/ Article

How to A/B Test Your Social Ad Campaigns Like a Pro

Share

Have you ever run social ad campaigns with many different ads, only to have most of them perform poorly – with maybe one ad in the bunch that takes off like a rocket? What about when you tried to replicate the results of that great performing campaign, and you were left disappointed when your new ads didn’t perform as well? How about when you achieved pretty good campaign performance, but you couldn’t figure out what caused the results because your ads manager is so disorganized?

If this sounds like your company’s current ad campaign experience, then this technical guide on how to A/B test your social ad campaigns is for you.

Why Should You A/B Test Your Social Ad Campaigns?

A/B testing allows you to systematically test and optimize your ad campaigns so your marketing investment delivers more value (leads, traffic, follows, etc) for your dollar. If you are not testing your ad funnels, you’re wasting precious time and money on poor performing campaigns.

The ROI difference between well-optimized social ad campaigns and a poorly performing campaign can make or break a company’s marketing budget. That’s why the top industry market leaders are using A/B testing to get consistently better marketing ROI – because it helps their bottom line.

How Does Social Ad Campaigns A/B Testing Work?

An A/B test is the process of testing two or more variables against one other to determine which performs better for reaching your desired goal. Sounds easy, right? Well, it actually can be if organized properly!

Let’s imagine that you are trying to get more social media followers for your interior product firm. You might run two ads that are exactly the same, other than they each have a unique headline. One has a headline that says “Follow ABC Interior Product Co for The Latest Interior Products” and the other says “For The Latest Interior Products Follow ABC Interior Product Co”.

Notice closely that the headlines essentially say the exact same thing, but even that small change in word order has shown a significant difference in results in many of our client campaigns. Add some image testing, copy testing, audience testing, placement testing, and landing page testing on top of this – and you start to amass a ton of variables and different ad sets to keep up with. This is where the powerful methodology of the Bizop Media A/B Testing Process comes into play.

The Bizop Media A/B Testing Methodology

Through using this A/B testing method we’ve seen up to 5000% improvement in client ad campaigns within the course of a few months. In just a few test iterations clients have gone from a budget-wasting $5 cost per click and a paltry 0.5% click-through rate to an amazingly affordable $0.10 cost per click with a 5% click-through rate.

The results are consistent because they are driven by a very precise methodology that eliminates the guesswork. No longer will you be left wondering how to create the best campaign – you’ll know exactly what is driving the results.

Step 1: Preparing for your campaign

Define your primary campaign goal

First, we need to determine what the ultimate goal of the campaign will be. Is it to build your email list, generate sales, get in contact with leads, get more traffic to your blog, more follows on your social page, increase your brand awareness, something else? Defining this will narrow down our campaign type options later one when we build out the campaign and give a clear direction for the entire funnel.

Define your campaign budget & schedule

Next, we need to calculate your total campaign budget and the desired timeline to run the campaign. If you are unsure of what the campaign budget should be, feel free to copy our Ad Conversion Calculator Template to ensure accurate estimations when calculating your advertising costs.

Keep in mind you can accelerate the testing timeline by increasing your budget. You can generally choose between lifetime campaign cost, meaning you will never spend more than X amount for the whole campaign, or max daily budget, which caps your campaign at the max daily spend.

Define your ideal target audience

Once you’ve set your campaign goal, got a budget approved, and a timeline in place, it’s time to define who exactly we are trying to target with this campaign. The more persona traits we can gather here the better. What does your ideal target look like? How old are they? What publications do they read? Where do they live? These questions and more are all characteristics that need to be researched and identified.

Some common audience identifiers include:

  • interests
  • age
  • gender
  • demographic
  • location
  • job title
  • frequented platforms
  • problems
  • favorite publications
  • etc.

Define your potential offer

What’s in it for me? That’s what your potential customer is going to ask themselves subconsciously when they see your ad. That’s also what they are going to be asking themselves throughout the entire funnel.

We need to clearly define what you are offering and why they should care. Whether it be a free download that will help them solve a problem or a contest to win a trip to BDNY (looking at you Samuelson Furniture) – you must communicate why it’s in their best interest to proceed with what you’re asking.

Keep in mind people are skeptical on the internet, so be sure to stick true to your brand, keep it human, and always deliver value.

Prepare your A/B Test Tracking Spreadsheet

Now that you’ve got the high-level campaign details laid out, it’s time to write them down and make them official. Feel free to copy our A/B Test Tracking Spreadsheet Template to save time. Moreover, document your campaign goal, budget, timeline, and variables moving forward.

Campaign planning pro-tip:

The key to optimizing ad campaigns successfully over time is good organization. If you don’t analyze and document what you’ve learned during these tests, it can’t be applied in the future.

Step 2: Designing your ad campaign (DISPATCH Method)

At this point you have the high-level campaign strategy put together and documented in the A/B Test Tracking Spreadsheet. So, now we focus on designing the actual campaign specifics and creating content.

Feel free to create these ad variations in whichever order you prefer; the DISPATCH acronym is just there to remember all of the potential testing variables available to us when we’re creating campaigns. The Bizop team starts with high-level channel sources, campaign type, audiences, and destination offers. Moreover, we move down to the ad specifics as we go forward.

Choose your landing page destinations (D)

Define the landing page you would like to direct visitors to if applicable. This landing page should match the ad offers exactly in branding and messaging to create consistency and flow. If a landing page is used, it’s very important to make sure it loads quickly. Moreover, it has an engaging message with the benefits and next steps clearly conveyed. Try testing different landing page versions. Moreover, compare by the offer, message, copy, visuals, layout, colors, page length to name a few.

………………………….

To continue reading, download the full whitepaper here:

Create your ad imagery (I)

Design the necessary visual imagery needed for the ad. Try to test different ad imagery versions and compare them by a static image, carousel, video, GIF, visual of product/service, visual of the target audience, high quality, user-generated quality, etc. You can also test different perspectives and image angles as this can have a drastic effect on the outcome of your campaigns as well.

Choose your ad channel sources
See the different ad image variables listed in the ad name (the Bizop team sometimes uses V for visual & C for copy if focused only on ad creative testing)

Choose your ad channel sources (S)

Each ad platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are better for brand awareness, others are better for lead gen, some are great for educational content – you get the idea. It’s important to pair your primary campaign goal with the right platform, but you should always be testing to be certain.

You’ll also find that each certain audience and age group uses different platforms, so we may need to find the right channel for your particular campaign goals. Choose different ad channel sources to test and compare by platform sources such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc.

Choose your ad placements (P)

Placement testing is very important for your ads to perform optimally, especially if your offer is mobile-based. For example, if you are trying to promote downloads of your new mobile app, focusing on desktop ads may not be the right placement for that campaign. Or contrarily, if you are offering a 200-page ebook – maybe you hypothesis that mobile isn’t the place for that. Find out where people prefer to engage with your ad by testing different placements and comparing them by mobile feed, desktop feed, stories, sidebar feed, etc.

Create your ad audiences (A)

Define the exact audience variables you’d like to test for each platform you are testing. Choose different audience versions and compare by age, interests, keywords searched, location, gender, persona, demographics, job title, remarket status, page connection type, and more. Each social platform has its own flavor to targeting, but the idea is the same for all – pick an audience variable and A/B test.

Create your ad text variations (T)

Write the ad copy variations to describe the offer you are presenting to the user. Create different ad text versions and compare by short length, long length, testimonial vs none, call to action type, etc. You can also test copy that differentiates by being benefit-focused, or fear focused, gain focused, or something else entirely.

Choose your ad campaign types (C)

Determine your campaign type for your campaign. For each platform, we can try testing different ad types such as landing page views, post engagement, traffic, leads, conversions, brand awareness, lead forms, etc. 

 “Traffic Campaign” type ads vs “Post Campaign” type ads test
“Traffic Campaign” type ads vs “Post Campaign” type ads test

Create your ad headline variations (H)

The headline is arguably one of the most important variables to test. This one sentence should entice your reader into taking the next step and should fill a need they have been searching for. Try testing different ad headline versions and compare by gain focused, fear of loss focused, immediate benefit, deeper benefit, etc. Also, try to reverse the word order such as “SEO Audit for Interior Designers” vs “Interior Design SEO Audit” – the change can have substantial results.

ad headline variables
See the different ad headline variables listed in the ad name

Ad campaign design pro-tip:

Keep in mind you don’t have to test variations for EACH testing point for EVERY campaign, as the more variations you create the more total ads you will have to run and test. We’ve found the best campaign results when only focused on only one or two variables at a time, and iterate rounds to test more variables if needed.

Step 3: Upload your campaign to your ads manager

Once you choose, create, and enter each of the above variables into your A/B Test Tracking Spreadsheet you are ready to upload them to your desired ads manager as different ad variations. Here are some tips for that phase of the process.

Ad campaign naming convention:

Campaign name convention:
[ offer + campaign source (S) + campaign type (C) + round x ]
Example campaign name: “Free Design Checklist – S1C1 – Round 2”

Adset name convention: [ audience (A) + placement (P) ]
Example campaign name: “A1P1”

Ad name convention:
[ ad headline (H) + ad text (T) + ad imagery (I) + landing page destination (D) ]
Example campaign name: “H1T1I1D1”

This naming convention helps keep your ads manager tidy and logical. Just reference your A/B Test Tracking Spreadsheet to see which ad corresponds to which variables to determine the winners. No more hunting for “Ad campaign free offer – copy – copy – copy” and hoping that was your best performing campaign.

Set Your campaign budget & timeline

Per the A/B Test Tracking Spreadsheet, set your campaign budget and timeline in your ads manager. Don’t forget to copy our Ad Conversion Calculator Template to ensure accurate estimations when calculating your advertising costs.

Launch your campaign

Once you’ve double-checked all of your variables, ensured that your budget and timeline looks good, and when you’re sure everything else is right – launch the campaign!

Step 4: Ad campaign tracking & optimization

Upon the end of your campaign duration, or at a determined time to check-in, document the results in your A/B Test Tracking Spreadsheet and determine the winning ad for your particular campaign KPIs. Once the results are logged, reason with your marketing team as to why the winning ad variable may have performed better (e.g. different image type, more benefit-focused text, etc) and document that reasoning in the notes section for that ad.

For example, we have seen the same ad image perform drastically different depending on the visual perspective and crop of that photo. We discussed and reasoned with the client to eventually determine that the close-up image did not give the user a good enough context of their product and how it was used. The small things sometimes cause big results – so document your thoughts and findings.

For ad creative testing you should test variations of the following variables:

Ad Headline (H)
Text Ad (T)
Ad Imagery (I)

For ad channel & placement testing you should test variations of the following variables:

Ad Channel Sources (S)
Ad Placements (P)

For audience testing you should test variations of the following variables:

Ad Audiences (A)

For landing page testing you should test variations of the following variables:

Ad Landing Page Destinations (D)

For goal & campaign type testing you should test variations of the following variables:

Ad Campaign Types (C)

KPI Metrics to focus on when testing your ad variables:

Cost Per Click (CPC)
Ad Impressions
Goal Conversions (Traffic, Leads, Sales, etc)
Ad Click Through Rate (CTR)
Ads Click
Goal Conversion Rate (CVR)

Ongoing ad optimization

Per your campaign goal and the learnings from your ad results, we can systematically improve your ad campaigns by continuing to use the best performer as your baseline and introducing new ads to compete against it. Documenting your past results well and always using the best performers as your basis to move forward is key here.

The basic process of A/B testing over time looks like this:

Round 1 – Ad A vs Ad B

B wins

Round 2 – Ad B vs Ad C

B Wins

Round 3 – Ad B vs Ad D

D Wins

Round 4 – Ad D vs Ad E

Notice that you never go under your baseline performance. If the new ad doesn’t work, stick with the old one that does until you find a better performer. One thing to note though: sometimes an ad platform will change its algorithms or the competition will increase in a certain season – this is why results aren’t always guaranteed, even with a well-tested ad campaign. Constant testing and optimization are both needed to stay ahead.

Conclusion

By using this A/B testing process you will systematically improve your ad campaigns and learn exactly what variables perform best, without the guesswork. A/B testing & optimization is not a one size fits all approach, but the closer you can get to a scientific methodology to your testing, the better. You’ll experience less stress with your campaigns, you’ll get actionable insight, and be a hundred steps ahead of the competition.

Feel free to download the A/B Test Tracking Spreadsheet as a starting point for developing your own ad campaign testing methodology. If you are interested in having a more advanced version of this implemented for your firm, feel free to get in touch with a Bizop Media rep.

Don't forget to share this post!

/ article by

Nathan is a Bizop co-founder and marketing director who specializes in marketing consultation, creative strategy, and web project direction.

Popular articles.
5 Ways to Rethink AEC Marketing Best Practices

Author / Cheryl Barr

/ Marketing
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that in the face of massive, rapid transformation, every single industry has the potential to be […]
How to Make Your Architecture Portfolio Stand Out

Author / Dorothy Carter

/ Marketing
Competition abounds across the digital marketplace of most industries, and AEC is no exception. In this environment, your portfolio offers the swiftest, […]
How To Build Your AEC Company’s Dream Team

Author / Cheryl Barr

/ Marketing
Finding a new job is rarely a joyful experience, and modern job seekers have become increasingly scrupulous about where they spend their […]
Emotional Marketing for Architects

Author / Dorothy Carter

/ Marketing
There are many ways to market an architecture firm – you can present your previous work, talk about your education and experience, […]
Top 6 Best Interior Design Websites [2021]

Author / Cheryl Barr

/ Branding
In the design world, a stylish, well-laid out website is an essential asset for building a solid brand reputation. A good interior […]
How to Maintain Building Industry Brand Relevance [2021]

Author / Dorothy Carter

/ Branding
In an ever-changing digital landscape, there are few constants but change itself. Emerging trends shift customer behaviors, Google algorithm updates drive Search […]
How Influencers Can Help You Grow Your AEC Brand

Author / Dorothy Carter

/ Marketing
In the digital age, few marketing strategies see universal acceptance and unquestioned praise across all industries. Some, like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) […]
The 7 Best Architecture Websites [2021 Edition]

Author / Cheryl Barr

/ Branding
Within architecture and urban design, a clean-cut, organized portfolio speaks volumes. This holds especially true for digital communication. Simple and elegant presentations, […]
How to Establish Content Goals For Your AEC Firm

Author / Eric Baldwin

/ Marketing
The best content plans seamlessly integrate with a company’s marketing strategies. In the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries, the content creation […]
Brand Building: How To Create More Engaging Project Pages

Author / Eric Baldwin

/ Marketing
Brands are built through powerful, authentic stories. Whether you’re a designer or manufacturer in the AEC industry, investing in quality content drives […]
Owned Media: 10 Ways to Build Your AEC Blog

Author / Eric Baldwin

/ Marketing
Great content speaks for itself, but only when it’s shared. Creating high-quality content keeps brands top-of-mind and relevant with clients, but also […]
AEC Ethics: Marketing, Advertising and the Changing Tide

Author / Eric Baldwin

/ Marketing
Design and manufacturing are built on relationships. These connections are built over time, and in turn, shape how we practice. Across the […]
Building Identity: How Social Media Is Reshaping Design and Storytelling

Author / Eric Baldwin

/ Branding
Social media has dramatically transformed what we create and produce, but also how spatial experiences and culture are designed. Each day, we […]
21 Design Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Industry / Press
With a lifestyle buzzing with constant hustle and bustle, design podcasts have become progressively popular in recent times. It is attracting more […]
Bizop Media Awarded a Top Spot as Marketing Industry Leader

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Industry / Press
Fort Collins, Co – Sep 28th, 2020 The international ratings and reviews platform Clutch named Bizop Media a top B2B marketing industry […]
How Web Design Can Put You at the Top of the Interior Design Industry

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Branding
Are you an interior designer looking to boost online visibility? Whether you already have a website that needs upgrading or you need […]
5 Ways a Good Website Can Improve Your Architecture Business

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Branding
In 2019, the architecture industry had a revenue of almost 300 billion.  These numbers show how in-demand architecture is around the current […]
Top 10 Interior Design Tools

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Industry / Press
Wouldn’t it be nice to conceptualize your room designs without the physical hassle? You know you’ve got the vision in your head––all […]
Digital Marketing for Architecture Firms [2021]

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Marketing
Online marketing has proven to be one of the most efficient ways for design companies to reach prospective clients, and digital marketing […]
Office Design Inspiration [Top 6 Inspo Sources]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Industry / Press
Commercial office design has come a long way from the traditional cubicle farms. It’s been a steady wave of innovative, thoughtful, and […]
Social Media for Architects [Top 5 Platforms]

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Marketing
Integrating social media into your business practices is a great way to drastically improve your brand exposure. It’s extremely cost-effective and can […]
SEO for Architects [The Ultimate Guide]

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Marketing
Today I’m going to be teaching you about SEO for Architects and how to increase the organic search traffic to your firm’s […]
Top 10 Best Blogs for Architects

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Industry / Press
As a beginner architect, it’s only natural to seek out inspiration that will ultimately define your footing. Upon entering the design industry, […]
Building Industry Firms Find Success Through More Personal Marketing Efforts

Author / Hanna Pagliaro

/ Marketing
Personalization is no longer a marketing strategy that’s nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. We are currently living in a world where people want […]
How Building Product Firms Land More Projects Through B2B2C Marketing

Author / Hanna Pagliaro

/ Marketing
Business to business selling is quickly changing as companies realize that the end consumer has more power than they previously thought. Marketing […]
Top 5 Best Interior Design Websites [2020]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Branding
In the design world, a stylish, professionally laid out website is an essential asset, not to mention a great avenue for building […]
10 Ways Social Media Can Supercharge Your Marketing Campaigns

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Marketing
Social media is a network of apps and websites that let users create and share information and take part in social networking. […]
7 Key Mistakes Instagram Influencers Make [And How to Avoid Them]

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
Sometimes the desire to have more followers, more likes and engagement, leads Instagram Influencers to make some mistakes.  If you are an […]
Seven Crucial Email Marketing Best Practices for Architecture Firms

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Marketing
For quite some time now, rumours have been circulating about the death of email marketing. As is so often the case, it […]
How to Develop a Lead Generation Funnel for Building Product Manufacturers

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
What is a lead generation funnel, and why should you develop one for your building product?  You may have heard of a […]
How Social Media Is Failing Interior Designers and How to Build It Back Up

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
Interior designers often struggle to find new clients. Believing social media is the answer to this challenge, they turn to these platforms […]
Why Social Media Can Be a Powerful Marketing Tool for Architecture Firms

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Marketing
Social media for architects and architecture firms can be extremely powerful. When applied correctly, this marketing tool impacts an architect’s business in […]
Content Marketing for Architects [6 Key Ways to Boost Traffic]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Whether you are an independent freelancer or working for a well-established firm, a common theme for everyone within the architectural industry is […]
Optimize Your Pinterest SEO with These 3 Fast Fixes

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
Inspired by a conversation with a client earlier this week, here are three quick and quality steps you can use right now […]
7 Key Pinterest Marketing Tips for Architects

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
The architecture industry is growing exponentially by the day. It’s no surprise that Pinterest marketing for architects has become the ideal tool […]
Top 5 Interior Design Blogs to Follow

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Industry / Press
In the sea of home and interior design, it’s almost effortless to find quality interior design blogs and inspiration online. From visual-based […]
Interior Design Social Media [Top Channels]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Social media is one of the first essential marketing efforts any interior designer should take in successfully creating an online presence. It’s […]
SEO for Interior Designers [10 Quick Tips to Boost Traffic]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
What are you doing to bring in new clients to your interior design business?  If you’re solely relying on referrals and word […]
How to Find the Best SEO Keywords for Architects

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Properly optimizing your website for a boost in Google rankings is essential for any architecture firm. If you are already familiar with […]
10 Amazing Interior Design Instagram Accounts to Follow

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Industry / Press
Instagram has risen to be the perfect platform to draw inspiration from––with its highly visual content and engaging community, it’s never been […]
3 Steps to Get Better Engagement on Instagram [$1.80 Strategy]

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
Growing an audience on saturated social platforms such as Instagram can be easy. With the use of hashtags in posts and following […]
8 Key Interior Design Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Firm

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Within the interior design industry, it’s all about first impressions and maintaining a reputable firm. With so many marketing channels available, you […]
How to Plan a Website for Interior Designers

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Branding
As an interior designer, you should already be familiar with the importance of aesthetics and functionality. Your working and living spaces are […]
Consistency is Key to AEC Social Media Marketing Efforts

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
It’s only human to adapt a daily routine. From your morning routine to your evening routine, people typically follow a pattern of […]
Establish Trust in Your Firm with Social Media

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Branding
Let’s face it–– it’s not always easy to trust people you meet on the internet. It’s only natural to approach online users […]
Why Your AEC Firm Needs A Value Proposition Statement

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Branding
To meet the demands of today’s world, it’s important to be focused on what your clients may need. With a compelling AEC […]
Bizop Bot Voted One of Hubspot’s Best Business Bots

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Industry / Press
The Hubspot bots have voted, and according to them (and us!) – Our Bizop bot is a smashing hit! We are proud […]
Website Best Practices for Interior Designers

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Branding
The days of compiling high-quality photos into a lookbook and carrying around a bag of sketches are quickly fading as we turn […]
Why You Should Add Instagram Stories Into Your Marketing

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
We all seem to be falling in love with stories. Many businesses are using Instagram Stories as a part of their marketing […]
Keeping it Real on Social Media [Importance of the Human Touch]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Branding
Social media is one of today’s most powerful tools, and any designer should take advantage of the benefits that social media has […]
6 Key Email Marketing Tips for Interior Designers

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Marketing
Email continues to be one of the most profitable digital marketing channels available for 2019, so it’s no wonder so many interior designers are […]
The Role of the Student [Wanted Design Brooklyn 2019]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Industry / Press
Last month, our team had the opportunity to attend WantedDesign in Manhattan and Brooklyn. A teeming hub of budding designers, WantedDesign was […]
How Can Architects Rank High On Google [SEO Tips]?

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Like most architects out there, you are probably trying to figure out the most effective way to get your work noticed. You’ve […]
How to Improve Bounce Rate for Your Interior Design Website

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Branding
Your website seems to generate a lot of traffic, but for some reason, that traffic doesn’t end up sticking around for very […]