Advice: 5 tips for split testing banner ad campaigns

Before you give up on an ad campaign that isn’t delivering the CTR or conversions you want, have you tried some split testing? You can do this by testing different variables on your ads to determine which perform the best. Here are some ideas on what variables to test.

1. Ad headline
Playing around with the wording of your headline can make a big difference. Can you create a slogan from the headline? Check out the Advertising Slogan Hall Of Fame for some inspiration.  Would turning your headline into a question bring better results? Try stating a fact or a key feature about your product. Use humour or irreverence to appeal to your audience, what about flirting with them in a seductive way. Are you using language that identifies with your target market? You wouldn’t pitch business language at a skateboarder for example. Play around with different ideas and see how they impact your overall conversions.

2. Ad copy
How is the copy on your ad displayed? Play around with the length of the wording, would slang or abbreviations work? Try different fonts, font sizes, put keywords in bold, experiment with colour. Try a special offer or time sensitive incentive to generate clicks.

3. Ad visual
Try out different variations. Would an amateur image like a selfie work better than a professional model photograph? Try an image of a person using your product, or does it work better with just a product image alone? Try adding a border around your image to make it stand out more, check to see if black and white converts better than a colour image. Or do you need an image at all? Maybe compelling copy is better?

4. Ad call-to-action
Experiment with actionable words like buy now, order now, sign-up/subscribe, download and share on social media. Test out call-to-action buttons that are different sizes, shapes and colours.

5. Testing strategy
Try to test three or four different variations for each group of banner ads, don’t try too many as you risk diluting traffic and spending unnecessarily. You could try radically different banners and as a winning ad emerges you can tweak it and make minor variances. Test your ads at the same time of day and for the same length of time as well as focusing on one traffic source at a time. Set a budget for each round of testing and make sure your ad rotation is even for accuracy.

Ad testing can be time consuming but by using your creativity and inventiveness you can increase your conversions and learn valuable lessons about your future ad campaigns.

Giles Hirst