What to Know About Split Testing On Facebook

split testing facebook

When you’re spending time creating professional-looking video ads for social media or ads in other formats, you want to make sure they’re effective and resonating with your targeted audience. You also want to maximize your return on investment. 

One way that you can start to figure out the things that work best and stop spending money on what doesn’t on Facebook ads is to split test. 

Below we detail what to know about split testing ads on Facebook and how to make it part of your marketing strategy. 

The Basics of Split Testing

Split testing is also known as A/B testing. It’s something used frequently in marketing, and not just on Facebook or social media ads. 

With A/B testing, you can change certain variables to figure out the strategy that performs the best. Then, you can use what you learn to improve your future campaigns. You might make changes to your creative elements, your audience, or your ad placement. 

On Facebook specifically, when you choose a variable to test, your ad budget is divided equally and randomly so that each version is getting the same exposure. 

You can then measure the performance of the strategies you’re comparing on a Cost Per Conversion Life basis or a Cost Per Result Basis. 

When you launch a Facebook campaign, it’s not something you can set and forget. You’ll need to regularly check in on it, test it, analyze the performance and keep optimizing it. 

A/B tests are relevant to this because Facebook’s algorithm changes often. That means that something that seemed to work well for a period of time can all of a sudden stop being effective. 

When you test your ad strategies, you can lower your costs over time, and you can reach your entire audience. 

When you use A/B testing on Facebook, typically, you should publish them for a few weeks and wait as results come in. Then, once the run time is over, you can start to draw conclusions on why one ad outperformed the other. 

What Are the Benefits of Split Testing?

Some of the advantages of using Facebook’s split testing options include:

  • You can get a better ROI from your existing traffic. It tends to be expensive to get new, high-quality traffic. With A/B testing, you can figure out if you can make minor changes that might improve your conversions from existing traffic. Brands often find that even very small changes can significantly increase their ROI and conversions. 
  • If you run multiple variations of elements on your ads until you find the version that your audience seems to like best, you can then figure out what might be causing friction in the conversion process. 
  • Each element of your ads can be A/B tested in a way to figure out if they can improve engagement and drive changes in user behavior. 
  • It’s fairly easy to figure out the most effective versions of your ads using A/B testing on Facebook. You don’t have to interpret large data sets, and the reporting tables provide you with all the insights you need. 
  • Split testing can help reduce the risks that might come with making bigger changes. You can make low-risk changes that aren’t necessarily going to ruin your current success rate but can very likely improve it. 

Variables to Test

There are quite a few variables you can test on Facebook, including:

  • Campaign objectives: There are 11 campaign objectives currently available in Facebook ads, like traffic campaigns or lead generation. The campaign objectives are going to offer different results, so you can test to see which offers more conversions. 
  • Audiences: You can test custom audiences for your ads based on demographics like age group, behavior, gender, and interest. 
  • Headlines: The headline is going to typically be the first thing someone notices about an ad on Facebook. The headline usually determines whether they decide to engage, so you might want to make two headline versions and test them with the same audience. 
  • Design: You can use A/B testing to figure out which video format and layout your audience reacts best to. 
  • CTA: Your call to action is what can compel a user to take the action you intend for them to, so it’s a great place to test.

Best practices for split testing on Facebook can include:

  • Just test one variable at a time. It’s important that even though it might be tempting, you don’t test more than one variable. When you test a single variable for each variation of an ad, it’s going to give you much better and more actionable insight. 
  • When it comes to campaign structures on Facebook, you have two options. There are single ad sets and then ad sets with multiple single variations. Your ad variations are within a single set if you use the first option. Then, in the second option, you can place each variation in a separate ad set. Choose the second structure for relevant results and to avoid Facebook auto-optimizing ads. 
  • If you’re going to split test, you need a sufficient budget. Facebook will give you a suggested budget. 
  • Give it enough time. Facebook recommends you run a test for at least seven days for the most reliable results, but no longer than 30 days because it may not be the most efficient way to use your budget. 
  • Running dynamic ad campaigns can be a good way to test ad-level assets and save money and time. You use the system in place to create combinations of creatives and ad copy. 
  • You might want to test upper-funnel objectives that are less expensive to stretch your budget a little more.

Finally, remember the smaller your budget, the slower the process of learning and optimizing is going to be. The more money you can put toward your testing, the more you’re going to learn in a shorter period of time. If you can start with at least $10 a day, it can be ideal. Then, as you learn and optimize, you might try to increase your budget by anywhere from 10-15% at a time. 

Cover Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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