Why I don’t A/B test my ads - Trial and Eureka

Why I don’t A/B test my ads

By Alp | List-building

Let’s wake you up this gray Monday morning with a bit of controversy.

As obsessive as I am at testing, no I don’t actually A/B test my ads rigorously.


I’ll tell you in a bit.

But first, something amusing I saw on a forum:

“Today, I woke up to 7 texts about the data overage charges that were accrued last night while I slept. Apparently my phone used nearly 8 GB of data, with no apps open, while I was sound asleep, leaving me with a $63 fee.”

Sometimes that how online business owners feel too.


The moment where you’re doing your accounting and you realise that for all your efforts, you didn’t make enough to pay yourself.

Your revenue was drained by all these “ghost apps” running in the background.

And the most dangerous ghost app of them all?

Facebook ads.

It’s fiendishly difficult to make them scale profitably.

For most businesses, they are an expense rather than an investment into growth.

Most people *think* their ads are doing well, but little do they know how much lifeblood the ads are actually sucking out of the business…

(Pop quiz: How confident are you that you are correctly tracking those leads to sales and calculating your profit per lead accurately?)

Frankly, some businesses pathologically underestimate the difficulty of paid advertising.

Ponder this:

Ramit Sethi recently wrote about how his company spent $2,000,000 over 2 years on Facebook ads.

They built an entire team of Facebook experts, analysts, designers, and copywriters.

And they lost over one million dollars.

He says if “we’d never built an entire analytics team to look underneath the numbers, we never would have known. (Which is why so many people who run FB ads think they’re profitable… but they’re actually not.)”

His conclusion:

“99% of people advertising on Facebook are not profitable. And 80% of them don’t even know it.”

Ramit Sethi is one of the smartest online marketers alive today.

And he put the full resources of his multi-billion dollar company to task on this.

Now if *he* can’t get it to work at scale, how likely is a solopreneur who is not a professional paid ads expert to do so?

Not very.

After reading through Ramit’s findings, I went back and analysed all my paid traffic again - Facebook and otherwise.

Killed several (ironically: non-FB) campaigns which weren’t bringing home the bacon.

So far nothing surprising.

If Ramit Sethi’s team can’t get it to work, I don’t expect to either.

What *did* come as a surprise was how profitable one of our recent Facebook campaigns turned out to be.

We set that one up as an experiment:

“Here is $1,000 for us to burn through. Let’s play around and see what we can learn.”

The numbers:

  • Period: Sept 12-25
  • Ad spend: $300
  • New subscribers: 1378
  • Sales from those new subscribers in the Period: $514.5

In other words, I was just *paid* $214.5 to add 1378 new subscribers to my email list in the last 2 weeks on auto-pilot.

What I learned:

First, it makes no sense to randomly set up A/B tests (which you don’t know how to analyze).

Throwing 10 images, 10 headlines, and 10 ad sets at the power editor is *not* “A/B testing”.

Second, I don’t think your big wins come from A/B testing even if you know how to do it properly.

A/B test *once* you get the campaign to work.

In other words, if your campaign just isn’t profitable, A/B testing different ad creatives and copy isn’t magically going to fix that.

Your target buyers either want your freebie, or don’t.

If they want it, you can optimise to find a version they want even more.

(Which is what we are doing right now. And by “we”, I mean my ad person. I don’t touch the power editor or ad manager with an eleven-foot pole.)

Your big win comes from finding an opt-in offer that your target buyers know that they want.

And strategically designing that freebie, so that it primes them for the sale and creates hunger for your paid offer.

Lastly, if you can’t win... change the game.

There is no way I can beat a paid ads expert at their own FB ad game.

I’m shitty at ads.

(If my ad person asks me whether we should structure the ad copy like this or like that, the most insightful thing they can hope to get out of me is: “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Let’s flip a coin.”)

But I’m freakishly good at email and opt-in offers.

So we structured the campaign and funnel in a way that walked around my weakness and leveraged my strengths.

If you want to learn the innovative way we structured the campaign and swipe my entire funnel, I’m going to teach it in the next FAST50 group coaching call on 05 October 2017.

(The group calls are available as a bonus in the Standard and Complete Editions of FAST50.)