Overview

When running paid acquisition, it’s easy to fall into content and headline production and analysis mode. That is – when you’re running ads, you create a handful of taglines that you run across channels, and hopefully tuning them as you go to prune out under performing content.

It’s probably likely you are also obsessing over the audience and targeting. Rightfully so – reaching the wrong audience at the wrong time is a sure fire way to lose $ quickly.

However, there is something that is even more important in terms of performance – especially early in the game when you are just getting started running ads. That thing is creative!

It’s true that you need great content and great headlines to hook potential users and that you need a solid audience to target, but it’s been proven time and time again that casting a wide net creative-wise will give you a higher ROI. It’s not just the creative though that counts – it’s your ability to test multiple different creative units against multiple different pieces of content that you’ll likely win.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not creative in the visual way – I can’t draw well, my hand writing is horrible, and my eye for design is not bad, but I can’t create anything worth looking at. I’d much rather just spin up tons of content and dive deep into the more technical aspects of growth marketing (experiments, conversion rate optimization, audience tuning, activation to name a few) than attempt to handle creative. But this is exactly the wrong approach and I know it. So rather than give in, I’ve developed a framework to help keep those non-creative types like me honest: the ad matrix.

This post provides a template to use for running multiple creative experiments mapped against variations of copy. The goal is to keep ads fresh and to ensure the best performing ads rise to the top, under performing ads get tuned down, and that a constant state of control vs challenger is in place. And this approach forces you to get creative. Give it a try!

Matrix types

2×2, 4×4, 5×5, 10×10 – there are endless permutations of the ad testing matrix. Pick one and get started!

5×5 Matrix – Creative and Headlines

Starting point

Start with 5 sets of creative times 5 sets of headline / copy / descriptive text. On paper, it looks something like this:

Creative 1Creative 2Creative 3Creative 4Creative 5
Headline 1Headline 1Headline 1Headline 1Headline 1
Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2
Headline 3Headline 3Headline 3Headline 3Headline 3
Headline 4Headline 4Headline 4Headline 4Headline 4
Headline 5Headline 5Headline 5Headline 5Headline 5

After a day or two

Once you are live and capturing data on performance, start turning off the headline combos that are not working.

Creative 1Creative 2Creative 3Creative 4Creative 5
Headline 1Headline 1Headline 1
Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2
Headline 3Headline 3
Headline 4Headline 4Headline 4Headline 4
Headline 5Headline 5

After days 3-7 you do more pruning – notice how much has died off

Creative 1Creative 2Creative 3Creative 4Creative 5
Headline 1
Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2
Headline 3Headline 3
Headline 4Headline 4Headline 4
Headline 5Headline 5

Then, start to add in new creative and new headlines to test in the matrix. Notice Creative 6 and Headline 6 are added.:

Creative 1Creative 2Creative 3Creative 4Creative 5Creative 6
Headline 1Headline 1
Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2
Headline 3Headline 3Headline 3
Headline 4Headline 4Headline 4Headline 4
Headline 5Headline 5Headline 5
Headline 6Headline 6Headline 6Headline 6Headline 6Headline 6

After a week or so

Continue to turn off creative that is under performing, add in new creative and new headlines to test in the matrix – notice Creative 3 is off as is Headline 4 – the failed!

Creative 1Creative 2Creative 5Creative 6Creative 7
Headline 1Headline 1Headline 1
Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2Headline 2
Headline 3Headline 3Headline 3Headline 3
Headline 5Headline 5Headline 5Headline 5
Headline 6Headline 6Headline 6Headline 6Headline 6
Headline 7Headline 7Headline 7Headline 7Headline 7

From this point, you simply repeat on a regular basis – ideally you are looking at creative and messaging & making changes on a daily or every-other-day basis.

Using the ad testing matrix you all but force yourself to come up with ideas on a daily or weekly basis that you can use to feed your acquisition channels and drive down your acquisition costs. I hope you found this helpful!



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