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Facebook Advertising

A/B Testing on Facebook: Everything Merchants Should Know

A/B Testing on Facebook: Everything Merchants Should Know

by John Larkin

John runs the blog here at eCommerceLift and is a verified Shopify Expert. Interested in an initial growth consultation? Click here

A year ago

A/B Testing on Facebook: Everything Merchants Should Know

Like all other forms of marketing there is an element of experimentation when it comes to Facebook advertising. It’s rare to find an eCommerce store that hits it out of the park first try when making Facebook ads simply because it requires a little bit of testing and research.  

This is where A/B testing comes in as this popular market research technique is particularly suited to Facebook advertising. In this post we are discussing everything you need to know about A/B Testing so that you can build your most successful Facebook ads for your eCommerce store. 

First, what is A/B Testing? 

A/B testing is a very simple yet effective marketing research technique. It is basically creating two versions of the same ad and testing them against each other to see how audience react to them. It can be used in many aspects of marketing both on and offline and is considered one of the most effective ways to gauge the potential success of a marketing campaign.

So why use A/B Testing?

A/B Tests are used as they are a method of gaining invaluable insight into what advertisements will actually work best for your store. They have numerous advantages as they show merchants what is actually working while also increasing your return on investment as these are ads that your customers are proven to respond well to making them a valuable asset for any business. 

However there are rules

Like any other scientific experiment, A/B testing is only successful when there is a stringent and controlled measuring environment. In order for your tests to be accurate and helpful, it is essential when conducting A/B tests follow these rules:

Use new ads only: When comparing ads always use two new ads. Using old ads that your customers have already viewed will skew the results and give you useless information. Therefore only use new ads or update your older ones so that the results will be valid.

Adapt one variable at a time: Don’t change everything at once as this will not give you an accurate reaction to what is working and what is not. Instead change one variable at a time such as the image or call to action instead of drastic moves that will confuse what is actually working or not.

Keep the conditions the same: When running the ads to get the most effective and precise results it’s best to set the same conditions for your ads. This means running your ads at the same time of day, for equal lengths of time and with the same amount of money spent to get an accurate gauge of how well your ad really performs.

Continually test: Even if you find an ad that works, it’s advised to keep testing. Eventually, no matter what ad fatigue will set in for your audience so keep creating new ads and testing them as this will keep your audience on their toes.

Keep an eye on your reports: Monitoring your reports and seeing the obvious or minuscule differences in how customers react to your ads is the only way to effectively learn which ad has been more successful in your research. So keep an eye on them so that you can build the best ads for your eCommerce store.

What to A/B Test

Call to Action

Call to action on Facebook can be a very powerful tool to get customers to click on your ads. However there are numerous calls to action that you could use and getting it right can be a tricky process. Although it may be an insignificant difference, calls to action are one of the biggest influencers on customers in regards to click rates. 
There are suggested calls to actions as well as customisable ones that can be used for eCommerce store. However, remember it must stand out so pick ones that you believe will get potential customers attention and test them continuously to see how it works for your ad.


Images within Facebook ads are what are arguably most essential to get right. They are what catches your audience’s attention and gives them an overall impression of what you are selling. With images being so paramount to your ads success A/B testing needs to be continuously done.

Image testing can be done in a number of ways as you see in the example below from the eCommerce store Dodo Case. These two images are exactly alike except for their colour. Although a subtle change, this will alter how the audience interacts with the ad and may prove that audiences are more drawn to one colour versus another. 

Alternatively images can be tested by comparing simple photos of just the product with products in use. This is a more obvious contrast but can be an effective measure of how customers like to see products whether it be a stagnant, simple image or being used by a customer. 

Test your audience                            

A/B Testing is all about trying to find the best fit for your stores advertising and one of the most important aspects of ad success is the right target audience.  A/B testing can help you narrow down and perfectly target the right customers for your eCommerce store.

However with infinite types of audiences, it’s difficult to know what and who to test. Simply testing demographics such as age groups, genders and location is a perfect place to start with as it’s easily comparable in A/B testing leaving you with a simple answer of which ad performs best for you. 

It is potentially more difficult to A/B is interest and behaviors as these can be quite varied. It is possible to compare these though by choosing interest that are comparable. Choosing similar brands that people like or similar hobbies and comparing how each audience reacts is a useful way to measure  what works for your store. 

The Copy 

Although it may seem at first glance that the copy is not as important as the other aspects of your Facebook ad, there are actually some merits to measuring the effectiveness of it. In actuality there are some members of your audience who will read and be drawn in by it. It also gives a short, concise yet valuable description so that people know what they are clicking on.

Having short, pithy, effective copy can be a difficult thing to get right. Comparing lengths of copy and how you describe your products is productive way to access an audience reaction while also comparing how different deals work in your copy will give you an indicator of grabs customers.

A/B testing in any form of marketing has its merits but on Facebook it is remarkably useful. It makes your advertisements work better, gives brands a clearer understanding of their audience and helps eCommerce store with their R.O.I. and growth. It's all just about experimentation and having the patience to figure out what works best for your business so that you can achieve success. 


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