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4 Experiments to Use for Your Social Media Testing Strategy

By now, you have social media as a viable marketing tool in your arsenal.

Social platforms allow you to quickly connect with your audience and engage them on new levels.

But, you do have to experiment with them to get your formula right.

Maybe you want to improve your reach across Facebook, or you’re just starting out and you want to lay a solid foundation.

Either way, this requires social testing by running social media tests.

There are several benefits of social testing, and Facebook’s new Experiments element is a powerful tool that gives you excellent insights into what you’re doing well and what you could improve upon.

Why Bother With Social Media Testing?

Social media tests give you measurable and structured results.

They break down a host of data and show you what practices work and which ones don’t work.

In turn, you can then drill down into the specifics and use this data to improve your own social media marketing strategy instead of using benchmarks set by other businesses.

You’ll use social testing to see how your engagement levels, content and publishing strategies work with your targeted audience.

Social testing also allows you to identify specific parts of your social media campaigns and leave with a very clear understanding of what you need to do to ensure your brand has success.

It can measure the following components individually:

  • Blog post headlines
  • Calls to action
  • Color choices
  • Engagement
  • Images
  • Number of comments
  • Number of retweets or shares
  • Posting times
  • Traffic
  • Tweets (images, links, and text)
  • Types of status updates (text, links, video and audio)
Social testing has many benefits

Benefits of Social Media Tests

Social media tests come with several benefits that can help drive your business and expand your brand’s reach.

It can help you pin down your target audience.

You’ll run the same ads but target different demographics and see which one your audience reacts best to.

Chances are you’ll end up with one demographic that is far more responsive than the others, and this is your target audience.

On Facebook, you can sort this audience by age, location, device, interests and platform.

Social testing gives you a chance to try out various ad formats.

For Facebook, some ad formats outperform others, and certain types of posts do better with different formats.

If you had a product launch, you could experiment and see which ad format worked best.

Usually, the carousel does best because it lets you showcase several photos of your new product.

Testing gives you a chance to see which ad formats your audience prefers, and this can drive higher engagement if you get it right.

Social media experiments give you a chance to switch up parts of your post to see which ones perform the best.

Once you have all of your data, you can combine the elements that did better into one post to make it more appealing to your audience.

Your post style, length, tone, emoji use and whether or not you use lists and numbers are all easy to test.

Your readers expect your posts to be error-free and flawless, so take care when you post them for any purpose.

These tests also give you a unique chance to try out different headlines and calls to action.

The goal is to find out which headlines draw the most attention.

Maybe it’s the shorter and more concise ones, or perhaps your audience prefers more in-depth headlines.

Try both and see which one works.

The same goes for CTAs. See which one results in the most clicks and start applying them to your future posts.

How to Perform Social Testing

It’s relatively easy to perform social testing once you understand all of the parts to it.

In general, there are five steps you have to take to complete any social testing you choose to do, and we’ll lightly touch on them below for you to see.

  • Decide which variables you want to test. Once you do, you’ll use these variables to develop your hypothesis on how each variable will do. For example, maybe your hypothesis is that posting something with an image will drive more clicks than a post with a link.
  • Choose which type of test you want to run. You can run a standard A/B test where you compare metadata posts to image posts and see which one is better. The second option is to run a multivariable test and swap out several things across two ads like the headline, CTA and image.
  • Decide on the platform, variables and duration. Set a time limit for your social testing and choose a platform. Pick out the variables you want to control during the tests.
  • Run the test. Pick a time and run your tests. You can run two ad campaigns targeted at a different audience, or you could try two variations of the same paid ad and see which one results in better conversions.
  • Get your results and analyze them. After you run the test, take a look and see what your results are. Look at the engagement, and see which one did better.
Social media experiments with A/B testing

Facebook Experiments and Social Testing

Facebook released Experiments to help marketers measure how successful their advertising campaigns are, and this powerful tool gives recommendations on how you can improve each campaign.

Facebook Experiments allows you to compare one or more campaigns to see which was more successful, measure how your ads impact recall or awareness, compare multiple ad campaigns’ performance and see how new advertising strategies stack up against old ones.

There are four tests available in Experiments, and we’ll briefly outline them below.

Experiment 1 – Campaign A/B Testing

This Experiment lets you take two or more of your ad campaigns and compare them to see which one is doing better in terms of the money you spent on it versus conversions.

The test uses exposure to measure your campaign’s success, and it splits it both randomly and evenly across your campaigns to choose a winner.

You can pick to measure your cost per conversion lift variable, and the test will include a small holdout to compare to the lift each campaign receives.

Experiment 2 – Campaign Budget Optimization Test

You can take your existing ad campaign and use it as a template to see how your cost per result performance gets impacted by your campaign budget optimization.

It’ll automatically create an A/B test after it copies your campaign.

One test will have the campaign optimization turned off and the other will turn it on. At the end, you’ll compare how each one performed.

Experiment 3 – Brand Survey Test

This Experiment allows you to put out a brand survey that measures how your brand advertising strategy impacts your brand recall, perception and awareness.

The test randomizes the audience and divides them into groups.

Some groups will see your ad campaigns and some won’t.

The audience then answers a poll with questions based on your goals.

Experiment 4 – Holdout Test

The final Experiment Facebook offers is the Holdout Test.

This test will measure either a specific ad campaign’s incremental lift or all of your active advertising campaigns at once.

It will randomize your audience and divide them into different groups.

Some groups won’t see your ad campaigns and some will.

The goal of this Experiment is to see what difference your advertising makes on your conversion rate. Conversions include app installs, leads or purchases.

Bottom Line

Social media tests are vital to understanding what does and doesn’t work for your advertising campaigns.

Facebook Experiments is a powerful new tool that allows you to test multiple areas all in one convenient location, and you can use it to boost your ads, expand your business’s reach and create more conversions.

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Andrej Miklosik

Andrej Miklosik

Andrej specializes in search-centric marketing which focuses on connecting all communication channels, both offline and online, into one coherent and functional system, where communication messages come through all channels and media efficiently. Browse articles published by Andrej and get inspiration for your social media marketing strategy and projects today!
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