How to Write Banner Ad Variations for A/B Testing with A.I.

Jimmy Daly
November 17, 2022

Writer is now an official Superpath partner! Its A.I. writing platform offers a suite of features to power smarter, faster work. Superpath members can get 20% off enterprise plans—just let them know you came from Superpath. By the way, the following post was written with Writer. 🙂

QuickBooks uses Writer's A.I. writing platform to write banner ad copy. This allows them to create many copy variations all in the correct format, and all adhering to their own style guide. This saves a ton of time, and gives their team tons of variations to test.

For example, QuickBooks may want to offer QuickBooks Payroll to their accounting customers. They can use Writer's A.I. to create a number of different variations of the ad copy, all of which adhere to their style guide. This gives them a lot of options to test, and saves them a lot of time.

Writer's A.I. uses natural language processing to understand the context of the ad and what the user is looking for. This ensures that the copy is relevant and engaging. It also allows QuickBooks to create ads that are personalized for each user. Here's Writer CEO May Habib showing how it's done.

May Habib: Hi everybody. I'm May, the co-founder of Writer, an AI writing platform for Teams. We are doing a series of tutorial videos with Jimmy from Superpath to teach folks how best to use Writer for content acceleration.

Jimmy Daly: Next May, we're going to talk about generating banner copy. Sort of falls into this other area that we mentioned earlier where content marketers sometimes get this type of thing thrown on their plate and they're like, "Eh, I could probably do it. I'm not an expert." Anyways, Writer's a really amazing and much faster way to create banner copy, I would imagine, especially if you're going to be doing A/B tests and things like that. But would love if you could walk us through how it actually works in the product.

May Habib: Well, let's walk through the custom template we built for banners for our great customers over at Intuit. And these folks, like lots of other folks, are trying to cross promote products to each other. They have got a number of products under the Intuit umbrella and even within QuickBooks a number of products, subproducts within QuickBooks. So these banners are an H1 and H2 in a CTA that in addition to character limits actually also have to comply with other guidelines for the content that's in them, [inaudible 00:01:16] verbs in the CTAs and other things that can be hard to remember and kind of slow down the writing. And so what they decided to do is build a fun template here, a Hello Box template. And you can see under product name you get to choose between what product you are trying to promote. Each one of these has been trained on data that they have provided for previous banners that they have used.

So let's use payments for example, the key value prop is going to be, let's call it "get paid instantly" and let's have a "try now" kind of CTA. And what they wanted was to be able to present the writer with actually a number of options, so we're going to see that in a second, based on the product they're trying to do and the value prop they're trying to get in there. So you can see here we've got a headline, "Get paid instantly with QuickBooks Payments," subhead, "Try now and get paid faster than ever before." And the CTA is "try now," because I put in "try now" here in the inputs. "Get paid faster, fastest way to get paid, get paid instantly, fastest way to get paid, try now and get paid faster than ever before." So different combinations of the H1 and the H2. And as we talked about in one of our previous sessions around temperature, so they have definitely played around, this is just one of the model iterations, they've played around with the temperature for this one, for like, "How creative do I want to get from what the input that the user gave me?" So these are all about speed because I want speed as the value prop.

Jimmy Daly: Super cool. When you build a template, can you say like, "Every time I provide an input, give me 5 options"?

May Habib: Yep, absolutely.

Jimmy Daly: Yeah, that's really interesting.

May Habib: Or 10. Yeah, a lot of headlines is "Give me 10 options." Ads tends to be 3 to 5. Now in high-volume plays, when folks are trying to call hundreds, they're actually using the API. And so we use the UI to get people really comfortable with the output and like, "What inputs do I want for the output?" And then actually they're sticking us right into a CMS or an ERP or wherever they are serving the content up. Now this is copy into Figma, and so this is actually quite bespoke in terms of you need a human typing in there, and the API is not that valuable. And from a volume perspective, any individual writer is doing a few dozen at a time.

Jimmy Daly: Wow.

May Habib: And so it makes more sense to do it straight from the UI. But still a few dozen banners is actually, that's a week of work that has now kind of come down to six hours of work.

Jimmy Daly: Yeah, that's really interesting. Having worked there and having had the chance to work with the web team, who's responsible for all the stuff that happens before you're logged in, and then the product folks who are responsible for all the stuff once you are logged in, if you're seeing ads on a QuickBooks property, it's no accident. They're very, very well thought out, and it's a pretty sophisticated setup, right? So they know, for example, that when a customer starts by using the accounting product that the next two things they should offer might be financing and payroll, or you know what I mean?

May Habib: Or stuff like that. Yep.

Jimmy Daly: I don't know the data any longer, but it's pretty interesting. And then at the scale that they operate, it just makes sense. You've got to try lots of different variations, you'll collect lots of data, you can feed it back into the system. And this is really cool because definitely there's a hangup when it comes time to like, "Okay, we need dozens of variations of ads and copy for each," to be able to just do is like that is such a huge time saver. And to be honest, I actually think that when people sit down and try to write tens, dozens of these things, the creativity level actually drops significantly as you go.

May Habib: Yep, totally.

Jimmy Daly: It's actually much better to just let the AI just do it because it doesn't hit that fatigue point that people hit.

May Habib: Yeah, totally. And this is not why folks adopt Writer, it's really about speeding up the productivity of the folks that they have dramatically. But we actually do see increases in conversion rates as a result of just having a more consistent level of output, and the person having more energy to actually give it their best creative spin across everything that they need to do, versus sometimes the steep fall off when you've got to do hundreds of these a month.

Jimmy Daly: Yeah, that's tough. One quick question about the templates. Does Writer build templates or can the customer come in and build templates? How does that work?

May Habib: Yeah, so it is getting WYSIWYG into the front end. We've got a WYSIWYG backend that our CSMs use, so it's actually not very technical. And there's a lot of the NLP depth that's underneath that allows us to extract away things like character counts and the number of versions you want, and "Give me an example of what you mean by this." And so there is a dashboard that over time we will make visible to folks. But most customers just give us an example of what they want and it gets built into their tool.

Jimmy Daly: Really cool. Really, really cool. Okay, cool. Love it. Next up, we're going to talk about generating a different type of copy, this time for press releases. So longer form, still super important. So let's jump over to that one and we'll see over there.

Okay, cool. There you go. Thank you so much, May and your team over at Writer for being such a great partner to us at Superpath. You're building an awesome product. We really appreciate you spending time to help us get up and running with it. And frankly, your support is what helps us keep this community free, so we really are grateful for that. For those watching, if you do want to learn more and give Writer a try, go to writer.com. There's a couple of different plans you can choose from. There's also a free tier if you just want to kick the tires. So writer.com. Thanks so much for watching and thanks so much to the team at Writer for your support. Take care everybody.


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