You may have heard people complain that Facebook ads don’t work. While it is true simply creating a Facebook ad doesn’t guarantee its success, the people who say this usually aren’t testing and scaling their campaigns correctly.
If you’re wondering, “How do I test my Facebook ad?” you’re in the right place.
We understand the process can be intimidating and downright confusing if you’ve never done it before. We’re here to simplify the steps and help you learn how to test ads on Facebook the right way. Once you’ve nailed it, we’ll go over how to scale Facebook ads as well so you can continue to grow and convert your audience.
With these tips, you’ll run successful Facebook Ad campaigns in no time.
Why Test Facebook Ads
Before we dive in, it is important to realize why you should test Facebook ads in the first place.
There are many factors that come into play to create a successful ad campaign, but the most important one is testing. By only setting up one ad campaign… with one image… and one headline… and one copy variation it is very unlikely that you’ll succeed.
In baseball, if you went up to bat and were only allowed one strike, you’d be more likely to strike out, but when you have 3 strikes, you give yourself more opportunities to hit a home run.
The same is true with Facebook Advertising. To be successful on Facebook, you must test. A LOT.
When you know how to test Facebook Ads correctly, you can figure out what your audience responds to well and determine the right ad for the right set of people. This is how Facebook Ad testing will help you reach more people, generate more leads, convert more customers, and make more sales. Have we piqued your interest?
How To Test Facebook Ads
Whether you have a big launch coming up or a product you want to reach a new group of people, Facebook Ad testing can help you promote it in the right way. Here, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to set up your Facebook marketing test.
Step 1: Define Success
The first thing you must do is define what a successful campaign looks like. Defining success will help you determine what factor will be the most important to pay attention to when you run your test.
For example, if your goal is to generate new leads, your #1 decision factor will be the cost per lead.
If you have run previous campaigns and learned you can generate leads for a certain product at $5 each, then $5 becomes your “benchmark” price to beat. So when you set up a new campaign for that product, your goal should be to try to find leads for under $5.
If you’re starting from scratch, you might not have any ad data to help you set goals. However, you may have other data you can use that will help you calculate how much you can pay for a lead such as the profit of the product or the conversion rates currently on your site.
You can also use data outside of your company such as the average benchmark for your industry.
Maybe generating new leads isn’t your goal, but instead, you want link clicks or email signups. Whatever your goal is, defining how much you are willing to pay for it is the first step to set yourself up for success with Facebook ads.
Step 2: Identify Your Audience
Next, you need to identify who you want your ad to reach. Targeting the right audience is key to a successful ad campaign. Here is how to identify your ideal customer or avatar, and reel them in.
Research Your Customers
What are the different types of people who could use or benefit from your offer? Remember, this is all about testing so you don’t need to be 100% accurate. You should have a general idea of your customer but you may not know which audience will respond Testing can help you figure it out.
Ask yourself, “Who would find value from my product or service?” and come up with a list of four or five types of people. These are your avatars. Then research your avatars, asking questions such as:
- What events do they attend?
- What books, blogs, or magazines do they read?
- What tools do they use?
The more you know about your avatars, the easier it will be to target them when you set up your ads.
Identify Your Hooks
Once you know your customer, you need to consider how they will benefit from your business.
- Do they know you exist?
- Do they know they have a problem?
- Do they know how to solve that problem?
By identifying where they are in your funnel will help create the right hook to capture their attention.
After you have identified your avatars and what they have to gain from your offer (this is the hook), you can use an Ad Grid to write a compelling copy.
Using a Facebook ad grid tester will help you easily test and scale ads systematically and repeatedly.
It looks like this:
Put the avatars on the x-axis of your grid and the hooks on the y-axis. Then, fill in copy for each avatar/hook combination in the coordinating squares of the grid. The copy may be very similar for each hook, but the grid forces you to think about how you should talk to each avatar separately. You may talk to one segment of your audience very differently than you would talk to another.
Step 3: Build Your Ad Set
For testing new campaigns quickly, we recommend you use AdEspresso. This Facebook ad test tool quickly generates campaigns that test multiple variants at once. Without AdEspresso, you can also perform split test ads on Facebook. Split test Facebook ads are when you test two iterations of the same variant i.e. testing two different cover images for an ad with the same audience, headline, and copy.
The most impactful variants to test are:
Your audience is made up of your target customers. If you used Ad Grid, you have already listed the audiences or avatars you want to test and their interests, passions, etc. Use this list to build your audiences in Facebook Ads Manager. The more specific your audiences are, the more accurate your results will be.
This is the image, images, or video your audience will see when they view your ad. At a minimum, you want to make at least 1 image for each hook in your Ad Grid. If you are performing a Facebook image test, you may want to create two to three images for each hook. When selecting or creating images for your ad, be mindful of adding text to the image. Facebook says images with less than 20% text perform better. You can use the Facebook text ratio checker in Creative Hub to ensure you’re in the safe zone.
How will you capture your avatar’s attention? Come up with a catchy headline or a few that will get them to click or read more based on each specific hook you’ve identified. If you used Ad Grid, you already have the copy you want to use to target each particular avatar for each hook. This is where you’ll include all the information you think your avatar needs in order to click. Ensure you utilize the copy space rather than image text to give your ad an optimal chance of success.
When building your Ad in Facebook Ads Manager, you have multiple placement options, not only on Facebook but also on Instagram. It’s important to narrow down where you display your ad so you don’t spread your budget too thin. Where will your ad creative shine best? Where is your audience most active? Tailor the placement to best serve the other variants so you can maximize results.
Step 4: Set Your Budget
Next, you need to set your budget. To start, determine the Facebook ads cost you’re comfortable with. Remember, this is just the testing period.
You’ll want to have money leftover to scale your ads once the test is complete so don’t spend it all on testing ads that may not deliver on your goal. A good rule of thumb is to spend at least $15 per ad set or 3X your ideal cost-per-acquisition.
That is usually enough to make accurate decisions, but depending on what you’re advertising, you might find you need to spend more before you get enough data. If you’re unsure how to set your budget, start low, and use Facebook’s A/B testing.
You also want to ensure your budget is distributed evenly across all ad sets, rather than proportionally.
When you budget proportionally based on audience size, all the budget will often go to the largest audiences and leave the smaller audiences with hardly anything to work with.
One audience may be spending $30 a day while another is only spending $2 a day. Budget evenly so that all audiences will spend the same amount so you can get useful data and make a better decision, faster.
The faster you collect data, the less money you will spend on less successful ads.
In this case seen above, each audience has spent almost, or over, $50 which is plenty for accurate data. Once you have enough data, it’s important to decrease or completely cut the budget for ads that aren’t performing and increase the budget for the one or ones that are.
Next, we will dive into how to determine which ads are outperforming the others so you can re-allocate your budget accordingly.
Step 5: Analyze the Data
It takes a while for algorithms to figure out what’s going on and for the data to settle. If you look at results in AdEspresso, you’ll probably notice the first few days of data jump all over the place before evening out.
Wait to analyze the data and make any changes until your ads have time to produce real results. This is typically between 2 and 5 days.
Metrics to Pay Attention To
When you are looking at the data, you will want to remember how you defined success for your campaign. Are you looking for link clicks, leads, or website visitors?
Here are a couple of important metrics to pay attention to and why they matter depending on what you defined as success.
- Cost Per Click (CPC): This is the best indicator to tell if the people who see the ad are interested. After a bit of trial and error, you’ll learn what a good CPC is for you, but generally, clicks under a dollar are “good”, and clicks under $.50 are “great”.
- Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): This the number to look at for the cost per lead. CPA numbers are good estimates, however, they are based off the Facebook Pixel which isn’t always 100% accurate. You can double-check which ads are actually driving leads using Google Analytics.
Pick the Winner
So, which ad delivered on your goal? If you wanted more link clicks, the winning ad may be the one with the cheapest Cost Per Click.
If you wanted more sales, the winning ad may be the one with the highest conversion rate. If you wanted more conversions, but it seems people dropped off after they clicked the link, don’t be disheartened.
These website visitors have entered your marketing funnel and will be a great audience to retarget later.
Once you have a clear winner, suspend the ads that aren’t delivering on your goal.
When in doubt about whether or not you should turn a variant off, leave it running for a few more days to see if it gives you any clearer data.
You are looking for a big enough difference between the variants to choose clear winners or losers. In the example below, these images (the variant) are too similar to stop any of them. Plus, they all have very low CPC’s at $.28, $.37, and $.41.
In the example below, the blue image is far enough apart from the yellow and red to declare it a loser. The farther apart they are, the more certain you can be to stop the loser.
The yellow and red are close enough together to let them both continue to run, especially since they’re both at or below the threshold of a $1 CPC.
How To Scale Facebook Ads
Once you have your winning ads, your test is complete. Congratulations! But the fun isn’t over yet. Now is the time to capitalize on all the hard work of Facebook ads testing and build on it.
When you know how to scale Facebook ads, you can reach an ad’s highest potential. Here are the simple steps to scale Facebook ads successfully:
Increase Your Budget
Put more budget behind the “winning” ad or ads. For example, you may decide the ads with the cheapest Cost Per Click are worth continuing to run.
As more time passes, keep an eye on these ads and either lower the budgets or cut them if the CPC gets more expensive and allocate more budget to the cheaper ones.
It is best to increase your budget slowly. When the Facebook algorithm is used to finding you people at a certain budget, it gets thrown out of whack when that budget is drastically changed.
Try increasing your budget gradually by 20% every 48 hours.
Test New Audiences
Another way to scale is to take the winning variants and create new campaigns to find new audiences. Your current audience size may not be big enough to accommodate a greater budget in the first place.
So, it’s important to test the winning ad on new audiences or broaden your current audience in order to reach more people.
Automate Facebook Ads
Once you learn the process and budget that works for your campaigns, you can automate them. Facebook allows you to set rules to help manage your campaigns.
For instance, if your CPC goal is $1, you can tell Facebook to automatically stop any ads or ad sets that go over $1, or send you a notification so you can review and manually decide what to do.
Avoid Ad Burnout
When scaling Facebook Ads it’s important to continue to keep an eye on the performance of your winners. Ad burnout is when your audience sees the same ad over and over again and thus, no longer responds to it.
You can begin to see indicators of ad burnout when well-performing ads begin to produce fewer results or when the first time impression rate falls below 50%. When these happen, it’s time to test a new set of ads.
Continue to Step Up Your Ads
Once you create a process for creation, testing, and scaling Facebook Ads it’s easy to replicate the system and share it with your Facebook ads manager to grow your advertising efforts.
All too often, the Facebook ads manager tests too few ads or creates one-off campaigns without any plan in place. Doing this puts all your eggs in one basket, giving the campaign a lower chance of success and making it unscalable. Avoid this common mistake and others by testing Facebook ad campaigns first.
For more helpful Facebook advertising tips, download 7 Steps to Step up Facebook Ads, a guide to help you avoid common mistakes, and take your advertising efforts to the next level.