The Sort of Secret Super Hack for Effortless A/B Testing on Facebook

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Mike (00:02):

This picture of Mateo Lopez is amazing, but so is this other one. Mateo, if we want to get more people to listen to the podcast, should I use the picture of serious, professional Mateo or the picture of cool-guy, laid-back expert Mateo, which one?

Mateo (00:16):

I would say the laid-back one.

Mike (00:22):

How do we know?

Mateo (00:23):

If we’re trying to be really scientific about this, you know, some might say, some gurus out there would say, why don’t you split test it? Why don’t you A/B test it?

Mike (00:33):

Let’s go over this. A/B testing is a buzzword in the digital marketing world right now. We’ll go over it. We’ll tell you what it is, if you should do it, perhaps even how you can do it and what you might want to do instead. We’ll be back with Mateo Lopez of Two-Brain Marketing right after this. Want to add $5,000 in monthly revenue to your gym? You can do it. If you want to know how, to talk to a Certified Two-Brain Business mentor for free, you can book a call twobrainbusiness.com.

Mike (01:01):

And we are back with Mateo Lopez. We’re going to talk about A/B testing. Right off the bat for people who don’t know, what is this stuff?

Mateo (01:13):

A/B testing is basically, or split testing, as it is also called, is basically when you have two things, two variations of a thing. Let’s just say an ad, right? You have one version of an ad and another you’re gonna split test, you’re going to show both to your audience or to a test group and see which one performs better. That’s kind of the idea there. And when it comes to ads, you can A/B test anything, you can A/B test your picture, your ad copy, the button, the call to action, a landing page, all sorts of things. Anywhere where there are more than one option, you can pretty much split test it.

Mike (01:56):

So in theory you should, if this was a simple and easy process with a limited number of variables, you could take this one thing and this other similar but different thing and show it to an audience and they would tell you which one is better and makes them want to buy the thing more. Correct?

Mateo (02:12):

Yeah. The key there is, you know, controlling and limiting the variables. But yeah, a simple A/B test would be, let’s say we have two ads, one, the copy is exactly the same as the other and the only difference is the image. That would be a simple ad creative A/B test to see which one’s going to perform better. The image of you or the image of me with the same ad copy.

Mike (02:38):

This is kinda like the old, the focus grouping practice, right? Where you’d get people in a room and you’d pay them 20 bucks to look at your ad and tell them, you know, how the car makes you feel or whatever it is. And advertisers would decide, we’re going to use this word and this music because he focus group liked it. This is kind of a live online focus grouping, correct?

Mateo (02:57):

Yeah. And then you can keep going. Let’s say we determine that people like you in the image better than me.

Mike (03:03):

Unlikely, but we’ll talk.

Mateo (03:03):

We keep your image the same. And now we have two ads and now it’s just your face on both of those ads. But now we’re going to change the headline of the ad copy in each one. But then the body copy is going to be the same, right? And then we see which one of those performs better. OK? So then we find the winner of that. It’s your face, headline A is the winner. And now we’re gonna do two versions of the body copy. And then we go down and we figure out, OK, the winning combination is Mike Warkentin’s face, headline copy version A, body copy version B. And that’s like the winning combo of, when you take all the, all the individual elements, when we test it for all the individual elements, we’ll find the winner.

Mike (03:50):

So I checked this out, I did some reading on this because I saw someone mentioned A/B testing and I thought, man, maybe I should be doing this thing with my ads to see if it makes a difference. And I read this article and my head was spinning in about three paragraphs and I kind of pushed through about three more scrolls. And by the time I got into like halfway through, I was completely confused because there are like a thousand variables in a Facebook ad that you can switch. Correct?

Mateo (04:18):

Yeah. There are a lot. I mean, you’ve got the text, you’ve got the image or video if you’re using a video. That’s another thing, the media itself is a variable that can add all sorts of different elements to it. And then you have your headline, which is the bold piece. And then you have the newsfeed link description. Sometimes people just leave that blank because on certain views, on certain feeds, like in the messenger feed or on your mobile, sometimes that’s not even visible. And then the button you can change it from learn more to download, you know, buy now, all those different options are available to you there. So there’s a lot of variables, a lot of things you can change.

Mike (04:59):

And then it even gets weirder if you’re like directing people to a landing page, you might have a whole other 100,000 variables that you could change on that landing page.

Mateo (05:07):

Yeah. If you’re driving to a page or a lead ad—.

Mike (05:11):

I mean the sense that I got from reading this article was that A, this was way beyond me, and B, you could really over-complicate stuff. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do this potentially, but me for the level I’m at as a gym owner, I’m looking at this and saying, man, I do not have time to test 8,000 variables. And I almost guarantee that if I tried to, I would probably have some sort of confounding variable in there that I didn’t understand. Meaning like I might A/B test my Facebook stuff, but then something on my landing page switched, too and totally invalidated everything because it was the landing page that was causing the clicks or not causing the clicks as opposed to the Facebook ad. I felt overwhelmed. What do you think? Am I a rare bird or is that common with this stuff?

Mike (05:52):

No. Yeah, you’re not alone in that. The other thing too is like at a certain point, you know, you’re not going to see—there’s just not enough traffic really being generated in most of the businesses that we work with, right? We’re not spending a ton per month. We’re not getting a ton of eyeballs compared to someone who’s got, you know, $50,000 a month budget just on Facebook ads alone. Where changing a button color could make, you know, a difference of like a one percentage point. Right. You know, for us that wouldn’t really mean a whole lot. But for someone who’s getting, you know, thousands upon thousands of eyeballs, you know, a half a percentage point, you know, makes a big difference. You know because they’re just doing so much more volume. Right? So at a certain point, it doesn’t make sense if your business is really small, if you’re not spending a ton of money. Some of these differences are going to be so small you won’t even catch it.

Mike (07:04):

I have to know this. What’s the best button color right now? What’s hot for winter 2020?

Mateo (07:09):

Oh God. I don’t know. I think you could probably just Google it, I would say green or blue or red. Best button color red or blue. Let’s see. But then there’s green, you know, I dunno.

Mike (07:23):

You gotta A/B test it, I suppose.

Mateo (07:23):

Best color for a call to action. This is the first one that Google popped up on. Someone’s done a very good job of optimizing this with SEO. Oh, they’re trying to get me to do a case study, opt-in. I don’t want to do that. I just want to see—so I’m not even gonna find the answer.

Mike (07:49):

We were trapped in a marketing funnel. They caught the mighty Mateo.

Mateo (07:51):

And now they’re going to follow me everywhere, too. They’re gonna retarget, let’s just see, is there a conclusion? In conclusion? In conclusion, it says to A/B test to find out.

Mike (08:05):

Google let us down.

Mateo (08:07):

The bottom line. It’s pretty much impossible to prove which color’s better.

Mike (08:14):

Oh, that’s great. So now I know you’re going to go to all these other sites and you’re going to see ads for landing page colors. So let me, I’ll ask you this and we’re going to go and talk about a way that you can un-complicate things. But before we do that, the question I’ll ask you, is this: If you’re a gym owner and you decide like, OK, I have to know, I have to do an A/B test. What would you test, if you had to test one controlled variable as simple as possible, or maybe two, what would be the one that you would do?

Mateo (08:47):

So, my answer has changed on this. If you’d asked me this last year, it would’ve been different than what I’m going to give you now, but basically, when you’re running your ads, you know, you typically want to start somewhere, you know, you start with imitating first, right? So you can grab some of the ad copy and images we have in the Two-Brain course. You can do a, you know, info and ads on some of your competitors on Facebook and see what they’re running. Take some ad copy, take some images that seem to be working and then run those and just get a baseline, right. See how your audience responds. And then from there, you know, as long as you’re selling. I would run that until the numbers don’t work anymore.

Mateo (09:35):

Right. I know people are trying to keep their lead costs down, their ad costs down, and so they’ll try to keep iterating and iterating. But you’ll run into trouble if you do that too often. So, find your winner and then have that—basically run that into the ground and then when you’re ready to refresh, just create a new campaign. You can use your old winner from the previous one and then introduce, you know, one or two new pieces of ad copy, and an image combination. So that would be like the way I used to tell people. Nowadays I would just say, hey, just do dynamic creative. Just let Facebook figure it out for you. That’s kinda the way I would do it. Facebook also has a native A/B testing feature, but again, I just don’t think you’re spending enough to where that’s gonna give you the results and the answers that you’re looking for. So what I would do is I would just default to dynamic creative, let Facebook pick the winners for you.

Mike (10:37):

  1. We’re going to get into dynamic creative and we’ll tell you what it is and how it works right after this. Chris Cooper has created the roadmap to wealth. It is an app and it is incredible. It will literally tell you step by step how to create an amazing business. It is based on data, the exact things the top gyms in the world are doing. There’s no guessing. It’s just action and results based on data. Step one is always complete our incubator, a 12-week sprint to build the foundation of your business. Step two, you’re going to work with a certified mentor and use the roadmap to build your business. For more info, visit twobrainbusiness.com to book a free call with a mentor. Now we’re back with dynamic creative. We’ve talked about this a tiny bit on a few previous shows, but we’re going to get into it a little bit more detail here. We’ve talked A/B testing, confusing, confounding variables, maybe beyond the average person, especially with a gym owner with a budget that’s reasonable and not $10 million. So we can let Facebook do the work with dynamic creative. What is that? How does it work?

Mateo (11:33):

Yeah, so let’s say you have a campaign running and you put out three pieces of different creative over the course of a month. Two of them don’t do so well but one is working really well. And then let’s say another two weeks goes by. The ad costs on that winner start to come up a little bit, but it’s still within a workable range for you. You want to see if you can beat that, right? So what’s the best way to introduce a new piece of creative? Well, the problem is if you just dump it right into that campaign, let’s say you take a new ad, put it right into the campaign you’ve been running, you’re going to mess up the juju, you’re going to mess up the optimization that’s done already, and you run the risk of potentially competing against yourself.

Mateo (12:14):

So, that’s why it’s risky to do that. So I’ve actually asked, I’ve gone to a few, conferences where I can talk to like real Facebook reps. I went to one in New Jersey and then John and I flew to one all the way in Germany. We went there last year—.

Mike (12:32):

Das Facebook!

Mateo (12:32):

Yeah. No one knows the answer to this question. No one knows the best way to introduce a new test. Most of the time I’ll get some version of like, yeah, if the campaign’s working, don’t mess with it, don’t introduce anything. It’s like, all right, but what if I want to test to see if I can make it even better? They don’t have a good answer for that. So typically people default to just shutting down the campaign, creating a new one with fresh data. Bring in your old, the piece of creative that was working well for you. And then introduce the new ones to see how it compares starting fresh. Cause otherwise there’s not a really good way to introduce something new to a campaign that’s running. So that’s why I basically start out with a campaign. If I’m wanting to test something, I’ll usually shut down the old one and start fresh. And when I start fresh, I like to use dynamic creative. So, what’s cool about dynamic creative is that you can basically add up to five pieces of written text for copy, five headlines and then five images, or five videos. But you have to pick one. If the campaign, you’re going to do images, you have to do all images. If you’re gonna do videos, you have to do all videos, and then Facebook will put those into all sorts of different combinations, and then present those to your audience and then identify the winner, the winning combination.

Mateo (14:05):

So you didn’t even have to worry about making the combos yourself. You just put in the different headlines and images and pieces of copy that you want to check out. They’ll make the combinations for you and identify the winners.

Mike (14:20):

So they’re doing a ton of work for you that, you know, you don’t have to track the data, you don’t have to figure out which variables. They’re just basically doing the Frankenstein’s monster of this thing’s headline. This thing’s—.

Mateo (14:33):

Yeah. Headline three with image two and a call to action one works the best. And honestly, the reason we started relying on that more is because Facebook is removing more and more control, taking away more and more control from the advertiser because, and I think that’s for a couple reasons. One, well, I dunno, but this is my speculation. They’re taking away more and more control from away from the advertiser because one, they don’t want you doing something that’s wrong or trying something out that would, you know, give you a subpar performance.

Mike (15:28):

They want your money.

Mateo (15:28):

Because if your ads aren’t performing well and it’s due to some error that you made, you’re gonna blame Facebook and you’re not gonna run another campaign. You’re not going to money on ads again, and they want you to. So they are going to take away the control and let their fancy algorithms and their super AI computers do the work for you to make sure your campaigns are performing the best that they can. You’re seeing this too, with the budgeting, right?

Mateo (16:00):

So previously you used to be able to set up different audiences and each audience had its own budget, right? So then if you wanted to, that was another way in which you could kind of A/B test or control different, you know, see which ad’s creative was performing well in your audiences. That was a way you could do it, but they removed that starting at the end of February, you will no longer be able to set budgets at the ad set level. It’s going to be at the campaign level because they want to be able to control and optimize where your money goes based on which ad set is performing best. They don’t want you doing it. And so that’s at least the way I see where the wind’s blowing, the wind’s blowing where they’re going to control the budget and optimize it for you. They’re going to control, you know, the ad creative and who’s going to see what and identify the winners for you. And they’re probably going to be able to do it better than we can. So, that’s why I’m just gonna defer to them in a lot of this stuff now. And I think it’s gonna be better in the long run.

Mike (17:12):

It’s kind of the equivalent of like, you know, going to the race track and you’re just going to throw some money on the horses because that one has a really cool tail, you know, and Facebook’s like, maybe just give us your 10 bucks and we’ll put it on the horse that’s probably going to win.

Mateo (17:26):

Yeah. Or, you know, you could think of it like—or like index funds, right. It’s like you are not going to be able = to choose the winning stocks ever. So why don’t you give it to us and we’ll just put your money in all of the stocks, and that way it’ll be fine.

Mike (17:43):

It stops people from going to the roulette table with their entire life savings and putting it on black.

Mateo (17:49):

Exactly. Putting it on Facebook or putting it on Apple or whatever.

Mike (17:55):

So I guess the dynamic creative is awesome and it sounds like it’s going to do a ton of heavy lifting for you, especially stuff and again, if this is something that you as a professional marketer are saying, like, this is helpful for me, it’s definitely going to be helpful for, you know, the standard gym owner who does not spend all day running Facebook ads but is actually teaching classes and doing stuff. That’s a cool thing. But I guess the thing that you need to have, if I’m understanding, is you need to have least five headlines or you need to have variations of stuff, right? Like you’ve got to create some different ads. You can’t just write one ad, you’ve got to write several for that dynamic creative to have a chance.

Mateo (18:32):

Yeah. So if you only have like two different versions of copy and two images that you love using and it’s working well for you and it hasn’t really let you down yet, like don’t stress about it. Just keep building ads the way you’ve been building them. If you’re only ever changing a picture or two every six weeks or so, you don’t really need to worry about dynamic creative, you can kind of just keep building the four different combos of ad creative and you’re good to go.

Mike (18:56):

Yeah. If you’re on the other side of it where you have a lot of photos, maybe some variety in those photos, like you’ve got this woman, that guy, this kid that whatever. You’ve got your various different people, your avatars, you’ve got, you know, learn more, click now, a whole bunch of different ways to present that call to action and you’ve got a bunch of different ways to frame your offer. You’ve got like a short, like you need this thing right now and then you’ve got a features and benefits script that you’re going for is like seven or eight, 10 lines. If you’ve got all that stuff, that’s probably the stuff you want to fire to that dynamic creative and let Facebook sort out the pieces, right?

Mateo (19:28):

100% Mike.

Mike (19:29):

When you see the results of this, and I’ve seen, your partner, John, has shown me a couple of these things. The one that I saw was a dynamic creative that he tested and one image crushed the other four, like by a huge margin. Is that common? Do you often see one clear, clear winner or is it like, you know, three or four that are close or what have you seen in those results?

Mateo (19:51):

Usually you’re going to see one or two front runners.

Mike (19:57):

And then as soon as that happens, Facebook is gonna start pushing those guys. Do the other ones just essentially die off?

Mateo (20:04):

I think it depends on how long you leave it on. I had one for one of my gyms in Philly and for a long time it was pushing all the money to this one creative. That one got a little bit too expensive. So, then eventually started moving until one of the other two that I didn’t turn off. And it all kind of evened out, like by the end of like a three-month period, all of them had pretty much the same amount of aggregate views and clicks. And cost per action. But the timing at which those were, you know, who was in the lead position, which of those creatives were the frontrunner, changed depending on how long I left it. So I think it kinda depends.

Mike (20:49):

So it’s like all of a sudden, dude with beard got some momentum and Facebook gave him a little love.

Mateo (20:53):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Kind of. That’s what happened, at least with this one campaign I ran last year. But yeah, if you’re looking at like a shorter time period, like that a month for example, you’re definitely going to see a frontrunner.

Mike (21:07):

So you just said something that made me think, like, would you, as Facebook makes these decisions for you, would you actually turn off variations of an ad or would you just let Facebook sort it out the whole time?

Mateo (21:18):

Yeah, I used to. I used to do that. But nowadays I just let everything run and let Facebook do its job. Especially with dynamic creative, you don’t have to worry about it.

Mike (21:31):

And then when Facebook achieves, you know, essentially it becomes a sentient being and it takes over the world and sends terminators back through time, we’re probably going to regret this decision, but for now we’re just going to let the machines take over.

Mateo (21:42):

I think so, yeah.

Mike (21:45):

Sarah Connors is not happy with this podcast episode but your advertising budget probably will be, I think is probably the lesson from this. So if people are looking for this, where will they find dynamic creative when they go to build that, is it easy to find and use?

Mateo (22:02):

Yeah, it should happen. You should get a prompt when you’re in the ad set level. After you finish up creating your audience, you should see a prompt there, for like, Hey, do you want to try dynamic creative? You’ll say yes. And then when you finish with that screen and you go into the actually creative part, it’ll be there waiting for you.

Mike (22:22):

Oh, that sounds like a great way to let the heavy lifting go to someone who’s more equipped to do it than you are, so you can get back to running your gym and building your business. We’re going to let you get back to doing that right now. Thank you for listening. I’m Mike Warkentin with Mateo Lopez. As always, this is Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to subscribe for more. Leave us a review, leave us a comment. We’d love to hear from you. If you’re a gym owner who needs help growing your business, Two-Brain mentors can show you the exact steps you need to take to add $5,000 in recurring revenue. You can book a free call to talk to a certified mentor at twobrainbusiness.com. Do that today. And I’ll say it a different way for my A/B test. Act now. This is Two-Brain Radio. Thanks guys.

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On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories. Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday. 

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