How to Go About Setting up An A/B Split-Test for Social Media Adverts

Social media split testing with Leadtrekker

Social media advertising, any kind of paid advertising really, costs money. For this reason you need to know what works and what doesn’t to determine which “recipe” gives the best results. Because, after all, you want to spend your money on what works best.

Creating an advert, letting it run its course, and then wondering if the results could have been better is a particularly passive approach to social media advertising. The only way to really figure out what will reap the most rewards, whatever your objective may be, is through continuous A/B split-testing.

In order to do an A/B split test you will need two adverts to compare or “test”. Some examples of the types of variables you can compare include:

  • advert types
  • images
  • ad text
  • landing pages

Pick one thing to compare first, such as images. Let’s say you are advertising a car brand. You would create two different adverts with different images – one ad might use a family-orientated image while another makes use of glamorous shots of a specific vehicle. Repeat this test a few times to see which type of image performs best for the audience or target market in question.

One could then use the “winning” image type and create another split test. This time the two ads will use the same image but different ad text. This way one can determine what type of text attracts the best results. One could do the same thing again, this time testing audiences or landing pages. Repeat this process until the recipe for the best results has been discovered.

Now, this might seem simple, but where most people get stuck is in the measurement. How do you know which ad in the test is yielding the best results? Read on to find out.

Track conversions using custom URLs

You can compare conversion results from different social media platforms, different ad sets or campaigns, and even different images within an advert using Leadtrekker.

First, create a custom URL for your advert. If you are using multiple images, or creating a Facebook carousel ad you can create a custom URL for each image. Click here to get started. For accurate split-testing all URLs should point to the same landing page (website URL). Then just fill out the different campaign source, medium, name, term and content.

Now that your URLs are set up you can begin tracking the performance of each individual social media advert. This can be done using Leadtrekker. The screenshot below shows how the data used in custom URLs are displayed when a lead comes through in Leadtrekker.

Social media split testing with Leadtrekker

Measure engagement using platform analytics

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have their own analytics and show engagement metrics in their advertising platform. In Facebook’s Ad Manager you can customise your columns to show the exact metrics that you want to track including; reach, impressions, post engagement, page engagement, reactions, shares and comments.

Engagement metrics let you know how people are reacting to your ads. They might not be clicking through to your website, but they may be sharing the ad or tagging a friend that they think would be interested. Engagement should also be considered and compared when deciding which ad is performing best in your A/B split test.

Track website actions using Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows you to track what people do once they have clicked through to your website, as well as the amount of traffic to your site from different social media sources. It is important to take metrics such as bounce rate, time spent on site, pages per session and conversion rate into account when comparing the results of your split test. These metrics show whether those who clicked on your advert engaged with your website content, and in turn, how relevant your audience really was.