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How to Test Your Paid Media For Optimal Results, Part 2

By Scott Ginsberg, Head of Content, Metric Digital

In digital marketing, guesses are what you think, but tests are what you know.

Only with that data can you learn, iterate and optimize your paid campaigns into tremendous revenue drivers for your business.

In part one of this series, we already answered several key questions about the testing mindset and key tactics to execute tests that drive results.

Let’s keep the momentum going by addressing additional questions on this topic.

I sat down with Metric Digital Senior Digital Specialist, Aaron Sagotsky, who answered key questions about our company’s approach to testing:

How do you test bid strategies on Facebook?

Bid strategies show how aggressive a brand can approach an auction, how it wants to serve impressions, to whom and when. It’s a massive lever any brand can pull, and can result in a fundamental shift in performance.

For companies with smaller audiences, using lowest cost bidding makes sense. That means the ads will hit everyone in the cheapest way possible. On the other hand, brands with bigger audiences with millions of prospects and targets, that’s where the data driven audiences make much more sense.

As a hypothetical example, say you’re an apparel brand that sells both costly jackets ($300) and cheap hats ($10). If you are using a purchase based bid strategy, Facebook is going to treat those two purchases as the same. That’s a mistake, since it will have taken less ad dollars. That’s why you need to use different bid strategies across the funnel for different purchases. Having a diverse mix and testing across the funnel is ideal.

What other elements are worth testing within the ads themselves?

Most brands have a certain sweet spot with ad creative where they’re comfortable. We recommend testing a diversity of assets, in terms of Ad Type, Format, Concept, and so on. We don’t recommend simply hitting one kind of ad hard, but rather, to diversify, test, and verify that it’s actually what you want.

Understandably, a company will have an ad in their past that was pretty successful, in terms of contributing to their goal of profitability. As an agency, we don’t want to take away from those past victories. If a company is already profitable and close to their CPA or ROAS goal, they’re not doing a bad job. The secret is looking for pockets that could take performance to the next level. Our job as a marketing agency is to really dig into the accounts and look for pockets of revenue that are easily overlooked and could take the company to the next level.

What if your test results are redundant or inconclusive?

Seasonality can be at play, so remember to take all tests with a grain of salt. It’s not black and white. Brands need to acknowledge everything that’s going on in the business, time of year, other channels you may have like good or bad press, and so on. There are so many data points that you have to be cognizant of, the combination of which could make testing it not prove something out. In which case, it’s okay to test again.

Also, if one of your ideas doesn’t work out, that doesn’t make it a bad idea. The issue might have been timing, user error, a tech glitch, an oversight, or some other unforeseen event. But whatever happened, treat this as part of the account learning process.

Check out Aaron's previous article: Your Last Digital Marketing Test Failed. Now What? Learn more about bouncing back from subpar paid media performance.

How do you turn test data into insights, insights into improvements and improvements into growth?

Something crucial to remember about testing is, digital marketing algorithms are basically black boxes. And it’s tempting for companies to react erratically when performance shifts without a clear justification. What we do at Metric is focus on underscoring the opportunity. My formula when approaching performance dips is as follows: Here’s what happened, here’s why it happened, and here’s an opportunity to test something the brand has not tested before.

The benefit of working at Metric is, we get to test across over fifty clients at our agency. We see strategies working across the entire book of business. And when we run tests, it’s not like they only work once on one account, these campaign structures or bid strategies work across five or ten accounts, and that our validation that we’re onto the right track. It goes back to that distinction from earlier. What we think versus what we know. Testing focuses on the latter.

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Thanks for the awesome insights Aaron!

Remember, that your brand is testing is important; but how your brand tests will make the difference between average results and significant growth. That’s how curious and savvy digital marketers unlock new value.

Stay tuned for part three in this series to learn more about Metric Digital’s testing framework that we use to scale our clients’ businesses profitably.

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Scott Ginsberg Head of Content, Metric Digital The Metric Digital Blog A Blog on All Things Digital Marketing