Best Practices for Digital Ad Testing
Are you confident that your digital ads will reach your target consumers? No company should be that confident with their advertisement without a proper review and testing. It doesn’t matter if you are Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson, or McDonald’s; you can’t make decisions based on your instincts alone. Ad testing is the best tool to ensure a successful campaign and ROI for your advertisement plans with the certainty that your audience will be captivated.
Knowledge is power. Testing helps you make informed decisions about your concepts, messagings and all elements in your digital ads. To correctly test your ads, first of all make sure your testing has a purpose, a hypothesis and the right goals.
Your purpose will answer the question: why do you need testing? To come up with a hypothesis is a bit trickier because perhaps the outcome is far from what you have suggested in the first place. However, whatever new you discover will be useful in the long run.
Set up your goals and metrics before testing for a more accurate outcome and real insights from your consumers. Be sure that your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based). A couple of goals are enough for this type of testing.
A better knowledge of your audiences is vital not only for the success of your digital ad, but also for your company’s understanding of its consumer’s buying behaviors.
Benefits from Ad Testing Digital Ads
Brands are aggressively spending on digital ads because they are very effective: “70% to 90% of spend goes to advertising and retail promotions that hit consumers at the consider and buy stages.” To ensure your chances of strong return, it is important to incorporate pre-launch testing into your plan. Are you aware of the benefits you can get from it?
- Backup with real data. Even though you think you know your audiences and you have planned the ad of the year, pretesting can give you hard data to support your arguments, experience and of course, your instincts. You can easily persuade your boss and colleagues to use a particular concept or digital ad with tested insights and information about your consumer’s way of thinking and buying behaviors.
- Testing can change your perspective and give you new insights and information about your ad. Sometimes you can strongly think you have the perfect ad, but new insights can prove you wrong. Optimize your digital ads with A/B testing and you will be sure to have a winner.
- With the new data and insights you get from your digital ad testing you can get your messaging straight for your different segments. You can know for certain how different genders or age segments feel and react to a specific ad.
- Rapid iteration helps your company perform better and make informed decisions for a successful campaign. In the long run, it will benefit future campaigns.
What types of digital advertisement testing should you try out?
These are some of the things you should consider to test in your digital ads. Your team should try at least 3 different stimuli for each variable, to get a fair assessment of your audience’s preferences and opinions.
- Copy-testing: a strong message tells me you know your audience, their passions and motivations. A strong message gets to the point and still captivates your consumers attention. The narrative is the key for your user to really engage with your brand. A deep connection with your users leads you to sell your product or service, which is the purpose of your ad.
Your copy-testing should measure length and substantial changes in messaging to impact your user and get the best insights. For example, test a promotion based ad vs. a benefits based ad and find out which one performs better for your audience.
- Imagery: to identify which image/video resonates with your audience, you should test contrasting images, themes, concepts and palettes to use in display channels, social media and landing pages. With this type of testing you can discover if you have to be serious or humorous, use a video or an image, colorful or standard. You can discover if a concept is better for social media or for display. There are a lot of combinations you can try to get the most of your testing.
- Landing page or website elements: There are endless possibilities when it comes to landing pages. You can play around with layouts, colors, buttons, form fields and find out the best composition for your landing page. Your experiments will improve your customer’s overall user experience and interface.
- Look and feel: is your visual connection to your customer. Even though trends are important, what really matters is to stay tuned and honest with your brand. Chart your own course by asking questions such as: is it balanced and appealing? Is there too much going on or too little? Does it capture your viewers attention? Always create something unique and simple.
This is not a complete list, just a handful of the elements that you can test and build from there. You can find more elements you can test here.
Finally, I would like to mention that ad testing is an ongoing process. You never really finish testing your campaigns. There is no due date and you should continue to test and document every insight, every metric, every analysis and every implementation you make for campaigns to come. Repeat the process, over and over again.
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