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If there’s one exercise I learnt more from than any other from working on an early stage business it was running a A/B testing campaign on Facebook. It’s like condensing all your thinking in your business plan into one small advert.

The image above says it all: “Reach the exact audience you want with relevant targeted ads”. The thing that makes Facebook Ads so useful to you is that they force you to summarise your idea:

- 1 line description

- 1 image
- Select your target audience

If you can not do this you’re fucked. Sorry, that’s a bit strong. Put another way, the easier you find this exercise the better your business will be.

A traditional startup exercise was to create a billboard advert for your product. The Facebook ad exercise is so much cleverer because it forces you to think about your target audience as well. I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but it really does come into its own here. You can say you want to target girls, who are aged 28-30, single, live in Soho, have an iphone, like tennis, work at Red Bull….whatever it might be. It’s so good. I’d recommend trying this even if you don’t actually publish the ad.

We got really geeky anded A/B test over 60,000 different variations (mainly by experimenting with the target audience). On the one hand this indicates that we didn’t know what we were offering, but on the other it did reveal amazing information. It told us that actually people were interested in us because of this reason not that, our click through rate was better in x city not y, and more popular with people between a certain age group than another, particularly if they were had enough disposable income to be going out a lot.

That’s getting a bit much for now, but you see how powerful it can be. Do it. It will teach you so much about your product - remember the easier you can define it, the better it will be.

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