Whether we are running paid media in a social, search, or video space, as an agency, we want to ensure that our approach in strategy is targeted, measurable, cost-efficient, and data-driven. At Net Conversion, our approach to paid media is driven by Audience-First Marketing, which is our own personalized and intelligent approach that syncs audiences’ evolving needs and demands to their consumer journey. Before any media goes live, we always make sure we know our client’s target consumers, so that our strategy appeals to their sensibilities. And while we typically do not handle creative pieces for clients, strategies can influence creative within our platforms and tactics. Hence, creative testing is introduced to our mix. 

What IS creative testing?

Creative testing is a way to compare ads to see which assets, copy, or any combination thereof, are driving the most desired results for our clients. The testing tactic is introduced to our clients on a case-to-case basis. If our clients have a large library of creative, imagery testing will be introduced at the start of our paid media launch. However, we can also use campaign data to drive our testing methods for clients with smaller creative libraries or lesser-known brands. In many cases, strategy and collected data impact the type of creative testing selection. 

How does it work? 

In some instances, our analysts can determine that efforts within a channel are not being maximized to their full potential based on data reporting. Once creative testing has been established as a positive tactic for our strategy, we will choose a performance metric that we will use to measure, such as click-through rate, engagement, and overall consumer sentiment. For most cases, we will set up A/B testing to best compare the performance of our variables. Typically our seasoned creative will serve as the test group, and our variables will run for 4-6 weeks, dependent on monthly spend, test type, and platform machine learning. 

The testing will compare groups of ads to determine which resonates best with selected audiences and geo-targeting based on the client’s strategy. Once a quantifiable result is received, the lower performing group will be paused, and the higher performing group will be replaced in all campaigns where applicable. 

Creative testing as a whole allows for our analysts to determine:

  • What type of creative specific audiences will respond positively to
  • Where our audience segments are truly engaging
  • How we can better take a look at a creative standpoint rather than other audience signals and segments 

The results data from creative testing lead to different ways of thinking when segmenting our audiences.

Results 

As we’ve used creative testing across multiple clients at Net Conversion, we’ve been able to determine multiple positive outcomes from this type of testing. As an agency, we’ve been able to test various creatives, from imagery, ad copy, video units to ad types and partner testing platforms. To highlight a couple of examples, we’ve implemented and tested responsive display ads that housed different ad types that can curate image and copy together and hence saw CTR increase as opposed to static or animated banners provided by clients. This option of curating ad copy paired with images creates a hyper-targeted ad unit that directly talks to the target consumer with specific verbiage and imagery.  

Another one of our clients had a new campaign slogan launch as they rebranded internally. Our team A/B tested new creative vs. old variations due to concerns of sensitivity around verbiage. We wanted to ensure that the sophisticated language of the new creative was being understood. To quantify this, we partnered with Kantar Media to do an A/B test on consumer sentiments. The hypothesis was that the new videos would have a more negative sentiment to our consumer. However, after the analysis in the partner dashboard, we determined that the new branding was more enjoyable, engaging, and overall provided the same level of positive sentiments as the original videos with a higher rating for uniqueness and new information.

We have also segmented our messaging to the gender of our consumers. Knowing that gender impacted buying decisions, we curated ad copy for gender-neutral, male, and female segments, including same-sex couples language, Galentines messaging, and heterosexual couple messaging. We learned that women identified most with the Galentines messaging, or celebrating women, and those ads had a higher engagement and more results than our standard ad types. We also noticed that gender-neutral verbiage performs just as well as heterosexual verbiage but provides a more inclusive feel to the consumer.

Summary

Testing is a vital part of the marketing business to ensure that our strategies and efforts bring in the most efficient results for our clients. By adding in creative testing to further develop our strategies and tactics, we add another layer into our partnership with our clientele. Creative testing provides an opportunity to understand better what resonates, attracts, and moves our consumers to a purchasing decision. And as a result, it allows our marketing team to tap into unique and more creative outlets to drive overall better performance that can cause strategy shifts for future campaigns. All in all, creative testing is just another element to add to the mix when thinking about holistic marketing strategies. 

Written by Marketing Lead, James McAndrew + Marketing Specialist, Carli Eurton

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