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A/B Test Facebook Ads to Improve CTR

Facebook is a giant among the social media platforms. It is something most people can’t live without since it also builds communities.

As everyone has access to it, business owners look to it to promote their product. Since it includes videos, in-app messaging, and images, advertisements are hard to miss on your feed. 

More people are looking to expand their digital footprints, but Facebook is reaching a saturation point in terms of marketing. Online businesses, influencers, and brands want to up their game through Facebook because it offers a profitable way for marketing. Yet, there is no give-and-take for what they spend.

It is essential to A/B test Facebook ads to experiment with different ideas to stand out in this saturated channel. A/B testing provides the analytics a person needs to improve their strategy, audience engagement, and click-through rate.

This post will walk you through everything you need to know about A/B Testing to improve CTR on Facebook. 

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing ads on Facebook helps marketers know their audience and their preferences. There are two versions of the ads: A and B.

The A version of the ads is the controlled variable. Meaning it’s proven to have worked before for many people. On the other hand, the B version of the ad is the variable. It is a variation of A, and its role is to compete with the A version.

If the B version does better, B now becomes version A or the new control.  The original A is now archived or discarded. The new A will be the basis of the next split test in the future.

Split testing helps people to identify what variables pull the most weight. It also gives you an idea of which ones aren’t doing great in terms of conversions. According to Databox research, 47% of marketing agencies and 32% SMBs split test Design, followed by Audience testing.

Why A/B test Facebook Ads?

A/B Testing allows a person to change variables to determine the best strategy and improve future brand campaigns. This will help give you better options that won’t waste your money and effort.

1. Use it as a basis for optimization for higher ROI.

Return on investment (ROI) is a performance indicator that monitors the success or failure of a marketing campaign. Here are ways that you can optimize your strategy for better ROI rates:

  • Use valuable metrics like A/B testing results.
  • Execute what works and experiment on possibilities.
  • Create a contingency plan for the implementation of the product.
  • Never make a decision that is not backed up by your data.
  • Present a superior product or service.
  • Study the right price, time, place that your customers would want
  • Provide superior customer experience.
  • Create effective brand communication.

2. Removes guesswork out of the marketing process

Guesswork will never contribute to better results since it relies on a hunch. As such, your products deserve a concrete plan before you can implement it.

With A/B testing, you can remove the guesswork that can hinder the growth of the business. The data collected can help:

  • Make fewer assumptions and more directed plans
  • Save money on ads that aren’t giving you ROI.
  • Create a less risky price test
  • Create a better impression with one-time initiatives instead of random ads.

What To A/B Test for Facebook Ads?

A/B testing, also known as split testing, uses two variants of the same web page or ads for different website visitors. This will help businesses to determine which variant drives more conversions.

According to AdEspresso, “There are Facebook ad elements that a person can A/B test.” The following are campaign elements with the highest split testing ROI:

Ad Design

Ad designs should be informative and creative. It has to catch the attention of the users at first glance. Thus, it pays to experiment on a few or all of these factors.

  • Images – Try different colors, models, gender representation, and even sizes.
  • Post copy – Notice if there is a difference between your original copy and the latest copy.
  • Ad placements – Choose between Facebook, Audience Network, Instagram, or even messenger.
  • Landing page copy and design – Landing pages should be catchy and direct to the point in content and design.
  • Headlines – Headlines are one of the first things that grab your attention. Make it engaging but informative as well.

Ads Targeting

There are many users on Facebook, but you don’t want a general ad that doesn’t speak to your target audience. You can experiment with your Facebook ads in using the following variables:

  • Country (ex. Local vs. international reach)
  • Gender (ex. Gender-specific vs. neutral ads)
  • Interests ( ex. Specific interests related to your niche)
  • Age ( ex. Millennials vs. the Gen Zs) 
  • Custom audiences  (custom made by Facebook based on your user’s personal information) 
  • Relationship status (ex. Single customers vs. Married couples)
  • Purchase behaviors (ex. Buyer profile, clothing, food, etc.)
  • Education level (ex. High-school graduate vs. Ph.D. holders)

Other factors

Facebook wants to provide as much room for experimentation as possible. Thus, you can further tweak your campaign according to these:

  • Ad types (ex. video, image, carousel, single ad)
  • Bidding (lowest costs with or without cap)
  • Clicks, conversions, and engagement optimizations

Metric that will determine success/failure:

Different metrics will help the marketing team plan out and focus on what will succeed while making amends for those that will most likely fail.

1.       Cost per Result (CPR)

Cost per result (CPR) shows how a marketing team achieved their goals in the set ad campaign. People can use CPR to compare performance in various campaigns and help to identify areas of opportunity. It can also help a person to determine their bid for their future ad sets.

2.       Ad Impressions

An impression is counted as every time an ad enters the screen of a person. Facebook determines the reach of the ad by identifying the number of people that view it. It is a valuable metric because it can determine if the ad is engaging if many people view it.

3.       Ad Frequency

This metric makes sure that the users don’t see the ads too often. It constantly monitors the frequency with the results and ad relevance diagnostics.

4.       Clicks

There are two kinds of clicks: Link clicks and Clicks (all). Link clicks are the average of clicks on the links that will select destinations or experiences. On the other hand, clicks (all) is a metric that includes link clicks and the clicks on the different parts of the ad.

5.       Click-through rates (CTR)

It is a metric that measures the ratio of clicks to the number of total users who view the ad. CTR is commonly used to measure the performance of an online advertising campaign. 

6.       Cost per click (CPC)

Cost per click demonstrates how much a business pays for each click on the ad. CPC is a metric used in online advertisements. This is for benchmarking ad performance and efficiency.

7.       Cost per impression (CPM)

Cost per impression is the cost a business will have to pay for every thousand impressions. CPM is a metric used in the online advertising industry that measures an ad campaign’s effectiveness. CPM is useful in comparing performance in different ad campaigns and publishers.

8.       Cost per conversion 

Cost per conversion lets you know how much you spent in generating a conversion or acquiring a customer. Usually, the price per conversion should not go beyond the conversion value. That’s because the company now has to pay more for a conversion.

How to A/B test Facebook Ads

A/B testing is not just about looking for what is the best choice for the advertisements. It is also to determine the target users and the best placements to use to reach the ad.

A/B testing is not complex to do when the marketing team knows who the target users are. A/B testing comes in handy for testing multiple ads’ designs and uncovering the effective ones to the target users.

There are three ways to A/B test Facebook ads:

1. Facebook Ads Manager Toolbar

The toolbar can help you conduct a quick test while using a dropdown box seen in ads manager. Here are the steps in using the toolbar in A/B testing:

1.       Select A/B test

In the Ads Manager, go to the “Campaigns” tab. In that tab, choose the option for “A/B Test.” Please note that it is essential to have an existing ad campaign or even a campaign draft—you will need this to complete the test.

Once you chose the option, this will pop to your screen if you don’t have an existing campaign to test:


After this, choose the campaign and select the variable which you want to test. 

2.       Choose a variable

There are many choices for variable testing, and they’re categorized according to the campaign’s goals. The following are the variables:

  • Audience
  • Creative
  • Placements
  • Delivery Optimization
  • More than one
  • Product Set

These variables are located in the “Ad Set” part of the Ads Manager, next to the Campaigns tab.

After choosing the test type, you are ready to do the test. You can monitor the test status in the Ads Manager, and there will be an option on how long you want to run the test. You can find the progress or track the status of their ads in the “Account Overview” tab:


2. Duplicate a Campaign or Ad Set

It is easy to create a test with this option by changing one variable identical to the ad set or campaign. You can use duplication for existing campaigns or ads.

1.       Access Ads Manager

When you access the Ads Manager, go to the Campaigns tab next to see the list of existing campaigns. You can also see here the drafted campaigns. You can select one of them for duplication.

2.       Select the “Duplicate” button

Once you’ve decided what campaign or ad you want to set, go to the section under the title to see the “Duplicate” option. This will pop to your screen when you click it:


3.   Choose a Variable

When choosing to duplicate an ad set, Facebook usually provides suggestions on what variable to alter, and you can choose from the tips.

4.   Publish to Test

Once you’ve chosen the variable, you will see the tests next to each other in the preview. After creating essential changes, it is ready to publish. To make it happen, click the green button under the audience you chose:


Once you’ve done publishing your test, the users will see and interact with these, so it’s best to check the details before publishing it.

3. Facebook Experiments Tool

The Facebook experiment tool allows you to duplicate or create ad campaigns to test. There’s a difference between using the experiment tool and ads manager in testing. The experiment tool can fine-tune and help you learn about the effects of the test while it’s running.

1.       Access Experiments

The test won’t run under  Ad Manager, so you have to go to the top of the business account and select the “Experiments” button under the “Measure & Report” option. More easily, you can look for “Experiments” in the search bar. This is what will happen once you’ve accessed the Experiments page:


2.       Select “A/B Test”

Choose the “Get Started” button under the “A/B Test” option. When you click this, they will take you to the menu to fill in some ad details. Below is the example:


The menu is a tool to make sure the draft matches the criteria for an A/B test before publishing it. After providing the required information, the experiment is ready to do.

Tips to A/B Test Facebook Ads

There are best practices to do before starting a split test. These are tried and tested to help businesses run valuable, reliable, and applicable tests for their next campaign ads:

  • Test one variable at a time
  • Choose the appropriate audience.
  • Test measurable hypotheses
  • Run the test time-bounded
  • Choose the best A/B test budget for your business.

Ready to Take Facebook Ads Head-on?

Overall, Facebook ads are an excellent way for marketers to reach a large audience base. Advertising on Facebook requires proper planning and well-executed A/B tests to ensure your ads perform well. It is essential for a marketer to A/B test Facebook ads to learn what can help boost the engagement and participation of the users.  Facebook Ads will be profitable for you as long as you use them wisely.

Rethin Vipinraj

Rethin Vipinraj

Content Marketing at Rocketium
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