If you’re working with PPC, ad testing is an inevitable part of campaign optimization. One of the worst things you can do is build a campaign and let it collect dust. One of the best practices Smarter Searches enforces is trying out various types of ad copies to see what resonates with our audiences. It could be that traditional messages don’t jive well with your customers, and they prefer something a little more witty. Perhaps your audience likes simple language that’s straight and to the point. There’s only one way to find out, and that’s through vigorous ad testing. Read on to learn some of our favorite testing techniques!
Use dynamic keyword insertion.
This is a feature in Adwords that allows PPC managers to create ads that are targeted to each and every search query. It automatically updates your ad copy to accommodate exactly what the user is looking for. Dynamic keyword insertion puts one of your targeted keywords directly into your ad based on the query. This is commonly used in headlines, but it can be used in other areas of your ad as well. This technique is best utilized when ad groups are extremely granular so that the best possible keyword is displayed. However, I will say to use this cautiously. For example, you don’t want to use dynamic keyword insertion in an ad group that features misspellings of your branded keywords because that would be alarmingly embarrassing.
Take a closer look at your sitelinks.
It’s easy to forget how important sitelinks are to the overall ad copy strategy. Rather than being satisfied with the first round of sitelinks you set up, try testing different sitelink text. We recommend looking at sitelink performance on at least a quarterly basis, keeping track of your results so you’re aware of what you tested. Sitelink destinations don’t necessarily need to be changed – just take a closer look at the text. Is it eye catching? Does it capture your audience’s attention? If you find that a specific sitelink works for one campaign/ad group, try it out on another.
ALWAYS make sure to segment your campaigns by type.
This is PPC 101, but Display ads are always going to have lower CTRs than search, so make sure you separate all campaigns, so your numbers aren’t skewed. Break your ads into non-branded search ads, branded search ads, display ads, and remarketing ads at the very least. Evaluate each campaign’s ads against one another, not amongst each other.
If you are a PPC manager, chances are you are very busy.
You most likely have a lot of campaigns to manage, and sometimes ad testing can seem overwhelming. MORE ads to create? Why not just leave it at 1-2 and call it a day? WRONG! Ad testing is something that’s imperative to running a successful PPC campaign. One way to get around this is to make small changes to your top performing ad groups. Determine your ad testing goals, adjust the ads to reflect those goals, and you’ll know what to search for in the results.
Always make sure you have enough data before determining the “winner” of your PPC test.
A good sample size is imperative to making executive decisions. We like to wait for the maturity phase to end in order to determine which ad was more successful rather than waiting for X amount of impressions to accrue. 1000 impressions is simply not enough to tell which ad was the winner of the test, so make sure you wait the appropriate time to pause ads.
A very important tool to help you through the the testing process is Ad-Words Editor.
Without it, testing can be somewhat strenuous – having to create multiple ads and evaluate performance can be a lengthy process. With Ad-Words Editor, you can create, duplicate, pause, and delete ads in one swoop. Most everything can be done in bulk, which is a huge timesaver for PPC managers. Another advantage is that changes can be made offline and uploaded later, so nothing is permanent until you decide to post it to Adwords. When it comes to testing, Editor is key.
Do you have any new approaches to ad testing? If so, give us a shout in the comment box below.