Optimizing your digital marketing campaigns can be tricky, but one way to know that you're making good advertising decisions is by using split testing (or A/B testing).
When you run a split test for an ad, you release two versions of that ad, each with one with a specific variation. Then, you analyze how the ads perform to determine which version did better.
There are endless ways you can split test an ad, including testing its creative. By split testing ad creatives, you can hone in on the content that works, refining your advertising efforts as you go so you ensure that you're developing and releasing the best ads possible.
Here are some ways that you can split test your ads. These creative tests will give you some insight into what resonates with your audience of potential customers and what will drive people to check out your company or content.
1. Headline Word Order
Your ad headline may be the first thing that people notice. According to WordStream, "Great ad headlines are like the flashy displays you see in store windows every day. They're there to stop you in your tracks, make you picture yourself owning whatever it is they're selling, and force you to cross the psychological threshold and walk into the store to buy it."
Split test your ad headlines by changing their word orders. This test may seem simple, but switching word order can have an effect on what potential customers see first.
For example, try releasing one version of an ad whose headline reads "Content Marketing and Branding for Small Businesses" and one that reads "Branding and Content Marketing for Small Business," then see which brings you more potential customers.
2. Headline Word Choice
Order of the words in your headlines isn't the only thing that matters. The choice of words you use in your headlines also matters. Test two versions that have an important word different.
For example, "Web Design for Eye-Catching Sites" vs. "Web Design for Stunning Sites." The diction you use in your headline can have a psychological impact and affect the way that people take in your ad content.
3. Headline Format: Question vs. Statement
Finally, test your headline as either a statement or a question.
For example, you can see if asking "Are You Ready for a Powerful Content Marketing Strategy?" performs better or worse than "You're Ready for a Powerful Content Marketing Strategy."
4. Call to Action Text
The call to action is another important part of an ad creative. Your ad may be the most beautiful, engaging one in the world, but if people don't know what to do after they see it, it is essentially useless.
Try switching up how you call your potential customers to action. A basic example of how to split test a CTA is to run one ad whose CTA reads "Click Here Now" vs. one that reads "Visit Our Site to Learn More."
5. Call to Action Button
Place your ad's call to action on a button that users can click, then vary the color of that button in your ad versions.
Color in ads can have a psychological effect, and you can see whether a red vs. a blue button changes how often people click it.
6. Image Content: People vs. Object
Most ad creatives have visual content, since visuals have been shown to produce 650% higher engagement than online content without visuals. If you're using an image in your ad creative, split test by varying the content of that image.
Try using a person in a photo and an object in a photo. You'll be able to determine whether the personal nature of a human draws people in more, or whether they'd prefer to see a product.
7. Image Content: Stock vs. Personal
If you're going to use images in your ads, consider testing stock photos vs. actual photos your company has taken. You can even try testing stock photos of strangers vs. photos of your team.
You can see whether infusing some of your company's real personality into the ad creative has an effect on how it performs.
8. The Font
An important part of your ad creative is its design, including the font you choose to use. Like color, the typeface used in an ad can have a psychological effect.
A formal serif font says something totally different about who you are, who you're trying to attract and what you're trying to promote than a handwritten casual one. Test two different fonts and see which one resonates more effectively.
9. Copy Length
Ad copy clues people in to what your ad is actually about.
Try including a lot of copy in one ad, then shortening it in the other. You can determine whether words and text actually help you sell, or if they turn people away.
10. Ad Background or Dominant Color
Your ad will, most likely, have one background or dominant color. Switch up that color to see if one is more effective than the other.
11. Photo vs. Drawing
You want to use visual content in your ads, but try testing whether photos or illustrations work better.
Photos can seem more realistic, professional and relatable, but drawings can feel casual, friendly and artistic.
12. Image vs. Video
Thanks to technology today, you don't have to rely on static images in ads. You can also incorporate video.
Try split testing whether videos help your ad draw in more people, or whether people are more attracted to still photographs or drawings.
Ultimately, judging ad creative can feel subjective. By running split tests, you can get statistical, concrete evidence about which creatives work well and which are less effective. By split testing your creatives and constantly improving them, you can get better and better at knowing what creatives work.