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Facebook Advertising and Growth Experimenting –

An In-depth Guide To Testing Your Facebook Ads For Scaling Your Small Business.

Whether you’ve learned to run Facebook ads through an online course or on-the-job demands, sooner or later (much like myself) you’re likely to hit a wall. Over the 2+ years of engaging with and taking over ad accounts run by other managers, I’ve found that while everyone knows how to set up an ad, very few put any logic into it. Many ad managers test until they find one good converting ad and then continue to run said ad until the end of time. If they must, they possibly change the creative during the holidays.

When questioned about what more can be done to grow, they often suggest increasing the ad budget, because “more ad spent = more sales”. In the end, you're stuck with a couple of okay-ish ads, with average performance, resulting in more or less steady conversions, and you could be happy with that, in which case great! But a lot of us aren’t.

A lot of small businesses don’t just want to do okay, they want to do great. They don’t want to remain a small business, they want to scale. They want to squeeze out the most they can out of every rupee (or penny) invested. Unfortunately, most hype blogs, Udemy course, or online gurus are bent on “beginner guides” that you and maybe even them, often don’t really know what comes next.

So if you’re someone that

- Is looking to scale their Facebook ads, but don’t have an unlimited budget,

- Feels like their Facebook ads/small business has hit a growth plateau OR

- Is wondering what’s next

Then I'm sure you'd find this article quite helpful.


The 3 layers of growth experimenting as stated by John McBride in CXL institute’s Growth mindset and building a growth process course:

In the first course of the growth marketing mini degree, John McBride introduces us to a very simple three-step model to go deeper to get better. When John mentioned these points in the course, it was largely referring to various marketing channels at our disposal,e – social media, email marketing, SEO, landing page optimization, etc, however, today, we’re going to narrow it down to just your social media campaigns.

Chart depicting the 3 layers of growth experimenting by CXL institute designed by The Ad Hatter

Layer 1: Choose a channel.

More often than not, most businesses assume what their customers would be interested in wanting to hear only to get it wrong. So, to stay ahead of the competition, all you’ve got to do is not assume. To not assume, you will have to make well-informed decisions and to collect that information, you must run tests. Three tests that all businesses must carry out:

1. Test the platform – Which platform are your users most active on.

2. Test the type of content – Do your users prefer single image posts vs video vs carousel posts.

3. Test new app features and trends.

Run a campaign (paid or organic) centered around the same message having all variables equal, except for one. Draw data-driven information about what your customers like and prioritize your content creation on those lines. The most common mistake I see people running “A/B tests” is that they often fall into the trap of having more than one variable tested at a time, and I’m not sure why. It’s like they assume they’d be able to cut down on the time taken to test by having different content types with different ad copies to different targeting groups etc., And at the end of the test, they won’t know which of the variables were responsible for the difference in results.

Layer 2: Make It Better

Once you’ve identified the best type of content that works on the best platform for your business, the next step is to make it better.

Test different designs, Call To Action (CTAs), and Ad copy lengths. test long or short URLs. test offers and experiences, but most of all, test your messaging.

For example: If you were UrbanClap, you could advertise either good service or convenience. Are your users using your product because the professionals on your platform are great at what they do? Or is it because it’s easy and saves them time? To avoid assuming which one it is, you could run an A/B test. Then use the results of your test to change the content on your website, your campaigns, your emailers, etc to better cater to your users' needs.

Layer 3: Tailor your messages

According to John, this is the “Deepest layer” that not many businesses reach, which is tailoring the messaging for each customer. While this does require large resources, below are some ways your small business can tailor messages to customers:

  • Having a well-segmented email list will help you send the right message to the right people via email marketing.

  • Retargeting users who visit a specific page on your website using a custom audience to remind them of why they viewed the page.

  • Reminding past customers of your service/ product when it’s time for them to reorder.

  • Catalog ads are a good way to customize which products are shown to whom in your ad campaigns as well.


Key Point Indicators (KPIs) and Tracking:

A lot of agencies will push for what CXL would refer to as vanity metrics, such as your followers, likes, shares, etc but these aren’t your KPIs, these metrics are fluff, they do not depict real value, and do not deserve much of your time. For example, a high number of followers does not mean a large number of sales.

While they can be an indicator of the overall health of your ability to connect with your audience, they are not a reflection of your campaign's success or failure.

Your KPIs would most ideally be:

  • Traffic to your website attributed to your social media channels.

  • The number of sales or leads generated via social referrals

  • The number of people reaching out to you/your brand etc

With the new iOS 14.5 update, a lot of manager on Reddit complain that they’re unable to track if their Facebook ads are performing well or not, a quick way around this is to use UTM tags and google analytics to get an exact number of sales attributed to the social media. About John Mcbride John Mcbride is a former senior manager of Growth Marketing at Lyft, a company that is very similar to Uber and Ola. The website brief describes him as a community builder, growth marketer, political organizer, and startup nerd. As an instructor, he is crisp and to the point. There's a lot one can learn from his course on CXL. For reference, the top 3 layers were merely the first 10 minutes of his hour-long introduction and course. The one thing that I would take away from his section of the course is that failing experiments is part of growth. A failed hypothesis will always tell you at the very least, what's not working. He reiterates severally on how one can take their results from failed tests and compile them into a better understanding of their customers and how they can be used when creating the next experiment.

Take Away

As a small business or ads manager, growth/ scaling your small business and your online advertisements is all about testing (ABT). Failing to test, will result in you constantly having to shoot in the dark. The journey from okay to great starts from making well-informed decisions consistently and not occasionally. And the only way to ensure you're consistently hitting the mark is by conducting tests to know what the mark is. If you found this article useful and would like to be notified when the next article goes live, do not forget to subscribe below.

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