By Owen Fay . Posted on January 19, 2022

Your business is probably running ads, but do you know if they’re working?

Whether it’s increasing sales, gaining brand awareness, or lead generation, you need to know that your ads work. There’s no better way to understand how effective your ads are than testing them.

Ad testing is the process of presenting different ads to a portion of users to understand effectiveness based on user feedback and behavior.

You can run tests on the entire ad or just parts like the image or copy and gain feedback. Throughout this blog, we will explain best practices in ad testing as well as how to perform an effective ad test with Poll the People.

First, let’s explain why you should spend your time and money on ad testing.

Why Ad Testing is Important

If you are a decision-maker for a business, you know that you can spend a lot of money on ad testing, and that number is only growing.

Businesses spend a lot on ads because they can be an effective tool for growth or increasing revenue. A great way to make sure the money spent on ads is worth doing a pre-live ad test.

Here are some of the many benefits usability A/B testing advertisements gives you:

1. Data-Backed Decision Making

It’s hard to argue with real data. If you can prove to your boss, colleagues, or business partners that one ad concept is better than the others, you should be able to convince them to run that ad.

Ad testing gives you real feedback from your audience, creating the confidence you need to make a decision.

2. New Ideas

You will find a “winning” ad with a test, but it might not be perfect yet. This is where the insights from users come in. If you are testing ad copy, the test will give you a winner, but the audience might tell you it could be better.

These insights allow you to take good ads and make them great with your users’ tips, explanations, and opinions. You might be surprised by the new ideas that your users come up with for your ads.

3. Understanding the Audience

Once the responses are in, you can filter the good feedback from the bad and understand what was and wasn’t liked about your ad. The feedback can help you understand what kind of users will respond to different types of ads, creating different targeting and ad types for different audiences.

4. Eliminating Risk

Pre-live testing ads let you make the changes needed to create a great ad before going live. You don’t have to risk spending a lot of money on ads with no results. Testing will help you understand if the ad will work and what version will be the most cost-effective for your business. You eliminate the risk of choosing the wrong one because you have real user feedback.

How to Run an Ad Test

Now that we know why you should test your ads, we can jump into the process of testing the ads. If you want an overview guide to running a usability A/B test, take a look at this

Pick the Ad you Want to Test

You can test many different types of ads or parts of your ads, and it could be a video, image, copy, audio, or a combination of elements. When you choose the type of ad you want to run, consider where they will be posted. For example, an ad on YouTube will be different from a Google Search Ad. Considering the platform you’re posting on goes a long way in creating a successful ad.

Poll the People allows you to test copy, creative (images, audio, video), or a full ad with curated templates that help you run a successful test.

The platform allows you to test the ads and has users vote on the version they like the most. Unlike traditional a/b testing, participants then have to give a detailed explanation as to why they chose one option over the other. This method allows you to find the best ad and understand why it is the better ad and use that insight moving forward.

Learn more about how the platform works and start testing your way to success.

Find The Question You Want To Ask.

What makes one ad better than another? Appeal, uniqueness, believability, and relevance are major factors in making a good ad.

  • Appeal – is the ad visually and textually engaging to your audience?
  • Uniqueness – does your ad stand out from the crowd?
  • Believability – is the ad credible?
  • Relevance – does the ad fill the user’s needs and wants?
  • Intent – Will the ad motivate your audience to buy?

You can measure these factors by asking the right questions in your test. Keeping these questions in mind gives you clear goals for testing your ad. Asking questions like “How believable is this ad?” or “Does this ad motivate you to buy the product?” will help you understand how to improve your ads.

Depending on the goal of your ad, you’ll want to focus on different key metrics. If you want to focus on differentiation, then the uniqueness of your ad is most important. If you want to focus on brand recognition, the ad’s appeal is more important.

Sending Your Test

Many traditional market research platforms require you to either send your test to your own audience or spend a lot of time and money on the platform’s audience. It might be hard to get statistically significant data with your audience or be a long and expensive process by paying for an audience.

Luckily, Poll the People is different; our tests can be created, launched, and gather statistically significant data in under an hour. Testing with a dedicated panel of users is also less expensive than traditional platforms at $1.00 per response.

Our market research panel allows you to specify how many respondents you need and receive valuable insights fast and cost-effectively, making an ad test even more sensible for your business. This method allows you to spend less than a focus group or personal interviews while also requiring participants to give in-depth explanations similar to a focus group or interview.

Analyze The Results

Once you have created, launched, and received your feedback, you’re ready to dive into the results. Poll the People provides an easy-to-digest dashboard that gives you the winner with the quantitative data on the votes.

You will also filter the users who chose version A from those who chose version B and analyze their responses as to why. This will let you understand what was liked about the ad and what wasn’t.

The feedback is valuable because some of the negative feedback might give you improvements to your ad that could be very helpful. The positive feedback will allow you to continue to make successful ads with the layout or features the audience likes most.

Ad Testing Through The Product Life Cycle

When you are beginning to create your product, service, or business, you have different testing priorities like logo testing or pricing strategy.

Ad testing should start once you launch your product or service. You want to get sales once you launch the business, so ads will be important. But, everything about your ads will be new to your audience; you’ll want to conduct a test that gives you general feedback on your branding, messaging, and image.

This will help you find the best direction to take your ads moving forward. Your tests should become more specific as the business moves along the life cycle.

In the introduction stage, you’ll want to test for believability or relevance by testing different copies or images. Once your business hits the maturity stage, you might just be testing the color or changes of a few words.

Running several ads throughout the business’s life cycle is a great way to optimize ads continuously and follows an agile market research method. It gives you a valuable and manageable system for making data-backed decisions.

Agile market research is a strategic approach that aims at analyzing and reinventing the ongoing business practices to address the urgency caused by the continuous change in customer behavior and market trends. –

Ad Testing Best Practices

Here are our biggest tips for conducting an advertisement test.

    1. Keep your metrics consistent

Asking the same questions on all of your ads keeps things easy to understand and compare.

    2. Use high-quality Creative 

Ads that feature low-quality images or videos will always get more negative feedback than ones with clear creative.

    3. Get Statistically Significant Data

We suggest at least 100 respondents get a good idea of what ad really won your test. Poll the People’s panel lets you test hundreds or thousands of users to get enough data to make your decision.

    4. Comparing Your Ad with Competitors

This will give you a good idea of what might work. Using this method to create and test ads will save you time and money on many tests. You can even test your competitor’s ads against your to make better ads than they are.

    5. Test and Re-test

Continuously testing different ads against each other will help you understand what works best for you and what your audience likes the best. You might get a winner out of one test, but a third version might be even better; continue to test your ads through the life cycle and as you change anything about your ads.


Now you’ve learned why ad testing is so important, understand how to run your test, and have some good insight to help you find your best ads. You don’t have to worry about launching high-risk ads again. If you haven’t started yet, sign up and test your way to success.

Owen Fay

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