[originally posted on www.PPCHero.com]

 

So I saw this “meh” ad on my wife’s Facebook page, and thought it would make a pretty good example of “Things to Test on Your Facebook Ads.”

 

 

But before I list off everything that could probably be improved or might be worth testing, here are a few things that are well done, or at least OK:

 

  • The orange “Button” on the lady’s head provides enough visual prominence to at least earn a glance.
  • The “spot color” on her eyes then keeps your attention long enough to look at the headline.
  • The headline is a semi-provocative question, directed at the viewer

So what do I think could be improved, or at least tested?

 

Well here’s how my version of “slice and dice” might be different than most.

 

Most people take the structural elements of the ads and use those for testing purposes — headline, displayed url, image, body copy.  Possibly they’ll count a Call to Action at the end of the body copy as a separate element.

 

And that works OK, except it gives you no clue as to what variations you should try for each of those elements.

 

So here’s what I’d suggest:

First figure out the main appeal of the ad

 

For this ad, the main appeal the main appeal seems to be curiosity: how old are you really?  Not how old the calendar says you are, but how old is your body?

 

But there are two ways to engage readers’ curiosity with this question:

 

  1. worrying the audience that they’re older than their age, or
  2. holding out hope that their bodies are younger than they think.

 

The example ad takes the first approach, but does it very mildly, both in the image and the headline.  So I’d want to test both the opposite approach (that of holding out hope) as well as variations of intensity for the worry approach.

 

Also, included in the idea of both hope and worry is the idea that prospects will not only learn their “real age” but also ways to influence it — how to keep the clock turned back for those whose bodies are younger than their years, or how to turn it back for those shocked to find out they’re really older than they think. So I might want to test whether or not the inclusion of messaging around “fix it” or “make it better” might improve CTR.

Next, look at credibility builders and “Point of Action Assurances”

 

In the example ad, the only credibility element is the “as seen on NBC’s Today Show” line in the body copy. And that’s OK, but there are stronger options available. This test has also been featured on Oprah and was partially created with the help of Dr. Oz.  Both of those are pretty heavy duty credibility builders for the right audience. It’s well worth testing to see if one or the other or some combination works best.

 

As for Point of Action Assurances, the main concern that might be killing the click probably concerns the test itself. Does the test require you to know medical info like, say, your blood pressure or cholesterol levels and such?  If it doesn’t, then a line about “easy questions you can answer in minutes” might be worth testing. Has it proved accurate? That kind of thing.

 

Often, simply addressing these kinds of “conversion killing” concerns can dramatically improve Click Through. And with a free test, the main concern is that it would take too long, be too complicated, or require information that’s not ready-to-hand, etc.  And that also brings to mind the idea of FREE.  The test is free, so it might be worth testing to see if adding some kind of “Free” statement to the ad doesn’t boost click through rates.

 

Often, simply addressing these kinds of “conversion killing” concerns can dramatically improve Click Through. And with a free test, the main concern is that it would take too long, be too complicated, or require information that’s not ready-to-hand, etc.  And that also brings to mind the idea of FREE.  The test is free, so it might be worth testing to see if adding some kind of “Free” statement to the ad doesn’t boost click through rates.

Each testable variation has its own hypothesis

 

With my take on “slice and dice” testing, the emphasis is on variations of persuasive approach, not on haphazardly creating variations of specific ad elements.  More importantly, each variation carry with it a hypothesis, which means that each test — even a negative test — provides added insight into your target market.

 

So if the “and do something about it” statements test negative, you’ve learned something valuable about what’s really motivating your audience, even if the test failed.

 

No, it’s not rocket science — but it IS scientific.

 

And for the curious, here’s what a few challenger ads might look like, if they were created using this approach:

 

 

 

So what about you?  Are you testing scientifically, or are you just throwing variations against your target’s Facebook wall and seeing if they click?