20 EASY Iterative Creative Tests to Launch On Facebook+Instagram Today

Nothing is more important than creative in today’s paid social landscape. Research shows that creative is responsible for ~50% of performance variance.

Nothing is more important than creative in today’s paid social landscape. Research shows that creative is responsible for ~50% of performance variance. You can have a rock-solid campaign structure and track every single click across the entire funnel, but if you don’t have great creative, it will still be (near) impossible to succeed.  

But great creative is never “one and done”. For every 10 ads you test, expect one high-performance peach and 9 lemons. That means that to succeed on Facebook Ads in 2021, we need to relentlessly test new creative. Simply put, the more you test, the more long-term success you can expect to have.

Many advertisers assume that building a high-performance creative engine means taking big swing after big swing and spending aggressively on new ads and concepts in the hopes that they’ll finally find that perfect ad that will unlock sustained success. 

But, the opposite is true. Great creative is the result of a constant stream of iterative, small tweaks that unlock each ad concept's full potential. Once a creative direction shows some signs of life, we can keep iterating.

At Thesis, our goal is to have a two-pronged creative approach. On one hand, we constantly test net new creative assets, and on the other, constantly iterate on any of our winners. This approach helps us avoid creative ruts, while ensuring that our clients see sustained FB advertising success.

Iterative testing doesn’t need to be a big lift. Oftentimes, simple changes can have an outsized impact. Many can be executed either directly in Ads Manager, or quickly edited from your phone or computer.

Here are 20 of our favorite iterations to test on Facebook Ads creative: 

1. Add a card with a clear CTA to the end of video ads. 

This is about as easy as it gets: add a simple end card to your top performing videos with a clear headline and CTA. It gives viewers a clear next step and helps move them along the funnel. 

2. Add a simple, relatable headline to your best performing image ads

Have a static image that really seems to resonate? Add a simple, short headline in the negative space or as a graphic overlay that can help provide additional context to your ad. 

We’d suggest testing several different headlines and images to see which one really sticks. 

3. Change the video thumbnail. Use the most interesting/relevant frame.

Facebook’s automated thumbnails can be hit or miss. And unless specifically testing automated thumbnails, we always use manual thumbnails. Try testing the most interesting or relevant frame of the video can help make your ads more thumb-stopping in the feed.

4. Add a title bar to the first 3 seconds of a video with a great headline

Context is king. Adding a bar across the top of your video with a simple, relatable, and attention grabbing headline gives viewers the information they need to decide to keep watching. 

5. Speed it up. 

Have footage that isn’t super interesting? Speed it up. This can make your ads more eye catching - and that generally translates to better performance.

6. Create a carousel with your top performing images

The only thing better than one top performing is multiple images. Right? Using your best performing images in a carousel is a great way to add additional copy and highlight the best value propositions of your product or service.

7. Create a simple slideshow with your best performing images

Here is yet another way to leverage your best photos for additional performance gains. Use the “create slideshow” tool in Ads Manager to get a super quick read on performance. If you get good results, you can double down by adding text overlays with product details, value propositions, or a proven headline. 

8. Add customer testimonials or press quotes over best performing images

Adding social proof is always a sure-fire way to improve results. To test this for yourself, try adding a customer testimonial or press quote an overlay on a great image. If it works, double down and try animating it for your next test. 

9. Feature a review in the ad caption or headline

This might look familiar. (Take another look at  #8!) This is an easy copy change that can make a massive difference, especially for retargeting campaigns. We always aim to find reviews that align with the message in the ad creative for a quick one-two punch.

10. Add a voiceover

Adding a voiceover is a great way to add additional context to your video ads. There’s an added benefit too - they’re easy to test. We often test multiple variants of the same video with varying voiceovers to see what will resonate most with our audience.

11. Add captions

Over 85% of FB users watch video with the sound off. Adding captions to your videos helps provide context that viewers would otherwise miss. 

12. Try weird angles and crops

It’s a classic pattern interrupt. Most videos have clips with similar angles, framing, and crops. When a viewer sees something strange or out of place, it makes them stop and think “Hey, what the heck was that?”

13. Use text to speech for your headlines

Take advantage of social trends to help make your ads feel more native to the platform. Using TikTok’s text to speech feature is a great way to spice up your ads and make them more interesting to your audience.

14. Zoom in - uncomfortably close

Advertising is all about capturing attention. Use an aggressive zoom at the start of your ad if you need a simple way to get your audience’s attention.

15. Trim the beginning of the video to start at a more interesting/relevant point

The first 3 seconds of an ad are the most important. You need to capture attention fast. Trimming the beginning of a video so that you start at a more interesting point can completely change performance. The best part is that you can do this directly in Ads Manager. 

16. Add a clip that tells the viewer what to do next

If you want a viewer to click, why not just tell them to? We often test variants of UGC ads that finish with a video clip of our creators directly telling viewers to click. It may seem ridiculous, but clearly communicating the next step is never a bad idea. 

17. Cut your best performing UGC assets into a compilation video. 

Combine all of your best hooks and videos into a compilation. Most commonly we use this with UGC, but if we find images or branded assets that are performing well, we’ll also insert those to create longer-form assets. 

18. Use an “I” problem statement to start the video

Using “I” statements as a video headline is one of the go-to tactics in our bag of tricks. Identify the problem that your product and service solves and create an “I” statement that shows how your product is the perfect solution. Here’s a quick example: “I couldn’t find delicious vegan snacks” or “I couldn’t find t-shirts that fit me right”.  

19. Try different hooks! 

A vast majority of our testing is focused on the hook. It’s easily the most important part of every ad. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest parts to test. Just slightly rearrange your ads so that the most interesting and relatable moments are the first clips that a viewer sees. 

20. Call out your audience

Leave adset targeting in 2020. Improve your results by using a broad adset and calling out your audience directly in your creative using either an on screen headline or directly in your video assets.

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