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Why ad creative is your best lever for ROI

We break down both the short-term gains you can expect from multivariate ad testing and the long-term returns you can’t put a price on.
Matt Kiszka

When new customers come to us, they typically fall into one of two camps:

  1. They’re not spending any money testing their ad creative
  2. They’re spending money on ad testing but the results are generalized and way too late to make a significant impact

No matter which camp they’re in, they do know that their current situation is not tenable in today’s landscape. They’ve already squeezed everything they can out of optimizing through social platforms and DSPs, and they’ve put pressure on their performance marketers to find a way to “make the numbers work.”

When neither succeeds, they realize that there is one giant rock they have yet to kick over — the performance of their ad creative. Whichever testing strategy they do adopt, it will need to be able to save them time and money, both immediately and in the long run.

And that’s what we break down for you in this post — the short-term gains you can expect to see from multivariate testing your ad concepts and the long-term returns you can’t put a dollar figure on.

Short-term gains: immediate lift in performance and ROAS

Something many marketers don’t realize is that your ad testing budget should come from your media budget. Somewhere between 10–20%.

This means you’re already spending it and potentially wasting it by scaling underperforming ads.

But let’s say you take that 10–20% and you apply it toward multivariate testing — find the right combination of creative assets, boost conversions, and drop CPA.

Now you’re capitalizing on opportunities you didn’t even know were there. And that remaining 80% is going to work so much harder for you.

Here’s an example to illustrate using our ROAS calculator:

There are two things to note when reading this data:

  1. Seeing higher CPAs during your test is not only okay, it’s expected. The best creative will rise to the top, netting you ads with a lower CPA than before testing. Scaling those high-performing ads — with your remaining 80% of your budget — is where the ROAS racks up.
  1. This calculator only depicts the in-month value for any given test and subsequently scaled ads. The actual return could compound for months depending on how long you scale your winners.

Long-term gains: unseen, exponential costs and time saved

There are many benefits of multivariate testing that go beyond the numbers — compounding and unseen savings in both time and money. 

When evaluating an ad testing tool, keep in mind how these factors significantly decrease the total cost of ownership.

Time saved debating creative decisions

Multivariate testing lets you remove bias and opinion from the creative process. You can move much faster when you make decisions based on creative data rather than the preferences of the people in the room.

Time saved designing ads

Automated multivariate testing tools generate every possible combination of ad creative for you — and build them out in every placement size. No more killing your design team with repetitive manual resizing.

Time saved waiting for data

Within days, you’ll start to see which ads and creative assets are outperforming others from your multivariate test. Traditional methods (focus groups, panels, etc.) often require days to execute, and weeks to analyze.

Money saved by not running low-performing ads

So many brands run shallow A/B tests — or worse, don’t test at all — before launching a full-blown campaign. With little or no data to back your ad choice, you’re much more likely to run underperforming ads, and only realize it when it’s too late. Multivariate testing ups the odds of finding a winning ad and creative assets before scaling, so you can launch with confidence.

Money saved from building a micro-level library of creative intelligence

Automated multivariate testing tools aggregate and store all test data. This arms you with data about exactly which assets historically work, and which don’t. You can apply learnings not only to future ad creative but to every other brand touchpoint along the customer journey — billboards, audio ads, site design, packaging, etc — increasing performance and conversion rates holistically. 

Why test your ad creative? You can’t afford not to.

Multivariate testing your ad creative ultimately nets you more conversions with the same media spend. But the real ROI lies beyond the testing cycle, in the untold hours and dollars saved simply by having a richer level of creative data at your fingertips. 

Those who approach ad testing this way are leapfrogging the competition — with no way for them to catch up.

How to Run a Multivariate Test

The Beginner's Guide

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Tiffany Johnson Headshot

How to Run a Multivariate Test
The Beginner's Guide

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