How to test Ad creatives in Facebook Ads Manager with a limited budget

Marketing isn’t as straightforward as spending money and getting a return. It will take time to find something that works but, even then, algorithms are always changing.

You may have heard the term A/B or Split Testing. This is when an equal amount of ad budget is spent on two different variations of the same thing, in order to find out which works best. It could be two different landing page layouts or as small as an image with red text and an identical one with green.

A/B testing can require a healthy budget and not everyone has cash flying around. Most photographers will also serve a local area which already limits the size of their audiences and also can increase cost-per-impression and cost-per-lead. So what are the ways in which we can test ads if you’re on a budget?

In this post, we’re going to explore two types of ad campaigns. The first is a standard way of making an ad campaign on Facebook Ads Manager and within this we’ll look at how we can look at the data to determine best-performing creatives. Then we’ll look at Facebook’s Dynamic Creative feature and how this adapts during the campaign to reduce your wasted ad spend.

Standard Facebook Ad Campaigns

What do we mean by ‘Standard Facebook Campaign’?

When we say ‘Standard Facebook Campaign’ what we really mean is simply creating a new campaign with a single ads set (though you could have more) and then having multiple different ads. These ads could be an image, a carousel, or a video.

The destination or goal of these ads doesn’t matter in this case but for the sake of this blog, we’ll assume we’re sending traffic to a landing page, so we’ll be measuring how many views we can get per ad.


Structure of a Standard Facebook Campaign

As explained above the structure is as basic as it can get. Because we’re talking about testing we’ll say that our example campaign has 2 ads, which will be two different images, and a daily budget of £50 set at the ad set level. Roughly, an equal amount of the budget is going to be spent on both ads.

1 campaign

1 ad set – £50 daily budget

2+ ads (2 different images)


How to read and interpret the data of a Facebook Campaign

After a few days, we should be able to see how the different images perform. The main metrics we’ll look at are landing-page-views and cost-per-view. The questions we want to answer are…

Which ad (or image) achieved the most landing page views?

Which ad (or image) was the cheapest cost-per-view? This is more than likely going to be the same answer for both as long as the budget is split relatively evenly across them.

Here are the pretend results…

Image Ad – 50 landing page views

Video Ad – 25 landing page views

Image Ad – £0.25 per view

Video Ad – £0.50 per view

Using this example the Image Ad is the clear winner it achieved more views than the Video Ad and at half the cost.

We can then take this image and continue running new campaigns with it, or make some variants of it for more testing. This is how we optimise our creatives.

Dynamic Creative Ad Campaigns

What is Dynamic Creative?

Dynamic Creative is a feature we can toggle on and off at the Ad set level. This feature allows us to create just 1 ad but throw in a mix of different creatives such as different images, videos, primary texts, descriptions, etc.

Facebook then works its magic when you’ve published the ads. It will provide audiences with different combinations of your creatives and will work out which combinations perform best. Once it knows, it will start to put more of your budget into the best combinations.

You can use up to 10 different creatives but the more options you give Facebook, the longer it’s going to take to work out the best combination and in turn, this will cost you a little more before it knows. We suggest using no more than 5 creatives at a time with 1 or 2 primary text options.


Structure of a Dynamic Creative Campaign

The structure of Dynamic Creative isn’t any more difficult to set up than a standard campaign, but at the Ad set level, you need to make sure it is toggled on (see image above). For this example we’ll also use a £50 daily budget set at the Ad set level.

1 campaign

1 ad set (with Dynamic Creative switched on)

1 ad (with loads of creative options)


How to read and interpret the data of a Dynamic Creative Campaign

The metrics will be exactly the same as before, landing page views and cost per view. 

When in Ad Manager, go to the Ad level, and in the top right click the Breakdown menu. Here you should be able to find ‘Dynamic Creative’. This will then breakdown the data easily for you.

Much like before you can see the results for each image, however, you’ll notice that 1 or 2 will be significantly better than others. This is because Facebook will have stopped showing images and combinations that weren’t working, you can see this happening within the number of impressions. The “losers” will have much lower impressions as the budget was moved into showing “winners.”

Which method should I choose?

We hate to say it but…it’s up to you and depends on how you want to spend your marketing budget. 

Standard campaigns are great at evenly spreading budgets and therefore you can see very clearly, which are the better performers.

Dynamic Creative campaigns are great if you have a limited budget and want to make sure as much as possible goes into the best creatives.

Whilst it isn’t necessarily a test, it can still give you an idea of which creatives perform better. However, it’s important to note that we have run identical Dynamic Creative campaigns on consecutive weekends and the results have been different – but there’s peace of mind knowing the budget went to the best combinations.