Testing Paid Social in Q4

John Clarke
November 15, 2023

It’s no secret that Q4 is the busiest time of the year for the majority of ecommerce businesses, and in most cases, the key to achieving a successful year. To maximise the opportunity during this period, testing is a key component of a paid media strategy.

But should you be heavily testing throughout Q4?

Across all paid media activity, testing is key to attaining growth and scalability across the channels used. Having a testing framework in place which details: the tests that are planned, what are we aiming to discover from running these tests and lastly what actions are we hoping to make based on these findings, is essential to any successful strategy. However, a component that is often neglected is the time frame that these tests are run across.

Launching new campaigns, audiences and ads across paid media returns activity to the ‘learning phase’ which, put simply, refers to the time it takes for the algorithm to learn how to get the best out of the activity you are running.

“The learning phase in Meta Ads typically takes at least 50 conversions before the campaigns’ delivery is fully optimised, whereas in Google Ads dependent on your budget, it typically takes 7 days to get out of the learning phase”.

Avoiding spending too much time having paid media activity in learning during peak conversion periods is essential to maximising conversion rates. If activity is still learning during the key dates of Q4, there is a very real chance that activity is not fully optimised and thus, an opportunity could be missed.

So, should we be testing or not?

Across our portfolio of paid media clients we advise that testing should be conducted throughout the year in the run up to Q4. We recommend this under the premise that as we enter Q4, we can implement actions based on findings from previously run tests. This is with the view that, as our activity kicks off, we can be confident our campaigns have the learnings to give them the best chance to succeed.

We recommend January to September is used as the key discovery time and when October is reached, final testing that will be used to inform peak trading is commenced. During November and December we advise that implementing previous test findings and top performing activity is priortised.

To summarise, testing is absolutely essential to a successful paid media strategy but testing plans should be reflected by times of the year where results outweighs discovery. When Q4 is reached, a clear idea of what has been working across your activity should be established to help activity commence with the best chance to succeed.

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