This is How Publishers Should A/B Test their Creative Campaigns
Monday March 20th || by Megan Morreale
Good content is easy to monetize, but sometimes, it takes a little bit of extra research, testing, and creativity to optimize for the best return on investment (ROI).
The thing about A/B testing, though, is that you risk failure, could lose traffic and need to weather a drop in conversions should your testing not yield positive results.
Be strategic when you’re testing—certain times during the year are better than others, like right after the holidays when it comes to improving content, ROI, and revenue per mille (RPM).
How to A/B Test with Taboola
Also known as split testing or bucket testing, A/B testing is used to compare two versions of the same page to isolate which variants perform better for your conversion goals.
When publishers A/B test with Taboola, they can test in a variety of different ways. For starters, they can test types of creatives—text, imagery, and video—to determine which is the best for their goals, or to explore something new.
Publishers also test page structure. With Full Page Personalization (FPP), we can adjust the content type, amount, the methods for which it’s served to particular audiences.
One example of FPP is how we adjust social sharing buttons. If a frequent sharer comes onto your site, the social sharing buttons have the ability to get bigger, moderate sharers get medium buttons, and visitors that don’t typically share might not see them at all. Depending on data we’ve gathered from their previous behavior, we can show them a different content layout.
There’s less risk when ad spending is down.
January is the best time for publishers to optimize their campaigns, as it’s often the time period when the least amount of advertising revenue is spent due to the holiday season.
For some publishers, the holiday rush might not matter as much, and your big spending period might be at the end of your fiscal year. Either way, the best time to test is the month or quarter where you’re spending the least amount of your advertising budget, and expecting the least amount of return from those advertisements.
When your ad spending is down, it’s a good time to branch out into other mediums.
Explore optimizing a new type of creative—which image is better to show to different types of audiences, discover your optimal video length, and test headline wording.
You can also test different formats. If you’re a user of Taboola’s traditional widget, try our vertical carousel or maybe try a video campaign.
Use Case: One Publisher’s A/B Testing Breakthrough
Digital Remedy, formerly CPXi and a leading digital media solutions company leading the tech-enabled marketing space, ran successful A/B testing campaigns with Taboola in January. David Zapletal, EVP of Media Operations at Digital Remedy, spoke to us about his experience, and his reasoning behind their A/B testing decisions.
According to Zapletal, Digital Remedy does the least amount of testing in the fourth quarter, and the same amount in the first and second quarters for three reasons—the holiday season, vacations and end of year budgets. Another reason they don’t test in the fourth quarter is because they might get false positives with the increase in end of year budgets.
“Our A/B testing breakthrough came when we found this middle of the road happy medium where we have content versus ads.” – David Zapletal, EVP of Media Operations at Digital Remedy
In order to ensure that testing doesn’t affect their day-to-day business, Digital Remedy implements a code freeze on their main site. Here’s how they strategized:
“On the monetization side, where we run the Taboola widgets, we changed the formats of the widgets a bit to see if we could increase click-through-rates (CTRs),” Zapletal said.
“On the media buying side, we took the opportunity to test a new page layout to increase revenue and improve user experience all at the same time.”
Their ultimate goal was to reduce the number of assets on their site, as well as the number of ads, to see if the combination of these two items would decrease page load speed to improve user experience.
“Our A/B testing breakthrough came when we found this middle of the road happy medium where we have content versus ads,” Zapletal said. “Finding the perfect page structure was really about a balancing act.”
Ultimately, A/B testing achieves the tradeoff between user experience, engagement, and revenue. With this information, you can find the balance that is right your site and your users.
Taboola is the world’s leading content discovery platform, serving 360B recommendations to over 1B unique visitors each month on the web’s most innovative publisher sites. To learn more about how Taboola can help you A/B test your site content, contact us.