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Simple Strategy for Testing Image Ads

“You Should be Testing Image Ads” they say.  Sure.  No Problem.  Testing Image Ads.



Except, how do you do that?



Do you waste budget and put out a bunch of ads and then pick the one with the best stats?  If you do that how can you possibly know what aspect of the ad made it perform better than another? What size or sizes should you use? How long do you test for?



That’s why you need an Image Testing Strategy!



Start by testing the big things first, find out what type of images work, then worry about little things like font colour and border thickness.


When you initially begin to test images, pick images with big differences.  For examples you might choose one with a person, one with objects and one black and white.  All 3 quite distinct from each other.


If you want to up the ante, throw in drawings, cartoons, landscapes or any other kind of images to test.  For starters, I like to keep it simple.


Now take 3 headlines and try them on each image.  You’ll get 3 versions of each ad, 9 in total.  Start with just 300×250 pixel ads – that’s all you need for now.
And it should look something like this…



Testing Ad Images


(these sample ads are missing two crucial elements of an ad – Buttons & a Call to Action – Don’t leave these out of your ads!) 



If you’ve gone and scaled your first test – just expand the grid.  10 images and 4 headlines?  Well that’s a 10×4 grid with 40 unique ads!


Put your ads on the display network and start accumulating data.

You’ll want to see at least 30 clicks or so on each image before you can start getting all statistical. And now you can start to dig into the data.

If one headline out performs on all images, that’s the one to take and experiment with. Try variations on a theme, tweak a word or two. Play with it.

Likewise with the images. Which type of image worked best?  If the winning image was of a person, now try images of different genders, ages etc.  You might find the pic of the ‘elderly couple’ wins out. So now try different couples. Keep iterating. Keep testing.

Now’s also the time to create different sizes of ad & roll those out to increase your chances of getting onto more sites.

Also continue to test different calls to action (extremely important), headlines promoting different benefits or pain points.


How long your tests go depend on your budget and patience.  Each test you undergo will give you insight into what images & headlines work best for your business. Ideally you’ll never stop testing.
For more on improving your ads and their results you might like to read this earlier post.






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