A/B testing refers to the process of comparing of two ads -- referred to as Ad A and Ad B -- to determine which elements of an ad work best. An ad's effectiveness is measured in various ways, such as increased visits to the advertiser's Facebook page or website, or new orders. By only making a small change to each ad and keeping everything else identical, the results show the effectiveness of that particular element.
Facebook sells advertising space on its Web pages and you can purchase this ad space to promote your business, event or a Facebook application. Facebook ads are targetable, meaning you can define the parameters of who sees them, such as by location, interests or relationship status. Ads vary in effectiveness; the verbiage, headline and graphic all play a role in an ad's success. Running two Facebook ads with slight changes, a technique known as "A/B testing," helps identify the factors that provide the greatest return on investment, or ROI, and allows you to minimize the cost of advertising by weeding out ineffective ads.
About A/B Testing
What to Change
Facebook ads are typically comprised of several basic elements -- the graphic, the headline or title and the call to action. In A/B testing, only one element changes between the two ads to help identify which of the two is more effective. For example, two Facebook ads used in A/B testing for a restaurant offer the same call to action and headline, but one ad shows a picture of the restaurant itself, while the other shows an image of the restaurant's most popular meal. If the ad with the meal picture receives more response, it is identified as the more effective image. The next A/B testing campaign uses this image, but changes the headline. This testing continues until the ad is fully optimized to its maximum effectiveness.
Facebook A/B Ad Feature
To help businesses compare the effectiveness of advertising and increase ROI, Facebook offers a "Create a Similar Ad" feature for performing A/B testing. Once an ad has been created, a similar ad is created by clicking on the "Create a Similar Ad" button in the Ads Manager screen. This will allow you to copy an existing ad and make necessary changes before submitting the new ad. Each ad should run in its own campaign, with identical daily budget amounts so that you can track and compare the results of each ad accurately.
Run Time and Results
All ads should run simultaneously to accurately gauge individual response rates. Ads should also run for a specific time interval, such as a week or for a certain number of clicks. If your Facebook Ads Manager reports that Ad A received 50 clicks over a few days compared to the 15 clicks that Ad B received, the change in Ad B obviously wasn't effective. Remove that ad and refocus your budget and efforts on running Ad A while you work on another change in Ad B to try again.
Marketing is a never-ending cycle. Just because ad A works best today doesn't mean it will work perform as well next month or even next week. Continually experiment with new images, new headlines and new copy. Even with an effective, optimized ad, your audience will grow bored with the same ad shown repeatedly. Keep evolving your ad and your message to keep your target market interested and your ads successful.