Marketers spend a lot of time focusing on targeting the right audiences with digital ads, as well as optimizing their placement. However, what many marketers don't realize is that assessing the performance of ad creatives is just as essential a component of a successful marketing strategy as the more nuts and bolts side of determining who to target and where.
Ad creatives can improve customer response rates from 20-50 percent, or even more. While these creatives may involve written or video content, they might also include a myriad of components, such as text font, color scheme, headline wording or display layout. Toward this end, marketers need to identify, isolate, evaluate and compare a wide range of creative components before an accurate performance assessment can be made.
Two of the best ways to do this are through creative testing and metrics monitoring. Here's how you can implement both of these strategies to boost ROAS in your advertising campaigns.
Heavy Creative Testing
Heavy creative testing is the key to identifying high-performance creatives in your ad campaigns. Three of the most effective methods are A/B (or split) testing, multivariate testing and funnel testing. While all three are similar in approach, each follows a different set of protocols. Here's what you need to know:
A/B testing uses live traffic to compare the conversion rates of two different versions of a similar page (version A, which is called the "control," versus version B, the "variation"). The most effective way to conduct split testing is to isolate one design or content component – such as font size, text style, color, a graphic image or the wording of a phrase – and change that one factor on the variant page. This way, marketers can identify which separate components garner a more positive reception.
These creative components are measured for performance according to how visitors interact with whichever version they see – for example, whether or not they watch a video, share content, click buttons or sign up for newsletters.
Multivariate testing differs from A/B testing in that it compares more creative variables within a page, and by doing so reveals how these variables interact with each other. For example, a multivariable testing page might contain several versions of the same ad, each with a number of different variables to compare, such as a different headline, a different format and different graphics.
Because of the high number of variables to test, multivariate testing is generally recommended for higher-traffic sites, where larger numbers of viewers can respond to the multiple versions displayed. This type of testing has an advantage in that it allows marketers to examine how well these creative combinations interact with each other; but one downside is that, with so many variations, it takes longer to process any meaningful results.
This is similar to A/B testing, but instead of comparing creative elements on a control page, funnel tests compare variations in the additional pages directed through your sales funnel.
For example, when visitors on your landing page click through to another page in your sales funnel, each visitor will be taken to a different variation of that page. This way, you can compare metrics to see which version is more effective.
Here's a list of some of the ad design components that can be effectively compared in A/B, funnel and multivariate testing:
• Call to Action Variables: These can include purchase-related terms such as "Buy It Now" or "Add to Cart," as well as coupons and sign-up bars for email discounts/ newsletters. You can also experiment with different call to action icons or button designs.
• Layout: Layout variations can include horizontal or vertical orientation, plus spacing and paragraph formatting.
• Visuals: Certain colors and fonts resonate with viewers, especially if they're eye-catching and easy to read.
• Graphics: These can include photos, icons, cartoon characters and other appealing graphic features that relate to your product.
• Content: This can include everything from the wording of a headline to the storyline of a video, but marketers agree that content is the creative that makes the biggest impact.
Choosing and Monitoring the Right Metrics
Studies show that, for many marketing channels, an average of 90 percent of your audience may not initially respond to a call to action the way you want them to – but that doesn't mean they're not listening or paying attention. Only by measuring a variety of metrics can you find out whether your ads are making an impact with your target demographic.
Every marketer knows about basic, indispensable advertising metrics such as click-through rate (CTR) and cost-per-install (CPI) for apps. Depending on your marketing campaign, consider monitoring these performance-gauging metrics as well:
Amount of content shared: Whether you post on social media or on a website or blog page, you're giving viewers an opportunity to share your content – and sharing equates to word-of-mouth advertisement for your product or service. If your content is being shared, it's being noticed. If it's not being shared, you'll want to develop new content (after trying it out on test groups) that will reach and engage your audience.
Customer acquisition cost (CAC): This involves adding up your entire marketing costs for a given time – including ad rates and staff salaries – and dividing the total by the amount of new customers you've acquired in that time period. If your company spent $20,000 on marketing in a month and you've gotten 20 new customers during that time, your customer acquisition cost is $1,000.
By identifying the CAC of each of your marketing channels, you can pinpoint the best performers. Next, look at the marketing creatives – how do they differ from those on your less-successful channels? By analyzing PPC and other metrics on your lower-performing channels, you can decide whether to overhaul content and/or reallocate marketing funds.
When it comes to boosting ROAS, it's absolutely imperative to invest in creatives that perform. However, even experienced marketers know that it's not always easy to distinguish between low-performing and high-performing creatives. With these methods of performance testing and metrics monitoring, you'll have the tools you need to identify the highest performing creatives in your campaign strategies.