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Growth Sciences: Tests We Can’t Wait to Run in 2021

Published: December 16, 2020

Author: Jessica Guedes


Sr. SEM Strategist Shawn Grenald contributed to this post.

3Q’s Growth Sciences team is constantly looking for unfair advantages for our clients by challenging accepted “best practices” and trying to find cracks in the status quo. Often, this comes down to running strategic, rapid-cycle tests and rolling out the results to our colleagues across the agency.

As we look ahead to early 2021, there are four tests we’re eager to run in the pursuit of continued advantages for our clients.

Paid social tests

A test into Facebook’s Collections ad format tops our paid social list. Though this ad unit has been around since 2017, Facebook has recently made a number of promising updates, including additional instant experience formats and expansion into more placements. Early data suggests that this immersive format outperforms static image, carousel, sometimes video, and we’re excited to see if additional testing merits a broad-scale rollout to our client base.

We’ll be encouraging our eCommerce clients to test Instagram’s recently released Product Tag Ads. Shopping Tags allow advertisers to highlight products from their catalog in Stories and within the feed. Product tags were previously organic-only, but advertisers are now able to add them on boosted posts OR from scratch in Ads Manager to maximize the reach of their products. Ads with product tags can drive users to an owned website or native checkout on Instagram.

Photo credit: https://business.instagram.com/shopping/ads

Paid search tests

Automation is the theme of the paid search tests we’re most excited to run. Google is all in on automation, which takes away a lot of the old controls (and potential advantages) for advertisers but still presents opportunities to challenge the status quo.

One way we plan on doing so is to test out-of-the-box automation tactics vs. tactics customized to fit client goals, e.g. testing tCPA bidding vs. tROAS (which integrates an extra layer of revenue data from the client’s back end). Our hypothesis with this test is that integrating revenue-based data integration will allow the bidding algorithm to more efficiently achieve the client’s desired revenue goals. This idea – adding layers of data to supercharge automation – can be applied to numerous tests on the docket for 2021.

Another example of this would be our expansion into testing RSA (responsive search ad)-only campaigns. With RSAs becoming more prominent on the search marketing landscape, we want to understand the efficacy of running RSA-only campaigns compared to what has been the traditional best practice of the combination of RSA and Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). The hypothesis is that a campaign featuring RSA-only ads will outperform campaigns utilizing 1 RSA and 3+ ETAs when accompanied by automated bidding; this is based on the idea that an RSA-only campaign will generate relevant creative at the query level, which will help advertisers achieve desired conversion goals.

As Google, Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other channels release new features, we’ll roll up our sleeves and start testing. Keep an eye on this space for takeaways that can help your campaigns gain an edge over your competitors!

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