Creative testing is essential to any strategic marketing campaign. Done correctly, it helps drive campaign goals and results in the best possible ROI. Testing should be an ongoing activity of all your paid digital marketing programs.
When testing creative, consider these five tips for optimal success.
Have clear goals.
What is the brand position? What goals are the focus of this campaign? How will you measure success?
Testing protocols should reinforce the main goal or goals, which is why having clear goals and desired outcomes is necessary from the onset of your testing strategy. Goals can be measured by an array of KPIs from conversion rates to click-through rates to attributable revenue. Also, remember to identify the statistical significance that you’ll deem acceptable to declare a winner, and be sure to give your test enough time to achieve that margin..
Simplicity is key.
We can’t stress this enough. You’ll need to narrow your focus to one specific variable at a time. When too many variables are introduced into a test, it’s nearly impossible identify which elements are driving the desired results.
You can pick apart individual elements to test, including CTAs, headline copy, button color or copy, imagery, and position of elements on a page. Identify which variable you want to test and measure its performance against the control. These are all elements to consider when developing a strategic approach to your test.
Keep an open mind.
Even the smallest factors can affect your key performance indicators (KPIs). What you think will work for the campaign may be the complete opposite of the test outcome. And that’s okay. The great thing about testing is that it removes subjectivity from the equation. The goal is to learn from each test, optimize based on the results and move on to the next test.
Best practices suggest testing creative elements every 30 to 60 days for optimal results and taking those results to continually optimize campaigns based on those learnings.
Stay on brand.
Creative testing should help to elevate, tweak and optimizing your existing brand and messaging, not replace it. The look and feel of the current brand should be evident, and the creative being testing should be aligned with the overarching marketing strategy. It’s ok to test new creative interpretations to the brand—for example, a different button placement on a banner ad or new hero styling on a landing page—but it should still feel like a cohesive part of the overall brand. You’ll want to avoid piecing out creative elements for testing that result in everything looking different, and make sure you update other creative with the most successful elements.
Don’t be afraid to fail.
It’s important to implement changes and try new creative when testing. Bottom line, if your creative isn’t performing, take a step back to analyze what other factors could be playing a role. Is the landing page you’re driving to paying off your marketing message and making conversion points clear? Is the offer or promotion you’re featuring complicated to redeem, or broad enough in appeal? Is your campaign strategy designed to trigger the right kind of consumer response? All of those elements can affect results.
Rely on the data and trust what it tells you. Sometimes you get surprising insights. Sometimes it confirms what you expected. And sometimes you’re going learn some hard truths about your strategy or brand. Each of these outcomes is valuable in its own right. And no matter what it tells you, it’s going to make your brand better and better with every test.
A solid creative testing strategy is the only way to know for sure what’s working and what’s not. Much like your paid media, social media and overall marketing strategy, testing is an ongoing, long-term project that never really ends. So, mix it up. Then, get ready to test again (and again).