3 Rules for Getting Real Results with Facebook Split Testing

This article and the concepts within it was inspired by Kim Garst’s recent blog post on using split testing to effectively advertise your business on the Facebook ads platform. 

Split testing, also widely known as A/B testing, is a way to compare two versions of a marketing strategy against each other to determine which one yields the most positive results.

This method is a great way to save money, improve your ROI and grow your number of purchases, opt-ins, clicks and downloads.

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Kim Garst, Founder of Boom! Social, suggests three strategies for approaching split tests on your next Facebook ad campaign.

1. Only Change One Variable Of Your Ad Copy

This is pretty self-explanatory. Change one element at a time – such as the ad image, headline or ad copy – and compare those results.  While this may be a time consuming task, it is a very beneficial analytical strategy. Keep in mind that the headline and the ad copy should include phrases and content that grab the viewers such as “get your free copy now!” 

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2. Change Just One Variable Of Your Target Audience

Try out various combinations of ad and targeting criteria (gender, locations, age, relationship status, etc.). Again, this is a time consuming endeavor but the pay-off can be huge. Another approach would be to keep the ad copy and target criteria the same and only change the image. For example, if your target is women between the ages of 25 through 35, you could switch the image to that of a smiling businesswoman.

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3. Limit To One Ad Per Set

Facebook presents a challenge with split testing by basing an early determination on which of your ads is the strongest performer. This can make testing ineffective, but there are a few work-arounds you can employ in order to avoid a problem.

  • Facebook recommends going with three to four ads per ad set. Instead of following their suggestion, go with just one instead.
  • Only run ads for one or two days since that’s when ads typically see the most impressions. After two days, pause the ads for a few weeks and then relaunch them.
  • Try running ads one after another, rather than simultaneously. This way, Facebook is focusing on one ad at a time for your account.
  • Try running the ads against each other. While it is a more expensive option, it really is worth the investment as it gives you the clearest idea which ads are the most effective.

Overall, split testing your Facebook advertisements is a great approach if you’re looking to reduce your costs and increase your ROI. Don’t get hung up over setting up the perfect split for each test. The whole purpose of testing is figuring out what works and what doesn’t, so embrace the learning experience of it all! 🙂

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Leave A Reply (48 comments so far)


  1. Lsclusive Marketing Co
    3 years ago

    Such a great idea, not to mention Facebook has now made it easier than ever to track the ” traffic” per se of ads. Also, making tweaks to the ads is a smart way, like you said to see which component of your ad is making the most impact on your audience and really causing your audience to pay more attention to you. Knowing what caught and kept their attention makes a big difference. Putting out a couple of different ads and comparing and contrasting them and their results would more than likely increase your potential audience. Overall split testing on Facebook seems like an enjoyable, worth while experience that we would love to try out! Thank you

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Thanks for your comment.

      Definitely a worth while experience and Facebook makes the tracking and tweaking very simple. Give it a shot, let me know how I can help.

      Thanks again 🙂

      Alex


  2. Lakiesha V. Anderson
    3 years ago

    Love this idea! It’s a great way to shake things up and make things interesting for you, your brand, and potential target audience. To be able to find out what people are really in to by changing up different variables of your ad, And comparing it to another one of your own would be life changing! What business wouldn’t love to do that? Something so user friendly from Facebook. They make the process of posting ads and tracking the views so easy! Thank you so much for this creative, relevant idea!

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Lakiesha-

      Thank your for your supportive comments and feedback. I agree, Facebook makes it very easy- especially when you dive in head first and just go for it. Split testing can provide powerful insights for your business.

      Thanks again,

      Alex


  3. Johnny Fitzgerald
    3 years ago

    I gave up on Facebook advertising quite a while ago. Perhaps it’s time to have another look and to implement some of the ideas you have suggested. Split testing is a great idea. I have recently tried it on another advertising platform and the results were very interesting! CTR has improved greatly.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Glad to hear about your success on split testing with your advertising. Yes, Facebook is a great platform one you can master the cost per click rate. Will have more content and advice on that in coming weeks.

      Thanks for your support!

      -Alex


  4. Ludvig Berling
    3 years ago

    Hey Alex,

    Great post. You really give good examples of relevant things to consider when running a number of ads on Facebook.

    I’d just want to add that in my experience narrowing down your targeting criteria is really important. As you’re saying you should create different target groups by changing variables, but I’d say that you also have to make sure that each group doesn’t become too big. It will be easier to make assumptions (and hopefully draw conclusions) when your target groups are smaller. And with smaller groups I mean some 100-thousands instead of a couple of millions : )

    I look forward to reading your future posts!

    Cheers,

    Ludvig

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Ludvig-

      Thank you for your amazing take on my post. I appreciate your feedback and I could not agree more with your advice on narrowing down target audiences. When groups get too big, it’s hard to draw any kind of conclusion, because the audience is too broad and they have too much of a wide variety of interests.

      It’s better to pick a smaller group who have a more laser-focused interest(s), and you can clearly say “These people are very similar and are ALL interested in the same thing”.

      Great advice!

      Thanks again,

      Alex Hamm


  5. Doug Salyers
    3 years ago

    Interesting article. I’m new to blogging and social media so any time I can learn a new piece of info I appreciate it.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Doug-

      Thanks for reading. Keep pushing forward and let me know if I can help you with your blogging 🙂

      Alex


  6. Jason
    3 years ago

    Thanks for the info. #1 & #2 are kind of no brainers but I never thought of #3 before. We will have to try that out!

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Jason-

      #’s 1-2 are very good reminders for people. #3 is a bit of a new tip that I want people to really start implementing to see success!

      Thanks for your support. Let me know if I can provide additional value or resources.

      Alex

  7. You have given me a lot to think about…Thank you for sharing your knowledge on FaceBook.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Charlie,

      My pleasure, thanks for your support!

      Alex


  8. Mirgo Media
    3 years ago

    Great article! Interesting point you made on only going for one ad per set and pausing/re-launching.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Thanks so much 🙂 Appreciated!


  9. Cherlynn
    3 years ago

    Alex
    Thanks for your great post. I quite Facebook advertising several months ago, but I really appreciate Kim Garst’s wisdom. It sounds like Facebook may have changed a few things and I should give them a try again.
    Cherlynn Thomas
    http://riseupilv.wordpress.com/

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Yes, it is a really good way to attract targeted prospects for cheap (cheap only if you take the time to do your testing). Give it another try, let me know how I can of service and provide guidance.

      Thanks for the awesome support,

      Alex


  10. Shayleah
    3 years ago

    This is the first time I have read about split testing, and it makes a great deal of sense to me. Why spend money on an ad that isn’t working for you, when with a few smart tweaks you can get significantly better results? I can definitely see the value in running several versions of an ad on Facebook to see what works best.

    I will definitely utilize your suggestions when creating my first ads for Facebook. Thanks for sharing your insights!

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Shayleah-

      it really does make sense. Good luck with your campaigns, please let me know how they go and how I can provide guidance.

      Thanks for your support,

      Alex


  11. Alexander Boutsis
    3 years ago

    Very good post, Totally agree with the idea and you would benefit a lot with more control over your ads and being able to measure your ROI more effectively per ad set and being able to measure each ad against one another is more cost effective and time efficient. Facebook offers a great platform for advertising as it is and being able to further improve your marketing strategy is beneficial in every way and being able to see what works and what does not could save you a lot of money. This idea could also be easily implemented on many other social media platforms as it is an efficient strategy when it comes to marketing. Its a great idea worth trying out and I think everyone trying out advertising on Facebook should give it a try I certainly will be as it sounds like a great way to make Facebook advertising fun! Thanks for the great post.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Alexander-

      Thanks for your support and your feedback. i also agree with you that this strategy would be great to implement on other social platforms as well! Good luck to you and let me know how I can help 🙂

      Thanks,

      Alex Hamm


  12. Cam Langley
    3 years ago

    Great article! I can hardly wait to employ these tactics!

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Hey thanks so much Cam! Please let me know how I can be of further value 🙂


  13. Carolyn
    3 years ago

    A great read with some very helpful strategies. Knowing your market and how they will respond will raise interest in your product or business

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Oh yes, knowing your market is the most important part of your marketing!


  14. Carolyn
    3 years ago

    Well written and a good read! Knowing what is effective in increasing your customer base is crucial in your marketing efforts.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Agreed, Carolyn. Thank you for the support!


  15. Vanessa Collins
    3 years ago

    Great tips here. I have been doing split testing for a little over a month and have had some good results. The only thing that I have found a little different in my limited time of doing it is that you have to let the ad run for more than a few days in order to really get the impressions you need. I need to test it again but during my last campaign, I ran a 6 day “page likes” ad ($10/day). I typically only let the ads run for 2 days before I pull the plug but this time I let it run the full course. The ad that was the worst performing on day 2 turned out to be the best performing by day 6. The cost per likes on day 2 was more than double the cost by day 6. Like I said, I have to try it again.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Vanessa-

      Congratulations on your success! That’s fantastic.

      And it’s all about testing. Sometimes you’ll see that Day 6 success, other time not. You just never know, so although i recommend 2 day tests in this article, I would test what is working for your market.

      Also, look into “Website Clicks” ad campaigns, rather than just “Page Post Engagement”. Email me at alex@alexhammsocial.com is u have any questions

      Thanks,

      Alex Hamm

  16. great article! i like your methodology of executing A/B testing properly is very simple. that’s exactly how it should be! the way i do it is just market what i feel like, and then ask for feedback.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Yes, Kareem. Simple is the key!

      Thanks for your feedback,

      Alex


  17. Nicole Murray
    3 years ago

    Hey Alex, great article. Split testing has always been an efficient and cost effective tool for testing any marketing campaign, and it’s great that you’re encouraging others to apply it to Facebook. Without split testing, a business owner is just taking a gamble and not pinpointing the element/s that are responsible for returning the best results, and therefore, could be wasting precious time, energy and money. Look forward to your next post.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Thanks Nicole, I appreciated the support.

      I agree that split testing is a very cost efficient marketing strategy. It is essential for any online marketing campaign!

      Speak soon,

      Alex Hamm


  18. Brent Maxwell
    3 years ago

    Great tips. Only changing one variable to measure results is a must!

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Very Important! Thanks for your support Brent.


  19. Gonçalo
    3 years ago

    Great advices, Social media is a lot about this, test, measure, test, measure and so on, until you find the best content for your page fans.

    Congratulations for the great content, hope to rea dmore from you.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Everything in marketing is a test!

      Thanks for your support 🙂


  20. Georgiana
    3 years ago

    You are doing a very good job with your blog. Very interesting topics and well written articles.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Thank you so much, let me know what other topics you’d like to see here on the blog!


  21. ShampooOn3rd
    3 years ago

    Alex, great article with relevant, easy to follow applicable and measurable steps. Look forward to reading more.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Thanks, appreciate the support!


  22. Filip
    3 years ago

    Very creative article… I never use advertising, but this is quite good 🙂

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      I appreciate that Flip. Let me know when you start, I will help 🙂


  23. Kevin Fisher
    3 years ago

    Interesting approach but I wonder what product segments work best in the FB environment. Is B2C the preferred business model? How might this approach be modified for B2B – specifically services?

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      You raise an interesting question Kevin. Yes, I think it works well for both. It’s simply a matter of finding the decision makers for companies and targeting them…that’s how it works for B2B. Keep up the conversation and email me at alex@alexhammsocial.com


  24. Brandon cobb
    3 years ago

    Very good article and very helpful

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm
      3 years ago

      Thanks Brandon!

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