A/B testing display ads: The easy way

A/B testing display ads: The easy way

A/B testing is a crucial part of producing remarkable display advertising. After all, you want your ad campaign to be the best that it can be. But how do you know the version you published is the most engaging, creative, and captivating display ad? Well, the only way you can be certain is by putting your ideas against each other through A/B testing. And then of course analyse the results! Remember, while not all tests will be successful, campaigns that are A/B tested will typically perform better than those that are not.

Until relatively recently though, A/B testing in banner advertising was a painful, arduous task – for some, it still is. A/B testing for banner ads would involve days, if not weeks, and entire teams of people! The intuitive way you could A/B test emails or landing pages had yet to be embraced for banners.

The old way to A/B test

As a marketer who wanted to A/B test – life was tough. If you wanted to change the copy in one of your ads, you would then have to go into your design program and redo your whole banner. If you wanted to see if one image worked better than another, well, guess what? You redo the whole banner and republish it.

Every time this would involve coding, resizing text, and reanimating assets. (A necessary evil to ensure the ad maintains the same standard as the previous one.) You’d then send this new version of the ad to the publisher, who’d publish it for a fixed amount of time or maximum number of impressions. All the time hoping your new optimised ad performs better than the first. All this of course would cost time and money.

A lot of time and money.

The Bannerflow way of A/B testing

Now there is a better way to A/B test: the Bannerflow platform, a marketer can make changes to existing banner ads, without the need to republish. Be it the size, visuals or content, every published display ad is updated in real-time.

Again, take the example of a retailer changing an element of their display campaign to see if it has any effect on engagement. For example, swapping rain boots for sandals due to a sudden change in the weather. All a marketer has to do is enter the Bannerflow builder and either change the copy, call-to- action, or images as necessary. This ad update is a case of deleting, replacing, and then saving – all without having to contact your ad network or republishing. The next step is to track the results and optimise further using analytics.

A/B test and optimise

Let me explain, once you start using Bannerflow’s scheduling tool, the magic happens. Using this tool means you can run two different campaigns at the same time, and analyse the results in real time.

It’s a nice, clean, simple way to see which of your campaigns are performing best. Thanks to the scheduling tool you can run them at the same time and analyse. You can even give each campaign a different weighting according to either results. Or choose how often you want each version of the ad displayed.

If you decide you need to change one, or both, of the live campaigns in Bannerflow, you can! Pop into the editor, make the changes, save, and your modified banners will display all over the world, without republishing. Unlike other programmes, it’s a simple edit that updates the banners.

Then comes your real time analysis once again. Use Bannerflow’s analytics to see how your creative changes are affecting the performances of your campaigns.

Again, through the scheduling tool, you can weight one in favour of the other. Or you could set up one offer to start a few days after another, which is a walk in the park. Drag the desired campaigns to the desired dates, sit back and watch the impressions roll in.

When retargeting apply A/B testing

A/B testing is a crucial asset when retargeting too. It’s worth noting, when retargeting it’s more important to mix up creative than when producing traditional or targeted ads. Retargeter tested this using client data: “In our experience, we've found that performance does decrease when you fail to update creative.” According to its study, click-through rates decrease by almost 50% after five months of running the same ads! Therefore it is imperative to apply A/B testing to make sure your ads are relevant and the best that they can possibly be. After all conversions are the name of the game when retargeting!

The same is true when running an online marketing campaign too. Whatever stage your campaign is focused on, use A/B testing to produce display advertising that is revenant to it. If you want someone to convert, then use A/B testing to discover the ideal creative to make that a reality. The fact is, build in A/B testing the easy way into display ad production and you reap the rewards.


Ease of use has to be a priority for A/B testing. It is now a fundamental function for marketers. Luckily, with Bannerflow’s set of tools, it’s simple. This means you can look forward to analysing, modifying, and maximising engagement on every single one of your campaigns.

But that’s not all! Future A/B testing looks set to go to the next level, with Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) predicted to gain traction. Imagine using display ad technology that automates  A/B testing and uses algorithms to determine how to serve ads that perform better!

Why not request a demo to see how Bannerflow can change your online display campaigns for the better?

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