In general, AdWords PPC advertising involves a lot of testing. You should be testing keywords, landing pages, times of day to display your ads, ad extensions, your ad content and which partridge to put in which pear tree.
We’re going to focus on how to do proper A/B tests for ads themselves in this post, which is a little bit more in depth than it may seem, although it’s not complicated.
What, exactly, are you testing for?
Before we get started, the first objective of an ad is to get a click, so ad testing in PPC has a lot to do with improving your CTR, which in turn gets you high Quality Scores. CTR is a huge factor in calculating Quality Scores, and high QS can reduce your costs while improving your ad positions. In theory, you can also attempt to use ads to improve your conversion rates, but that’s really the job of your landing page. There are ways that your ads can have an impact on conversions *, but asking to get people to your site and making major inroads to a conversion is asking a lot of an ad that comes in well under 200 characters.
How to handle testing
A/B testing pretty much means that you pick a single thing and compare how it works to another single thing. Some people interpret that two mean you have two ads that are identical except for the headline or the URL or the ad description. I personally prefer to test entirely different ads based on how they are presented, which I’ll go into in a bit below. Whatever your preference, you should always have two ads in rotation to help you figure out what type of language helps get people to your site.
The very little that you have to work with
AdWords ads are four lines long with a generous 25 characters for the headline and 35 characters for the last three, which are the URL line and two description lines. With those limits, you need to get to the point, and that point will be pretty stabby. Due to the limitations involved, you’re probably going to want to create ads that do one of the following:
- Involve a Call to Action
- Ask A Question
- Focus on a Feature
- Brandish Your Brand
Tomorrow’s post will talk about exactly what those types of ads look like as well as providing examples.
* One way that you can improve conversions with your ad copy is to lead people in the right direction ahead of time. If a conversion is a sale but you talk up a free sample in your ad, you’re going to have to overcome people’s expectations of free. However, that may not be so much improving conversion chances as not reducing them by having a mixed message.