Today, roughly three million businesses actively advertise on Meta, and your business is one of them.

In this vast ocean of advertisers, only a few brands manage to get digital advertising right, while the rest struggle with getting a decent ROI or brand recall from the thousands of dollars they spend on ads every year.

But why are they struggling? 

While the obvious answer is low budget or weak brand value, the actual reason in most cases is – lack of creative testing. 

As more advertisers and users join the platform, the ability to effectively test and optimize ads has become the linchpin of success in the world of online advertising.

In this article, I’ll share a simple cheatsheet to help you get started with creative testing in order to get the best value for your ad budget, while ensuring that your sales & engagement propel higher every quarter.

Before we start, let’s quickly understand the meaning of creative testing:

Creative testing is the art & science of creating multiple versions of your ad, each with a different look – like changing the visuals, marketing angle, format, words, headlines, colors, and much more. Then, you let these ads compete against each other to see which one gets the most attention.

By testing out these different versions, you can figure out what people really like. Maybe they prefer a video ad, or perhaps they’re more into the one with a short and snappy headline. Once you know what works best, you can make your ad even better by using these winning ingredients.

The winning ad, found through creative testing, brings in more customers and helps you achieve your goals. 

The Cheatsheet – Elements to Test

  • Advertising Objective:

Meta provides a wide variety of ad objectives such as Reach, Brand Awareness, Website Traffic, Landing Page Conversions, E-commerce Sales, Conversations (WhatsApp and Messenger), Instant Lead Forms, and much more! If your advertising objective is to drive traffic to your website, it’s better to use the Website Traffic objective, instead of Reach.

As an advertiser, you should experiment with these ad objectives to drive the best value for your business, based on the stage of your buyers’ journey. 

  • Audiences:

With a multitude of targeting options at your disposal, segmenting your audience based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and even lookalike profiles becomes pivotal. Here, you can create separate audience segments such as Meta’s in-built audiences, Custom Audiences (Your website visitors, app users, email database, etc), and Lookalike Audiences (people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers). 

Testing your audiences allows you to delve into the nuances of audience responses, helping you pinpoint the segments that resonate most effectively with your message.

  • Creative Elements:

Ad Copy and Headlines:

Never assume that people will react to your ad the same way you intended. That’s why you should test different ad copies, headlines, and captions to uncover the perfect mix. Examples of this include highlighting product/service benefits, pain points, features, and value propositions. Experiment with various copywriting frameworks, language styles, tone of voice, and length to discern the combinations that strike a chord with your audience.

 Visuals and Formats:

Are you still running single-image static ads? Maybe it’s time to experiment with additional ad formats such as carousels, videos, and dynamic creatives. Some products/services are better sold with videos, instead of static images. Each format has the potential to evoke distinct emotions and levels of engagement, thereby molding your audience’s perception of your brand. You’ll soon understand what creative type works best for your business so that you can scale up from there.

Angles and Approaches:

Testing this element requires a strategic understanding of your product-audience mix along with the open-mindedness to think beyond the norm. In simpler words, there’s an infinite number of ways you can promote your product/service. Examples include offer-based ads, customer testimonials, educational/informative/entertaining content, UGC content, product/service stories, etc.

Your duty as an advertiser is to unlock those marketing angles that are different from the ordinary, in order to discover the growth you never knew you could find. From my experience running meta ads for almost a decade, the learnings and result differences in this approach are far more drastic as compared to testing singular elements and formats.

CTA (Call to Action):

Meta has a multitude of call-to-action buttons for your ads. Test the ones that are best suited to your ad objective. If you’re prompting users to download an ebook/brochure, you can use the “Download” CTA button, instead of a plain old “Learn more”. Similarly, if you’re prompting them to visit your newly opened store, use the “Get directions” CTA button instead of “Contact us”. You get the idea.

Test actionable language, create a sense of urgency, and judiciously position CTAs within your ads to inspire clicks and conversions.

  • Ad Placement:

Meta offers an array of ad placements across its digital terrain, including the main Newsfeed, Stories, Audience Network, Explore page, and Messenger. Distribute your budget to experiment with placements that align with your objectives and resonate seamlessly with user behavior. By testing this, you’ll find the most efficient ad placement that’s driving results for your business.


While all this advice may seem complicated to small businesses and first-time advertisers, it really isn’t, if you approach digital advertising from a data-driven mindset. All you have to do is follow the instructions exactly in this article. I promise you that you’ll definitely start seeing visible differences and clear winners within just 2 weeks of implementing this.

Your goal as a business is to utilize your marketing budget in the most meaningful way in order to scale up profitably. 

Once you see the results, you should scale up your campaigns, while still allocating some budget to keep testing further. 

Make creative testing a habit, and unlock the power of leveraging consumer psychology in advertising.