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Why 30-day tests fail with Facebook and Google Partners

By Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition

Finding a partner to help you with your Facebook or Google UAC advertising is dicey. On the upside, if hiring the partner works out, you’ll get better results to help you efficiently scale.

If it doesn’t work out, you’ve lost time trying them out, and you’ll probably have lost a lot of ad spend and probably some revenue, too.

To minimize those risks, many organizations want to do a 30-day test to assess whether partnering on their social advertising will work.

While any ad partner will understand the motivation behind this, you need to know that 30-day tests have serious limitations. 90 days is a better trial period, especially if you’re interested in driving profit and scale.

To fully explain why 90-day tests are better, the following will guide you through the phases of how ad partners onboard clients.

At the same time, there is also one simple answer as to why 90-day tests are better: Creative.

Why the Success Rate of Most Creative Hampers 30-Day Tests

Machine learning has changed how Facebook and Google UAC social advertising is done. Their optimization algorithms have dramatically improved and simplified the process of managing campaigns, budgets, and ad sets and have thus leveled the playing field for advertisers both large and small.

The last, best competitive advantage available is Creative.

Trouble is, it’s not an easy competitive advantage to get. Great creative – the type you need to meet your financial ROAS goals – is rare. In our experience, only about 5% of new creative (only one in twenty new ads) will outperform your “control,” aka your current best-performing ads.

Here’s an illustration of this. The graph below shows the ad performance of a gaming company that has spent over $15 million dollars on Facebook. The horizontal axis is the number of ads (approximately 600). The vertical axis is the amount of money spent per ad.

As you can see, the vast, vast majority of ads bomb. 100x ads are unicorns.

Even if you just want a 10x ad, that means you don’t need just one new ad. Since only 5% of new creative is successful, you need twenty new ads in order to find one that works.

Unfortunately, most advertisers are unable to spend enough ad budget in a month to test twenty new videos and to stay financially stable with all of the resulting non-converting spend.

In an effort to minimize those testing losses – and how badly they can trash financial performance – most advertisers will want to keep running winning ads along with the test ads, slowly rotating through new ads until they find a 10x ad, and hopefully a 100x ad.

That takes more than 30 days to do. So even if your new ad partner could find a way to jumpstart a new campaign in just one week, you’d still only have three weeks left to test new creative.

That’s not enough time to test all the ads required to find a winner. And because of this limitation, most 30-day tests will fail.

Not all 30-day tests, but most. It is possible to beat the odds and deliver big wins in 30 days or less, but it’s unusual. If you really want to see results, 90-day tests are better. It gives your new advertising partner time to test, fail, develop new creative, and iterate again.

But the creative limitations are just the beginning. To see more about what’s required to really revamp Facebook and Google Partners campaigns, let’s go through what it takes for an advertising partner to onboard new clients.

Phase One, Scenario A: The partner gets access to the existing advertising accounts.

Ideally, you will give your new advertising partner access to your existing advertising accounts. This lets the partner perform an audit of your creative and media buying. They need this information so they can see what has worked or hasn’t worked in the past.

Depending on which parts of your campaigns you want help with (creative or media buying, for example), a partner may develop a creative and/or media strategy based on your previous ad spend and past account performance.

The next step is for your partner to present their findings so you can make sure they’re headed in the right direction.

If you’ve got a good partner, they may also present and discuss some of your competitors’ ads during this meeting. This is an effective way for them to learn more about the look and feel of the videos they’re about to make, and it introduces you to some new ideas that are working for your competitors.

It allows your partner to have more clarity about what you really want and how to meet your brand guidelines.

The next step is execution. As the partner begins to execute the agreed-upon creative strategy and/or the media buying strategy, they should be having regular calls with you to discuss what’s worked or not worked, and how to make adjustments going forward.

Ideally, your ad partner will also be constantly updating or modifying your account’s strategy documents based on their performance, network changes, and any other external factors.

Phase One, Scenario B: The partner gets access to a new account.

Sometimes clients don’t want partners working within their existing Facebook or Google UAC campaigns. This is typically because the client has an internal team working in those campaigns, and they want to use a partner as an external team. So instead of having the partner work in the same campaigns as their internal team, they’ll create a new account.

If you take this route, your new ad partner will still need access to your primary account so they can do their creative and/or media buying audits.

If they can’t get access to this information, they will not be able to see what’s worked or not worked for you in the past. Without that analysis, their efforts going forward are more likely to fail or just replicate the same mistakes.

Working with a new account has another problem, too: It slows the process of optimizing campaigns down. When a partner has to work from a brand new account, they have to give the Facebook or Google algorithms enough data to be able to do AEO bidding (App Event Optimization) or VO bidding (Value Optimization). The only way to do that is to run ads, and – depending on ad spend budgets – it can take anywhere from a few days to a week or more to train the algorithm enough to enable AOE or VO bidding.

This is why most advertising partners prefer to get access to existing accounts. Starting with a fresh account means they’ll lose both time and money retraining Facebook’s algorithm, instead of gaining instant access to your already optimized account/s.

Phase Two: Competitive Analysis

Whether you give a partner access to your existing Facebook or Google AUC accounts or not, they should also begin a competitive analysis. This is usually done while they’re doing the creative and/or media audit, and they will use information from both the audit/s and the competitive analysis in both work products.

The first step of a competitive analysis is to identify your competitors’ best ads. If you can give your partner a list of your known competitors, that’s excellent. But they can also use tools to find them.

The easiest way to see your competitors’ ads is simply to use Facebook’s new ads library. This is a brand new tool that lets you find out exactly how much a Facebook page has spent on advertising and which ads they’ve run. You can also search by which ads have been linked to any particular keywords. You don’t even need to have a Facebook account to use it.

The one drawback of the new ads library is that it doesn’t give you information about how ads have performed. For that, you’ll need to use tools like PowerAdSpy, Connect Explore, SocialPeta, or AdSpy to assess how successful your competitors’ ads have been. Those assessments will be based on calculations done by these tools themselves, and by assessing how long ads have run, how much ad budget they’ve been given, and what their engagement measurements were or are.

Doing competitive analysis like this gives you an almost endless supply of pre-tested ad concepts. You can leverage the information to create better ads, or to identify themes or characteristics of winning ads that your competitors haven’t even realized they should test.

This lets you create better ads far faster than if you started from a blank screen. Basically, you are peeking into your competitors’ accounts, doing a high-level audit, and then using their data to optimize your ads.

Phase Three: Launch Process

Assuming that a partner can work with a Facebook or Google account that’s already running, they’ll start by restructuring your account according to proven best practices.

Those best practices should include:
● Launching the initial campaigns with your best-performing ads and audiences to establish baseline performance.
● Initiating ad copy tests on your best-performing ads to try to optimize that aspect of your ads first.
● While those tests are running, they’ll develop several creative briefs internally (based on the competitive analysis and the creative audit), and then share their findings with you.
● Once you’ve approved those creative briefs, they’ll create the ads and run a/b tests to establish their performance. It typically takes between five to seven days to get results from those first tests.

● Based on the results of those first tests, they’ll continue to refine the best-performing ads and audience combinations, while also testing new ad concepts. They should continue to modify their strategy based on what they learn, and they should share every detail of your campaigns’ performance with you.

Choosing a new ad partner is a lot like testing ad creative. You have to give them enough time to prove their worth. If you end a trial with a new partner in just thirty days, it’s a lot like cutting off a test of new creative too soon – you’ll be making your decision on incomplete data.


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Why 30-day tests fail with Facebook and Google Partners


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