Testing is one of the key activities in marketing, especially when it comes to ads. Ad campaigns are very useful when they are built and deployed adequately. But they can also prove a costly mistake if you do not select the right graphics, the right copy and the right placement for them.

Each business knows its target audience – this is a basic prerequisite. You know what your potential customers like and dislike, what their pain points are, how they react to various messages and when they are more likely to browse the internet and click on your ads.

Ad copy testing is a crucial part of building your ad campaign. A simple word switch or rephrasing of your headline can get your conversion rate through the roof or plummet it to the ground. However, ad copy testing must comply with certain best practices, otherwise the result will be either inconclusive or completely irrelevant. Here are some of these best practices:

  1. Establish a Benchmark

It is important to create a set of procedures which will become your personal best practices (or benchmark) for every ad copy you will test in the future. Even though it takes time to document every step, every rotation and every element you test, it will serve you well in the future.

You need to be able to define the anatomy of a successful ad and the steps taken to pass it through all the necessary tests to get there. Otherwise, you will never be sure if you actually reached the fullest potential in terms of conversion rate and cost vs. benefits.

  1. Compare between New Ads

What you really need to test is how your prospects respond to an ad in a well-defined time frame. This means that an ad which has been running for a few days or weeks already is not the ideal comparison element for a brand new ad.

A relevant test is between two new ads, or two new versions of the same ad, launched at the same time.

  1. Test One Thing at a Time

When you launch an A/B test for ad copy, it is crucial that you resume it to one different element: a different word in the copy, different audience groups, different times/placements for displaying your ads.

Do not feel tempted to take a shortcut and try two or more variations in one batch of testing. You will always be left wondering which one of the two elements created more engagement or whether a precise combination of the two brought the positive outcome. You cannot afford to guesstimate: it is like playing roulette with your own advertising budget.

  1. Create a Cycle of Testing

As you get in depth with your tests, you may forget about the big picture. For example, if you keep changing one single word, or a single placement of your text within your ad, but still get poor results, you may feel tempted to keep trying new versions. However, the true issue may be connected with the graphics, the design of the ad or other elements which you would spot immediately if you ran a side-by-side comparison at a larger scale (for example with different CTA buttons, different font colours or with a video snippet instead of a static photo).

  1. Do Not Discard Losers Completely

Retro and vintage clothes and furniture are back in fashion. This is just a simple example of how cyclical people’s tastes are. And this will also extend to the way they respond to certain ads over time. Always keep a swipe folder with your ads – even the failed ones. And, every once in a while, run them through your ad copy tests again.

It is not unusual for an ad to create a good conversion rate after it flopped months ago. There are many circumstances influencing people’s behaviours and tastes, and you may have a winner sitting there, in your folder, just waiting for the right moment to reap huge benefits.

Phil McGregor

Phil McGregor  

Phil has a strong reputation for being Australia's leading expert on Facebook Advertising. He has presented to thousands of business owners and marketers both nationally and internationally. Phil is passionate about sharing his firsthand knowledge of how to harness the true potential of Facebook Advertising via live-on-stage events, masterclasses and workshops. Phil started his career as an Intelligence Officer for the Australian Police Force, with an entrepreneurial spirit and clear passion for generating a strong return on investment, he made the leap into his own business in 2003.