A/B Testing for Video: Setting Up a Test in Facebook

Megan O'Neill


Over the past few weeks, we’ve explained what A/B testing is and why you should be using it for your video marketing, we’ve shared suggestions for what variations to A/B test, and we’ve showed you how to create video variations in Animoto. Today, we’re going to show you how to set up your first A/B test in Facebook.

A/B Testing Facebook

What you’ll need

Before you get started, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A Facebook page – You probably already have a Facebook page for your business. However, if you don’t, you can create a new one at
  • A Facebook Ads Manager account – Head over to to set up your account and add a credit card. This is how you’ll finance your ads.
  • 2 variations of your video – In order to start your test, you’ll need 2 variations of your video. Once you’ve created your variations in Animoto, download your videos. We recommend downloading them in HD 1080p for the best ad resolution.

Setting up your test

You’ve got your video variations ready to go and you’re ready to set up your test. Here we go!

Step 1: Create a new campaign in Ads Manager

To get started, head over to the Facebook Business landing page and click on “Create an Ad.” Alternatively, if you are already in the Ads Manager, you can click on + Create Campaign or Create Ad to get started.

Facebook Business Create Ad

Step 2: Set your objective

The first thing you’ll need to do is let Facebook know what your marketing objective is. This way they can optimize your ad so that you’ll get the most bang for your buck. You can choose objectives across the three stages of the marketing funnel — Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.

Not sure which objective is right for you? Clicking on the different objectives will open up an explanation of what situation it’s good for, including tips from Facebook. In this example, we’ll be optimizing for “Video views,” which Facebook describes as being good for when you want to “promote videos that how behind-the-scenes footage, product launches or customer stories to raise awareness about your brand.” If you wanted to drive people to your website, you’d select “Traffic,” while if you wanted to collect the names and emails of people interested in your business, you’d select “Lead generation.”

Facebook Ad Campaign Objective

Step 3: Name your campaign

As you can see in the image above, your Campaign Name will be automatically set to whatever objective you’ve selected. We suggest changing this field to something that will help you to easily recall what this campaign is – what the content is or what the test is. In this example, we’ve simply named our campaign “A/B Testing,” but you may want to get a little more specific, particularly if you’re running several campaigns at once. When you’re done, click Continue.

Facebook Ad Campaign Name

Step 4: Define your audience

The next thing you’ll want to do is define your audience or, in other words, let Facebook know who you’d like them to show your ads to. Facebook allows you to get pretty specific with who you target. You can target a “Custom audience,” including specific email lists you’ve collected or lookalike audiences; you can target people by location, including people who live in a location, have recently visited the location, or are currently visiting the location; you can target according to age, gender, language, interests, behaviors, and more. Learn more about targeting in this great guide from Facebook.

Facebook Ad Targeting

In the above example, we’re targeting everyone in West Virginia. As you can see in the “Audience Definition” box on the right, as you define your audience, Facebook will share with you the “Estimated Daily Reach” of your ad. This will continue to be refines as you continue to make the selections necessary to set up your ad, including placement and budget, which we’ll get to next.

Step 5: Select your Placement

Do you have a specific place in mind you’d like your ads to appear? “Placements” is where you can let Facebook know. You can set it up so your ads will only appear in specific locations on Facebook, on Instagram, on mobile, or desktop, and beyond. However, if you’re just getting started, we’d recommend keeping “Automatic Placements” selected and letting Facebook optimize your ad placement for you.

Step 6: Set your budget & schedule

Now’s the time to let Facebook know how much you’d like to spend and when you’d like your ads to appear. You can set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget. The daily budget will spend the entered amount every single day that your campaign is set to run. The lifetime budget will split the entered amount up over all the days that your campaign is set to run and will top running once it hits the entered amount.

Facebook Ad Budget & Schedule

As you can see on the right, as you set your budget and schedule, the “Estimated Daily Reach” will be updated too. The narrower you define your audience and the smaller you set your budget, the smaller your Estimated Daily Reach will be.

Step 7: Name & create your first Ad Set

Before clicking Continue on “Budget & Schedule,” you’ll want to change your Ad Set Name. The Ad Set Name, in this scenario, will indicate the specific version of the ad you are running. In our example, our first variation is a video that begins with a photo. We’ll also be testing a version that begins with a video. To keep track of which variation is tied to which ad, we’ve called this Ad Set “People who are in West Virginia – Photo First,” to indicate both the target audience and the variation. Now, click Continue to upload your video and create your ad.

There are a few steps involved with creating your Ad Set:

  1. Choose a format & upload your first variation. For a video test, you’ll select “Single Video.” Then, upload your first video variation. Make sure that the variation you upload is the same one as you mentioned in your Ad Set Name.
Facebook Ad Format
  1. Choose a video thumbnail. Next you’ll want to choose a thumbnail image for your video. Note that if text covers more than 20% of your thumbnail image, your ad may not be approved by Facebook (if this is the case, Facebook will show you a warning before you publish the ad). Additionally, remember which thumbnail image you chose here as you’ll want to use the same one when you upload your variation.
Facebook Ad Video Thumbnail
  1. Set up your Page & Text. If you manage several Facebook pages, you’ll need to select the page you want your ad to be tied to under from the dropdown menu under “Connect Facebook Page.” Then, you’ll fill out the text, link, headline, and call to action you’d like to display with your ad. As you fill out the information, you’ll see a preview of your ad on the right. As with the thumbnail, you’ll want to remember the information you included here so that you can replicate it when you upload your variation.
Facebook Ad Page & Text
  1. Place your order. When you’re done, click Place Order at the bottom of the screen. Congrats! Your first variation is ready to go.

Step 8: Set up your second variation

You’ve set up your “A” test. Now it’s time to set up your “B” test. To do this, use the edit icon next to the first Ad Set in your Campaign in Facebook’s Ads Manager to select “Duplicate Ad Set.” This will make a copy of your original ad set. Once it’s ready, click “Edit” next to the New Ad Set to make the changes for your new variation.

Duplicate Ads Facebook

Here, the change you’ll want to make is to update the Ad Set Name to reflect the new variation. In our example, we’ll be changing our Ad Set Name from “People who are in West Virginia – Photo First” to “People who are in West Virginia – Video First.”

Duplicate Facebook Ads

Once this is done, you’ll click on “Edit” next to the New Ad. Here, you’ll change the Ad Name to something representing your new variation (in this case, “Video First”) and you’ll click on Change Video to upload your variation.

Create Ad Facebook

Remember to select the same thumbnail as you did for the first variation. When you’re done, click Save & Continue, followed by Place Order.

Step 9: Wait for your campaign to start running

Congratulations! Your A/B test variations are set up. Facebook will review your campaign (usually within 24 hours) and, if approved, your ad will begin running. If, at any time, you want to pause your campaign, simply click on the switch in the upper right corner of the Campaign screen in Ads Manager to turn your campaign off.

Facebook Ad Campaigns

Stay tuned for our next post, in which we’ll explain how to measure the results of your video A/B test on Facebook and what next steps you should take once your results are in!

Explore the other posts in this series:

What is A/B Testing? What Variations to Test
Creating Video Variations with Animoto Measuring Results in Facebook