4 Ways to A/B Split Test Your Facebook Advertising

4 Ways to A/B Split Test Your Facebook Advertising

By Lisa GulasyMay 7 /2013

a/b-split-testWhen inbound marketers discuss A/B split testing, they’re usually talking email marketing. But there are more areas of inbound marketing that can benefit from a little testing. Facebook advertising is one such area.

I’ve come across many articles claiming Facebook ads just don’t work (some from marketing professionals—yikes!), but as TIME’s Sam Gustin puts it, “It’s simply more nuanced than that…there are many variables at play, including the type of ad, as well as color, location and creative elements.” In truth, Facebook ads present a wonderful opportunity to efficiently grow overall Facebook reach and, when created and optimized correctly, can increase likes and engagement and drive leads to your content resources.

So how do we optimize correctly? We A/B split test. Before I get to the testable Facebook advertising elements, there are a few notes to remember about A/B split testing:

  • Only test one element at a time
  • Don’t limit yourself to only obvious elements (i.e. – headline, ad text)
  • Avoid testing when consumer behavior is outside the norm (i.e. – holidays)

And now, check out the following four ways to A/B split test your Facebook advertising.

  1. Headline & Text: As I noted above, you shouldn’t only test the obvious, but you shouldn’t neglect to test it either. Facebook ads only allow a 25-character headline with 90 characters of body text. Getting your marketing message across pithily can be extremely difficult, even for the most succinct writers, so test your text like crazy in the early stages of your ads.
  2. Photo: If there’s one thing the big Facebook Graph Search announcement taught us, it’s that visuals are the new key to success in Facebook marketing. I’d bet that applies to Facebook advertising, as well. So once you have your heading and text figured out, test your photo, the other obvious element. Test photos with faces, inanimate objects and text. You can also opt to test photos in full color or black and white. 
  3. Demographics: While your message may appeal to a broad demographic, certain segments of your audience may be much more likely to take action on the ad. For example, I noticed an advertisement for one Kuno Creative client, while appealing to both men and women, was resulting in significantly higher likes from women. So I took the exact same ad and split the audience by gender. Wouldn’t you know it, actions on the ad targeted to women skyrocketed while actions on the men’s ad grew only slightly. The A/B split test allowed me to allocate my budget more effectively. 
  4. Destination Landing Page: Facebook ads can do more than get your Facebook page views—they can drive traffic to website landing pages, too. For those who choose to drive leads to a website, A/B split test your landing page, much like you would in an email marketing campaign. In this way, according to HubSpot, you can optimize for a higher visitor-to-lead conversion rate.

When it comes to Facebook advertising, I think Jon Loomer puts it best: “Don’t tell me in one breath your Facebook advertising failed and in the next say that you only ran one or two ads. The Facebook ads didn’t fail, you did.” If you want to see a real return on investment for your Facebook advertising, you must A/B split test. It’s as simple as that.

What elements do you A/B split test in your Facebook ads? Let us know in the comment section!

Photo Credit: toddjensen

Known as Hawkeye for her near superhuman copy editing abilities, Lisa Gulasy applies her unique experiences in agency and journalism to manage strategy and day-to-day engagement of client social media profiles and assist and researching and writing blogs, press releases and advanced content. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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