The Obvious Secret To Social Media Marketing: Testing, Retesting, & Testing Again!

by | Jan 14, 2013 | Digital

Sometimes the best marketing wisdom is hiding in plain sight!

Everyone is looking for hidden social media marketing secrets, some new and little known tactic that will tip the scales in their favor. Marketers are looking for that one hidden truth that they have not yet found to answer all of their questions. And while certainly there is new information that could help each one of us, I believe the real secret is very obvious and often ignored; testing! 

A wise man once said that there are no expert marketers, only experienced marketers and expert testers. Testing gives you insight into the unknown and the unpredictable. It allows you to get actual information about audience response and feedback. Testing helps you prepare and refine your campaign at all levels, but especially before you start.

Testing is a Creative Marketing Strategy

I have a bit of a research background, so for me ad testing is a pleasant experience; actually it is a bit fun. Not a cold geeky data crunching kind of fun, but for me it is a creative marketing process. Let me explain. Facebook ads and even Google ads are relatively small pieces.  Copy and imagery is very limited and easily changed. So it is a beautiful arena for testing and retesting because I can write many versions of the same ad easily.

I like looking at the versions and pondering which aspects contributed to or detracted from the response. Then with all the data in mind, I brainstorm. I combine words and images in my mind’s eye and then hold them up against my understanding of the audience and the data.  The results are new text and images just itching to be tested.

What if the Budget is Not Large Enough for Testing?

It is a common misconception that there are not enough resources for testing. It does not matter how small your marketing budget is, even if it is only $100. If you spend the first $10 testing, the next $90 will produce better results. You would also be amazed at how much you can learn on Facebook in one day with $10.  Social media is not like broadcast media. You can pause the ads mid stream, make adjustments, and then keep going.

Testing Is Still Marketing

This is my favorite part. When I understood this, my whole perception changed. When I’m testing a social or even a Google ad, my test phase is still active marketing. The results are real. The click, the purchases all happened. It is not as if you are spending part of your budget on focus groups before taking your ad to market.

You are testing live in the market. When you take those first few best ideas and run them live, you are both advertising and testing. The only difference between the advertising and testing phase is that you are making improvements more often in the testing phase.

What is the Simplest Way to Test?

I have already given you some insight into the way I prefer to go through the testing phase. But depending on the scope of your campaign, you could certainly streamline it.  Keep in mind that while you can definitely test at the $5 and $10 level, you want to get at least 1000 impressions per ad before making any final decisions. 10,000+ impressions would be preferable.

  • Develop five ads around your concept
  • Test them for a day and pick the top three
  • Take those top three and pause them
  • Develop an alternative ad for each (this could be a tweak or a redesign)
  • Run those next three ads for a day
  • At this point review the data on the six ads (three old and three new)
  • Select the three that performed the best and begin the bulk of your spend

Ecclesiastes 10:10 says Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. Do not go running into the woods with a dull ax. The more you test, the more wisdom you get, and the more likely you are to succeed.

George Konetes