November 14, 2017 – This month’s SEMpdx event focused on ad copy optimization.  3Q Digital’s Caitlin Halpert, Senior Director of Client Services, presented how to run more effective A/B tests on Google, Bing and Facebook.  Here are 10 takeaways from the evening:

  1. There are three factors to consider when testing ads: sample size, statistical significance and practical significance.
  2. Differences in ad format performance are usually the result of differences in inventory. We can’t compare ad sizes for a fair equivalent.  With that in mind, test each format independently.
  3. When it comes to Facebook ads, each ad has a life of its own. You can’t compare ads on this platform.
  4. To run a fair A/B test that’s statistically valid, follow the scientific method when appropriate: Formulate a question; create a hypothesis; design a controlled test; analyze the results.
  5. Ads must be eligible for the same auctions so that results reflect the same audiences on the same sites. They also need to enter on a level playing field, which requires re-setting ad history and re-launching legacy ads when the test begins.
  6. The output from proper testing will be useful. For example, the outcome will inform future optimizations, results will be practically significant, and there won’t be confounding factors.
  7. Using the “optimize” setting for your ad rotation can drive 10-20% more conversions than the “rotate evenly” setting.
  8. Create ads that are meaningfully different variations.
  9. Differentiate between data-based and data-influenced decisions.
  10. Get creative with ad copy, ad customizers and extensions.

Caitlin closed by emphasizing the importance of questioning everything.  One final tip: Learn what you can about the system, not about ad language.


Here are Caitlin’s slides from the presentation:

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