Facebook ads A/B testing can help you find the best way to reach your audience. Check out these 10 best practices to make the most out of A/B testing.
Creating and running a perfect ad campaign on Facebook and Instagram is more challenging than you think. Various elements come into play when it comes to an ad’s performance, and it becomes hard to determine if your digital marketing strategy is yielding the desired results.
This is where A/B testing comes into the frame. Also known as split testing, it compares two versions of a Facebook or Instagram ad to determine which performs better. With A/B testing, you can test different elements of your ad, such as the ad copy, visuals, or targeting, and analyze the results to see which version generates the best results for your Facebook ad campaigns.
A/B testing is an important tool for optimizing the performance of your Facebook ads. It allows you to make informed decisions about what works best. If you are confused about what CTA works best, which colour scheme looks appealing and which image to use? Then a simple Facebook A/B test could reveal exactly what your ad needs to connect with your potential audience and give you the best bang for your buck.
In this blog, we reveal 10 best practices for A/B testing that can help you find the best element to use to connect with your audience effectively.
1. Define a clear and easy-to-understand hypothesis
When it comes to A/B testing with Facebook Ads, everything revolves around your hypothesis – an explanation or the solution to a problem. What elements you decide to test and the budget for the ads involved should all be based on the specific hypothesis and the end result you expect.
It would be best if you did not complicate things when it comes to A/B testing. Keep it straightforward with the specific requirements you need to test and know. After deciding what you want to figure out, create a testable hypothesis.
Let’s say you want to know if you would get better results by optimizing your Facebook ads placement. You can refine this question to be something specific such as “Will I get lower CPR – Cost Per Result if I optimize for link clicks or landing page views?” This will allow you to set a hypothesis such as “My CPR will be lowered when I optimize for landing page views.”
By defining a hypothesis, here it is the CPR of your ad will be lowered if you optimize it for landing page views, and you are able to interpret the results of the A/B test more effectively and easily.
2. Choose variables that are valuable and can be measured
Not only is creating a simple hypothesis crucial, but it is also necessary to ensure that your hypothesis has variables that are valuable and can be measured. Only results that can be measured are helpful for bringing improvements to your ad campaigns.
Make sure your hypothesis and the variables used are clear, easy to understand, and can be determined with split testing. In the example above, we can easily determine the result of the hypothesis – “My CPR will be lowered when I optimize for landing page views.” by using one type of ad placement for ad A and another for ad B.
If this is your first time using A/B testing in Facebook ads, it is best to start big and work your way into the essence when choosing what to test. If you are stuck on which variable/element to choose, think about which is more important to your business and will drive more value.
Which is more important to your business and can be measured at the same time? Finding out if your ad is making your target audience smile or if finding out if the CTA you use packs a punch and calls your audience to make a positive impact.
Always pick the variables that matter most to your organization, create a hypothesis with them, and use A/B tests to find answers to your hypothesis and optimize your ads for better impact.
3. Limit testing to a single variable
Limiting the test variables gives you more control and can easily interpret and attribute the results to a specific variable. Let us use the previous hypothesis now instead of one variable if you had two “The CPR of the ad will be lowered if both the placement of the ad and the CTA are optimized”.
Here it becomes difficult to interpret what change causes a positive or negative impact. If ad A is optimized to show in the Facebook feed with the CTA ‘Start your 30-day free trial’ and ad B is optimized to show in the right column with the CTA ‘Start my 30-day free trial’. And if the test results favour ad B, then it becomes hard to attribute if the performance is due to the ad placement or the CTA.
Most experienced social media marketers agree that when you A/B test, only change one thing.
Now you may wonder, what should you do if you want to test multiple variables? How to proceed then with split testing on Facebook? The answer is to do it One At A Time. Prioritize the variables. As said before, find the variables that is more valuable to your business. Rank the variables and test them one by one.
If you have identified 3 variables in the order of – CTA, creative and ad placement. First, split test the CTA, then use the winner of the test and A/B test with the creative, then use the one that has given the best result to test the last variable, ad placement.
4. Change your ad creatives
Changing the creative can sometimes be more impactful than you think. Most digital marketers tend to prioritize testing the creative first, as visual appeal plays a major role in Facebook and Instagram ads.
Let’s say you are running ads for a hotel with a sea view and promoting bookings; then it is best to have one ad showcasing the interior of the hotel and one showcasing the exterior.
Alternatively, you can leverage the ocean view and showcase it from the balcony. With this method of changing the creatives and having different ads under the same campaign, you will be able to see which creatives are more well-received by your target audience. With this knowledge, you can make data-driven decisions to optimize the ad budgets and also optimize the ads themselves.
5. Budget your ads
You should always budget your ad on Facebook, no questions asked. You don’t want a runaway train in your hands. When it comes to A/B testing, you should always limit your ad spending, no matter how big or small your actual budget is.
When setting the cap for the ad spend for each variation, always keep in mind to have a budget for the split test that will produce enough results so that you can find a winning strategy confidently. The budget for the ad sets under the test conditions should be the same so that you can fairly compare the performance.
An important thing to remember is not to let Facebook’s algorithm handle the budget using CBO or Campaign Budget Optimization. This will automatically allocate most of the budget to the adset that performs the best and rule out the other variations at a very early stage of testing.
6. Audiences matter
You can also test which set of audiences is the right group for you. If you have multiple sets of audiences and don’t know how each will respond, then you can use your audiences as a variable in the split test.
Marketers who have difficulties choosing the right audience usually A/B test their audience first to ensure that they target the right audience later on with other split tests. A/B test your ads on Facebook with a lookalike audience of 1% and your custom audience, or you can test between Lookalike 1% VS 2%.
When testing with audiences, the goal is to let the results of the test pinpoint you to your target audience rather than doing guesswork and leading you to waste your budget on the wrong audience.
Related Article: 10 Tips to Improve Targeting For Facebook Ads in 2023
7. Set the right time frame
An effective tip from us is to have an ideal time frame for the A/B testing of your Facebook ads. Split testing needs time to determine a winner. Depending on the size of your target audience, the spilt test can take a few days or even weeks to establish a clear statistical result.
If you are unsure which is the right time frame for your ad, we suggest you start with a recommendation of 7 days, according to Meta Business Help Centre. Be mindful that a shorter period may give inconclusive results. Any changes or edits to the adsets that are part of the split test will reset the process back to the start. So hold your horses and relax while Facebook does its job.
You can also use what you know about your customers to set the right time frame if you know from experience that it takes 7 days for your typical customer to convert or make a positive impact after seeing your ad. Then set the limit to 10 to 12 days.
All A/B tests in Facebook ads Manager can be created within a time frame of 1 to 30 days.
8. Ad fatigue is inevitable
Most times, ads that have performed highly can drop in performance and have low impressions, CTR and engagement than usual. This is because of a phenomenon called Ad Fatigue.
Ad Fatigue happens when your target audience loses interest in your ads and stops engaging with them as they have viewed them too often. This leads to decreased campaign performance and lowered return on investment.
One solution to tackle ad fatigue is creating multiple ads and rotating them. The different ad variations should deliver the same content, but the copy should be different. By doing so, you can ensure that your content stays fresh in the minds of your audiences.
Once ad fatigue occurs in these ads, you need to replace them with a separate set and run the ads once more. Likewise, you will have to find and create another ad creative to replace this set. Remember, in this case, you have to split-test something you know works against a new idea or concept.
9. Know human psychology
Another tip for you is to dive deeply into how your customers and audience think. Doing so gives you insight into how to grab their attention in the best way possible. Be a consumer in mind and a seller by heart.
Understand the human psychology behind people’s attention. As human beings, we process information in three different ways – Think, Feel and Know. You need a mixture of these three elements when you create your advertisements to attract and retain the interest of the audience. Here the copy is the Think, and the image is a mixture of Feel and Know.
At the start, test the image to find which gets the most attention from your viewers, and next, focus on the copy. Finally, create multiple variations of the ad until you find the winning combination.
10. Test! Test! and Test!
The purpose of A/B testing in Facebook is to determine the best solution to a problem. Once you set up your split test, run the campaign and get precise results of the best outcome, it doesn’t just stop there. You have to keep further optimizing, testing the winner against another variation of the ad with different variables one at a time.
Split testing is a continuous process that can deliver continuous results for the hypotheses you define. As a social media marketer, your aim is to deliver the best possible results. And the only way to do it is by continuously optimizing and finding what works for your target audience.
A/B testing is a method of fulfilling that aim, so test all your adsets continuously to meet your business marketing objectives. Who knows, you may even outperform your expected goals through split testing.
No matter what goal you set or what hypotheses you define, you will always uncover and learn something surprising and new running when Facebook A/B tests. Play around with split testing and make the most out of it by changing the various elements available to find the best combination for your adset
By following these 10 best practices for A/B testing on Facebook ads covered in this article, you will be able to find the best solution to your problems backed by statistical data.
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