Labs #2 – Fill in the blank

Steven Wang - July 25, 2019 - 0 comments

Welcome to happylane Labs! This is a weekly series in which we’ll be running a set of different, unique, or creative ads on Facebook and Instagram in order to gauge their effectiveness.

The reason we decided to run these unconventional ads is because people have become desensitized to ads. You’re bombarded with ads on your phone, when you look at a billboard, before you watch a YouTube video; even when you occasionally turn on your radio, you’re going to hear ads at some point. Eventually, you’re going to begin to tune them out. That’s why we decided to test ones that might break the mould and catch the viewer off guard, rather than to make the best possible “normal” looking ad.


This week, we ran a two ads which had a similar theme of “fill in the blank”. Both ads featured a statement, with three different options to choose from.

We decided to run this particular type of ad with the theme of gamification. The goal was to get people to interact with the ad if possible, and therefore gain their attention. It plays off the idea that everyone is different, and that everyone will have different preferences. This also ties into happylane’s core product offering, which is website personalization.


We set the target audience to both men and women in Canada and the United States, ages 22 – 50 with an interest in marketing or SaaS. This was a very broad audience, but since our company is rather new we wanted more reach in order to get more initial exposure.

The objective was set to traffic and optimizing for landing page views, since our product is in open beta so we wanted the maximum number of signups possible. Although optimizing for lead generation was also an option and likely would have yielded better results, we wanted to see how much of a difference the creative advertising could have, instead of just showing the ad to the people most likely to click it.

As a control group, we ran a standard looking ad. This was the same one that we ran for last week’s campaign, only flipped right-side up.

The second ad reads “your favourite colour is _____”. It then presents three options between blue, red, and yellow.

The third ad reads “your audience is from _____”. It then presents three options between Toronto, Paris, and Tokyo.


The two fill in the blank ads were put in the same ad set, and allocated $10 per day, set to run for 3 days while the control was in its own ad set, but also allocated $10 per day for 3 days.

We also used our app to create two different custom landing pages specifically for this campaign, so that when people clicked on the respective ads, they would see a personalized message for them. This was meant to drive home the advantages of our product.



This week’s engagement was much better in terms of click rates. The two unconventional ads and one control ad generated a total of 27 landing page views, which was more than 3x last week’s numbers. The engagement was also more evenly spread out across different age groups and genders. However, both ad sets performed similarly, so it seems that the difference between this type of ad and a standard ad in terms of effectiveness is negligible.


These ads are not particularly eye – catching relative to normal ones. Although they are a bit unusual in the way that they purely use text, they don’t probably wouldn’t grab your attention in the same way that a more radical ad would.

Additionally, our company is still growing, so while these tactics may yield these results for us, they may work better (or worse) for companies of larger size or for companies in different markets. It can be difficult to draw conclusions about these types of experiments just because what works for different companies can be incredibly subjective, and the results don’t necessarily scale with size, ad budget, run time, etc.

What we could have done better

We could have played around more with the targeted audiences for this week, especially for the ad with cities. One thing we could have done is changed all three cities to English speaking ones, and then set the audience to target people who live near those cities, which could have potentially caught the attention of more people. This is an idea we will definitely be testing, but will likely be in a couple more weeks as we build up our website.

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