Ad copy testing

5 Best Practices for Ad Copy Testing

Testing offers the ultimate opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of two different pieces of ad copy. You’re pitting one sample against the others to see which generates the most conversions and creates the most revenue. If you’re launching a PPC advertising campaign or dipping your business’s toes into other advertising waters, follow these five strategies for effective comparisons.

1. Create Brand New Ads

When you create an ad and use it in AdWords or other advertising campaigns, that advertisement generates a quality score from Google. Since it already has a “history” on the Internet, its previous appearances will skew the results when you perform ad copy testing against a fresh ad.

For the most accurate results, create two brand new ads to compare in a future campaign. Since all factors are equal, you can better assess each ad’s performance relative to your audience.

2. Rotate Copy Evenly

In addition to the ad copy content itself, you also want to ensure equality when it comes to displaying your advertisements to the world. Google allows you to select a “rotate ads indefinitely” setting so that Google won’t change how and when your ad appears based on its own algorithm.

If you use the “Optimize for Clicks” setting or another option that gives Google more control, you won’t know whether each ad’s performance traces back to its effectiveness for your audience or to Google’s bias. With fresh copy and an egalitarian AdWords setting, you’ll get the most accurate data.

3. Change a Single Variable

It’s tempting to get too creative during ad copy testing because you’re curious about how different approaches will impact the results. However, if you change too many variables between the two ads, you won’t gain as much insight into the resulting data.

For instance, let’s say you own Wilbur’s Widgets and you always use the same CTA: “Get High-Quality Widgets at Affordable Prices. Free Shipping Today!” You create a new ad for your testing campaign and you use a completely different CTA: “Try Our New Energy-Efficient Widgets. Get 10% Off Your Entire Purchase!”

If that advertisement outperforms your other ad, was it because of the mention of “energy-efficient widgets” or because your audience prefers 10-percent-off deals over free shipping?

For the best results, change only one variable for each round of ad copy testing. You can always launch a subsequent test to evaluate other variables.

4. Set Goals and Make Predictions


Either alone or with your team, set a goal for each round of ad copy testing and make predictions about the test’s outcome.

What do you want your ad copy testing to achieve? Narrow down a short list of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) for the campaign. Even if a piece of copy performs well, it won’t benefit your business if it doesn’t achieve specific goals.

After you know which KPIs to track and measure, make predictions about the outcome of your test. Not only will this help you better understand your audience, but it will also gauge your understanding of PPC campaigns and their structure. Perhaps the results will surprise you, in which case you’ve learned something new and valuable.

5. Don’t Stop Now

A single ad copy test isn’t sufficient to fuel your PPC decisions from now until eternity. Your audience will evolve, your business will grow, and you’ll change your goals. Continuously run new tests to refine your approach and to seek new ways to reach your target market.

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