Split Testing: Where, What, How?

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For anyone serious about making money online or offline split testing is one of the most important elements of a successful campaign. Books have been written about it hundreds of years ago by marketing pioneers like David Ogilvy on the importance of testing. In my opinion, doesn’t matter it’s online or offline, testing is a must thing to do. Whether you’re trying to find a date or achieve success in Adwords, it’s crucial to test. Even more so with all the competition that comes in and tests each and every day.

Ok, so let’s get to the juice. How do you go about it? Where do you start? Many new guys are a bit confused when it comes to testing. I know I was. Here’s the basic approach you should take when doing online marketing. First, I barely try completely new campaigns myself. I first observe, see who the major players are and then try to copy what they do. Yeah, it’s low key, but stealing is part of this affiliate marketing business. You take what works best and improve from there.

So you find top landing pages, top banners you see everywhere, top text ads. You should keep a log and monitor constantly what others are doing. Then if you see these same ads after 2 weeks or so. Grab them. If you see the same 2 or 3 major farticles or flogs or other types of LP’s used constantly, copy them. Start your own advertising in exactly the same places with the same stuff if you get approved (sometimes they’ll disapprove you cause you’re just copying someone else’s stuff. In that case, cloak). But once you get profitable or breaking even, then it’s time to start using your brain and testing things.

Where to Test?

First, you need to determine where to start testing. Here’s a rule you should keep in mind:

If your advertising brings lots of traffic and poor conversions, start with your landing page, offers. If you can’t get decent CTR on places like Pulse360, start with ads or banners for media buys. If you’re big volume buyer, then ad CTR is constantly a priority. It’s hard to succeed when it drops.

Use basic logic here obviously, you split test what makes an impact on your bottom line. It’s pretty much all the ingredients in your advertising campaign. Here are the major points:

  • Ad copy (text ads, banners ads, PPV creatives)
  • Landing page (whatever style it is)
  • Offers (rotating offers is key in many campaigns)

Now that you know where to split test, it’s time to think about what to split test it.

What to Split Test?

Ad copy. Ad copy is what gets the CTR and forces visitors to come to your website or offer page. What I like is what Perry Marshall (Adwords guy) said ones. It went something along the lines of: ” You start from trees, then you go to branches, then to leaves“. Basically, you start testing very different things first and then move on to something more specific. So if we talk about ads, you first test totally different ad copy. Try these:

  • Scarcity
  • Recent news
  • Painting a dream
  • Fear tactics

Try positive and negative messages. Whatever makes your market tick. Use psychological phases and see which one makes people respond better. Once you identify that, move on to testing different words, call to actions, headlines. One you find a winner there, go on to putting commas and dots, switching words in places. Smallest changes. I once had 2 identical ads on Adwords. One was performing 2x better. The difference? Comma at the end of a first description line. What do you know… Sometimes, the smallest changes make the biggest impact. You need to test!

Landing Page. Dozens of top marketers kept repeating that headline if one of the most important parts you need to split test all the time. But some folks still don’t get it. With new internet age everyone thinks that those old marketing dogmas are outdated and don’t work. So they think it’s the Facebook button that’s more important or some image that grabs your attention. Frankly, you never know. But from my own testing, it’s pretty much always the headline. So stop fucking around and start testing headlines first. This is what makes the real difference to your conversions. Here’s an order to start split testing in I stick to:

  1. Headline
  2. First 2, 3 paragraphs
  3. Call to actions (if you got multiple on the page)
  4. Bullet points
  5. Images
  6. Video, audio, flash talking heads
  7. Colors

As you can see, words and the copy is the first one I test. Because it makes the biggest difference to your bottom line. It doesn’t mean however, that color won’t make a difference. I had 1.6x CR increase just by changing the headline color. You never know. But nevertheless, it’s the order I love to start testing. Usually I get the best results right off the bat with this approach.

Offers. If you’re in CPA, then you know there are like dozens of offer for one vertical. Sometimes even more. That’s why testing is very important. And it’s not just the offers. Sometimes the same offer on another network will not convert completely. Scrubbing? Probably. So you need to test even the same offers on different networks. This is what’s going to make you really successful in the long run.

Note: By now you’re probably thinking. 3 x 4 x 7 = 84 x 2 (two versions of each) = 168 elements to split test. This is nuts. If you offer pays $10, you need $1680 bucks just for a test. Well you don’t need that much really and you can see if campaign is successful or not prior to that. Just gotta have your own rule, system or hunch on when to stop. But what I suggest is if you’re starting out, start with PPV. It’s the place where you need to split test the least amount of elements. With direct linking only the offer and a target. It’s the best place for newbs.

How to Split Test?

If you’re really new, it’s going to be tough at first. You’ll need to learn and master some tools in order to learn to test things out, but this is crucial, so better get started. To start, you can split-test advertising ad copy with whatever platform you use. I think all allow that except Clicksor, where you run only one ad and that’s it. But pretty much any self-serve platform allows you to rotate ads (banners, text or PPV ad creatives or LP’s).

A tool for rotating landing pages is Bevo Media or Prosper202. There are some paid tools like CPV lab. Whichever you use, make sure you learn to use it effectively. Then every campaign you set up is going to be a breeze to track and won’t take much time.

Those tools I mentioned also allow you to rotate offers. Cloak them just in case Facebook reviewers are outside US (and they usually are). For PPV rotating offers is like a must thing to do to find a winning offer.

Well, it’s been rather a long article, but I hope that clears up the information about split testing. You know what, you know where and you know how. Now it’s time to implement all that, which is another aspect of learning.

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