Running a push notification campaign is similar to brewing your own beer. Sure, you could opt for something a bit less complex, but the results are never the same. And, you’ll want to test out little changes to see how they affect the flavor in order to make the best brew.

Although there are easier formats to conquer, push notification is one of the most efficacious types of ads you can choose. That said, you’ll also need to test your creatives in order to find out the winning combination.

And yes, this applies even if you’ve been using push for a while!

We’ve touched base with in-house expert Roman S. and he’s enlightened us with his approach to testing push ads.

Below, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about testing your push creatives effectively.

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The Reason You Should Always Test One Variation at a Time

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“Before delving into the steps right away, it’s important to understand the logic behind testing.” According to Roman, understanding the logic behind the testing can help you make the best decisions.

“The main thing you should remember is that you need to test one element at a time. If you decide to try more than one simultaneously, you won’t know what change did what.”

To run accurate tests, you have to change one element at a time. Therefore, you have to take a step-by-step approach and run multiple tests to come up with the best combination.

Where Can You Test These Changes?

Depending on the ad network or platform you’re using, you may need to look for the feature that allows you to test your ads.

At PropellerAds, we developed the Smart Rotator, which allows easy optimization and testing for your push notification creatives. Through this tool, you can automate your testing while still ensuring that you get the best results.

How to Test Creatives for Push Campaigns

“Push creatives are unique because they are delivered to customers like any other notification,” says Roman. Because of this, you have to take a pragmatic approach that takes different user experience elements into consideration.

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Keep in mind that you’ll want to test on CPC bidding in order to keep costs low. After the ads run for enough time, you’ll also have to analyze their CTR in order to assess their performance.

In our expert’s opinion, “The best way to test push notification creatives is to take a three-step approach”.

#1 Start By Testing the Icon

“The first thing you have to test is the icon. It’s the smallest part of your ad, but it’s also the only image users will see for sure. Even though some devices will also display the banner, you have to assume that people will only be able to see the icon” says Roman.

Not only this, but the brain also processes images faster than text, so it’ll have a psychological influence on your audience. And, for this element, you can test different colors schemes, use frames,  or add various elements to measure the effect.

Here’s an example of how to test creatives for a Dating campaign. First, we test three icons (equally attractive images). According to statistics, image #3 has the highest CTR.

#2 Up Next: Banners

Once you have found the best icon, it’s time to start with the banner images. Romans says that you should “always try to make noticeable changes in this stage. You should try three completely different concepts in order to identify the ones that have potential.” 

Furthermore, if you think the first three were not your best effort, you can create a second set and test these as well.

Now we take our best-performing icon and test it combined with different banner images.

What images to take?

The images you choose have a profound effect on your audience. But, to ensure it will have the right impact, check out the minimized preview. According to Roman, “if you can still see what the image is or know immediately what the offer is about, then it works.

Additionally, keep in mind that:

  • Images that have an object against a contrasting background are easier to see
  • Having a woman on your creatives can help improve CTR
  • The banner images you test out should be completely different
  • Finding an image of something unusual, but still relevant, can deliver superb results
  • After choosing the image that performs best, run a few small tests to determine the best color palette, sharpness, and other design elements

Here’s the winning combination of an icon + banner image. Time to play around with ad copy!

#3 And Finally, the Ad Copy

After zeroing on the right banner and icon combo, you can start testing the actual ad copy. Roman says that “with ad copies, you can test out a few different variations. Then, once you find the one that performs best, run another test but only change small elements to finetune your results.”

Ad copies are much easier to test than images,” says our expert. “Just remember to try completely different wording, find the ones that have the highest CTR, and finetune them.

And, after finding the winning approach, you can test out emojis, exclamation marks, and other small details to see if they boost CTR. You can test out emojis, exclamation marks, and other small details to see if they boost CTR.

Here’s how you’ll see the results in PropellerAds statistics.  Roman tested out different combinations to find out what really works.


When combined with the right creatives, push notifications can produce stellar results. These tips from our in-house expert should help you identify the best creatives and assess how each change affects your ads.

>>> Test your creatives <<<

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