August 23, 2016

IAB SG Deep Dive Series #1:Optimising Social Content Part 2

Crowdsourcing and testing solutions for digital ads

David Ho, APAC Regional Director of Key Accounts/Core Products, AdParlor

Neither Facebook nor YouTube would exist without digital ads. Yet, a study found that 80 per cent of CEOs don’t trust marketing and 70 per cent of them believe that it fails to deliver business goals. As marketers, this means we need to look at the ROI of our digital campaigns to prove them wrong.

Hence, we need to track the performance of our ad campaigns.

A/B Testing

A/B testing in a native environment demonstrates the ROI of digital ads. It helps advertisers take consumers from point A to point B and keeps them engaged throughout their buyer journey. A/B testing ad variation is a virtual infrastructure where you can attribute the performance of the digital ads.

Whilst A/B testing is largely used to optimise ads, it can also be used to validate ads, answering the question, ‘Which ad works?’

You can use it to optimise different campaigns that run simultaneously until a highest converting campaign is identified and implemented. A/B optimisation works when you are running a campaign over an extended amount of time. Within a few days, you should be able to understand the performance of your ad campaigns.

The Consumer Journey:

First stage: The buyer has a problem and does research to solve it.

Second stage: The buyer considers different solutions available to alleviate their problems.  

Third stage: Consumers have made a list of all prospective solutions, buyers eventually leap into a solution that suits them best.

Digital Marketing Journey

Stage one: Attraction. Draw consumers in with digital ads in any engaging format. This stage of awareness is a chance to connect with potential customers through cost-efficient channels like social media.

Stage two: Conversion. Lead your audience to a targeted landing page. Digital ads are the flag posts to this page where all your content and communication messages are that you want to bring forward. As soon as they arrive at the landing page, they should see the connection between what they wanted and what you have promised to offer them.

Stage three: Retargeting. Tracking pixels is very important. It allows your ad to follow visitors inside and outside of the social media environment. Wherever they go, whichever website they have visited, you’re able to track them, and you want to bring them back to your landing page.

A/B testing helps determine the correct path of marketing to the consumer journey.

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A digital marketing journey consists of these three stages and ABT can be used in every one of them. 

Stage 1: Attraction

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The attraction stage is all about how to woo customers. This is the part where you promote or sponsor content on social to target your audience by demographics, interests, behaviors, hashtags and product preferences.

The reach of social

Social media allows us to reach a wider network and gives us the opportunity to turn potential customers into real ones. Advertising through social can provide advertisers’ greater reach while experiencing higher CTR. The purpose of ABT in this stage is to determine the engagement metrics of a campaign in terms of CTR, which can be done by optimising your social media ads daily.

For example, Facebook allows advertisers to conduct ABT to find out which variation of an ad is performing best for your specified attraction goals. These attraction goals often refer to ‘Likes’ and shares in the Facebook environment. But more than just the views and likes of the ad, A/B testing in attraction stage helps us understand the attribution in terms of call to action.

Other data you can use when testing is geography. This is very effective for businesses that have demarcation in terms of the distribution of their services and products and helps advertisers decide whether to do more of a positioned marketing skill or not. Age and gender are also contributing factors in learning how to target your campaigns more efficiently.

Stage 2: Conversion

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The second stage is conversion where consumers actually click on an ad and get diverted to a landing page. It is important that all landing pages have a message match and that message should match the headline. Conversion rate is the ratio of clickable elements on a landing page to the number on page goals.

Since landing pages should only have one goal, there should only be one clickable element for the conversion rate to be 1:1. This clickable element is the call to action button (CTA)and this is the most essential feature needed to make the attribution true in the process of A/B testing.

Using ABT, you can experiment by creating variations of your landing page and measure which of your sites are gaining more conversion rate.

Stage 3: Retargeting

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The third and final stage is retargeting. Make use of a consumer’s data/profile from an analytics platform to restructure your campaign. This way, it is easier to tailor relevant ads in the social media environment depending on the customer's’ preferences.

This can be done by using/installing tracking pixels on your website. Aside from retargeting, ABT in this stage is about enabling you to test your message proposition. So, you have to ask, “What is my message proposition to my consumers familiar with my brand?” Once you’ve figured it out, this proposition can be tested against action-based goals like sign-up or purchase.

A/B testing runs specific social campaigns and sends your messages to a small percentage of your total audience. This allows you to test your message safely.

The winning message is determined by success metrics such as open clicks and conversions. This particular winning version will be sent to the remaining audiences that you have. This way, you don’t need to spend more money. It mitigates the risk because you’re testing your messages against a small percentage of audiences first.

I’m just going to end with this quote, as the famous demigods of advertising, David Ogilvy says, “Never stop testing because your advertising will never stop improving.”

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