When you dive into the world of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, some questions on your mind may sound like these: How do I know if my ad is working? What if I did (this) instead? How can I make my ads better?
As any well-versed search engine marketing (SEM) marketer would tell you, the answer lies in A/B testing!
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing for PPC ads is simple. In essence, all you need is to launch two versions of your Google ads campaign, with both differing in just one parameter. Then, based on the performance of both campaigns, you can determine which variant worked better.
A/B testing is a crucial step for optimising your PPC ads, because it lets you know what works and what doesn’t. As the factors that make a PPC ad work may differ drastically across industries and companies, having a solid split testing strategy to finetune your ads is essential.
Most digital marketers would already know how A/B testing works, but if you are new to this, it can be tricky to figure out how to set up effective split testing experiments. Thankfully, Google has also made it easier to conduct split testing using its Experiments feature on Google Ads.
Google Ads Experiments: A brief introduction
While the traditional way might be to set up two entirely separate campaigns for A/B testing, Experiments has streamlined the process for you. Rather than having two campaigns that compete with each other, you can have two versions running under the same campaign, on rotation for the duration that you set, and sharing the same campaign budget.
Running a Google Ads Experiment begins with a draft. You can simply copy an existing campaign that you have, without any worry about affecting the current campaign. With this copy of your ad, you can then make any changes that you are interested in testing. Some variables you can tweak include:
- Body text
- URL link
- Bid strategy
- Ad extensions
Once you’re ready with your draft, you can then set up the experiment to run alongside your existing campaign.
Tips for a more effective A/B testing
Now that you have a brief idea of how Google Ads Experiments works, the question is then, what – or how – should you begin testing? Some beginner PPC marketers make the grave mistake of trying to test too many things at once, making it notoriously difficult to design the experiment and measure their performance.
To avoid making these time-consuming mistakes, here are some tips on how to better conduct an effective A/B test for PPC ads.
1. Focus on high-value levers
If you’re going through the time and effort of doing an experiment, make it count. There’s little point in focusing on variables that only give you a marginal boost in performance. Instead, aim straight for high-value parameters like bid strategies and ad extensions.
2. Test one variable at a time
Between two versions of a campaign, make sure there is only one variable that’s different, that is, the variable you want to test. Otherwise, if you change multiple variables at once, you won’t be able to find out what the difference in ad performance was affected by.
3. Use a suitable metric to measure performance
Before you even begin testing, know what you want to measure. This also depends on the purpose of your ads. For example, if your goal is for brand awareness, it may be wise to focus on the click-through rate (CTR). But if you have a new product launch and you wish to boost sales, then the conversion rates will be what you want to base the success of your ads on.
4. Know what is sufficient data
How long should your experiment run for? Ideally, you need enough data for any experiment to yield meaningful and reliable (i.e. replicable) results. More often than not, this would take a few weeks to a month, or at least a few thousand impressions.
5. Be wary of outliers
Analysing your results is the next step after the experiment period ends. But, instead of taking global statistics at face value, always make it a point to study the numbers and look out for any outliers, as these could significantly skew your results.
Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of conducting better A/B tests, you can drastically improve your PPC ads to potentially boost web traffic, leads, and conversions as well. But if all these seem too tough to digest, you can also outsource the heavy-lifting to an SEM agency in Singapore.
Still prefer to try it yourself? You can develop your knowledge and skills in Google Ads with a marketing course focusing on PPC in Singapore. Let us help you craft better PPC ads to help your business grow!