Proven ad templates can help you create ads that convert on paid social channels like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook without having to start from scratch. This helps accelerate output and keep your creative pipeline full.

But in a fast-paced marketing landscape with constantly shifting priorities and trends, ad templates are only as effective as the method you’re using to test your ads.

When 9 out of 10 ads are doomed to fail, growth marketers’ success relies on rapid, high-volume ad testing.  

That’s why Primer developed an ad testing method that lets you quickly eliminate underperforming ads, identify top performers, and tailor your ad strategy and budget for efficient growth.

It’s called the “Outlier Method.”

When it comes to finding the best-performing ads for your paid social campaigns, the faster you can find ads that convert and eliminate those that don’t, the better.

That’s where the Outlier Method comes in. Here’s how it works.

What Is the Outlier Method?

The Outlier Method is an ad testing methodology for paid social media that lets you optimize your ads as much as possible by testing every element, including:

  • Copy
  • Creative
  • Landing pages
  • Audience

The Outlier Method lets you rapidly test all the elements used in your ads, identify what performs and what doesn’t, and eliminate underperforming ads within the first 72 hours after launch.

That way, you can target the “Outliers”—the best-performing ads in an ad set—and iterate even more winning ads.

Using a TikTok or Instagram Ad Template with the Outlier Method

With the Outlier Method, you can use a TikTok or Instagram ad template from our library as a springboard to launch an ad set for a new theme or big idea. You can use these to create different versions of each element (such as copy, images, headlines, hooks, CTAs, and landing pages) to test against each other.

If you’re looking for the perfect TikTok or Instagram ad template to kickstart your creative, check out our “How It Works” theme.

Once you find the winners, you scale and iterate on them to help them reach their maximum potential.

How to Use the Outlier Method

outlier method for instagram ad template testing

This method requires a high volume of creative testing. It generally follows these steps:

  1. Launch – Launch a new big idea ad set. We recommend 3-10 visuals combined with different copy, headlines, and landing pages, totaling about 50 tests for every $25,000 in ad spend.
  2. Pause – Pause underperforming ads with a higher-than-average CPA (with 50% paused after 48 hours and 75% paused after 72 hours).
  3. Scale – Scale your Outliers—the remaining 25% of ads—by increasing the budget and making iterations from these winning ads. Make and test at least three ad creative variations for each Outlier. 
  4. Iterate – Once you see which ads perform well, you can iterate even more ads and keep the wins coming!

We recommend you complete this process within two weeks for each new big idea, including iterations. If your budget allows, repeat this process twice per month.

Learn more about the Outlier Method in our Ultimate Guide.


How to Know When You Have a Winning Ad

Outliers are generally those ads that perform 2-3x better than the rest in their campaign. They should perform better than your account average by 10% or more.

Here’s how we define a winning ad at Primer:

  • The ad has been live for at least 14 days.
  • There has been a 10% improvement over the average CPA (or your goal metric).
  • You’ve seen at least 10 conversions from this ad.

Note: The conversion rate may vary between high-value and low-value products and between B2B and B2C campaigns.

For instance, when advertising for a high-cost solution, 2 or 3 conversions could indicate a win.

Conversely, a B2C beauty brand, like our partner AllWell Beauty, might look for more than 10 conversions to identify a winning ad.

At Primer, we track how often our clients observe wins of different types to maximize both performance and ROI.

When you track your wins over time, you’ll see the long-term trends and know they’re working.

Here’s an example of how we used the Outlier Method with our partner Farmstead to find wins.


instagram ad template


instagram ad template


instagram ad template


The Learning Curve

Since 9 out of 10 ads fail, failure is a necessary step to finding your winning ads.

Growth marketers may remove failing ads but still observe a periodic decline in their accounts, causing marketers to struggle with when to eliminate poorly performing ads and let winning ads run their course.

Despite these short-term dips, eliminating failing ads lets you build an ad strategy with a maximum boost to your ROI over the long run. Stay the course with the Outlier Method, and it will pay off.

Avoiding the Temptation to Optimize Current Ads

It’s tempting to optimize your winning ads to see improvements. Avoid this and instead focus on building a full pipeline of creative. Place your energy and effort into creating the next winning iteration.

To get the most out of the Outlier Method’s approach to rapid-fire bulk ad testing, you should put most of your focus into creative ideation—and not the optimization of it.

Pro tip: Keep your swipe file updated with creative ad ideas by checking out the Facebook ad library or the library of top-performing ads on TikTok. Be sure to check out our unique library of winning ads developed by Primer to inspire your creative team.

When you focus on planning and building multiple creative briefs, success might take time. You may not see immediate growth during the process, but you should still avoid the temptation to optimize current ads.

Using a TikTok or Instagram ad template or theme and using big ideas and iterations helps you keep the creative pipeline full and create ads faster.

Sticking to the Outlier Method will create a repeatable and more efficient way to drive sustainable growth that results in more conversions in the long run.

It’s Difficult to Repeat the Testing Process—But Worth It

When you first start using the Outlier Method for ad testing, you may feel like you’re falling behind. Producing ad creative in bulk takes a lot of time and resources, including remembering to use an effective TikTok or Instagram ad template for each big idea ad set.

The good news is that your creative output will eventually become a well-oiled machine with a content pipeline where you will find exponentially greater wins over time. In fact, our partners who have tested consistently generated a 2.55x better performance than those who did not test.

The key is to produce enough creative and rigorously follow the testing process, knowing you have to turn off underperforming ads quickly.

Take these two examples: 

Advertiser 1

Runs 5 new ads in a month, finds one winner, and spends the rest of the month optimizing the account. The winning ad starts to lose performance, optimizations don’t have an impact, and CPAs get more expensive. New creative is rushed and does not deliver a win.

Not enough ad testing

Advertiser 2

Runs 16 new ads in a month and spends the month developing creative to test the following month. Finds two winners and is testing additional creative. When the winners lose performance, they scale two new wins, never losing momentum. CPA steadily declines making acquisition more efficient over time.

Ad testing drives efficient growth

Don’t Get Attached

For some growth marketers, letting go of ads that don’t perform might not be a problem. When a campaign you’ve worked on for a long time doesn’t succeed, it can be difficult to let go.

Regardless, maximizing ad performance means you must:

  • Turn off 50% of underperforming ads after 48 hours.
  • Turn off 75% of underperforming ads after 72 hours.

Move the 25% of ads that you did not pause into a campaign filled only with proven best performers. Add budget and watch them win

This keeps ads from unnecessarily competing with one another and helps you hone in on the true winners. 

Learn more about perfecting the Outlier Method: Download our Outlier Method PDF

How Primer Helps You Win Big with Ad Testing

At Primer, we use the Outlier Method to create and test thousands of winning ads for our partners. We’ll meet you where you’re at, so you can maximize your growth based on your specific needs.

Your Growth Partner: Need help scaling and testing your ads? When you partner with Primer, we’ll handle it all for you—the creative strategy, design, production, reporting, and media buying. Just sit back and enjoy the wins.

Creative On-Demand: For when you need a lot of high-quality ad creative fast, Primer On-Demand is an online platform where you can get videos, images, and landing pages produced by top marketing designers who know what converts.

Schedule a consultation today.