 100 poor-converting variations of your ad.
Split testing also allows you to optimize your ad – you already know the elements that are not converting so you’re not going to use it in the next iteration of your ad.
2. Your results are both credible and tangible.
Who would say 100 failed adverts is not credible? You’ve spent all that money just to arrive at the end of the proverbial rainbow where the pot of gold is. If someone asks you why your campaign was successful, you can easily say, “Oh, it’s because I removed all the low-converting elements in my ad and used only the highest converting elements to make one super successful ad.” After so many failed tests, you can pinpoint the exact recipe for your success!
3. It’s a very smart investment.
Most naysayers will say split testing is like giving Facebook free cash. While it may be true in the beginning, just one successful campaign can pay off all your failed adverts. But what if you don’t ever find a successful campaign?
There are unlimited possibilities when it comes to split testing. Maybe you just haven’t found the right combination of good ad design and target audience. For example, if you’re promoting a lady’s t-shirt and you’re promoting to an audience consisting of men, then it’s probably not surprising you’re getting very low conversions.
Split testing is only a smart investment when you’ve thought all possible angles thoroughly. Going in blind is not smart at all – have a solid campaign plan to help you find that winning ad set sooner rather than later.
4. You will learn a lot about your audience.
Once you know what makes an audience tick or makes them motivated to follow the call to action in your ad, you can try to offer similar products and services and expect to get good results.
For instance, you know that a particular type of headline and image works best with a particular audience to get them to buy Product A. You can then use similar elements in a future advert and try to hook in the same audience sometime in the future to buy a product similar to Product A.
There’s really a lot of possibilities you can explore once you get to know what your winning target audience likes!
Best Practices In Split Testing
There is an infinite number of possibilities with which you can carry out your split testing. However, for all split tests, there are some things in common which usually lead to successful tests. Here are some best practices for split testing:
1. Start testing vastly different elements at the beginning of your campaign.
At the start, you don’t want to test one element’s variation only. What you want to do is to try and cover all possible bases, so you can get an overall sense of what’s working for your audience. Start with broad variables first and for each successful split test where one advert clearly comes out on top, use that element to narrow down your ad sets and do further split testing.
For instance, if you’re looking for the optimum age group to target, you may want to test first an age group of 18-30-year-olds and then 30-50-year-olds. Once you have the winner for this test, you can then refine your experiment to look for a narrower age range. If, for example, the winner was the 18-30-year-old group, then in your next split test, you can target users from 18-22, 23-26, and 27-30.
This method not only saves you money, but it also saves you time as testing multiple specific variations at once may take you anywhere from several days to a few weeks to get reliable data.
2. Change only one element and keep everything else the same.
This information is important because if you change many elements or variables in a split test, then you won’t know which variable caused your ad to fail or succeed. The process of elimination is helpful as you go through each element and cross out those non-performing or non-converting variables.
As an example, you can run the same advert to 2 different audiences. You’ll use the same image, headline, ad copy, and call to action, however, the first audience will be 18-25-year-old women in relationships while the second audience will be 18-25-year-old single women. If one of the audiences come out on top, then you know which audience group to target in your next ad campaign.
3. Run your split test ads for at least 3-4 days.
Facebook recommends letting your split tests run between 3 and 14 days. Running tests for only 1-2 days may not produce data sufficient enough to determine a clear winner, and a 2-week test is just far too long and inefficient for your budget. The benefit of letting ads run for a few days is you can see which particular times of day your audience is engaging with your ad. You can then keep this factor in mind when optimizing your ad.
4. Have a sufficient budget in mind.
Before you begin your tests, you should have a defined budget in mind otherwise you run the risk of losing a fortune on Facebook ads. The bigger the audience size, the bigger the budget you need to allocate. The important thing to note here is that your budget should allow Facebook to conduct the split test effectively and produce a convincing winner.
When setting up your ads, Facebook will give you a suggested budget, but oftentimes, this can be quite expensive. Most Facebook ads experts say you can start with a $5/day budget for each ad set.
However, if you want to see results fast enough, then you need to increase your daily budget. Moreover, you should know that you can also choose to split the budget evenly or weight one more heavily than others.
How To Split Test In Facebook Ads
In this section, we’ll give you a general overview of how to split test Facebook ads.
- To begin a split test campaign, you need to go to the Ads Manager and create a new ad.
- Choose a campaign objective. Note that Facebook does not support split testing all campaign objectives. Here’s the complete list of objectives you can and cannot test:
- Brand awareness – no
- Reach – YES
- Traffic – YES
- Engagement – YES
- App installs – YES
- Video views – YES
- Lead generation – YES
- Messages – no
- Conversions – YES
- Catalog sales – YES
- Store visits – no
- Once you’ve chosen a suitable objective, tick the ‘Create split test’ As you can see in the screenshot below, we chose Traffic as our campaign objective.
- Create your Campaign Name and click ‘Continue’.
- The next steps in the ad creation process will depend on the Variable you’ll choose to split test.
As you can see in the screenshot above, there are four main variable categories you can split test. These are:
- Creative – you can experiment and split test the image, headline, ad text, etc. For instance, you can split test an ad with one image versus an ad with a video. You can also try and use the same image but with different headlines.
- Delivery optimization – choose whether you want to split test between link clicks, landing page views, impressions, or daily unique As an example, you can split test by having one ad optimize for conversions and have the second ad optimize for link clicks.
- Audience – you can split test your audience’s location, gender, interests, age, relationship status, education level, purchase behaviors, and even test between custom audiences. For example, you can show one ad to a group of women living in London and then show the same to a second group of women living in Brisbane.
- Placement – split test where you want your ads to display (mobile, desktop, newsfeed, right column, Instagram, Audience Network, etc.). An example would be you can test whether you want customized placements versus automatic placements. You can also compare mobile placements versus desktop placements.
Choose the variable you want to split test. Once you’ve set up your adverts, Facebook will then record and compare the results. Once the winning advert is determined, you’ll receive a notification email with your split test results on it.
You can then use this information to move forward with the next split-test (for instance, further narrowing the variables you want to test), or to design your next ad campaign and refine your overall advertising strategy.
The mantra of successful Facebook ads marketers is to ‘always test, test, test.’ Yes, it can get costly, but a successful split test often leads to impressive ROIs! Only a few marketers attribute their success to luck – most of them credit split testing as the reason for their success. As the saying goes, the numbers don’t lie!
Our next post in this series will look at how to boost your profits with Facebook dynamic ads. Or you could let us handle your Facebook marketing, why not browse our products.