It’s time to Test and Learn

3 min read

In order to maximise advertising performance, it’s crucial that we know which parts of our strategies are working well, and which areas we need to perfect. This can be achieved by adopting a Test, Learn, Action approach.

The foundation of Test, Learn, Action is questioning the status quo - not assuming that because we’ve always done things a certain way, it must be the best way. 

There are a number of ways to effectively test campaigns: 

A/B testing (or ‘split testing’) divides our audience into two (or more) groups - each group is exposed to a distinct variation of ads, allowing us to compare differences in performance. This type of test uses a correlative methodology and enables us to make short-term optimisations and changes in order to maximise our impact. 

Lift Studies allow us to segment our audience into those who see our ads as usual, and another group (often called a ‘holdout group’) who do not. This enables us to model the differences between investing in certain channels and what outcomes may look like if we hadn’t invested at all. This is a particularly useful kind of test to inform budget allocation between channels, demonstrating incremental impact, and longer-term strategies. 

Finally: Test, Learn, Action means being bold and trying brand new things. We’re always keen for our clients to be ‘firsts’ in the education sector; early adopters of new channels and ad-formats in order to stand out against an often crowded market.

In short, Test, Learn, Action is all about being innovative, having a data-led strategy, and continually challenging what we think we know to be true.

Need convincing? Here are some of the results we’ve already achieved through Test, Learn, Action: 

We were tasked to produce a messaging strategy and Test and Learn framework to better understand the perspectives of European students looking to study in the UK following Brexit. 

This framework sought to challenge three pillars (or preconceptions) about studying abroad in the UK; that doing so may be a) an unwelcoming experience, b) costly, and c) a confusing process in terms of application, which was uncovered in the institution’s own preliminary research. 

And what did we learn? Here are just two lessons: 

The idea of a ‘successful’ tone of voice varied between platforms. Rational messaging worked best on Search, whereas the emotional tone of voice proved more successful on Facebook.

Each preconception was best addressed by differing platforms. Addressing cost was most effective among Social campaigns while Search consumers favoured practical support and ease of application. This indicates that cost-related messaging may work well as a hook during higher funnel activity, but that practical considerations come into play for those who are actively searching.

So to circle back to our opening statement; to maximise advertising performance, it’s crucial that we know which parts of our strategies are working well. Without using the Test, Learn, Action model we wouldn’t have gathered the insights that we can now use in subsequent messaging and future campaigns. 

If you would like to challenge yourself, or test the status quo, get in touch with our experts and we’ll be happy to push boundaries with you.