Want more sales from Facebook ads? Wondering if better creative could improve your results?
In this article, you'll learn how to efficiently test your Facebook ad creative so you can scale your results and increase sales.
Why Facebook Ads in a Post-COVID World?
Let's start at the beginning. Why Facebook ads? Especially following so close to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent privacy changes that make tracking across the web and devices even more difficult, are Facebook ads still relevant? The answer is yes.
More people than ever are using Facebook. Following a yearlong pandemic that has kept most people isolated and in their homes, Facebook is one of the few means of connection most people have had and they're using it.
In fact, as the world begins to reopen and ad spending returns to pre-COVID patterns, some people are spending even more time on Facebook. And as competition to get into a user's news feed mounts, either through organic marketing or paid advertising, prices are going to continue to go up.
So it's more important than ever to ensure you're maximizing your return on your ad spend.
And let's not forget, recent changes to privacy policies and tracking laws will likely force Facebook to update its ad system, as we stated in a previous podcast episode. In fact, these recent changes don't seem to have affected the world of Facebook ads very much at all, and Facebook continues to report an increase in ad spending so far this year.
If you're still a relatively small business without a large platform of your own, it just makes sense to use ads on a larger platform to bring your audience to you and spread awareness of your brand. Facebook is one of the largest platforms in the world, making it a natural choice for finding your audience.
Any Business Can Benefit From Facebook Ads With the Right Testing Strategy
In social media marketing, there's a general feeling that the first few onto a platform or to utilize a new feature are the only ones who can make any money through that feature or channel. Everyone else who comes in later in the game will struggle.
Given the recent changes to Facebook ads and privacy policies and tracking laws in general, some people have been questioning whether it's too late to start getting into Facebook ads, or if they've already missed the boat. The good news is, Facebook ads don't tend to favor early adopters. Rather, the people who will benefit the most from Facebook ads are those who test their ad creatives and build their strategy using patience.
Patience is key when it comes to Facebook ads for two reasons. It allows you to:
- Test add creative sufficiently and ensure that your best ad is shown.
- Help the Facebook algorithm learn about the optimal placement and audience for your ad.
Here's how to get started testing your Facebook ad creative.
#1: Start With the Right Offer and an Optimized Landing Page
First and foremost, if you want to make sure that your ad spend is optimized and you're not wasting any money, your offer must be good. Make sure that it's the solution your audience is looking for at the time they're looking for it. Having a great ad and great delivery won't do any good if the ad isn't relevant to the audience you're targeting.
Next, your website or landing page (whatever mechanism you're using to deliver your leads) should be optimized for conversion. It does you no good to have an amazing ad set that brings people to your offer if once they see it, the landing page doesn't convey its value.
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And finally, once you know your offer is good and your landing page is optimized for conversion, you need to optimize your ad creative, the complete ad with visual components and copy, to perform and bring people to your landing page.
This is where Facebook ad testing comes into play.
#2: Determine How Much to Spend on Facebook Ad Testing
One of the first questions people ask when it comes to Facebook ad testing is, “How much should I spend on testing my Facebook ads?” And the answer to this question is typically, “How much are you willing to lose?”
Ad testing campaigns are designed to gather data, not necessarily drive results. While you're optimizing your ads by using the data that Facebook Ads Manager shares with you, a test campaign won't generally drive the traffic to bring you the results you're after. Instead, it's all about discovering what ad creative will win you the traffic.
Testing is an ongoing process of finding the best-performing ad and then trying to do it better. And once you have a winner, you throw your conversion campaign behind that winner.
If you're trying to build a budget for your test campaigns, at a minimum you'll want to take your estimated cost per lead, multiply that by 50 and then divide that by 7.
(Estimated cost per lead x 50) / 7 = daily budget for test campaigns per ad set
This is the formula to help you figure out your daily budget for any Facebook ads test campaign. It takes Facebook's algorithm approximately 50 conversions to level up your ad campaign from the learning stage and optimize everything for delivery. A daily ad budget of between $20 and $50 per day seems to be the sweet spot for general conversion campaigns and testing.
Typically, it's best to have three or four test ad sets running at approximately $25 per day. In other words, if your daily budget is $100, it's better to have that split up on four ads at $25 apiece versus having it split up into more ad sets at a smaller budget each.
#3: Set Up Your Facebook Ad Creative Tests
As you're setting up your Facebook ads testing campaign, make sure you set your budget at the ad set level, not the campaign level, and keep the budget the same for every ad in the test. This helps ensure that every ad is given the same amount of attention by Facebook.
Additionally, run your ads for a minimum of 5 to 7 days before going in and changing anything.
It takes Facebook about a week to optimize the placement and displays of your ad to your audience so you want to give Facebook enough time to gather the data it needs to deliver your ads optimally. Making changes to your ads too soon cuts down on the amount of data that Facebook can use to optimize your ads. However, if you can see that after 4 or 5 days, one ad is completely tanking, it's probably safe to stop that ad.
You also want to make sure you start testing ad campaigns as early in the day as possible, 6 or 7 am your local time. The reason for this is rooted in the daily budget: Facebook tries to spend as much of the daily budget you allot, and by starting your ad early in the day, you give Facebook the space to run the entire budget throughout the day. If you try to start your ad campaign late in the afternoon, Facebook will still try to spend your full budget within the afternoon, which alters the delivery of your first day's ads.
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Also try starting your test ad campaigns as early in the workweek as possible to help Facebook collect the most relevant data. A lot of people stick to specific routines Monday through Friday, and hold onto varied routines over the weekends. So by starting your ad on Monday, the first 5 days your ad is running will help Facebook's algorithm optimize for delivery during the weekday routine.
When it comes to testing your Facebook ads, it's tempting to try to throw out completely different versions of your ad all at once. But it's important to build the tests slowly and be patient while Facebook runs its course. Test just one variable at a time, starting with the ad format.
Test the Ad Format
The first thing you want to test is the ad format: single image, carousel image, slideshow, or video. This test isn't about finding the best visuals but rather finding the format your audience will respond to the most.
During this test, the visuals are going to be as similar to each other as possible. So you'll want to design a single image, and then create a variation of that image that will fit into a slideshow, video, and carousel. Everything else during this test—the captions, headlines, and call to action (CTA)—will be identical.
When this test is over, you'll have an idea of exactly the type of visual component your audience responds to the most.
Test the Visual Component
Once you know the best type of visual components to create for your audience, it's time to create the best one. The next step of your testing is to create three to four different variations of that format. In other words, if the winning format was a single image, you would want to create four single images.
The differences between the images can be as subtle or as bold as you like. You can test different background colors, a photo of you versus a stock photo, different elements on the ad, and whether any text is on the image itself.
If you're testing videos, you might try testing whether you've included captions, the length of the video, and the different backgrounds shown in the video.
Test the Copy
Finally, once the visual components have been tested and your winners are chosen, it's time to test the copy in the final CTA.
Just as with the other tests, you want to gather data on different formats: long-form copy versus short-form copy, different word choices, and whether including emojis will help drive more conversions.
#4: Scale Your Winning Facebook Ads
Once you have a clearly defined winner out of all of your tests—the best visual format with the best imagery and the best accompanying copy—it's time to scale your ads by expanding your audience.
Expanding your audience means making some logic-based assumptions about their interests and likes based on what you know about your market. For example, if your target market is within the yoga niche, you might expand your audience into people who are interested in Whole Foods or people who are interested in fitness.
Just how far you expand your audience and what terms and interests you use to create that expansion will depend on your exact niche. However, because of the data gathering and optimization that Facebook was able to do during your ad testing campaigns, Facebook's algorithm will continue to optimize the delivery of your ads based on the test. This means you don't have to retest everything for every audience you want to try to expand into.
As long as the wider audience is still related to your target audience, the ads will scale.
There's one caveat to testing your Facebook ads for performance and optimization: The testing cycle never truly completes. Every time you have a new and clear winner, the process basically starts over again. This is because what works during one season may not work during the next season. As audiences change and evolve over time and they repeatedly see your ad as their circumstances change, your ads' efficacy will also change.
To combat ad fatigue and other issues, you want to continually test your winning ads against new ad creatives. This will help ensure that the ads you're putting money behind are always optimized for peak performance, lowest spend, and highest returns.
Rick Mulready is a Facebook ads expert and host of the Art of Online Business podcast. He's also founder of the Accelerator Coaching Program for online coaches and course creators who want to scale their sales. Follow Rick on Instagram @RickMulready.
Other Notes From This Episode
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- Connect with Michael Stelzner at @Stelzner on Instagram.
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- Tune into our weekly Social Media Marketing Talk Show. Watch live on Fridays at noon Pacific on YouTube. Listen to the replay on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.
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