Testing your Facebook ads is not some overcomplicated magic formula that you have to create, despite what other marketing gurus might be telling you.

It doesn’t require all this crazy A/B testing of your buttons, small tweaks in your headlines, the color of your landing pages, etc.

It doesn’t have to be extremely complicated and overwhelming. It’s actually a very simple process of going back to three foundational elements:

  • Your audience
  • Your creative
  • Your offer

Tune in to today’s episode as I share more about each of these foundational elements, how to determine when you need to test them, and my best practices for testing each.

If you focus your time on these three things, you WILL find success with your ads, without all the overwhelm and complicated magic tricks attached.

Share your biggest testing takeaways with me over on the ‘gram at @emilyhirsh!

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Emily Hirsh:

Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. I hope you guys are having a great week. It is beautiful here in Austin. Spring in Austin is probably the best season. Spring or fall are my favorite seasons, but fall here is still a little hot, spring is absolutely gorgeous. 70s, green everywhere, sun is out. I can not get enough time outside. I went for two walks yesterday because I finished work and I was like, “I have to go outside again. I have to go for a walk.” It is so gorgeous and it’s not going to last because soon it’ll be way too hot here, and I will be leaving for the summer because I can’t stand it. So I am enjoying every second in this beautiful weather and recording lots of content this week. 

I have a whole list of content today to record, and I’ve been creating and creating and creating because we have been updating our entire Ignite program, which is kind of a surprise actually. When this comes out, it’ll be about released for the students, but instead of telling the students, just because you never know on deadlines, I’m just going to surprise them with over 100 new videos and an entire new custom layout and I’m so excited. It’s been literally three months in the works. It has taken a long time because it is so many details, so many resources. The Ignite program was already absolutely incredible and I was very proud of it, but now I’m 10 times more proud of it. I 100% hands down know that there is nothing better than it out there, just because of the resources, the level of intel, I’ve collaborated with my entire ads team while updating all the videos. Some really talented ads managers recorded some of the videos who are excellent instructors as well. So I’m just super excited about it and grateful for my team for their support, but it’s looking amazing.

So I’ve been in massive content creation mode because of that. A lot of the content, we actually added some new modules in there with the rebrand. I wanted Ignite to become like an Academy of online marketing. So we added stuff about email marketing and organic marketing. I created all of that myself. That takes a long time creating those videos from scratch. So it’s been a lot of content, I’m very excited though.

Today’s episode is about the three main elements to testing your ads. This is inspired by our last Not For Lazy Marketers workshop, which was amazing. I think it was one of our best. It was so good. If you’re not in the club, go to notforlazymarketers.com/club to get access to that monthly workshop with me. Last month was about testing your ads, and it’s about a 45 minute training, and then I do 45 minutes of hot seat, ask me anything, it doesn’t even have to be relevant to the topic. Obviously, they keep it about marketing, I guess. So you could ask me anything, but about marketing and Facebook ads. So the club is super fun and plus you get access to a texting community. People are texting and all sorts of questions that just when I see them, I’m like, “This is going to save them so much time and energy just by getting the answer to this one question.” So it’s so awesome and my team helps respond to those questions.

So anyways, the workshop was on testing your ads. So I’m going to pull high level what we talked about from that workshop and bring it here. My biggest takeaway from this that a lot of people kind of had the epiphany on, which is a common theme that I’m always talking about with marketing, but any core marketing foundational components, such as testing your ads, or testing your funnel, or creating and strategizing your funnel and marketing strategy, the actual success is oftentimes in the simplicity of it. One thing I said that really I didn’t realize how much it was going to resonate with the students but it really resonated with them, was how testing ads oftentimes overwhelms a lot of people, and testing your marketing strategy overwhelms a lot of people. But at the end of the day, there’s these three main elements.

So looking at things like split testing and having different color buttons and all this complicated lingo that I see out there, if people are like, “I AB tested my pages and then dah, dah, dah, and I have different headlines and they tweak this,” I think it makes it feel like marketing is like magic formula and you have to come up with that magic formula. It’s not a magic formula. Yes, there’s formulas in the process, I’ve talked a lot about that, but it’s not magic. And the actual success comes from the core simple foundations and not the AB testing headline, different color buttons, I got a red page, I got a blue page and I did… Whatever. And that’s just sometimes bells and whistles. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter too much. So you can get very complicated with your testing and completely overwhelm yourself, but you don’t have to.

There are three main things to testing your ads, three main elements. This is testing your ads, so I’m not going into testing your funnel, I did a little bit on the training, but if I did detail it, that’d be like a three hour training. So this is your Facebook ads. There are three things, one, your audiences, two, your ad creative, so the copy and the headlines, and then the images and the video, and three, the actual offer you’re sending people to. Those are the three core elements. And those are the three things that you have the most control over the success of your ads when you change and you update those.

So let’s talk a little bit about each, but I think the biggest takeaway I saw a lot of people kind of light bulb moment have, was how much they were over-complicating ads. And afterwards I’d get questions about, “Well, should I put these audiences in one campaign or do I do a different campaign with these audiences because my budget is smaller because I’m targeting international?” And I gave them obviously what I would do in those situations. But a lot of things also with marketing to keep in mind when you’re testing is it’s okay to just try something. It’s okay to be like, “Well, let me see if I put my warm on it and says one ad set and cold traffic as the others in this campaign, let me see how it does.” Or “Let me see if I combine all of these different countries in one campaign and let me see how it does.” “Let me see how it does if I pull up the United States.” I don’t have the answer to all of those and so I always have like, “Here’s what I would do. Here’s what my team would do.”

There’s definitely best practices that I went into, especially around audiences and how much creative to use and how much testing to do on the ad copy, but also what’s the worst that’s going to happen? The worst that’s going to happen is you’re going to spend your daily budget. And I talked about this and then saw it again in the Q and A where one specific person was like, “Well, I had a campaign, my CPM cost per thousand impression was…” I think she said $17. “And then turned it off and I changed the campaign, I changed the audience and the creative and I turned it back on and my CPM was $45 or something like that. And so is that normal? And that’s way more.” And I said, “How long did you run it?” She’s like, “For six hours. And then I turned it off because I was freaked out.” So that’s so common. That’s so common. And my answer was, “You ran it for six hours. That CPM could have gone way down, but also you changed factors. You’ve got to let it run. And the worst thing what’s going to happen is you’re going to spend your daily budget.” 

So be comfortable with a daily budget that you might not make back right away and just go try things when you’re testing your ads. That’s my advice to you because a lot of these little details that people stress out about and then it causes them to be paralyzed and not take action don’t matter that much. And for one person it could work really great, and for another it doesn’t. You don’t know until you try it. So that’s especially on all those little details like my audience size, and how many audiences do I put in? And how do I do this? Yes, there’s best practices, but also just try it. Just try it. Just go do. Just go learn. So those are the little details.

Let’s talk about the three main elements. So audiences number one. Audiences and testing audiences, what we normally recommend is a range of audiences based on your budget. So if you are spending less than $25 a day in the campaign, you should have about one to three audiences. If you’re at 25 to $50 a day, you’d have about three to five audiences and then again, each increment it would go up a little bit more from there. So you’re basing the number of audiences in your campaign based on your daily budget. And you don’t want to have so little budget and so many audiences that Facebook can’t actually test them because then you’re not testing them. So if I had 10 audiences and I had $20 in a day in my campaign, it might look like I’m testing all those audiences, but really Facebook’s probably going to just put the budget towards two or three, maybe, of those audiences. So you’re not really testing.

The number of audiences in a campaign should be based off of your budget in the campaign. We generally say, keep those audiences around the same size. And then also, if you have the ability with your budget, I would feed your campaigns. So I’d have a campaign that’s lookalike audiences, I’d have a campaign that’s your interest based, and then a campaign for your warm and et cetera. With campaign budget optimization, you are having more campaigns, you’re doing your testing within campaigns. That came up a lot. People… Clarity around that. So when you launch… Let’s say you ran ads for two weeks and then you have new ad creative, you want to put it into a new campaign and launch it fresh from a new campaign, because with the way Facebook optimizes with campaign budget optimization, if you throw a bunch of stuff and you keep messing with the campaign, you’re messing with the optimization.

So that’s your audiences. You got the number of audiences based off of your budget, how to choose audiences. What I would do if you’ve never run ads and you need to find that demographic based audiences, I’d take keywords that are relevant to your ideal customer and I’d put them in the ad set level of your Facebook ad and just see what comes up. So for example, for me, we would put digital marketing or Facebook ads, or we could put some influencers, and Facebook will start giving you other suggestions to try. And so that’s where also with audiences… So that’s how I’d find some audiences, but from there, just try things because I don’t know what’s going to work for you and not going to work. And don’t be afraid to try some combinations and do one audience on its own versus three or four audiences in a group together. You don’t know what’s going to work that’s why it’s called testing. You have to test those things.

The main golden rule is trying to keep those audiences around the same size within the campaign. So you don’t want to have an audience size of 100,000 and then another with a million within your campaign. That could throw it off a little bit. It’s okay if they’re not exactly the same, but that’s the one kind of standard. So depending on how big the audiences are, you might have a group of three or four of them in one ad set, or you might just have one and you should test those, but it depends on the size.

Okay, then we have your ad creative. So this is probably the most important thing and the hardest to get right. And it is the biggest driving factor. So typically, when we go to launch a new campaign, what we do is we will have two to three versions of body copy, three to five headlines, one to three different images, a video, and I also like testing an Instagram reel. And that all gets put within one ad set with dynamic creative. And so that allows Facebook to choose where to put the budget. So with the body copy, with the copy, choose different angles, test long or to short copy and test some different angles. Maybe you go for a positive angle with your audience of a positive… Their dreams. And then maybe you go, another one is focused in on their pain points and is more of a negative spin. And you see, does it work better to focus on pain or your ideal customer’s dreams, and which ones? So try different angles with that copy.

So you’ll have about two to three different versions of that body copy, three to five different headlines that you’ll test, and then you’ll want to test one to three images. I would test an image with no headlines on it, I would test an image with headlines on it and see how that does. Sometimes organic looking images actually do better for our clients and sometimes they don’t. Definitely, definitely test a video against your images to see. And if you can, even test an Instagram reel. You just create it, download it as a video and upload it into your ads manager and then run it as dynamic creative, which means Facebook is going to choose where to put the budget with all of those creative versions.

And so your ad copy is oftentimes… I think so sometimes people think that they have to find these magical audiences, but if you are targeting audiences that you know your ideal customer is going to be hanging out in and your ads are not working yet, most likely the problem is in your messaging. So most likely going deeper with your messaging, touching on the pain points, touching on the dreams of your ideal customer and taking that to the next level, most of the time that will help your ad costs versus trying to find different audiences. So with those, you want to run your ads when you watch a new campaign for at least 72 hours before you make any big decisions. And a lot of people have a hard time with this and I get it, because you’re spending money and it’s scary and you want to make sure it’s working and then you’re seeing the money go out and it’s not working. You got to let Facebook optimize to get that data.

After 72 hours, you’ll start to see, what is my cost per click on this training? If you want to get access to it you can join the club that I talked about. The ideal range of your cost per click and the ideal range of your click through rate and all those things that you’re looking for once you launch your ads, I’m not going to get into it in this episode, but you can get access to that training if you join the club. So you’ll want to then say, “Okay, once 72 hours comes by, what are my metrics? And is my ad working or not?” And your things like your cost per click, and your click through rate, and your CPM will tell you what you need to change, and do you need to change and launch new creative, or try different audiences and continue with that.

Then the third element to test it in your ads that I have to put in here is your actual offer. And so that means if you’re going to a sale, obviously it’s your product offer that you’re selling if you’re going to add to a sale, but it also is the title of your webinar, the title of your video series, your opt in, your lead magnet. It’s whatever you’re sending people to from your apps. And I think too often people don’t look at this, because here’s the scenario, if you have tested lots of different ad creative you feel like you have done a good job at writing creative that your ideal customer is going to resonate with, it goes deep enough, you’ve tested several versions and you know you’re targeting audiences where your ideal customer is hanging out and you’re still not getting the results you want with your ads, it is most likely your offer or the positioning of your offer. And that sucks when that happens, and it doesn’t mean the actual product itself that you sell is bad or your business is bad, it’s oftentimes just the positioning of it.

So for some people, this could just be your webinar title. The content of your webinar is not necessarily what people want to know about, or the actual promises of it, the sub-headline, the positioning of it. So that doesn’t even mean the actual webinar presentation… I have definitely had times where we had a webinar title that did really well and then we had a webinar title that didn’t do as well and the webinars were the same on the back end. So it doesn’t matter as much on the back end, but it’s the hook and how you’re getting people in. And so if you have sufficiently tested your ad creative, and you know you’re targeting audiences that your ideal customer follows, and it’s still not converting, you have to look at the offer and the positioning of what you’re sending your ads to, because that’s really important.

So if you’re in that boat, look at changing your webinar title, changing the messaging around it, or changing the messaging around your product and how you’re positioning it, because that could be where the answer is. Because you could spin your wheels forever, and if that’s not fixed, it’s not going to work. And that happens to everybody. We don’t always know what our audience is going to respond to the most until we go out and try it. I’ve personally learned a lot about my audience in terms of what people respond to the most. And we’re constantly getting takeaways around this that are impacting the live webinars that we do or the live podcast series that we do, because that front end positioning of that offer from the Facebook ads matters a lot.

So those are the three main elements to testing your ads. The problem lies within those three. And if it’s not your audiences and your ad creative than it is your offer, and you can put your time into that in the training I talked about, okay, what happens if my ad was hitting all these metrics and, and I’m still not getting my sales conversion, then we have to look at the funnel, but this is your ad itself. This is getting your ad to a point where it is converting. And, and you’re, you’re getting sufficient traffic into your sales funnel. That’s where you can go put effort into fixing those testing, new audiences, testing, new ad, creative, or shifting and updating and testing the positioning of your offer itself. You do those things and you’ll find the problem. You’ll create the improvement. 

It’s not about the complicated AB split testing or micro changes to a headline or these little like magic audiences you think you’re going to find. Which I think a lot of people think that is the answer because people try to sell that to you is that’s the answer. I am just not about that because the answer is in the foundation and it doesn’t have to be complicated. It should not be complicated. Marketing can be very simple and success can be very simple. And if you focus on those foundational components, you will find that success. Thanks so much for listening today, guys, I’ll see you next time.

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