From rapid-fire testing to optimizing ad placements to reworking your bidding structure, A/B testing Facebook ads can be extremely beneficial. You just have to know the right strategy for your goals.
A/B Testing Facebook Ads: Different Strategies For Your Business
For A/B testing Facebook ads, you have a plethora of options. You can run your tests at a campaign level, ad set level, or ad level, allowing you to fine-tune your ad campaign down to the finest details until you've found the perfect formula to maximize your ROI. Confused yet? Don’t be! Following a reliable strategy will make the process of finding the “unicorn” campaign combination a lot less complicated.
In this article, we’ll explore the best A/B testing strategies so you can decide which one aligns with your goals.
Conduct Rapid Fire Testing
The goal of rapid-fire testing is to find out which audiences or personas work best for your campaign quickly. It normally involves developing two ads, throwing a large(ish) budget into it but only for a short time, then analyzing the results.
This gives you the opportunity to test many different audiences with just a few variations in imagery/copy. This may include lookalikes of website engagement and social media engagement, different interests and demographics, etc.
Test One Element at a Time
Many variables can make an ad underperform. Singling them out and eliminating them one at a time is an easier way to identify what’s working for you and what isn’t.
Start with Different Audiences
Knowing who to target should be one of your top priorities when it comes to A/B testing. Your audience is one of the most critical variables and a significant differential in campaign results. Consider starting with different audiences first, as this will help you immediately identify who to target. Then work your way into other variables, like copy and creatives.
Focus on Ad Placements
Ad placements are the different places Facebook can display your ads to your target audience. There are 15+ ad placement options, and each one can make a significant difference to your ROI. Here are some of the most commonly used options:
- Facebook News Feed: Your ads appear on the News Feed when people access Facebook from their desktop or mobile device
- Instagram Feed: Your ad appears to people browsing the Instagram app on mobile devices only
- Facebook Marketplace: Your ads show up when your audience browses the Marketplace or visits the Marketplace home page
- Facebook Right Column: Right column ads are displayed only to desktop users and appear on the column on the right side of the screen
- Messenger inbox: Your ad and CTA is shown to any user who clicks the ad in their inbox
- Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram Stories: Your ads are displayed in-between people's stories on Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook
- Instagram Explore: Your ads are shown on the Instagram Explore Page
Best practices for this method include:
Don’t Restrict Your Ad Delivery
While the goal of testing placements is find out which ones work best for your ads, you don't want to restrict your ad delivery too much by eliminating most placements. Facebook suggests using 6+ placements for optimal cost per action.
Use the Correct Ad Type for the Right Placement
Make sure to tailor your ad creative according to placement.
Adjust Facebook Ad Bidding
Ad bidding on Facebook goes beyond just the monetary payment advertisers make for Facebook to boost their ads. It includes budget setup, bidding strategies, and delivery optimization, all of which have a part to play in your ad's ROI.
Facebook defines budget as the amount you’re willing to spend for your ads to reach your target audience. The budget setup is one of the basics parts of an ad campaign and plays a vital role in deciding ROI. That’s why it’s smart to prioritize it during A/B testing.
Budgeting on Facebook is more complicated than just "larger budget = better results” since there are other variables to consider, like budget type. Still, the amount of money you put into your budget plays the biggest role because your budget needs to be proportional to your audience size to achieve optimum results.
Your bid strategy also determines how well your ads perform and should be run through the A/B test to determine the most profitable strategy for your campaign. Facebook offers five bidding options:
- Lowest Cost (automated bidding)
- Highest Value
- Cost Cap
- Minimum ROAS
- Bid Cap (manual bidding)
Your ideal bid strategy depends on your overall objective. The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for every campaign. Let's say you test automated bidding on two similar ads. They may produce different ROI results due to a change in campaign objective or other ad settings. Using the A/B test tool helps you find the optimal bidding strategy to maximize a particular campaign. Just keep in mind that another campaign may be better off with a different bidding strategy.
Delivery optimization is how Facebook determines who sees your ads. On the delivery optimization page, you can let Facebook know precisely who you want to view your ads. This will be accomplished in a much more laser-focused way when compared to selecting your Audiences. While Audiences help you choose a target pool, Facebook is aware that some users within that pool are more likely to perform your desired action than others, and delivery optimization helps you reach those specific people.
For example, let’s say your campaign objective is conversion. With an optimized delivery, instead of showing your ads to 25k people, Facebook shows your ads to the 10k users that are most likely to convert into paying customers.
By not optimizing delivery or choosing the wrong delivery setting will likely reduce ROI. A/B testing helps you find the perfect optimization format to get the most out of your ad campaign.
- Create a different ad set for each tested bidding method
- Use a different CPA (cost per acquisition) before testing, in case both methods yield underperforming results
- Start by testing ad delivery options or experimenting with CBO or manual bidding at the ad set level
Test the Design
While crafting your Facebook ad campaign, it's important not to get too distracted by the multiplicity of variables like audiences and budgeting. However, despite all the chopping and changing Facebook does to its marketing platform, one constant holds true when creating a successful campaign–good ad creative.
Your ad's design is the beating heart of your campaign. 75%-90% of an ad's performance is based on its design. No matter how well-crafted your campaign or how unique your product, if your ad is visually unappealing, it will underperform, period. This is because images communicate more quickly and effectively than words.
Some design variables to think about for your A/B test:
- Color combinations
- Stock images vs custom designs
- Text on image vs no text on image
- High contrast vs low contrast
- Videos vs Single Images or vs Carousel
As you’re kicking around different design ideas, keep these best practices in mind:
Consider Your Ad Format
Before diving into the colors you want to throw on your ad, it's important to give some thought to how your ad will look in its format. Is your ad going to be a single photo, video, or slideshow? Different formats call for different aesthetics. Consider how you can use designs to get the best out of your ad format.
And remember, your choice of ad format should be dependent on the ad placement (or vice-versa).
Keep Your Ad Design Consistent With Your Landing Page
If the design of your Facebook ads doesn’t correspond with your landing page, you might see high bounce rates and ROI underperformance. Using a similar design for both helps users feel like your landing pace is a continuation of the ad they clicked on and not an entirely different place (even though it is). When designing your ad, retain some design elements from your landing page.
Have a First-Rate Design Team
Having an engaging visual brand is an increasingly important part of successful ad campaigns, and an expert design team can help you get an edge on the competition.
Aside from A/B testing Facebook ads, there are lots of variables and settings that go into crafting a successful campaign that gets results. That’s why collaborating with experts is a smart choice, especially for startups or new business owners.
We’re Social Ktchn, the mom-and-pop shop of paid social media agencies, and we’re here for you and your big business dream. We offer first-class design and branding services to help you optimize your advertising and reach your goals.
Our passion is helping businesses grow through successful social media campaigns and we pride ourselves on providing personalized, quality services. Let’s build something incredible together.