Split Testing and Fine Tuning Your Creatives for a Media Buy


Advertising is inherently risky. There is no guarantee that your investment will result in higher conversion rates and more sales. So, when you purchase ad space on a high traffic website, you should carefully analyze the performance of your ads on a weekly or even daily basis.

Split testing allows you to measure and improve conversion rates for your landing page, call to action and PPC campaigns in short time periods. When it comes to a media buy, split testing is even more important and if you opt for a large enough audience, the volume of impressions you receive each day will make it possible to do it far more quickly.

Creating a Successful Split Test

As always, remember that a split test should only change one aspect of the creative. Creating two completely different banner ads or videos for each split will not help you much. Instead, you should focus on small changes such as:

  • Headlines
  • Color Scheme
  • Video vs. Static
  • Animated vs. Static
  • Size
  • Call to Action
  • Wording
  • Placement on the Site

Each of these can be changed and measured against previous data to check for changes in your conversion rates. Be sure that you have clear goals outlined in your Google Analytics account so you can track the incoming traffic from your advertisements and measure actual conversions (not just clicks).

Without this data, measuring success rates is very hard. You may get more clicks with the B version of your ad, but if the A version converts twice as well (meaning the right people are clicking it), it is a better ad. Traffic and conversions are both important, but at the end of the day, the most important statistic is Return on Investment.

Multi-Site Split Testing

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is using the same ad for each of your media buys. Demographics are different on each website and so too are the people who view your ads.

Say for example you promote a weight loss dieting plan targeted towards men. You purchase ad space from two websites – one a movie and entertainment site targeting 18-35 year old males and the other an online men’s magazine focused on dating and fitness. Sure the demographic is the same, but the mindset and possibly even the people who read these sites will be very different.

So, your ads should be equally different while aiming for the same end result. Speak to your audience and tweak your ads during split tests to reflect the needs and desires of a specific audience.

Knowing When to Cut a Site Loose

The most important aspect of media buying is knowing when to cut your losses and say “enough”. Because media buys are expensive and they tend to last a month or longer, this is usually a simple process. As long as you are actively split testing during all 30 days of the advertising period and continue to see poor conversions, it is safe to give up on an ad after the first month.

Split testing is vital to the success of a media buy. Research, analysis and careful interpretation of results are necessary to ensure you get the most possible out of every dollar you spend. With split testing and a keen eye for the right demographics, you can do just that with your ads.