This post is part of our series, Split Testing Hacks for Dummies. Split testing is comparing the effectiveness of two pieces of marketing to find the better performer, then making small changes to split test again. Split testing can be overwhelming and time consuming to the average marketer, so this series is dedicated to making things simple. We’ll cover advertising, landing pages, email marketing, and even a miniature sales campaign; all with real examples and walkthroughs. This post is for marketers and business owners with basic online advertising knowledge who need to get their toes wet quickly.


Paid advertising is everywhere. Classifieds, banner advertisements, television commercials, and billboards are opportunities to get your business in front of consumer eyeballs. You should be putting a ton of research into which kind of paid advertising is right for your business. But that’s just half the battle. After you choose the right location, you need to make sure you are using the most effective ad. You can achieve this by split testing.


In this post, we’ll walk you through how to find the best headline, body, and image for a simple advertisement that can be used online. We’ll be using Facebook’s ad manager, which allows for extreme customization, great cost savings, and instant results.


Remember, we’re here to do this efficiently and easily.


Through this example, we are going to use a made-up business called A Smarter Whey. This company will deliver whey protein to your door every month on a subscription basis.


Here’s the bare minimum of what you’ll need:


  1. A Landing Page. This is the one place you send those who click on your advertisement.

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  1. A Call-to-Action. This is the one thing you want your website visitors to do once they reach your landing page. It’s usually a form or a button. This is extremely important, because measuring how many consumers take action on your website is all that matters.


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(In the next parts of this series, we’ll talk about split testing your landing pages. Right now, we’re focused on finding the best advertising.)

  1. A Facebook Advertising Account. This is very easy to set up, and is attached to your personal Facebook account. Just google Facebook Ad Manager, and you’ll find step by step instructions. You won’t even need a Facebook Business Page for this split testing strategy.


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Once you have these items in place, let’s get started.


Head into your advertising manager and create an ad. You will be asked to select an advertising objective, which should be website clicks. Input the URL to your landing page.

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You’ll be sent into the Facebook ad workflow. You’re going to be creating only two ads, and they are going to be exactly alike except for one small change. Follow the step by step instructions, as well as the caveats below. The workflow is fairly straightforward, but don’t be afraid to click on the “help” prompts if you get stuck.

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1) Make sure you turn of news feed ads. This means our ads are going to be limited to the right side of Facebook, and that’s just fine.


2) Insert two high quality images that you believe would encourage users to click your ad. This can be screenshots of your product, a smiling customer, or even a picture of a cat if that’s relevant.


3) Use the same body and headline copy for both images.


4) Use just one audience for your targeting. Make sure this audience size is between 100,000 – 500,000 people.


5) Choose a daily budget between $10 – $20. To keep things simple, you can choose optimized CPM for your pricing model. This means Facebook will adjust your ad price automatically to bring in clicks.


Give your advertising a once-over, and click on create. After a short approval process, your two advertisements should be launched and running. For those that don’t quite understand the Facebook advertising process, your ad is now being shown to thousands of Facebook users in your target audience at various times. They are given the opportunity to click on your advertisement and head over to your landing page.


Next, head over to your ad manager. Click on campaigns, and take a look at your ads. If you’d like, you can rename these advertisements to something you can easily understand.

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Wait 5 – 8 hours. That’s all you’ll need to start bringing in accurate data. During this time, Facebook will automatically find the advertisement that is performing best. You’ll be able to tell by an increase in ad reach as well as clicks to your website.


To be clear, the advertisement in this campaign that has a higher click-through-rate is your split test winner. Congratulations!


It’s time to rinse and repeat. You now know which image performs best with your chosen audience. Go ahead and edit your losing advertisement to have the same image, bringing your ads back to identical.


Now, you have the opportunity to change the headline or body of one advertisement to begin the split testing process all over again. Remember, only change one thing each time! Once you believe you’ve found the best advertisement, you can begin experimenting with targeting to find new audiences. Always keep track of your results in a spreadsheet for reference.


If you’ve made it this far, you’ve discovered the simplest possible way to split test an online advertisement. Understand that agencies with large campaigns are usually split testing dozens of advertisements at once, but this is extremely overwhelming for the average user. By working with only two moving pieces, you improve at a manageable pace.


Enjoy your smarter marketing!


What we’ve done in part 1 is helped increase traffic to our website. In the next part of this series, Landing Page Optimization, we’ll release another extremely simple strategy to improve conversions, which is how many visitors take action on your website. Stay tuned. Add our blog to your RSS feed or subscribe for next week’s post!