Test the big difference-making stuff first. Go after finer points later. How far down you drill will depend on your patience for this kind of work and, of course, your budget.
“First test forests, then test trees, then test branches, then test leaves.”
In this scenario, the ‘forest’ is two things:
- Your headline, hook, call-to-action, offer or guarantee
- The overall aesthetic design of your ad: Colour schemes, styles, layout and tone; bold versus subtle, traditional versus modern, serious versus comic, masculine versus feminine, young versus old, and everything in between.
Let’s say you plan to test images of people in your ads. Try different ages as well as both genders. Right off the bat, that gives you four variations: Older men, older women, younger women and younger men. Which one will your target market respond to? After a few thousand impressions, you’ll know.
There are so many different things you can test:
- Image style: High-resolution colour photo, black-and-white classic, hand-drawn picture or even no image at all.
- Text formatting: Colour, font, size, bold or italic.
- Dominant colour: Different colours and different levels of light or dark will evoke wildly different moods. If you’re carefully targeting sites on GDN to show your ads, think about what colour schemes will make your ads stand out on the page rather than blending into the background.
- Call-to-Action: Ideally this should be prominent. Even better if it’s in the form of a button. Your entire ad may be clickable, but if you feature a boldly coloured button, people will click there more than any place else on your image.