Facebook & Google App Campaign AdTech Changes: What Does This Mean for Advertising in 2020?

In the past year, Facebook and Google App Campaign optimization algorithms have drastically improved, creating a level playing field for social advertisers of all sizes. Advantages that were once held by third-party SaaS providers have diminished, with media buying and bidding becoming much easier and faster with these improved native tools. This being said, Facebook and Google’s algorithm improvements may eventually kill third-party adtech. How can advertisers take advantage of these adtech changes moving forward in 2019?


Facebook & Google App Campaign Adtech Changes

Ready for an algorithm to do your job? Ready or not, it’s already begun.

At the end of 2017, Google moved the all-new app install campaigns to Google App Campaigns. About a month after that, they turned off any Search, Display, and YouTube app promo campaigns that were running. All mobile app install campaigns on Google must now be run through Google App Campaigns, which allows Google’s algorithm to manage most of the functions in your campaigns.

Here’s how Google describes the new AC:

“As an app advertiser, you want to get your app into the hands of more paying users. So, how do you connect with those people? Google App campaigns streamline the process for you, making it easy to promote your apps across Google’s largest properties including Search, Google Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. Just add a few lines of text, a bid, some assets, and the rest is optimized to help your users find you.”

Facebook followed suit quickly after. At the beginning of 2018, they rolled out an update, which included new best practices. While Facebook’s changes weren’t as forced as Google’s, they still influenced results.

Then, on February 19, 2018, Facebook’s algorithm significantly changed how mobile app installs and lead generation campaigns are managed. Advertisers handed over quite a bit of social advertising control to these algorithms. This gives us, advertisers, the freedom to focus on things like ad creative and audience expansion.

The Advantages of Algorithm Control

Luckily, giving algorithms this much control has a couple of upsides.

1.  Since many responsibilities of the user acquisition manager have moved over to algorithms, this creates an opportunity for less-experienced advertisers to get results comparable to their more advanced peers. This means more advertisers, with a wide range of experience, can still profitably use the platforms.

2. Advertising platform algorithms have become increasingly sophisticated, so many third-party advertising tools are no longer needed, hence the adtech changes. In the past, adtech tools were a significant competitive advantage. Now, both Facebook and Google App Campaigns offer almost comparable tools for free. 

adtech changes

How to Manage Campaigns with Facebook & Google App Campaign Best Practices

Before February 2018, Facebook advertisers could run a lot of ads. These ads could have audiences that overlapped, and there were no penalties for making frequent bid changes; even if there were multiple bid changes every couple of hours. Advertisers could pause ads, and budgets could be modified all the time. Facebook allowed adtech providers (similar to our AdRules tool) to edit bids, budgets, and pause rules with the utmost precision and speed. Optimizations were done through many actions—most of which were controlled by the advertiser or by a third-party adtech tool.

Adtech Changes

The above-mentioned changed dramatically on February 19th. The adtech changes began to penalize advertisers, and soon enough, it was understood that Facebook would reward social advertisers for running and optimizing their campaigns according to the best practices—which were outlined in Facebook’s “Blueprint Certification.”

Fewer Campaigns with Minimal Audience Overlap

It is better to rely more heavily on the Facebook algorithm, which will help sift through audiences and settings to help you acquire the right customers. Broad targeting with no overlapping audiences, combined with Facebook’s Value Optimization (VO) and App Event Optimization (AEO) works very well to create a successful campaign.

Managing for the Concept of “Significant Edits”

If an advertiser does any of the following things, it can result in the campaign being moved from an optimized mode back into what’s called the “learning” phase:

  • Pause one of their campaigns
  • Change a campaign’s budget by more than 40%
  • Alter an ad’s bid by more than 30%

All ads start out in “learning” mode, then graduate to an optimized phase. Completing said learning phase usually requires 50 conversions per ad set per week. Once that is completed, the campaign will shift into optimization mode, where the CPMs usually drop by about 30%. Clearly, that’s far more efficient, so there are real motivations to avoid substantial edits and keep campaigns in optimized mode.

Google Campaigns: “Set It & Forget It”

Google’s version of this phased mode is even more striking than Facebook’s. Google App Campaigns are almost to the point of “set it and forget it”. It takes some money and patience for Google’s algorithm to get good results, but it can happen within a couple of days.

Shifting Away from MAI

When this algorithm change occurred, there was also a shift from Mobile App Installs (MAI) to Value Optimization (VO) and App Event Optimization (AEO). In the past, we had used campaign goals such as Mobile App Installs (MAI). Afterward—and even still today—we utilize Value Optimization (VO) and App Event Optimization (AEO) as campaign goals.

Here’s the reason why VO is more effective, according to Facebook:

“When marketers advertise with Facebook, they want to build campaigns that ultimately drive efficient return on their ad spend. Yet managing and optimizing their campaigns previously required using proxy metrics such as clicks, impressions, and installs to gauge whether or not a campaign had driven meaningful business impact. Today we’re introducing value optimization so that marketers can focus their campaigns on anticipated purchase value.

Value optimization works by using the purchase values sent from the Facebook pixel to estimate how much a person may spend with your business over a seven-day period. The ad’s bid is then automatically adjusted based on this estimation, allowing campaigns to deliver ads to people likely to spend more with your business at a low cost.”

This makes sense—we do not necessarily solely want app installs, but revenue. It is a huge advantage to advertisers that the algorithm can crunch this data to show us not just who is most likely to install an app, but who is most likely to purchase from it as well.

Using Value-Based Lookalike Audiences

Advertisers often use another Facebook tool called value-based Lookalike Audiences. It lets the algorithm not just find people who are likely to purchase, but people who are likely to make a big purchase. 

One thing to note, however, is that you’re going to pay more to find these types of high-value users. We have found that Events (AEO) tend to cost two to three times as much as mobile installs do and that Value buyers tend to cost two to three times more than Event conversions. If you were paying $1 per app install, expect to pay $2-3 per app event and $4-9 per value optimized event.

adtech changes

This new algorithm-driven customer targeting allows us to greatly expand our audiences. Since the algorithm is smart enough to handpick people, there is no need for narrowly defined audiences. Facebook and Google can find the right people for you. As long as you cast the net wide and give them plenty of people to choose from.

Our Best Practices: What’s Working Right Now

Many things have changed over the last year, including best practices. Here are some of the things that we expect to see become big opportunities in 2019:

  • Value Bidding: When beginning this process, you will need to start with Events. When your account accrues enough data, make the shift over to VO. It can take about 500 to 1,000 conversions before Facebook allows you to use Value Bidding. Then, when you can use Value Bidding, run Events at the same time. This allows you to nurture new prospects for less ad spend, eventually converting them more affordable.
  • Minimum Value ROAS: This is a feature with a lot of potentials to become the next big thing. In terms of Facebook, you can say to them: “I want a 10% return on ad spend by day 7”, and they’ll basically fulfill the goal. This eliminates many of the ups and downs of performance and lets you essentially hand over all the work.
  • Test Lots of Ads for Existing Ad Sets: Start off with smaller budgets to test new ads, then set rules that let those new ads burn through a small budget, such as $50. From here, move up to a $500 budget and then move to a $5,000 budget. This allows you to maximize spend; focusing on the potential buyers early and minimizing the amount of audience you burn through.
  • Manual Bidding: It is possible to still reduce bids by less than 30% and keep your campaigns in the “optimize” mode. It will let you see if you can decrease bids without decreasing volume. This strategy is a good way to squeeze every last bit out of your budget.

Final Thoughts About Adtech Changes

With Facebook and Google App Campaign algorithms improved significantly, we now find a level playing field for social advertisers of all sizes. Because of these algorithmic changes and improved native changes, Facebook and Google App Campaigns may eventually kill third-party adtech.

How to Produce Data-Driven Ads and Adhere to Brand Guidelines

There are two types of marketers: brand marketers and data-driven marketers. Brand marketers spend their time thinking about visibility and reputation, while data-driven marketers care about just one thing: measurable results.

Generally, both of these marketers agree that it’s good to have brand guidelines. The company should have a consistent look, and that look should be clearly defined so that everyone in the company can understand and replicate it.

You can see the importance of brand marketing exhibited across large, multinational companies. For example, Coca-Cola has a look that differs slightly between Spain and the U.S., but their products have to be instantly recognizable in both countries.

Data-driven marketers deserve a lot of respect, too. They’re focused on measurable and testable results. Thanks to the rise of digital marketing, this group has come a long way from 50 years ago, when it took six to eight weeks to get split test results.

While both types of marketers are necessary, sometimes disputes arise from seemingly small things.

Take, for example, Facebook ad testing.


Facebook Ad Testing: Brand vs. Data-Driven Marketers

A company with a strong brand identity needs to bring in new users on a regular basis. This company started Facebook advertising efforts a couple of years ago. In the beginning, there was low competition and success seemed to be easy. Fast forward to a few years later, and Facebook advertising had become progressively more competitive and costly, though it was still worth investing in. So, the company continued to run ads on the platform, with a monthly spend of $1 million or more. Facebook ads became a critical stream of new customers for them.

The company began to rely on that continuous stream of new users, and their advertising evolved. They figured out everything: all the optimal settings and technical tricks. Their ads were running more efficiently than ever.

Unfortunately, their competitors figured it out too, and the company needed to find a new edge. So, they decided to invest in ad tech.

Investing in Ad Tech

Ad tech showered them with new insights and capabilities. They saw improved advertising at scale and discovered what they could do with the result of that advertising (converting clicks into paid purchases, attracting repeat customers).

All was good for a while until eventually, the company’s competitors began to use the same ad tech products. The company again lost its competitive edge and began to notice its results plateauing.

Luckily, the majority of their user acquisition team were data-driven marketers.  The team went back to the drawing board. They analyzed their data and Facebook advertising reports and discovered the big issue was the ads themselves.

Ads containing breakout creative had been responsible for the majority of the company’s success. Those fresh ads drove most of their conversions.

The user acquisition team now starts to refocus on creative, while still utilizing ad tech. They determined that their competitive edge lies in the development of breakout creative, and they had to use that to their advantage.

Staying Ahead of Creative Fatigue

To create more breakout creative and to stay ahead of creative fatigue, the company had to build an ad creation and testing machine that could deliver a successful, breakout ad weekly. They ramp up their creative development capabilities by hiring more creative personnel or by finding a creative studio.

They establish a way to produce a high volume of quality creative so that even if 95 percent of what they generate fails (and it does), they are still able to produce new breakout creative every week.

Certainly, they must also be testing this creative. So, the team creates a testing system to assess the new creative and deliver a breakout, control-defeating ad every week.

This time, they’ve got their competitive edge back.

Imagine a digital assembly line: the creative machine churns out fresh ads, and the testing engine evaluates the ads. It’s perfect. They can now consistently generate a breakout ad every week. They exceed their KPI goals.

Then a VP notices that one of the ads they’re running is not brand-compliant.  

The system comes to a dead halt.

Within the cycle of creative development and testing processes, this situation has been seen many times.

After long hours of our own trial and error, we’ve found that prototype ads resolve this situation the best.


The Reason Data-Driven Prototype Ads Work

Simply put, prototype ads are concept ads. These ads are often broken into two categories: concepts and variations. Concepts are the big picture ideas that are fresh and different from the ads you’ve run in the past. Concepts take a lot of brainstorming and refining, but because they are so distinctive, they are often the source of breakout ads. Variations are required for testing individual elements in the creative. Prototype ads are generally successful because they allow your team to make data-driven decisions while still largely adhering to brand-driven rules.

data-driven ads



Why Prototype Ads Should Meet 60% of Brand Guidelines

Prototype ads require some input from brand marketers. These out-of-the-box ideas are a bit uncomfortable for people who have memorized their brand guidelines to digest. However, we’ve found that ads that are at least 60 percent compliant with brand guidelines will not damage the brand image. With heightened freedom of ad creation, the creative team is able to develop ads more quickly, which is essential given the volume of creative required to scale success.

If ads are even 10 percent more guideline compliant—meaning they meet 70 percent of brand requirements—the creation of new ads becomes a lot more difficult. It slows down ad creation and makes it a much more expensive process.

If a prototype ad survives round one of testing, it can be reworked to better adhere to brand guidelines. We’ve found that it’s easier and more efficient to tweak a winning ad and make it more brand-compliant than it is to take a brand-compliant ad that is underperforming and incrementally test it until it performs well (if it ever does).


Prototype Ads: The “Fail Fast” Testing Method

Round one of prototype ad testing is merciless. Each ad gets only about 10,000 impressions to prove itself.

There are three key benefits to this method:

  1. You can test a large number of ads rapidly. Since 95 percent of tested ads will fail to beat the control, it is crucial to be able to test quickly and dig through all of the underperforming ads to uncover the breakout gem.
  2. If by chance an ad is not abiding by brand guidelines, this method limits how many times the ad will be seen. Ten thousand impressions is not enough to do damage to your brand, especially if the ad is at least 60 percent guideline-complaint.
  3. Wasted ad spend is minimized. Prototype ads only get ten thousand impressions to prove themselves, which translates to just $15 to $20 in ad spend. Say goodbye to the days of spending $500 on each underperforming ads.


Understanding Statistical Significance

You may be thinking, “10,000 impressions is not enough to achieve statistical significance.” And, you might be right – if we were doing a typical A/B split test.

But we’re not doing an A/B test. We’re not looking for small 5 to 10 percent advancements. We’re on the hunt for one breakout ad that will outperform 95 percent of other ads.

Here’s an example:

The graphic below shows a dynamic view of the Visual Website Optimizer A/B Test Statistical Significance Calculator. 

In the first view, the variation only gets 15 conversions. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough for the test to be statistically significant. However, if the test variation does well and gets 20 conversions from those same 1,000 visitors, it then achieves statistical significance.

20 conversions is an “earthquake”—the type of performance breakout ads can produce. The first test falls short with just 15 conversions and does not perform well enough to be considered a breakout ad.

data-driven ads

For this reason, results from prototype ad tests can be trusted after very few variations. Prototype ad tests are fundamentally different than A/B split-testing. The test is not looking for incremental improvements – it’s looking for winners in the form of breakout results. And though it’s necessary to test many ads to find the breakout winners, remember that we have an ad testing machine built to manage that process.


Final Thoughts about Data-Driven Ads

Data-driven Facebook advertisers can fulfill their need for high-performing ads but also comply with brand-driven guidelines utilizing these tips.

Though prototype ads may not always adhere perfectly to brand guidelines, they can be made to fit very closely. The added performance delivered by prototype ads is a good trade for bending branding rules, even if only just a little.


Want to learn more? Discover our definitive guide for Facebook advertising best practices

Consumer Acquisition Launches Performance Templates and Automated Video Production for Social Advertising

Facebook and Google App Campaign (formerly Google UAC) social advertisers can save time and money using customizable performance video templates and self-service video bulk editor integrated into the AdRules Creative Studio platform.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – February 12, 2019

ConsumerAcquisition.com today announced the launch of a video automation platform with new performance templates and self-service video bulk editor integrated into the Creative Studio platform for Facebook and Google UAC advertisers.

eMarketer forecasts that US spending on social video ads will reach $11.69 billion in 2020, more than double 2017. Instagram Stories has over 500 million daily active users, up from 400 million in June 2018 [Statista January 2019]. Ad creative is now the clear driver of performance. Especially now that viewers are consuming video content like never before. Also, because media buying was simplified by Facebook and Google UAC. So, It is imperative for advertisers to quickly and efficiently develop and manage video creative at scale.

Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition, said: “Producing fresh video ads is more important than ever. While we’ve assembled an elite creative team that provides managed creative optimization, advertisers wanted a self-service tool to quickly identify high-performing videos, bulk edit thousands of ads, resize creatives, add headlines, localize languages or change end cards, and more. Our Creative Studio editor allows you to bulk edit videos yourself or provides a guided experience with hand-selected performance video templates based on creative concepts that are working broadly right now for top-spending advertisers on Facebook and Google UAC.”

Consumer Acquisition has managed over $1 billion in social advertising budgets, including over $200 million on Facebook in 2018, and knows what creative is working best for mobile games and apps. The company’s new performance video templates have been selected based on high-converting video concepts from top advertisers. They have a simplified creative brief process that guides the advertisers to provide a basic set of their own assets. This quickly produces high-performing videos. Consumer Acquisition will update these performance video templates frequently based on new video trends and high-performing concepts.

Performance Video Templates

In addition to performance video templates, Consumer Acquisition’s self-service video bulk editor platform provides a way to easily edit existing videos with start and end cards, banners, footers, headlines, emojis, stickers, and call to action. Advertisers can also convert videos into additional sizes, including square, portrait, and landscape. The Bulk sheet Editor saves considerable time by editing thousands of videos in just a few steps. It’s ideal for localizations, ad copy tests, and converting multiple square videos into portrait and landscape.

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

Google® is a registered trademark of Google LLC.

performance video templates

A Guide to Creating Facebook Video Ads Using Still Images

If you want to run more video ads on Facebook, but lack video footage, try creating the ads with still images. All it takes is a little motion.

Facebook recently added a new feature called “Create to Convert.” This production framework is designed to help advertisers create short videos from still images.

With Create to Convert, you can make four different types of videos. The following definitions have been pulled from Facebook’s page about Create to Convert.

Creating Facebook Video Ads Using Still Images

Basics in Motion: Animate your still image by adding only one or two elements of motion in a few seconds and include a call-to-action (CTA) card at the end to drive your desired business outcome.

Brand In Motion: Bring the elements of your brand or logo to life in a few seconds to promote brand recognition and then add a CTA card at the end to drive action.

Benefit in Motion: Bring the key benefit or message of your ad to life through animation in a few seconds. This could be a product benefit, a special offer or discount, a testimonial, or product variety. Highlighting the benefit will illuminate the value to your audience and adding a CTA at the end will enable them to take the next step toward conversion.

This ad for Glu Mobile’s Design Home app is a good example of benefits in motion:

Demo In Motion: Focus motion on demonstrating how your app, website, service, product or feature work. Show people how to navigate your offerings and include a CTA at the end to take action right from your ad seamlessly.

You may be wondering, do these in-motion ads really work? They do! According to Facebook testing, 69% of ads developed with Create to Convert saw improvements. In one case, conversion rates rose a whopping 500% with these video ads.

10 Steps to Create Video Ads Using Still Images

So, how does one use this feature? Until recently, companies would have to hire a team from Facebook Creative or work with a creative agency to develop these videos. In mid-2018, Facebook unveiled this functionality to all advertisers. Yes, it’s already available to you in your account.

1. Create a new campaign and then select the “App installs” objective. Currently, the ability to create videos from still images is only available when using the app installs objective.

Should you need to use this feature for a different type of objective, you can contact Facebook’s Creative Shop team, or reach out to a Creative Partner to develop an ad on your behalf.

Facebook ad campaign app installs for video ads using still images

2. Next, select the blue “Learn more” link in the Turn Images Into Videos box shown above. From there, you’ll see this pop-up:

create facebook video ads using still images

3. Select the blue “Get Started” button. You’ll then be directed to the Format section of the ad creation process. Click on “App Installs.”

format facebook ad creative

4. In the Format section, choose “Single Video.” Then, on that same page, click “Use Templates.”

single video facebook ad

This will show you all the possible templates that you can use to turn still images and text into video. You can choose from:

-Square or Vertical Templates, or

-Holiday or Standard Themes

Below, you see all of the templates available for square videos with the Standard theme:

square video standard facebook

5. After choosing a template, you’ll see a new pop-up screen. Here, you will define your video’s first scene:

video creation kit facebook

First, you need to select the background color for your first image.

6. Next, you’ll be tasked with adding a logo or a small image. In this example, I added an image to the bottom left corner:

video ads using still images

7. From here, select the “Scene 2” icon. This allows you to define the background and add text:

In this case, I left the background image blank and added text in the top third of the video frame:

The on/off buttons in the upper right-hand section of each option allow you opt-in or out of using certain elements.

8. Repeat these steps for Scene 3. You’ll be given the same options as you were in Scene 1 and Scene 2.

9. Finally, define the Effects in your video. You can add a frame, some new colors, or use a Sticker (shown below).

You are able to specify the size and position of the sticker, just like you can with the text and image elements.

10. To save your work, select “Use Video.” The next screen will bring you back to the customization page.

create facebook video ads using still images


Final Thoughts About Creating Facebook Video Ads Using Still Images

As you can see, creating great Facebook video ads from still images isn’t too difficult. If you use some of the best practices we’ve found for creating mobile video ads, you can easily turn images into videos for some of your best ads yet.

Our latest release, the Bulksheet Editor for Creative Studio, allows you to bulk edit videos yourself. It also provides a guided experience with high-performance video templates based on creative concepts that are working for top-spending advertisers on Facebook and Google App Campaign. The platform allows you to easily edit existing videos with cards, banners, footers, headlines, emojis, stickers and call to actions. This editor helps advertisers save considerable time by editing thousands of videos in just a few steps.

Learn more about Bulksheet Editor and our Creative Studio. 


How to Create 100x Ads with Quantitative Creative Testing

Facebook advertising gets more competitive every year. The social platform now offers a variety of advertising tools (like value bidding) so anybody with decent advertising know-how can compete with big brands. Gain a competitive advantage when you create 100x ads with quantitative creative testing.

This means two things:

  1. More advertisers can use Facebook profitably
  2. The playing field becomes increasingly level

The improvement of Facebook’s native ad tools has taken away many advertisers’ key competitive advantage: better ad tech. So, advertisers must find a new way to stay ahead of the pack.

The answer lies in their creative.

Using Ad Creative as a Competitive Advantage

You won’t find high-performing results in just 10x ads, but when you create 100x ads; the kind of breakout creative that delivers outsized results. This being said, the majority of new ad creative will fail, which is why we need a systematic approach for finding these breakout, 100x ads.

Recognizing this type of super creative isn’t as simple as just looking at it. It isn’t an issue of “I think this ad will perform better.” Opinions don’t matter, but performance does.

create 100x ads
Oftentimes, this breakout creative doesn’t even look like anything special until it’s tested in a live campaign. Then, when you look at the reports, that one humble little ad starts to emerge from the rest.

This is why creative is truly such a competitive edge—but only if you know how to find those high-performing ads.

How to Create 100x Ads

To find and create 100x ads, you will need to develop a lot of ads and test them every step of the way. The challenge is, 95% of this new creative will fail to overcome current best-performing ads.

This means you don’t just need one new ad—you need twenty—in order to find something that is going to outperform your current winner. Finding the 5% can be difficult, so you need to create twenty ads to find that one gem.

Another element to consider is ad fatigue. As you know, ads don’t last forever on Facebook. The bigger your budget, the faster these ads will fade. For advertisers who spend $1 million or more each month, ads can fade in as quickly as four to seven days. Taking this into account, you’ll need at least twenty new ads each week.

This may seem impossible, but it’s not. It just requires the ability to scale up creative development and test these ads extensively. We call this process “Quantitative Creative Testing”.

What is Quantitative Creative Testing?

Quantitative Creative Testing isn’t quite a/b split-testing and isn’t multivariate testing. It’s specifically designed for creative production of Facebook ads and Google’s Universal App Campaigns (UAC). There are two types of ad creative tests: Concepts and Variations. Here are the key differences:

Concepts: Large Changes & Large Impacts

5emConcepts are brand new, completely different ads. They’re big “outside-of-the-box” approaches that can result in large improvements to revenue (or in some cases, large losses). Concepts are the key drivers for creative success but must be used in a limited way. When they fail, they tend to fail badly.

Variations: Small Changes & Small impacts

Variations leverage pieces of past, high-performing concepts. So, you reposition existing elements to create something similar but new. Variations don’t have big differences like concepts, but because they’re based on high-performing ads, variations typically generate smaller, more incremental wins and/or losses.

The general idea is to follow the 80/20 rule—spend about 80% of the time optimizing the best ads and creating new variations. This limits the amount of non-converting ad spend and allows us to prototype and iterate new ads quickly. The remaining 20% of the time should be spent toying with new concept ideation; big, grand ideas that often fail but sometimes generate a 100x ad.

5 Creative Testing Phases

The Quantitative Creative Testing framework is broken into five phases:

Phase 1: Competitive Analysis

Before new ads are created, it’s important to see which ads competitors are running, and which of these ads seem to be successful.

Set aside an hour or so and identify your top ten Facebook ad competitors. From here, you can conduct a creative audit of their Facebook page by looking under the “Info and Ads” tab. This won’t tell you how the ads are performing, but it shows which ads the company is running. Paid competitive tools can help to provide you with deeper performance analytics.

Take notes and screenshots of what you find during this competitive analysis, and look for ideas to use in your own ads.

Doing this background work is critical. It allows you to optimize your ad spend, since you’re creating ads similar to other companies’ best-performing ones. It also gives you a strong creative framework based on what companies like yours are doing.

Phase 2: Simple Variation Testing

Simple variation testing is where we start to break down ads that are already working and determine which elements of those ads are driving results. This reduces the financial risk in creative testing and gives us advertising best practices to apply to new concepts down the line.

Here are some of the elements we like to test:

  • Calls to Actions / Buttons
  • Video Length: 6, 10, 15 seconds
  • Text Headers: Text placement, text length (4-6 words seem to perform best), text color, font, and more
  • Image Format: Square, horizontal, vertical, or in story form

Once you know which ad elements are the primary performance drivers, you have some very valuable information. This can be used moving forward for ad variations and for new ad concepts.

This variation testing basically gives you a “best practices” template to use for future ad creation.

Phase 3: Advanced Variation Testing

Advanced Variation Testing takes everything we’ve learned so far from competitive research and ad element testing. We’ll use this information to start building and testing new ads.

There are a lot of elements to test, but here are some of our favorites:

  • Start and End Cards: There are plenty of things to test with cards, aka calls to action. You can try placing them at the beginning, or the end of videos. Test different calls to action and CTA colors.
  • Colors: We’ve found that primary colors work best—the bolder the better.
  • Ad Copy: You can test different ad copy, the placement of the ad copy, copy color and font, or no ad copy at all.
  • Mobile Device: Showing a mobile device in the ad versus not showing one.
  • Background Image: Busy, or plain? One color, or a pattern? Note simpler backgrounds tend to perform better.
  • Image Layout: Split screen? If so, split it vertically or horizontally? Try a grid of images. Horizontal? Vertical?
  • Image Testing: As you know, images matter a lot, so they must get tested a lot. Oftentimes, we test images based on whether they are user-generated or stock photos. User-generated content, or photos that look like they are user-generated, outperform “magazine-like” photos.
  • Product Amounts: Testing one product versus multiple products.
  • Logos: Include or exclude the App Store logo and/or Google Play Badges. Removing the logo tends to lift performance by about 15%.
  • Logos and Brand Placement: Top, bottom, left, or right? You can also test no logo—ads often perform better without branding elements.

This may seem like a lot until you look at real ads and see all the different combinations that are possible:

Create 100x Ads

create 100x ads

Phase 4: Benefit & Demo in Motion

These tactics leverage Facebook’s “Create to Convert” feature, which allows advertisers to take still images and convert them into videos.

“Create to Convert” offers multiple ways to create videos ads from still images:

  • Basic Motion: Adds one or two moving elements on top of a still image.
  • Brand in Motion: Your branding or logo element/s moves in front of a still image or stock video footage.
  • Benefit in Motion: The benefit of your ad or its primary message is the moving aspect of the video.
  • Demo in Motion: This uses video footage of how your app, website, service, product, or feature works, and shows it over a static image, so it looks like the ad is showing someone using your app (or website).


Phase 5: Best Practices for Concept Ideation

Concept ideation is where we attempt to produce a breakout, 100x ads. About 95% of ads will fail to outperform existing ads, with some failing hard. To minimize losses, about only 20% of creative work is focused on new concepts.

To develop these new concepts, you’ll need to:

  • Leverage your competitive analysis research.
  • Use your storytelling skills to frame, present, and create new concepts. This means you need someone on your team who can explain what your app does or offers in a concise and compelling way.
  • Leverage character animation and assets in new ways. If you have a celebrity or a very well-known brand, try to make them the center of the ad. If you don’t, test using characters to see if they help or hurt performance.
  • Create variations of these concepts using insights from your simple variation testing. Integrate the ad elements and combinations that work best.


Create 100x Ads Conclusion

The full process of Quantitative Creative Testing is quite a lot of work. Not every advertiser has the time and ability to develop this much creative, while also managing so many tests. However, it can be done – and will help you to regain a competitive advantage through Facebook ads.

Want to learn more? We’ve tested 100K Facebook ads to figure out what drives successful creative.



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Creative & UA Best Practices For Facebook, Google, TikTok & Snap ads.

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