When it comes to Facebook ads, testing is probably the most important part. It is also one of the most overlooked. For this reason, people end up either failing with their ads or spending way more than they should.
Testing is essential if you want to optimize your ads and find out the best creatives, audience, and placement for your ads. It’s also very important as you scale, as the performance of ads can drop significantly as you grow your budget. This means that you’ll have to test and retest your ads constantly if you want to keep getting results. Let’s take a look at a few testing strategies for Facebook ads.
Set the Proper Budget
You first have to set a budget aside specifically to test ads. This will depend on a multitude of factors, such as your product, your niche, your market, and the audience among other things. The significance of your results, as well as the target cost, needs to be evaluated. For instance, you want to allocate more money on testing an ad with a $20 cost per lead than on one with a $5 cost per lead.
As a rule, it’s usually advised that advertisers spend around 10% to 20% of their total marketing budget on testing alone. You should see this as an investment. It’s unlikely that you’re going to strike gold with your first try. Constantly testing will allow you to refine your strategy while increasing your ROI and lowering your overall cost.
Only Change One Element at a Time
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when testing ads is changing too many things at once. If you change multiple things and get a positive or negative result, there’s no way of telling what the cause is.
If you’re going to be changing headlines, don’t change the images, and vice versa. You want to make sure that each of your creatives is in its own set, targets the same audience, and has the same optimization settings. Your sets have to be completely identical except for the creative they’re testing.
The reason why you want to work that way is to make sure that your ads will get enough impressions and that a sufficient budget will be allocated to each. If you put too many ads in a set, Facebook will eventually choose a winner very fast and start allocating most of your budget to it. In the end, your other ads will not have enough impressions for you to have reliable statistical evidence to make a decision.
Start with the Copy or Creatives
When testing, use most of your time on important elements first. A good idea would be to start with one image you think will be decent and have a few variations of the text copy. 10 would be a good number to start. You will be testing all variations with the same image and make sure that they’re all very different. You will then be able to see which styles are working the best and start refining the copy by making more subtle changes.
You also want to use your best performing variables on things that are not being tested, like audience, for instance. This way, if an ad fails, you’ll know that the ad is the culprit and not the audience.
Note that you are free to start with creatives too. If that’s what you want to do, we suggest you start with about 5 square images. This is because those translate well in Facebook and Instagram ads. If you have a bigger budget, you can start testing more images and start playing with things like orientation.
Finding a Winner
Once your ads have received a few thousand impressions, you’ll be able to pick a winner. We also suggest that you let the ad run for about 24 to 48 hours before you pick the top one. If you started with the copy, test it again but with at least 10 different images. You can then pick the winner based on the data you get. At this point, you’ll have tested 10 different image and text variations, so hopefully, you should have at least a good one in there.
You should also consider testing a variety of other elements once you have your images and ad copy down. You could test for things like website conversion, for instance, or different attribution windows. You could also test for things like placements or even try emojis in your copy to see the kind of results you’re getting.
You also want to make sure that you don’t go overboard with the metrics. There are some metrics that deserve more of your attention, like cost per conversion. If your ads aren’t getting the level of engagement you would like or you feel your cost per click is too high, you should be satisfied if your cost per conversion is still profitable.
Refine Your Results with Google Analytics
Do not trust Facebook when it comes to reporting things like conversion. Facebook has been known to overreport things like leads and attributions as well. This is why it’s important that you use tools like Google Analytics and UTM tags to get the full picture. This will be the only way for you to know exactly which ads are resulting in the type of actions you want to see.
There are also tons of things that Google can report that Facebook can’t. For instance, you can see how much time people spend on your website after clicking an ad. This could help make them more congruent. Google Analytics can also help you spot differences in behavior between those who saw the ad through a desktop or a mobile. This will be valuable if you want to target audiences with specific habits and lifestyles.
If you want to optimize your Facebook ads, make sure that you use these tips. You’ll be able to constantly improve and scale your ad budget responsibly and strategically.