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Creative Testing: What It Is And Why Digital Advertisers Need It

Written by: Carolyn Berk, Content Marketing Associate

When you’re advertising on Facebook, Instagram or other social networks, you want to ensure that you’re putting your money behind the best possible ads in your arsenal. After all, why pay to push out creative and copy combinations that fail to convert, compel clicks or capture the attention of your target audience? That’s why social advertisers need to run creative tests — so they’re not blowing budget on underperforming ads.

computer - Creative Testing for AdvertisersWhat is a creative test?

Creative testing is a way to compare ads to see which image and copy combinations are best at driving your desired results. It’s similar to how you would use A/B testing to compare the performance of different web page designs or email subject lines. With creative testing, you can optimize your ad campaigns so the bulk of your budget goes to the ads that bring in the most engagement and revenue. With automated advertising software, a creative test will also automatically pare down underperforming ads, so you won’t be wasting your ad spend on campaigns that don’t make the cut.

list - Creative Testing for AdvertisersHow to set up a creative test

1. Choose a performance metric that you’ll use to judge ad performance, like CPA or CTR. Also determine what your threshold for success will be. For example, you could consider a successful ad to be anything with a CTR above 0.050.

2. Pick who will serve as a test group. A broad audience won’t deliver helpful testing results, so be sure to choose a small, targeted group by using audience segments.

3. Allocate a total budget amount for testing and set the duration for the test. Keep in mind that quicker testing can return flimsy results that aren’t solid enough to be conclusive. We suggest testing for longer periods of time so you can be confident that the results are strong enough to make an informed decision.

4. Decide how many ads you want to test at a time (we recommend 5-10) and how many winners, or most successful ads, that you want at the end of testing (we suggest choosing 3).

Magnifying glass - Creative Testing for AdvertisersReady, set, test!

Nanigans automates the creative test process, so all you have to do is set it up and let the test run. Our automated creative testing begins by comparing groups of ads to determine which ads in that set are the best at achieving your goal. The least successful ads are paused down so that other ads in the queue can replace them. This pattern repeats itself until the testing process whittles the group down to ads that were best at achieving your specified goal.

Lightbulb  - Creative Testing for AdvertisersCreative test bonus tips

  • Even winning ads can’t run forever. If you don’t refresh your ads, you risk inflicting ad fatigue on your audience when they get bored by seeing the same creative. You should periodically switch them out with fresh creative and start the testing process all over again.
  • Stop Loss is also a handy tool for marketers looking to wisely spend their budgets on the best ads. Use Stop Loss to identify and pare down ads which aren’t helping to meet your defined yield goal or are exceeding your target CPA.
  • Use the test to experiment with different creative concepts – this could involve the ad image (photo vs. illustration, model vs. product), overlay (logo vs. non-logo,  text vs. no text) and/or copy (CTA vs. conversational).
  • Once the test has determined which ad creative elements are the most successful, try pushing those winning ads out audiences beyond your small testing group.

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