Advertising is the backbone to the growth and success of any business. Okay, okay, tell me something I don’t know, right? Each year, billions of dollars are spent on advertising across multiple platforms and media. In fact, the most successful businesses spend a large chunk of money researching results of advertisements to determine the best course of action.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure!
The good news is that you don’t have to kill your budget to test your ads. One of the most proven and effective strategies to testing advertising and market effectiveness is A/B testing.
There are a few important things you absolutely have to determine before you dive into testing your ads.
What is the goal?
This is the most important thing to determine when testing your ad as it will drive the duration and strategy throughout the process.
Clicks: This is commonly used when your site revolves around paid advertising. The ads you host are paid based on your community clicking on the ad.
Opens: This goal is used with e-mail campaigns or monthly newsletters. Also used on social platforms and membership sites.
Revenue: This is the basic online business philosophy goal. Your site is selling product, and the test is centered on how much product(s) you sell within a given test.
Duration of test
The duration of your A/B test will be based upon which of the 3 goals you have. There have been numerous studies that have aimed to pinpoint the timeframe required on each of these goals to determine the leading ad style.
As with any test, there will be certain variables that you need to identify and account for with your campaign. Regardless of the goal, the better that you can control the variables, the more effective your A/B test will be.
• Time of day: Be consistent here. Choose a time that won’t saturate your test, and be sure to provide equally accessible timeframes for each test.
• Day of the week: This is especially important with revenue based testing.
• Customer segment: Be sure that your test criteria match a need of your customer segment, regardless of how you change an ad.
• User activity times: Know your visitors. Try to run your test at a time of high activity to give yourself the most eyes on your ad. This will achieve the best and most measurable results
If your mind is spinning, don’t worry! It isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds. The three major components that are regularly tested using the A/B method are websites, email campaigns, and on-site ads. Each of these offer opportunities for tweaks that can and should be tested to determine the most effective advertising strategy.
Website Testing: When using the A/B method to test your website, you have the option to test a variety of components. Position of sales copy in addition to the actual wording. Location and style of graphics. Is your call to action effective in its location and wording? Does a specific product description impact the sales based off of the picture, wording, or both? Within all of this, you can test the clicks per ad based off of location within your site as well. This is the most intricate style of testing, but can often yield the most impactful results.
Email Testing: This is similar to website testing in that there are many different aspects to check. You can test clicks and opens within this component, or simple wording tweaks within the email itself. A test that is currently popular is the e-mail subject line. What yields the most opens, and what impacts the amount of opens that you are getting? Does the overall length of the e-mail have any impact? Should my tone be direct, friendly, professional, or laid-back? Test it all if you so choose!
On-site Ad Testing: This is the easiest component to test. All-text advertisements leave little to test beyond words, order of information, and length of verbiage. If you have customized ads, you are mainly looking at location of the ad in relation to a page. A hot trend over the last year or so has been those annoying ads that fill the screen when a user is about to exit out of the website. While these ads may be effective, your testing may reveal that it is having the opposite effect.
Social Media Testing: A huge aspect of any advertising campaign revolves around social media accounts. Specifically, Facebook has several options for A/B testing. After pinpointing the exact target audience you want to reach, you will be able to test variations to ads specific to those who are likely to convert. You can compare images that you choose to use, fonts, text v. no-text images, videos (and lengths of said videos). Within this realm, you can choose to compare purchase conversion rates, subscriptions, likes, and/or follows in response to the variables. The possibilities are truly limitless. You can use these same strategies in all of your social media accounts as well. The beauty of marketing within social media is that the platform itself is workable and ideal for successful testing.
So what the heck does all this mean for you? These tests don’t have to break the bank. They likely won’t require you to go beyond your current advertising budget.
Facebook advertising expert, Dennis Yu of Blitz Metrics uses the dollar day strategy to test the ads that work for him. Personally, I like to spend $5 a day on 5 different ads, for 3 days straight. At the end of 3 days, whatever is performing I put more ad spend into, whatever isn’t, we then re-calibrate and test again.
This WILL require you to patiently await results, and provide plenty of options to give you the best range of possibilities. One test won’t yield much result. With plentiful and consistent testing, you can stay on top of customer trends, and stay ahead of your users’ needs. With A/B testing, you can beef up your ad campaign while ensuring that your website is running like a well-oiled machine!
BluLight Digital Marketing
For more information on A/B testing, or how to test ads for your business, give us a call. Mention A/B Testing and get 15% of your first month of service.