We discussed in another post the importance of allowing your ads enough time to run so you can get conclusive results, but this post will focus on what you should be testing. You could just randomly throw two ads up against each other and see who comes out alive, but if you want results that tell you more about what people are looking for and what type of wording makes them click and convert, you’ll need to be more methodical than slap dash.
Tell me what you want, what you really, really want
One important part of testing is determining the results you’re looking for. You may want a high CTR, which generally leads to improved Quality Scores, or you may want to run ads that provide a solid conversion rate. If you don’t figure out what your goal is before you run a test, you’ll have data, but no idea what to do about it.
Time of day
Most people have a particular demographic, and that demographic tends to do things on certain days and times. Legal firms that focus on DUIs may want to show their ads on the weekend and evenings, and office supply outlets are likely to want to do the opposite. You can figure out when your ads should be showing by looking at conversion data and targeting times that lead to the best results, and with this information, you can set up day-parting appropriately. You may want to look at the results of several keywords and ads to ensure that time frames are not ad specific.
If you have a high enough Quality Score, you get to use extensions, and you should test to see which type of extension leads to the best results. More information about ad extensions and what to attach them to can be found in our Guide To Ad Extensions.
Link text can help you set the tone for your ad, and they may be able to help steer conversions. For example, if you’re trying to get people to register for a free trial, you may want your link text to read: domain.com/freetrial. A more sales centric pitch might read: domain.com/buynow. Remember to tailor your link text to whatever goal you’re trying to accomplish.
Your headline and ad text are the meat and potatoes of your ad, and you want to figure out how you want the ad to come across. One of the most common ways to write ads is to focus on a particular feature or benefit. For example, with a smart phone, your ad text could focus on built-in apps, screen size, appearance or the quality of its camera. Cost, looks and manufacturer may also be selling points, and some will work better than others to attract customers. Since you’ve got very limited space to work with, each ad will need to focus on one or two particular aspects of your product. A/B testing can help you figure out what features your target audience cares about, which can be very helpful in creating ads for related keywords as well.
Another consideration is where you are in your sales funnel. Someone searching for a smart phone from a particular manufacturer is probably in the middle of the funnel, while someone looking for an exact make and model is near the bottom. In the first instance, you should probably write ad text that talks about features in an effort to get someone to make a choice as to which phone they want, while for someone farther down the funnel, your ad text may want to feature pricing and warranty information.