At Chicory, we believe that advertising campaigns are only as good as their results. And the best way to not just get good results, but the best results, is to test. From copy, to creative, to landing pages, everything within a new advertising campaign is potentially just an element that a vendor should be plugging in or out to test performance.
However, not enough savvy advertisers adhere to this logic of testing. Instead, they spend time making beautiful creative with amazing thematic ideas. And where there certainly is room for a brilliant tagline or artwork, the real work of advertising in the digital age (aka the age in which a marketer can literally measure anything and everything) happens during optimization.
In order to get the best results possible for our clients (whether we're looking at clicks, engagements, on-target percentage, or CPA goals), we’ve created a way to dynamically test creative improvements and differences across our platform, read results in real time, and make changes based on those results.
A/B Testing Expanded
Testing is not a new concept when it comes to startups or marketers in general. The web is filled with best practices and articles and tools about split testing everything. In fact, if you google "a/b testing" you’ll get back tons of results from leading software providers.
We Googled just that and found countless results (sponsored and organic) for agencies that promise to optimize your company's site designs or app screens to increase user engagement on your product. There's also a result for MailChimp and it's email testing capabilities.
If you Google instead "a/b testing for advertising" you’ll actually just get same results plus a bunch of stuff about how to optimize Facebook campaigns. The Facebook stuff aside, this is super indicative of how advertising is being done online, even in the programmatic space.
When it comes to digital advertising people test things like website landing pages, geographic data, or timing of ad impressions, optimizing around the best performing hour of the day in Ohio, perhaps. Yet it’s very rare to see creative as an element of that testing process. And that’s probably because the client controls the creative and the message.
We built Chicory’s native tool from the ground up to solve this problem: the ad itself changes, not necessarily the creative. Instead of the ad just being a 320x50px image we have dozens of potential templates that the creative elements automatically fill into in various combinations. We pull data in order to determine the best performing versions of each campaign.
Start With Your Goal and Optimize
Optimization is about achieving a goal. That goal could be something simple like a click or something a little more complicated like a sale through Amazon. The best way to create a testing framework is to understand that each ad will have the same goal; the question is which way of presenting your messaging will achieve that goal best.
Below are several different styles of the same ad unit. They are all built on the same basic template but have subtle template changes that test certain aspects of the ad to judge success. Based on the results of this we can optimize the creative for best performance.
We learn not only what kind of CTAs perform the best, but also which small differences in look make a huge difference in performance. And these tests are precisely what's key when diving into new digital opportunities. It's the Wild West for everybody, particularly when it comes to launching and measuring new native solutions. Standing out from the crowd comes down to the details, for your campaigns and for measuring the effectiveness of your vendors alike.