The Grandmaster’s Guide to Data-Driven Creative Testing

The Grandmaster’s Guide to Data-Driven Creative Testing

If you’re spending money on ads, you can’t afford to waste money on creative that’s missing the mark: not delivering learnings or profits. When used correctly, creative testing will be the most powerful tool in your performance marketing arsenal. Creative testing is often not done correctly, however, which makes many people believe that it’s not important. In this blog series, we will help you understand what creative testing is, why it’s so important, and how to get the most out of it. 

What is creative testing?

Creative testing is a structured way of communicating a brand’s value to user segments in new, compelling ways. It requires multiple ingredients to be combined: strategic thinking, technical measurement, rigorous execution. Most marketers get creative testing and creative iteration mixed up.

The reality: most tests will fail at improving the best, existing performance benchmarks. Your leverage is by continuously testing with a budget strategy that invests minority amounts of capital while you mine for gold. Combined with learning and getting smarter with each test you increasingly improve your chances of achieving breakthrough outcomes.

What happens after you validate a winning test and want to increase volume? Iteration, the process of proactively building variations of validated tests that will now be scaled with a majority share of your capital allocation.

When to do creative testing

Creative testing is based upon your overall strategy and knowledge of how customers actually become customers. In order to run a creative test efficiently, you have to establish full-funnel performance metrics. This ensures that you hone in on concrete goals and that you have a clear plan on the outcomes you need to achieve. Are you trying to raise brand awareness? Are you trying to break through on a new customer segment? Are you focused more on topline volume or bottom line efficiency in a given month?

Run creative testing to…

  • Push the limits with creative that’s built to cut through noise and stand out
  • Build data-validated Insights every month
  • Balance how you focus topline and bottom line goals based on business needs
  • Create an engine for finding your future winners to fight diminishing returns as you scale

A scientific approach to creative testing

One of the hardest ways to start creative testing is figuring out how many tests versus how much to iterate each month based on your goals.

Ladder’s Creative Testing Calculator

You can spend hours researching and coming up with a plan, but the best route is to check out our marketing experiment interactive calculator. All you need to do is put how much you want to grow (in percentage) in how many months plus a few other metrics, like business scope and experiment success rate. Let’s say you want to grow 60% in 6 months. To do this, you need to test 28 marketing experiments.

What’s coming next

In our series of creative testing blogs, you’ll learn the best approaches to managing a creative testing engine. For the next blog posts, we’ll be talking about account structures, targeting, tactical vs strategic testing, and integrating brand strategy integration into your team structure.