Jan 09 2015

Mastering the A,B’s

Posted by: John Randall

To successfully execute a digital advertising campaign, you must first master the ABCs of digital advertising.  Generating valuable insights and delivering the best results for ad campaigns starts with testing your messages, images, and target audiences.

A common practice in marketing is A/B testing, which strategically tests two variables against each other. Applying this practice to advertising is not new. In Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy discusses the value in testing: “When in doubt as to which of two illustrations to use, test their relative pulling power by split-running them in a newspaper.”

An advantage digital advertising offers is the real-time results that can be learned from each landing page or ad during the campaign. At any given moment, ad buyers can see what ads are performing best and then allocate additional budget to them. Today, you no longer have to wait for readers to use the coupons in newspaper ads to understand which messages, images, or platforms are most effective. Ad buyers can see what ads are working and, if necessary, have design teams make additional changes to ads to further improve performance.

Making iterative improvements to ads is the surest way to maximize the results of your campaign. For example, CRAFT recently ran a campaign for a local business looking to generate leads. We began with two landing pages, and the only difference between the pages were the Call to Action (CTA). After a week, the results confirmed CTA (A) was more successful at converting people than CTA (B). Once we understood which CTA worked best, we then tested two images. Again, after a week (the time necessary, in this instance, to generate statistically significant information), we used the data to determine the best performing image and then paired it with the best performing CTA.

With data-driven creative and additional A/B testing for the landing page, CRAFT was able to drive down the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) from almost $100 to under $20.  This dramatic decrease in the CPA was a result of CRAFT managing our client’s ad buy to ensure we could generate the correct data to make an informed decision.  The reduction can also be attributed to testing various elements on the landing page such as the image, CTA, and even button colors and placement. With the results, CRAFT utilized the data to make informed decisions which eliminated instinct-based outcomes.

A/B testing is not a new technique, but it has yet to become fully utilized in digital advertising campaigns. Testing various elements of your ads and/or landing page provides valuable information that should direct all of your advertising decisions. A/B testing requires significant time, budget, and a team with direct access to advertising data. It also requires the knowledge to understand the data in order to make actionable decisions. In every campaign, CRAFT relies on data to make informed decisions, which can help us drive down the CPA by 80% in some instances.

When running a digital advertising campaign, focus on the ABCs — that way, even your “failures” can ultimately lead to greater success.