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5 strategies for split testing your Facebook ads

Split testing is the best way to find the most effective combination of ad copy and image sizes to drive the best conversion rates from your Facebook ads.
Jess Cook

You may be running Facebooks ads but you are not getting the results you want. Maybe your ads ought to be split-tested.

Split testing, generally called A/B testing, is a method for testing two variations of something to see which option outperforms the other.

This in-depth article will help you figure out what split testing is all about and why it's huge for Facebook advertisers. We are also going to cover typical occasions when you should consider split testing your Facebook ads.

Read on to understand ways to split test your Facebook ads and increase your conversions.

What is Facebook ad split testing?

Split testing is a great method that enables Facebook advertisers to differentiate two particular ad variations to see which ad variation performs or converts better. You can implement split testing to test different ad headlines or ad copies.

You can test various ad layouts, ad creatives, and even retargeting ads. You could test different ad slot times and frequencies, for example, running your ads on weekdays versus running ads on the weekends or during specific times of the day.

Despite which elements you test, split testing allows you to evaluate which of the two variations performs better and by how much. This data can help you with making informed decisions regarding which specific ads to proceed within your ad campaigns and which ads to stop running.

Split testing is a critical piece of your Facebook advertising strategy since it grants you the opportunity to spend your ad budget on the best converting ad copies which give your ad campaign the best chance of achieving success.

Why is Facebook ad split testing important?

The reason formal split testing is crucial is because “trying two different ad sets” has different factors to them outside of your test. When you run a split test, everything is held constant and you get a mathematical, statistical result of which option you are testing outperforms the other. 

A number of popular things to split test: 

  1. Creative (image/video)
  2. Ad copy 
  3. Placement (Facebook feed, Facebook stories, Instagram stories, etc)
  4. Landing page (same ad creatives, different landing pages) 
  5. Thumbnail (what users first see when they scroll)

Facebook ad split testing grants you an opportunity to eliminate the ads that aren't working and replace them with those that will undoubtedly get you results. This is the most ideal way to know which ad copies are best for your business.

What’s more, you get to learn what is performing better about your Facebook ads. Split tests don’t just give better results, they also give you a lot of intel and learnings. 

When is the right time to consider Facebook ad split testing?

You should run Facebook split tests when you are scaling ad budget. You should not be running split tests when first testing new ad creatives.

In 2022, the most common Facebook Ad structure is 3 ad sets:

  1. Testing ad set 
  2. Scaling ad set 
  3. Retargeting 

Your scaling ad set is the best one to run formal split tests on, typically scaling and retargeting campaigns won’t have enough volume, or good objective, to formally test. 

In case you're not getting to your targets with your ad campaigns, this proves to be the best opportunity to have a go at something different like split testing your Facebook ads. There are different approaches to splitting test your Facebook ads, but it's recommended to selectively pick the variables you intend to carry split tests on.

You should test each component individually first to ensure your results are relatable to each change made during your split test. To make the split testing process more efficient and worth the effort, start by picking the variables that are presumably going to help with driving more conversions.

How to split test your Facebook ads

alt="Facebook split testing concept illustration"

Once you are ready to start split testing your Facebook ads, you can do this very easily in your business manager. After you select the campaign you want to test, go to the ad set level and click on "add A/B test". From here, you'll see a brief where you can enter information about your test. You can pick the kind of ad you want to test and enter a name for each variation of the ad.

You can also pick your ad group and set your budget. Once you have set your ad budget Facebook will then run the two ads concurrently and show each ad variation to a set group you are targeting. This will allow you to check the performance of the two sets of ads and decide on which ad is more suitable in terms of better conversions.

To get you started below we will cover 5 tips that will guide your Facebook ads split testing:

  1. Define your objectives before running your ads

Before you start split testing different ad variations, you should consider what a productive ad should look like. Facebook offers you the opportunity to describe a goal for each ad you create. You can pick whether you accept your ad ought to secure more conversions, lead generation, or brand awareness.

You can also determine the financial goal for each ad you publish. You can do this by entering a total or selecting from a drop-down menu that groups your ad objectives. Once you have chosen your goals, Facebook will normally distribute your ad spend on the ads. You can then review your tests against your goals to see which ads are converting better.

  1. Run concurrent ad campaigns with different variables

Once you are ready to start this very important split test, you can now pick two ad copies that are different but are related in one way or another. If you decide to test the headlines for your ads, you can test a product headline that urges the potential customers to buy now or see more and see which of these headlines converts more.

If you are testing ad images you can test which image relates to a niche target group and which image relates to a broad target group. You can also test the various time slots that you can run the ads. This can be split test on the weekends or the weekdays. There are numerous variables you can test, so don’t be limited to only specific variables.

  1. Match your ad audience to your target audience

alt="An illustration of how Facebook Advanced Matching works"

During the process of selecting which group to test your ad against, you should ensure you are testing your ads against a target audience that matches your product functionality. The more your ads are targeted to your target audience the more your ads will convert.

If your ads are performing well on your target audience, the Facebook algorithm is very accurate in finding other people that can be included in your target audience and will thus push this ad to more of these people.

  1. Rotate your ads consistently

Facebook Ad splitting enables you to rotate your ad copies from test to test which can be done systematically and routinely. Facebook allows you to rotate your ads in intervals of one to seven days.

Since you are testing different ad variations you should rotate your ad copies every one to three days to have some consistency. This will enable you to get results on your ads without spending a lot of ad budget so that you can close the ads that are not converting and avoid wasting your ad budget while you scale those ads that are converting even better.

  1. Don't rely on only one single test

During the Facebook ad split testing period, you may feel contended to focus on whichever ad is performing better by getting you more conversions. In as much as the ad may be meeting your ad campaign goals, it is important to look at other ads that may be testing other variables.

An example is if you have one ad that is performing well at the time of decision making. If you close the test at this point, this may not be the optimum result you may have gotten if you kept the tests running. It is advisable to keep various tests running to ascertain or confirm if other tests will lead to better conversions. This is why you should not rely on one single split test only.

You should review and analyze all available data from your split tests to ascertain that you are settling on the best-performing ad variation to meet your set objectives. While running your Facebook ad split tests, it is very crucial to ensure that nothing is left behind.

Split test Facebook ads to increase the odds of finding ads that convert

Facebook ad split testing is a critical activity for your Facebook advertising strategy. It allows advertisers to split test different ad variations and quickly determine which ad variations are performing well and which variations are not performing as expected in regards to your advertising objective. This ensures that you don't spend time and ad budgets on ads that do not convert.

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