Split Testing Facebook Ads to Maximize Conversions

By on April 20, 2012

Facebook advertising is one of the most powerful marketing tools many small business now have available right at their fingertips.  The geniuses at Facebook have made advertising as simple or as complicated as you’d possibly like it to be depending on your preferences.  Any business can throw up an ad on Facebook; they’ve really made it a fairly simple process.  Just because Facebook developers have made the process simple, you’ll still need to do your part to have an effective marketing campaign and convert your Facebook users to customers.

There is no clear right or wrong way to advertise on Facebook.  You may find that one advertisement may be extremely successful while a slightly different ad will fail miserably.  The best answer in trying to establish an effective Facebook marketing plan is a tactical and educated use of the old, trial and error method.  Split testing is the best way to nail down which tactics are most successful for your specific business, product and customer. Here are 7 tips to maximize your tests:

Keep the Conditions Similar

When testing a campaign with two different ads, be sure to keep the external conditions as similar as possible.  Post at the same time of day, maintain the same bid, post for the same amount of time, etc.

Use the Scientific Method

Be sure to test only one variable at a time.  By posting a picture on one ad and examining the results of the same exact ad but with a different picture, it will be clear that the conversion rates are derivative of a better picture in one than the other.  If you were to change both the picture as well as the title at the same trial time it would be much harder to determine which factor made the difference.

Trust your Reports

Really look at your results.  One ad may look more popular than the other but did the other actually draw in more fans for your page? Stay on top of these reports. There is no need to spend more of your advertising budget on ads that simply are not working.

Don’t Wear Them Out

Fantastic! You’ve finally found an ad with the right dynamics that really works! You’ll still need to change. Advertising is all about staying fresh.  The most effective ads eventually lose their momentum and will need to be replaced.  Slowly phase these dinosaurs out.  You have a serious advantage though; you now are one huge step closer to putting together subsequent plans that will hopefully be as or even more effective than the previous one.

Ditch the Duds

Some make the mistake of slightly tweaking absolutely horribly performing ads.  If you’ve got something that is clearly not working don’t waste your time making small changes. You’re much better off ditching the whole piece and starting fresh, maybe from a different angle.

Don’t be Impatient

You’ll need to run your ads for a decent amount of time to really gather a good pool of test subjects.  An ad with only 10 views will not give you nearly enough data to really understand the effectiveness of your two different ads.  A good rule of thumb requires at least 20 clicks about two days of viewing.

Split Test your Landing Page

Sometimes the problem may not be your ad.  In many cases a well-placed ad on Facebook will get users to click but the following landing page loses them.  This is another great area to split test your advertising campaigns.  Develop two slightly different landing pages and analyze which performs better.  The landing page serves to close the deal while your Facebook ad brings them in the door.  That landing page is certainly just as important as the driving source of those visitors.

Split testing may take a bit more effort than you may have originally thought necessary for Facebook advertising but you’ll find that it really does pay off.  Whether through direct conversions to sales, securing followers for your page or at the very least creating brand recognition, you’ll be able to consider your Facebook ad campaign a success. Remember to test and test again!

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.