eCommerce Marketing

Ad Testing: The Guide To Getting the Most Out Of Paid Media

February 10, 2024
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What is Ad Testing?

In short, ad testing is the process of evaluating the effectiveness of advertisements, to see if they are achieving their intended goals. The main goal of ad testing is to gather and analyse feedback so that the ad can be optimised to improve its performance, engagement, conversion and return on investment. 

You can run ad tests on an entire ad or specific aspects of it, and can be carried out either before or after the ad has launched to the wider audience.

The Importance of Ad Testing

Ad testing is a fantastic way to ‘test the waters’ of a new ad campaign, allowing you to uncover what type of content, CTA’s, messaging and visuals are most effective in capturing your audience’s attention and achieving desired results. 

Here are some more key reasons why ad testing is important for your business:

  • It maximises ROI - By identifying which ads are most effective, you can focus your resources on campaigns that have a track record of success which are likely to generate conversions and maximise your return on investment.
  • Reduces wasted spending - Ad testing allows you to allocate your advertising budget more wisely and avoid wasting your marketing budget on ineffective ads. 
  • You can refine your audience targeting - Ad testing also allows you to optimise your audience targeting. Based on the demographics, behaviours, and interests of those who respond positively to your ads, you can refine your audience targeting so that your ads reach the most relevant and interested audience.
  • You can easily identify trends - Consistent ad testing will allow you to identify emerging trends and preferences among your target audience.
importance of ad testing
Ad testing helps businesses identify potential weaknesses in their paid social media strategy. 

Ad Testing Methods 

There are a number of different ad testing methods, including A/B testing, market research surveys, eye tracking, focus groups and data analysis. 

A/B Testing

A/B testing is the process of creating multiple versions of an ad (variation A and variation B) with slight variations, for example different CTA’s, images or messaging. These variations are then shown to different segments of your target audience and the performance metrics are compared to identify which version of the ad is most effective.

A/B testing is usually carried out when an ad is live, but you can also do A/B testing before going live to make sure you choose the best option. 

Surveys or Focus Groups

Gathering direct feedback from users through surveys or focus groups can offer valuable qualitative insights into how the ad is seen and what improvements could be made. 

You can use surveys in any stage of the ad process and you might even choose to segment your respondents to see how different groups respond. For some inspiration on the type of questions you could ask in a survey, check out this blog. 

Eye Tracking

Eye tracking is more of a scientific approach to measuring how effective an ad is. It basically involves tracking where users' eyes focus when they look at an ad and creating visual maps (heatmaps) of the areas that receive the most attention. This helps identify which elements of the ad are most effective and engaging. 

Time and Frequency Testing

This type of testing is great for optimising ad scheduling and involves experimenting with the timing and frequency of ad placements. For example, you might test your ad on different days of the week, times of day, or ad frequency to determine when your target audience is most responsible and how often your ads should be shown. 

Ad Recall Testing

This testing method helps advertisers assess the memorability and impact of their ads on participant’s minds.

The process of ad recall testing typically involves showing participants the ad and after a certain amount of time (typically within a few hours to a few days), asking them if they remember seeing the ad and any specific details they remember about it. The percentage of participants who correctly recall the ad is used to determine the ad's recall rate.

ad recall testing
The main goal of ad recall testing is to measure the ad's ability to leave a lasting impression on the audience, and for advertisers to see whether the visuals, messaging, CTA’s and overall presentation are making an impact.

Additional Ways To Get the Most Out of Paid Media:

Paid social media is a continuous process of testing, learning, and refining, and in addition to ad testing, there are many other ways you can get the most out of your paid media campaigns and improve your marketing ROI

Understanding Your Audience 

Understanding your target audience’s demographics, behaviours, and preferences, you can tailor your marketing efforts and ad content to resonate with your audience. For example, by knowing your audience’s language and communication style, you can create messages that resonate with them on an emotional level.

Choose the Best Possible Platforms

Make sure you choose the social media platforms that align best with your target audience and goals. Remember that platform has its unique user base and features, so choose the ones where your audience is most active.

choosing the best ad platform
For example, if the majority of your target audience are millennials, Snapchat, TikTok or Instagram are your best options.

Create High-Quality Engaging Content

In order to get the most out of your paid media campaigns, it’s essential that your ads are of high quality. Ensure that you’re creating visually appealing and concise ad content with high-quality images, engaging videos, and on-brand copy that resonate with your audience and convey your message effectively.

At Aura Ads, we have years of experience in creating bespoke scroll-stopping product video ads for a range of ecommerce businesses. If you’re interested in taking your business’ ad creative to the next level, get in touch with a member of our team today by clicking the ‘Schedule a call’ button on our website. 

Optimise Your Ad Content for Mobile

Mobile devices are being used more than ever before, and with mobile commerce on the rise, it’s important that your paid media ads and landing pages are mobile friendly.

This can be things as simple as ensuring the ad loads quickly on various screen sizes, or that the ad headings and text can be read clearly on smaller screens. 


We are Aura Ads, a unique performance creative agency designed for D2C eCommerce brands. We help clients sell more online and grow at scale with our bespoke video and static creative delivered on a monthly basis.

For more tips on how to create great social media ads, visit our social media marketing blog.

Written by Kate, for Aura Ads.

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