How to Split Test Facebook Ads

September 9, 2016

3:30 pm

A huge element in marketing and developing is split testing. How huge? Obama split tested email headlines when fundraising for both presidential campaigns: the headline “I will be outspent” performed 529 percentbetter than the vague “The one thing the polls got right.” He got $2 million more in funding as a result.

Also called A/B testing, the process simply refers to trying two slightly different versions of a product or ad. Different demographics like different things, and you won’t know what works until you get out there and disrupt your assumptions. The biggest ad market, Facebook, is a great place to learn the ropes.

You Can Split Test at Different Levels

Different levels might have better results, depending on your audience’s size and interests. Here’s a rundown on the different levels to consider, from an interview with Facebook marketing expert Andrea Vahl.

“The campaign level is the top level, which is your objective. The ad set level contains the budget, the timing, the schedule, and the targeting. The ad level is the creative elements (the image or video and the text). […]

Andrea says the ad set level is the best way to split test. You can easily copy ads completely, switch a few things, and let them run.”

What to Test

Here’s a short list of the common traits considered by those running split test Facebook ads. These are mostly at the adlevel, and come via Adspresso’s Facebook ad split testing guide:

Colors of key elements
Call to Actions (Sign Up Vs. Count me in!)
Element Position (Signup form on the left or right side of the page)
Audience Targeting (for advertising, Men Vs. Women)

You Can Split Test on the Same Audience

When you split test Facebook ads, you can test how effective the same ad is on two different audiences, and you can also test how effective two different ads are on the same audience demographic. See the difference there?

The first way to do it is easy: Just create two different demographics for the same Facebook ad. But there’s a way to run different ads on the same audience, without confusing people by showing them both versions, one after the other.

From Chuck on the Facebook Help Team: “Creating different ads within the same Ad set will allow you to do split testing, targeting the same audience with different ads. I have a link that’s a short training course explaining the best way to do split testing.”

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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