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AdWords A/B Split Testing

home / Advanced PPC / AdWords A/B Split Testing

AdWords A/B Split Testing

Once you are familiar with how AdWords works and have already run several campaigns, you will eventually want to consider testing various elements of your text ads. A/B testing involves running two ads simultaneously with minor changes to each and comparing the results. Even a minor change can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

A/B testing results in:

Higher click through rates: AdWords provides comprehensive data including impressions and click through rate so you can see exactly how certain ads perform. Improving click through rates on your campaign drive more visitors to your landing pages and increase sales.

Better Quality Scores: Google evaluates numerous factors to determine ad positions. A higher click through rate translates to a higher Quality Score which means you can be paying less per click and still rank higher than your competitors.

You may think that a certain headline may immediately attract clicks but you simply never know unless you test it. Here we look at how to get started with A/B testing for your AdWords campaign.

Elements to Test

Unlike landing pages that have numerous elements to test, there are only a few to test for text ads. These include:

  • Headline
  • Body text
  • Display lin

Here is what a typical ad looks like:

The headline is one of the most important aspects of an ad as it is the first thing that visitors see. You have very limited space to work with but it should reflect the product or service being offered. It should also include the keywords that trigger the ad as Google displays these in bold.

The body text is essentially the meat of the ad and should be compelling enough to get searchers to click. It should also provide searchers more of an idea of what it is you are offering.

AdWords allows advertisers to include a display link. In most cases, you will want to link the ad to a landing or product page that has been properly optimised rather than the home page.

Another aspect that often gets overlooked is the actual keyword that triggers an ad. Not all keywords are the same and some will convert better than others. The only way to know for sure is to run an A/B test on different keywords and track the results. Once you find keywords that convert the best for your campaign, you can allocate more of your marketing dollars there.

AdWords A/B Split Testing Test One Change at a Time

A/B testing is exciting as you can see exactly which ads have a higher click through rate.

It can be tempting to test different elements but it is essential to only test one at a time such as the headline or body text. That way you know what facts have led to better results. Here are some ideas you can get started with:

Prices: Most customers are motivated by price and simply want to purchase the cheapest option available. Create a new ad that displays a dollar amount or a special offer that is running for a limited time.

Features: Some customers place more importance on certain features than others. Create separate ads for the same product or service but highlight different features.

Quality: Customers are often more willing to pay for a product if they know they are getting better value for their money. Use phrases such as “long lasting” or “superior construction” to highlight the quality of your products.

Risk averse: Offer a guarantee or free shipping to reduce risk.

Visitors will inevitably respond differently to how your copy is written. This is why it is important to test different ideas against each other to see how they perform.

How to Split Test Ads

Split testing ads is incredibly easy. Click the Ads tab and click the red button to create a new ad.

Then create a second ad against one that is already running.

Remember to only make one change such as the headline or description text. You can change the ad rotation settings in the Settings tab. There are different options to choose from but choose the option to rotate them evenly. This ensures that each ad gets equal exposure to visitors.

Run the ads for at least a few weeks so you have sufficient data to make a decision. Then start the process over again by taking the winning ad and creating a new one to continue improving your click through rates. Once you learn the basics of A/B testing, you can take what you learned to split test your landing pages.

In the next section, we cover conversion tracking and how to see which clicks are resulting in sales.

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