Creative Testing
Social Media Marketing
A/B Testing
Marketing Tests

How to structure your Facebook ad account for creative testing

Jon Brody

July 15, 2021

In the previous blog post, we learned about some of the problems and some best practices related to creative testing in social media. In this post, we’ll look at specific creative testing structures in Facebook. There are two popular ways to structure your Facebook ad account for creative testing: A/B testing and test campaigns. 

A/B testing

An A/B test (also known as a split test) is a marketing strategy that tests two elements of a marketing campaign against each other to find out which connects better with your audience. By testing different variables within the same Facebook ad, you can discover which one(s) can drastically improve marketing performance. 

Some examples of how you can put A/B testing into action would be to:

  • Try different colors of key elements like the on-image call to action button. 
  • Test different types of media as in images vs video.
  • Test different versions of copy.
  • Rearrange the elements of your ad
  • Use different variations of your call to action such as “Sign Up” vs “Count me in!”

A/B testing is a proven method that generates great ROI when done correctly. It takes the guesswork out, allowing you to rely on data-driven marketing strategies. Simply go through the available data and decide which changes will be best for your end goal.

Testing and Performance campaigns

A good testing campaign helps determine which creatives will work best. You can then place your top performing ads into a separate campaign to optimize your budget and ROI.

Testing campaigns

When creating your testing campaign, choose an ad objective that will match your goal. Facebook has a number of them to choose from. Facebook’s advanced algorithms do their best to help your campaign achieve the objective you set by prioritizing which users to show your ads to, those who are most likely to perform the action you set your objective to. If you set your objective to “Traffic”, Facebook will target people who are more likely to click the link in your ad. If you set it to “Conversions”, Facebook will target the people who are more likely to convert. This works for all other objectives as well.

Ad sets

Once you have chosen your objective, set up your ad sets. This is where you set up targeting (the audience you want to show your ads to), decide on your budget, your bid settings, your ad placements and more. When creating ad sets, watch out for audience overlap, where a user might belong to two or more of your audiences. This can lead to your CPM increasing because you’ll be competing with yourself. To avoid overlap, you can consolidate ad sets into one or refine your audiences to exclude them from each other to eliminate overlaps.

In general, there are two types of audiences to target in your ad sets:

Prospecting: those who are not familiar with your product yet

Retargeting: those who know of your product/service who you want to reach again

You build prospecting audiences on interests, locations or lookalikes (similar to your existing visitors or customers). Retargeting audiences is based on the data collected by Facebook from your website, your Facebook Page engagement data (people who have interacted with your content in some way) or from customer lists manually uploaded to your Facebook Ads account.

Use as many ad sets as you need (or as your budget allows) in your testing campaign. You can create multiple campaigns consisting of a single promotion each, or you can create an umbrella campaign that will show a variety of promotions to each audience.

Facebook ads

Facebook ads are the final level in the Facebook campaign structure hierarchy. The ad is the creative and message you want your audience to see. The type of ads you choose will depend on your campaign objective and your ad set placement settings. Some popular types of ads you can create are image ads, video ads, slideshow ads, and collection ads. 

Testing campaigns give you a better chance to find the people you’re looking for. Use different creative assets in your ads to help you learn what resonates best with your audience. You have several ways to do this. Four creatives to consider are:

  1. Text – try to keep your text concise and clearly convey what you’re promoting. 
  2. Image or video – use high-resolution images that complement the message in your text. 
  3. Headline – come up with different headlines that are short and clear, allowing people to easily understand what your ad is about.
  4. Call to action – Play around with different call-to-action buttons in an effort to encourage people to take any action that’s important to your business.

Performance campaigns

Allow your testing campaign to run live for a period of time, which will give Facebook time to optimize for the top performing ad or promotion, whether that’s based on number of conversions or lowest cost per conversion. Once you find that top performer, you can then pull that ad set from the testing campaign and place it into its own “performance” campaign. Transferring your top ads from a testing campaign into their own campaign allows you the flexibility of optimizing account structure strategies and gives you the insights to properly budget your campaign.

Even the best performing ads have a half-life at which point they will deteriorate and will need to be replaced. Running new ad sets in your testing campaign will give you an advantage of finding your next top performer and replacing your old ad before it declines.

Tips and tricks

Report the results of your “testing” and “performance” campaigns separately in Google Data Studio or any tool you’re using in order to better see how well your performance campaigns are doing. If you combine them, the overall results will be lower and the data will not accurately reflect how well your performance campaigns are doing.

Also, take advantage of Facebook’s own how-to articles, which can explain common ideas behind their ad structures.

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