In today’s digital landscape, paid advertising is key to driving growth and success. Effective ad campaigns reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time. It’s so much more than simply creating ads and launching campaigns. Every setting matters. Ad copy and creativity also have a massive impact on the overall success of each ad campaign. To fully understand what resonates with your audience and how you should be optimizing your campaigns, you should utilize a magic tool called split testing.
Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is the art of comparing two versions of an ad or landing page to see which one performs better. In a true A/B test, all variables remain the same except for the one that you are testing. This allows you to identify what your audience responds best to and continually improve your ads’ performance.
With so many settings and variables involved in a paid ad campaign, you can split-test almost any and every aspect of your campaign. While the possibilities for split testing are endless, it’s best to focus on the highest impact test first.
Wondering what you should split test to improve your campaign performance?
- Test Your Headlines
The headline is one of the most critical components of an ad. It’s one of the first things your audience sees. It needs to capture their attention and encourage them to take action. A good headline can be the difference between your audience clicking on the ad or just scrolling on by, so it’s very important. However, writing effective headlines can be tricky. What works for one group of people might not work for another. That’s why testing is so important! By split-testing different headlines, you can see which one generates a stronger performance and use that insight to create more effective ads in the future.
- Test Your Ad Copy
Just like headlines, ad copy can also have a major impact on performance. Ad copy is a little more creative so you can test a variety of different things when split testing including length, tone, messaging, and calls to action. By testing different copy variations and phrasing, you can identify the type of language and messaging that performs best with your audience. Once you have these insights, you can use it to create more effective ads in the future.
- Test Your Ad Creatives
Ad creative is the visual component of an ad that grabs attention and helps communicate the overall message. It includes images, videos, graphics, animations, and other visual elements. When running a split test, try testing different formats (ex: photo vs video), layouts, imagery (ex: lifestyle vs product shots), and colors. A red call to action on an image may or may not outperform a green call to action. Or your audience might respond more to video creatives than static images. The only way to know that is to test!
- Test Your Landing Pages
The page that a user lands on after clicking on your ad is just as, if not even more, important than the actual ad itself. This is where users take action - making a purchase, filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, etc. That’s why it’s so important to split test!
Not only can you test different landing page layouts, content, and calls to action, but you can (and should) also test different copy, headlines, and visuals on your landing page as well. You can also test different forms and checkout processes to see what improves user experience and increases conversions. Depending on what landing page builder you use it will likely have a split test function available to make testing as simple as possible.
Insights gathered from a landing page split test can not only be applied to future landing pages, but also to ads, emails, and other website pages as well.
- Test Your Targeting
Split tests aren’t limited to just the ads themselves. In order to reach the right people at the right time, you need to be targeting the right audiences. This can be challenging, especially when using affinity or interest-based targeting. And even if your audience selection is on point, some audiences will still respond differently than others when shown the same ad. By testing different demographics, interests, behaviors, and geographic locations you can really hone in on who your target audience is. You can also split test ad placements to see which platforms perform best for your audience.
- Test Your Ad Schedule
Timing and frequency of ad delivery can also have an impact on performance so it can be worth split testing. Ads delivered too frequently can lead to ad fatigue, while ads delivered too seldom run the risk of not being seen enough to convert. Similarly, if most of your ads are shown during days/times when your audience is away from their devices, your ads aren’t serving you the best and you’re not getting the best bang for your buck. By testing different ad schedules, you can identify when your audience is most active and start to learn how often your audience wants to see your ads.
- Test Your Bidding Strategy
Lastly, let your money do the talking. How you optimize your campaign and bid in the ad auction can drastically impact your campaign performance. Testing the same ad in a conversion campaign versus a traffic campaign might deliver some surprising results. During a split test, you can also test different goals for your bids, max clicks vs target CPC, or max conversions vs target ROAS.
Whatever split tests you decide to run, just make sure that you are keeping the rest of the variables the same except for the one that you are testing. This will allow you to identify what your audience responds to best. Then you can use that insight to create more effective ads and inform future split tests on other variables.