Test PPC Ads Like An Expert In 5 Simple Steps

by Michael Pendreigh July 15, 2016
July 15, 2016

To test PPC ads is to keep your PPC marketing new.


And who doesn’t love new, shiny things? People stuck in their ways and spending way too much money on digital marketing (if they even use online ads).


We’ve got to revitalize our PPC accounts.


All of them: AdWords, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.


Advertising with pay per click involves more than just management and optimization, it involves creating novel ways of outmaneuvering competition and getting the best bang for your buck.


Staying fresh involves keeping your ads competitive. Keeping your ads competitive involves change.


From ad tools to scripts, introducing changes comes in numerous forms.


But we can’t just dive into drastic account changes. The water might be full of hungry sharks with an appetite for wasted advertising spend. Or it might be as frozen as that Disney movie, freezing our market shares. In either case, we’ve got to be able to LET IT GO, LET IT GOOOO if our change puts us in unfriendly waters.


We’ve got to test our changes. Test PPC ads that work, test alterations that don’t. Test, test, test.


But we’ve also got to test intelligently.


Let’s Test PPC Ads:


So, before you rush into your AdWords account and start to test PPC ad changes, we advise that you take a deep breath and approach the matter calmly.


We’ve got 5 steps that all PPC testing should be able to check-off.


1. A clear goal: have a specific goal in mind when you create a test. It should be particular enough that data has no chance of being confused. An example might be to determine the best performing headline for a specific set of ads. Usually, you’ll look for split testing opportunities like this one:


Goal: Test the headline of variant 1A vs. the headline of variant 1B.


Hypothesis: Due to the usage of a specific benefit statement in 1B, variant 1B will generate a higher conversion rate than variant 1A.


Ad copy testing, split between two variations like this, is called AB testing.


2. A plan of action: have a method for the implementation of your test fully mapped out. Testing a headline might involve the creation of variants, the setting up of their testing rotation, and predetermining a period for which the test will be run.


Test PPC ads plan


3. An intensity gauge: have a general sense of the work involved with performing the test. Depending on your resources, a test might cost more than it is worth. A test beyond your means can easily get out of control. Too much complexity in tests can also contribute to disastrous results.


The headline example might be kept simple by testing only a certain set of high traffic ad groups.


4. A notice of testing: have a message ready that will make anyone involved with the account aware of the test. Forgetting to properly communicate a test can also have calamitous effects.


If performing your test in AdWords, setup AdWords labels. To identify that a test is in progress.


5. A happy ending: have a planned time slot after the test’s end to review and interpret its data. Create a calendar reminder for the end date and the tasks required. Use a calculator like this one to determine if your test has a statistically significant outcome.


If the account belongs to a client, create a report for the test so that they’ll understand your analysis and results too.


Reflect on Your Ad Testing


You get an idea of what’s working and what isn’t when you test PPC ads.


It’s on you to be able to effectively determine what you’ve learned from a test—if you follow the above 5 steps, you shouldn’t have any problems doing so.


The first step carries the most importance. Importantly, knowing what you want to achieve guides a test. Unfortunately, many tests become convoluted messes (believe us, we’ve been there).


Keep a log of what you have done and why you have done it.


A shared cloud document for each unique account/client could serve this purpose beautifully. Short notes on each test will keep you and anyone else informed about what you have tested, and you may even plan your future tests within it.


Test PPC Ads Like An Expert:


Write out a plan following these 5 steps for each of your tests and you’ll be much more organized. Furthermore, organizing gives data clarity and will make your results stand out.


Simple steps keep tests simple, no matter how complicated the test actually is. As long as you’re accountable to these 5 steps, you’ll test ads like a PPC expert.

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