Split Testing Facebook Video Ads         

Yael Klass
By Yael Klass
June 5, 2018 · 8 min read

Unless you like to gamble, marketing doesn’t have to take the guesswork it once did. You can perform mini-tests at zero-risk to decide the direction you’re going in. Video marketing platforms can shoot the same campaign in two different directions—with slightly different messages—to see what’s really jivin’ with people.

Split testing (sometimes called “A/B testing”) is comparing and contrasting two different versions of content by placing them on separate channels. This is done to determine which is more likely to produce favorable results as part of an ad campaign. A/B testing and retesting content and design attributes have been known to drive some pretty compelling results.

Almost everything can be tested. Split testing is one of the most useful methods for improving conversion rates. A process of elimination can weed through unsuitable or ineffective content. What remains is worthy of your audience. Here are some examples people don’t always consider benefiting from A/B testing:

  • Email subject lines
  • Website copy
  • Video content
  • Headlines and blog articles
  • Gated content
  • Web design

Today, we’ll target split testing video—the undisputed king of content. Specifically, we’ll focus on creating and testing Facebook video ads as part of a campaign. Now, Facebook has taken ads to the next level with Facebook Ad Library. Start there for initial research. See what your competitors are doing and what’s making their ads a success – or a failure. That way, you’ll avoid their mistakes and catapult off their successes.

Why Split Test Facebook Video Ads?

Split testing is how we learn. It helps us answer and address concerns about fonts, scene transitions, and which bit of dialogue is better. It offers detailed analysis from people who are engaging with your ad, which is your target market. Their feedback can guide you to tweak or create better and more effective video content over time.

It’s worth investing in. Here’s a short list as to why:

Running a split test on Facebook video ads optimizes them, taking your content and your business to the next level. Upon completion of the trial, you’ll receive a performance report declaring either the control or test group as the successor. Run the winning campaign to automatically boost your chances of success!

Create an Appealing Video

Without video, you have no Facebook video ad. It must be captivating enough to part the seas of distraction on Facebook and capture the attention of your target demographic. The more focused campaigns, the more receptive your audience will be. Faux pas, like using a smartphone camera, are more likely to cause distraction in favor of your message.

Aim for authenticity without overproduction. In most cases, you’ll create something terrific with little more than the tech tools on your belt. Keep in mind that people don’t like to be sold. Facebook is a haven for escape; a vacation for a few hours each day. The last thing people want while on vacation is to be hounded by salesy stuff.

Focus in on these four angles:

  • Highlight your content using the video.
  • Feature your client’s testimonials or any case studies you’ve ran.
  • Demonstrate the use of your products.
  • Film a behind-the-scenes video to make your audience feel like they’re in on something special.

Think about it like this: which would be more likely to sell you a pair of expensive shoes? A Facebook video ad capturing people just like you wearing the shoes as they’re out and about all over town? Maybe.

Behind-the-scenes access to the factory floor in Milan where an artisan completes the meticulous and painstaking process of assembling a shoe you’ll enjoy for years? It gets you thinking.

No matter the time you spend on it, your video won’t ever be perfect. Far from it. What matters is that you’re open to experimenting for the sake of improving over time.

Create a Plan for Split Testing

Long-term results are dependent on the integrity of the data contained in the findings. Inaccurate results could sabotage a forward-moving advertising campaign before it ever starts. Creating a plan and sticking to it is crucial.

  1. Set a goal. That’s right. Before you even consider graphics or animations, figure out what you want from the ad. What is this ad supposed to accomplish? Are you into getting views? Some shares? Is this about increasing conversions over a previous ad you ran?
  2. Choose a variable. Be it time, fonts, graphics, dialogue, speeches, narration, whatever … Something has to be different. Just one thing, though. To ensure the most accurate results, everything else stays the same in both tests. Isolating the variable will help you determine causality later.
  3. Participants are chosen at random. Do not segment your current clients and prospects. Also, don’t sort the videos being tested by who’s going to view them. Facebook Ads Manager will handle this aspect. Viewer and video will get paired up at random.

Facebook Ad Campaign Anatomy

Facebook’s advertising hierarchy is pretty simple. Check it out:

  • Campaign
  • Ad sets
  • Ads

A campaign is the largest container. It describes what you aim to gain from Facebook video ads. An advertiser looking to increase the flow of traffic to a particular website would choose “Website Conversions” from the menu.

Ad sets define the target audience. Campaigns can contain within them multiple ad sets, targeting a variety of audiences. Or they can all share the same target. Facebook gives you the option of creating multiple ad sets simultaneously. Not a bad idea since you’ll need two anyway.

Ads are what people will see on Facebook and connect with. Each ad set can contain multiple ads. Ads are made up of a video, a headline, a body, and a link description.

Facebook’s Split Testing Process

Ready to get started? Great! Click here. The process is painless. It might seem like a whole lot of minutiae the first time, but it’s fairly straightforward. You can split test more than copy. Add ad deliver, audiences, and placements to that.

After setting up both variations, you’re pretty much done. Facebook reviews and approves campaigns that don’t violate their policy. Once approved, your video ads start running immediately. The test will run for the amount of time you set it, between three and 14 days.

Review Data Analysis Results

You’ll be notified when the test is over, and your results are ready. Find your campaign in the Ads Manager. Click on your campaign to access your ad sets and you’ll see the results after scrolling over them.

Determine your winner and push it out to a larger audience. Save the losing option and tweak it. Use it to challenge the winner. Rinse and repeat.

Facebook’s split testing feature lets advertisers assess multiple campaign variables at once. The result produces more granular and actionable performance data than setting up a manual A/B testing strategy. Track the outcomes of each test to ensure your video strategy is the sharpest it can be. You’ll be the mad scientist of marketing!

Facebook video ads are an area of opportunity not currently sought out by most digital marketers. Why? Maybe people are scared it’s too complex (newsflash—it’s not). Running video ads on a channel isn’t expensive, either. It’s a huge opportunity to tap into a field of outreach that isn’t so congested by competitive ads.

When conducting these tests, make sure you set clear objectives. Once your test is complete, use what you learn from the data in future campaigns and keep on optimizing. Whether you’re the master of marketing, the queen of queries, or the granddaddy of data, easy split testing can carve the path for video campaign success!

Lead By Example

We do loads of Split testing with video ads every single week. This can range in testing old content repurposed, two winning ads from previous campaigns, the same video with different text, two similar but different videos with the same text and so on. Here’s a recent split test we did on Facebook.

Fun fact: The top post won.

Ready to create your video ads? Try Promo Today!

About the author

Yael Klass

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Become a better marketer.
Grow your business.
Join over 250,000 businesses already seeing an impact
from using our tips and tools delivered directly to your inbox.
Thank you for
Your video marketing education
is on it's way to your inbox.