The “Zig Zag” Approach to Scientifically Testing Ad Campaigns

By James Vannelli | Uncategorized

Feb 17

I want to talk about the right way to test your ad campaigns as fast as possible while getting valid data back that leads to profitable outcomes.

Yesterday, I wrote about being a data scientist, not a gambler.

I concluded that you need quantifiable and time bound goals for your paid ads strategy, and you need a scientifically valid approach to plan, test, analyze, and iterate your campaigns.  

(check your inbox if you haven’t seen it yet)

Today, let’s explore that process.

I call it the “Zig Zag” approach because what we’re gonna do is start really BIG, by testing a whole lot of different variables…

Then as we optimize, we’re really gonna narrow down to a very specific focus so we can maximize ROI on our best performers…

Finally, as we start to scale and we need to expand our reach to find more potential customers, we start to expand back into broader targeting…

Here’s what this looks like…

Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, I’m selling a course for a $1000 to online entrepreneurs and I want to make 20 sales per month.

I have no idea who my best customer is yet because this is a new business and product.

I do some market research, and I come up with 5 different market segments who could benefit from my course.  

Course creators

SaaS Founders

Coaches & Consultants

eCommerce store owners

Agency owners

So my starting test with Facebook ads, would be 1 campaign with 5 different ad sets, with one ad set targeting one of these applicable market segments.

I’d run my campaign long enough to determine which segment is generating the best cost per lead, but more importantly, which segment is generating the best cost to acquire a customer.

Once I know this, I’m going to eliminate all of the other segments except for the best performing one.

Why? Because focusing on the best performer is going to allow me to reach my goal as quickly as possible, and scale beyond it as fast as possible, providing the best ROI and cash flow for future opportunities.

Therefore, the best move is to exploit the current opportunity for as long as possible.

Eventually though, things will start to stall out.

No matter what size the market segment is, there’s always a point where you’re going to exhaust that market and you need to explore other opportunities.

So at that point, I’d branch back out into one of the other segments so I can continue to acquire customers at increased scale, without running out of prospects in my original segment.

This is the Zig Zag approach.

Start big, go small, branch out.


About the Author

Over the past 6 years I’ve built dozens of websites, managed close to $1M in online ads, and helped shape the online marketing strategies of hundreds of small businesses.