Meta Split Testing 101: How It Works and Why It Matters

Learn what a split test is, how a split test works in Meta, common split test variables, plus best practices for running an effective split test and more.

Meta Split Testing 101: How It Works and Why It Matters

Kayle Larkin

Head of Marketing

Want to optimize your Meta advertising campaigns for better performance and ROI?

Split testing, or A/B testing, is essential for understanding what resonates best with your audience.

By comparing different ad versions, you can gain actionable insights and make data-driven decisions to enhance your strategy.

This article covers the basics of split testing in Meta, from setup to analysis, helping you leverage this powerful tool for maximum impact.

In this article, you will learn:

What Is a Split Test?

A split test, also known as an A/B test, is an experiment that allows you to understand who your target audience is and how they behave by comparing their responses to two versions of an ad, ad set, or ad campaign.

Split testing in Meta is a powerful tool that can help you shape your marketing strategy by giving you insights into how to effectively connect to your audience and deliver an optimized user experience.

How a Split Test Works

A split test in Meta (formerly known as Facebook) works by duplicating an existing campaign, ad set, or ad and changing a variable – or comparing two existing campaigns or ad sets.

The goal of a split test is to see if a variant version of an ad campaign, ad set, or ad outperforms the standard version — known as the control — in terms of driving conversions.

Before you begin a split test, you need to determine your hypothesis. When developing your hypothesis, consider what problem you’re trying to solve or what question you’re trying to answer.

A strong hypothesis should be relevant to the problem you’re facing in addition to being actionable, measurable, and specific.

Once you have your hypothesis, you can determine the variable you want to change (more on that in the next section).

When you run the split test in Meta Ads Manager, your target audience will be randomly divided into two segments. One group will see version A of your ad or ad campaign, and the other group will see version B.

After the test, you can see how each group responded to the version of the ad, ad set, or ad campaign they saw and determine whether or not to implement the variant across all ads for your target audience.

Common Split Test Variables

With split testing, you have choices when it comes to what you change in an ad, ad set, or campaign. These are some of the more common types of split test variables.


Varying the creative from one ad or ad campaign to another can help you identify the creative that attracts your audience or compels them to convert.

Split testing lets you get creative with your creative, from the type of imagery or video used in the ad to the ad copy and call-to-action verbiage.


Switching up the demographics of Facebook users who see your ads can help you identify your target audience.

Let’s say you typically show your ads to Facebook users who are 25 to 35 years old. You decide to run a split test and show the same ad or ad campaign to Facebook users who are 36 to 45 years old. At the end of the test, you find that the older group converted at a higher rate than the younger group.

From the split test, you now know that your target audience will likely be in their late 30s and early 40s rather than mid-to-late 20s and early 30s.


A split test can help you optimize the placement of your ads.

In Meta, there are options for where you can place your ads. If you normally run ads in the news feed, try running them in the right-hand column as your variant in a split test.

Testing ad placement within the Meta platform gives you insight into the ideal location or locations for your target audience to see your ads.

Data Quality

Meta cares about the quality of the data you collect, and you should, too!

Improving the quality of your data can lower CPMs for Facebook ads (learn more about the importance of data quality).

Fortunately, comparing methods for data collection is another type of split test you can run. If you rely on the native Facebook channel integration for data collection, you could run a split test using Elevar as the variable to see the difference in the data quality you collect.

Elevar allows you to collect the same data as the Facebook channel app, plus user phone numbers, browser IDs, zip codes, country, first names, last names, city, and state. Check out this chart to compare Elevar to Facebook Channel App for yourself.

Having higher-quality data can improve your ad or ad campaign’s performance.

How to Set Up a Split Test Ads Report in Meta

After you’ve set up Elevar and connected your Meta destination, wait for the “Goldilocks zone” (at least 7 days, but ideally 30 days), then set up a split test in Meta to see the impact on CPC and ROAS. [documentation].

This how-to guide gives you step-by-step directions for setting up a split test ads report in Meta, but here’s what you can expect at a high level:

  1. Open Ads Manager and navigate to Ads Reporting.
  2. Select Create Report.
  3. Designate your date range and metrics.
  4. Analyze the results after your split test is complete.

Best Practices for Conducting a Split Test

Follow these tips to help you conduct a successful split test:

  • Change ONE variable per test. In a true split test, there is only one variable between an ad or ad campaign and the control ad or ad campaign.
  • The “Goldilocks zone” is 7 – 30 days. You need to allow adequate time for your test to run to get accurate results.
  • Optimize your strategy. Leverage your split test results to make informed decisions about your advertising campaigns.
  • Adopt a culture of curiosity. Testing should not be a one-and-done occurrence.

Questions about Running Split Tests in Meta?

We’ve got you covered! Get help with Meta split tests and tracking in Meta from our expert analysts.

Learn how the Elevar Meta integration can help you solve your eCommerce business’s conversion tracking challenges and improve your Facebook ad performance by 20% or more.

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