A/B testing or split testing is where you compare 2 versions of a webpage or ad against each other and determine which one performs better. This tracking, tweaking and testing are all done with the goal of continuous improvement. This way, your marketing campaigns will perform better and better as time passes.
The good news is that most advertising channels understand the importance of A/B testing. In fact, you can run an A/B test on your Facebook and Instagram ads!
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to carry out split testing on Facebook Ads Manager.
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1. Select A Campaign, Ad Set Or Ad To A/B Test
When you log into Facebook Ads Manager, decide whether you want to split test your campaign, ad set or ad.
You simply have to tick the box to the left of the campaign, ad set or ad then click on the A/B Test button.
Note that if you’re testing ad sets, Facebook will automatically disable campaign budget optimization (CBO). You can, of course, choose to manually disable CBO first then set up A/B test on your ad set. For example, I did this when my campaign has ad set X and ad set Y. But I only wanted to test ad set Y with variant ad set Z. Thus, disabling CBO will allow me to manually choose ad set budget of $100 for ad set X, $50 for ad set Y and $50 for ad set Z.
2. Make A Copy
There are 2 options next: Make A Copy and Pick Another Existing Campaign/Ad Set.
Since you probably selected the right campaign or ad set, you should choose Make A Copy.
Do double-check the right side of the screen where Facebook states the correct campaign or ad set as Version A.
3. Adjust A/B Test Settings
Next, adjust the settings of your split test, including the variable to change.
Here is other information required
- Name of your A/B test: Carefully name it so you can tell what you’re testing
- Metrics to determine winner: Facebook offers a variety of metrics such as cost per result
- Start & end date: Note that this is different from the start/end date of your campaign/ad set. The start/end date of the A/B test should have enough time to yield reliable results. I recommend 2 weeks or more. You can also choose to end test early if a winner is found.
When you’re done, click Duplicate.
4. Tweak Your Variant Campaign, Ad Set Or Ad
We probably aren’t touching Version A, the original campaign, ad set or ad. Hence, no changes are required for Version A.
Instead, we should make changes to Version B, the variant.
Firstly, name your duplicated campaign, ad set or ad. Again, properly name it such that you can tell what you’re testing. Check out my blog article on how to name marketing campaigns for some ideas~
Next, make the changes that you want to test. Bear in mind that you should only test one variable for more conclusive results. If your campaigns, ad sets or ads have too many differences, it’ll be hard to attribute which change resulted in the performance. Instead, if your campaigns, ad sets or ads are identical except for that one variable that you’re testing, you’ll have more conclusive results.
Here are some variables you can test:
- Call-To-Action (CTA)
- Ad Creative (banner, video etc.)
- Ad Copy (headline, description etc.)
After reviewing your changes, publish your variant campaign, ad set or ad to begin your test.
5. Monitor Your Experiment
Click on Experiments on the left menu of your Facebook Ads Manager then click on Tests. You’ll see the list of A/B tests you’re running for this Facebook ad account.
Another way to monitor would be to look at your campaigns, ad sets or ads in the default view of the Facebook Ads Manager. You’ll notice a beaker icon next to your campaign, ad set or ad name which means that an experiment is running.
There’s not much to do during this experiment period. Just ensure that your ads are running. If you make any changes to the original campaign, ad set or ad (not the variable that you’re testing), apply the same changes to the variant too. For example, if you’re testing creatives but decided to change the destination URL midway through the test, ensure that this new destination URL is applied to both the original and variant campaigns, ad sets or ads.
6. Conclude A/B Test: Analyze Results
At the end of your test, Facebook will email you the results based on the metrics you’ve selected to determine the winner. Alternatively, you can go to Experiments then Tests to view the report.
The winner will be determined if there’s enough data. Facebook will also state the percentage chance where you’d get the same winner if you run this test again.
On the other hand, a winner won’t be found if there’s not enough data.
7. Take Action Based On Experiment Results
If there isn’t enough data to determine the winner, you can run another test with a longer schedule or higher budget. This will produce more data which will help Facebook be more confident in determining the winner.
If a winner is determined, you can choose to pause the losing campaign, ad set or ad and run the winner only. After this is done, you may consider running more tests to refine your strategy further.
Now It’s Your Turn
No matter what your experiment results are (good or bad), there will definitely be a takeaway. For instance, you might learn that a certain messaging angle doesn’t resonate with your target audience.
This continuous improvement process will yield impressive results as you iteratively run tests to validate hypotheses.
Have you run A/B test on Facebook or Instagram ads? How were your experiment results? How has this feature helped you in your marketing strategy?
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For more Facebook and Instagram marketing tips, join classes like Facebook Marketing For Small Businesses, Creating Effective Paid Ads On Facebook and Hype Your Brand On Instagram. Or watch streaming broadcasts of free online classes at CreativeLive! You can also join online courses at Fiverr Learn~