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Test Everything

Test Everything
As marketers, it's normal to want total control - brand image, aesthetic messaging, and more. After all, we know our brand better than anyone else. But there is a humbling truth...  we don't always know what will garner the best response from consumers. The answer is in the data and can often be surprising.

I was reminded of this during a recent experience with an ad campaign. We launched our inflatable dog ramp, the Up Dog via a Facebook / Instagram ad campaign. As usual, I built out a variety of creatives to launch and test, with the end goal of identifying a winner and scaling. The media used for ad creatives came from two places...

1) A scrappy, last-minute shoot inside of a warehouse during a cold, MN winter. No open water or warm weather means being resourceful. This shoot was essentially free, shot with a GoPro and cell phone camera. It was a short drive from our HQ. We spent an hour taking videos of dogs swimming and climbing out of the water and then drove home. These videos were pretty raw. They lacked polish or DSLR "cinematic" quality. I edited together a quick 20-second reel in 45 minutes. It was ready to go.

2) A shoot down in the Florida Keys that involved planning, models, shipment of product, significant financial commitment, and more. The end result was stellar. Beautiful water and scenery with a very high-end, professional aesthetic. It is something to be proud of. 

After 1 week of initial ad testing, the early results have been surprising...

The ad with in-house media was the winner. Here's the breakdown over a 7-day testing period...

- CPA's (cost per acquisition) was nearly 400% lower
- CPM's (cost per 1,000 impressions) was 37% lower
- 5:1 Conversions

The takeaway from this is not "skip high-production value content," but rather a reminder...

1) Always test. What you think is a home run might not be.

2) Regardless of the stage of your business and the resources you might have, you can still execute content with very little and use it very effectively.

The media we captured in Florida has been well worth it and we will continue to get significant mileage from this. We're also not done using this media for ads, but the results of this test suggest we need to make adjustments to how it's being used. More updates to come. 


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