Let’s kick off the year talking about Testing Plans: what it is and why do you need one?
A testing plan is exactly what it says on the tin – a plan for all the testing you want to do. As an agency, we like to work in quarters e.g. Q1, Q2 etc and within our plans this could be anything from audiences, bidding strategies, creatives, copy and much much more. We work closely with clients and creative teams to work out what we want to learn for the business and the best way to go about this.
So why should you be putting together a testing plan I hear you ask! Well, there are many reasons but one of the top reasons is that you won’t know what your audience wants to see without trying different things with your advertising.
As an example, we have a client who sells knitting, crochet and yarn patterns. Previous top performers have been a ‘Before and After’ shot of the product once it’s finished. Most recently, however, showing the yarns in a way to display their soft or squishy texture has performed better.
It is important to remember that even the top creative with the top audience can start to see a decline in performance once you have reached the top of the scale. Without testing, you will limit your results and performance!
What can you test? There are a whole host of things from:
- Bidding Strategies
- Promo’s e.g. 2 for 1 or 50% off, CBO vs. ABO
There are so many variables that it can be overwhelming to create a clear structured testing plan. Take a look below for a suggested process of creating your plan to align with your business goals;
The best way to think about your testing plan is to start at the end. What do you want to learn e.g. do you want to know what creative resonates best or whether an audience performs better than another one.
Now, how are you going to do this? In terms of creative, you don’t want to make a small change to the image as it is likely this is not a noticeable change e.g. is pink going to work better than blue as a background colour. Make big bold changes to help understand what your audiences want to see.
Set a date for when this test is going live, make sure it’s in the right audience and make sure you know when you are going to look at results and what the clear KPI’s are for success. It can sometimes be immediately clear whether something is working or it isn’t. Don’t waste spend if you are getting immediate results.
Here are some of our guidelines we like to follow when putting testing plans together.
- Make sure your tests won’t interfere with other tests. If this means running one test at a time then do it. It’s not always about getting fast results but on how to make your account more efficient and effective.
- Try to use your top-performing variables for the parts of the ad you are not testing. E.g. testing your creative then try this in the top-performing audience you currently have.
- Only change one variable when testing- e.g. Don’t test creative and copy, only pick one to understand your results.
- Determine what success looks like at the start before going live so you know exactly the areas you need to look at when evaluating results.
- Remember to just keep testing. Something that worked in Summer might not work in Winter. The platform changes a lot, so a LAL audience that once worked but may now not work compared to a Interest-based audience as we have lost the ability to track customers.
- Test, test and test again! There is always something to be tested.
- Make a structured plan and stick to it. Write in the results and your plan now doubles as a look back for the year on what worked and didn’t work.
- Only test one variable at a time and for the other variables use what you know works.