6 Reasons Why You Should Start A/B Testing Paid Social Ads

Updated: Apr 10, 2024 | |

Paid social advertising is great because of its accessibility and low barriers to entry. When you started, you probably saw all these results rolling in, with increased traffic to the site, increased calls or higher foot traffic to the store. But you haven’t seen these results increase further. In fact, recently, your web traffic has started to decline, and fewer people have been visiting your store.

Yes, there are macro factors at play, but let me ask you this: are you A/B testing your campaigns? If you answered no, then this article is for you. This article will explore six ways you can easily A/B test your social campaigns. A/B testing is a way of testing new strategies, creatives and approaches to find out what works best for each advertiser, ultimately delivering better business outcomes.

Unlock new revenue streams

You’d be surprised how often marketers have this ideal of who their core customers are to the exclusion of all others. While niche and narrow targeting was trendy in 2017, in 2024, it’s hard to break old habits and test broader targeting that doesn’t exclusively speak to women 18-24 who are at university. 

Speaking of women, we’ve worked with advertisers who exclusively targeted women. In this example, there is nothing wrong because this was a beauty and cosmetics brand. But then, when we tested a broader audience targeting both men and women we found as much as 20% of our conversions were from male audiences. Why? Unbelievably, men can be beauty consumers too, or they could be buying from the brand as a gift for a loved one. 

The potential to unlock new revenue streams by expanding your targeting criteria sounds obvious, but it is not an avenue many advertisers are willing to try.  

Improved efficiencies

One outcome of always A/B testing across your paid social strategy is that you find things that work. Sure, you’ll have instances where tests don’t work, but like the world’s best sports teams, you can’t win them all. More often than not, though, continual testing will lead to better outcomes across your paid social ads. This usually comes in the form of cheaper CPMs, lower CPAs or stronger conversion rates, all of which mean your campaigns are working harder for your business with the same level of investment.

Gain a competitive advantage

Advertisers who continuously A/B test give themselves the best chance to gain a competitive advantage, usually in tandem with improved efficiencies, Discovering better ways to reach your audience effectively will give you an edge over your competitor set. Whether it’s finding a new potential revenue stream or making your budget work harder for you, odds are your competitors aren’t finding the same opportunity.

A parallel we like to draw is research into brands that continue to advertise during an economic downturn. Similarly, advertisers who continue to test tend to generate better outcomes compared to those who don’t. 

Avoid Creative Fatigue

One of the most common ways advertisers can A/B test is through ad creative. Not only could this identify messaging and creative styles that resonate with your core audience, but it can also help avoid creative fatigue. Creative fatigue happens when users are exposed to the same ads too often or over a sustained period of time. This has a negative impact on campaign performance, generally leading to a lower engagement rate and higher costs per result. 

Testing things like CTA buttons or headline copy are some quick ways to A/B test and keep creative fresh, although don’t let this limit your creativity. Don’t be afraid to go further and play around with creative elements like video framing.

Platforms will want to work with you

Budgets will always hold some influence over who the likes of Facebook, TikTok or Pinterest want to work with. If you don’t have the budgets of the Coles’ or McDonalds’ of the world, you can still be in the good graces of these social media giants by being flexible with your paid advertising approach and continually testing within your campaigns. Facebook, TikTok and Pinterest regularly release new updates and features they want advertisers to test. If you scratch their back by testing these new features, they might scratch yours with advertising credits or invitations to Beta testing groups down the road.

It’s simply best practice

Social media is dynamic. It is designed to be. One of the biggest traps advertisers fall into is once they find something that works, they stick to it and are reluctant to change and test new things. While this will work in the short term, over time results will decline if your paid social ads aren’t evolving with the platforms. 

That’s why we recommend to have a testing plan in place as part of our best practice. As previously called out, A/B testing doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel but planning your test strategy will keep you accountable and generate the best results long term.

How do I start A/B testing?

Before you start A/B testing, we suggest coming up with a testing plan. It doesn’t have to be robust but start with two or three things you would like to test. From there, determine which of your tests are the highest priority and start from there.

Try not to run multiple tests at the same time. This way, you keep each test ‘clean’, so you can truly determine whether your test has been successful or not. 

It can be really easy to be discouraged, particularly if your first test or two fails. This doesn’t mean you should stop. Failure will be inevitable as not every test can be successful. 

Finally, don’t stop. Social media platforms are constantly making updates and releasing new products, which will enable you to continue testing strategies. Even if you do find testing that uncovers better results for your business, don’t become complacent – keep testing to keep improving.

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