Ad Copy Testing – A Guide To When and How To Do It

In Paid Search by Andrew Bloch

Advertisers are always needing to make sure that their ads are relevant, to the point, and grab the attention of potential customers. Therefore, to ensure that your ads are always in the best shape possible, you need to perform periodic ad copy tests. Ad copying testing is one of the most vital functions of a PPC operator. By performing periodic ad copy tests, you are able to ensure that your ads stay relevant and produce the best results possible.

When to Perform Effective Ad Copy Tests

There are many different scenarios that create a good time to do an ad copy test, keep in mind though, that it is very seldom a bad idea to perform an ad copy test, as an ad copy test will help you to ensure that your ads are constantly improving and giving you the desired results.

A good time to start doing some ad copy testing would be if you take over an account that has been running for a while. It would be a good idea to look at the current ads running, get some data on the ads such as what the CTR, Click Through Rate, is like, if there have been any conversions, just generally look at how the ad or ads have been performing. You would then need to choose an ad that will act as a control against your test, so that in due time you can see how the control compares to your test.

If you have just set up a new account, perhaps hold off on ad copy assessment for a little while, give your ads time to run and gather data, such as; impressions, clicks, CTR and conversions, to see how your ads have been performing. If your ads have been performing well on a new account, then it would be alright to leave the ads as they are for a while longer, and then you could start performing tests at a later stage. However, if you set up a new account, and after a few weeks you see that you are not getting the results you would like to see, then consider doing an ad copy test to see if that may improve the results you are receiving.

A Guide to Performing an Ad Copy Test

To perform an ad copy test requires you to really think about what exactly you are wanting to test. Start by looking at the different elements that form a Google ad, such as; Headline 1 and 2, the description, the paths and finally, the URL. I would start with the last element, and possibly the easiest element of the ad, the URL. Make sure, and this point can not be stressed more, that the URL takes the user to the correct landing page that your ad is describing. Users become extremely frustrated if your ad is describing an amazing product that they can buy now, they click on the URL and it takes them to the websites home page, the user then has to mine their way through the website to find the product they were wanting to buy. This is an easy way to lose those precious conversions. Therefore, make sure the URL is always correct.

Once you’ve doubly ensured that the URL is going to take the user to the correct landing page, look at what has been typed into the paths, if they are incorrect, change them, this is all a part of ad copy testing, to ensure that our ads are in the best shape possible.

The headlines and description are the next elements to look at. The headlines are the first, and potentially the only part of an ad that a user may read before deciding to move on or to carry on reading the rest of the ad. Therefore, making sure your headlines are succinct, to the point, as well as catchy is vital to getting a users attention. In each headline you are only allowed 30 characters, this isn’t much, so choose your words and punctuation, if you are going to use punctuation in your headlines, carefully. The description, on the other hand, allows you to use a maximum of 80 characters, this is quite a bit more than the headlines, but when you are trying to describe what your client does, these characters can be used up quite quickly too, so be wise with your word choice as well as the punctuation. When you are looking at your headlines and the description, you may decide to do a complete ad copy rewrite, where you change the entire ad and then see in due time how your test has performed against the control ad. On the other hand, you may want to test different elements of the ad, so instead of having the keywords in the description, you may want to include the keywords in one of the headings. You may also want to test including a call to action, such as, “Shop Now”, in your ad, or if the ad already has a call to action, you may want to try a different call to action, such as “Browse Now”. Constantly keep in mind that a test is never a waste of time, no matter what the results after a period of time, be they dismal or absolutely awesome, there is always something to learn from an ad copy test that will help you to continually improve the ads you are running.

How Long Should Ad Copy Testing Run For?

To set a specific time would be short sighted as some ads may get results within a matter of weeks, while other ads won’t get any results over a period of a few months. It is a good idea to give the ads time to gather data to help you decide which ads are running well, which ads to pause, and which ads to improve on. Ad copy testing is a continual process, so keeping a record of the ads you have tested will help you to keep on track with all the tests you are running in the various ad groups in an account. Allowing ads to run for a period of about 2 to 3 months should give ample time for data to come through, however this length of time may be too short for some ads that are in less popular ad groups. Therefore, the best thing to do is to keep checking every few weeks to see if anything has changed.

Once you have run an ad copy test, and the test has produced results, you can now look at your ads and see how the test ad has been performing against the control ad, as well as any other ads in the ad group. The ad that has performed the weakest, the one that has received the least amount of clicks, has the lowest CTR and the fewest conversions, that is the ad you want to pause, whether it is the control or the test. If the test has performed well, then that is fantastic, it is always a good feeling when your test has performed well. You can then make your test the new control and create a new test to improve on any of the elements of the ad mentioned above. However, sometimes the test doesn’t always perform well, then you can pause your test, look at the control and see what you can do differently. This is the cycle of this activity, the job is never done as there is always a way to improve the ads we are showing to users.

Constant testing may seem quite tedious at times, but ad copy testing is the surest way to ensure that you are presenting the best ads possible at the time you write them. Adjusting your ads will ensure that the ads are relevant to what your client is providing. We never want our ads to be out of date, or giving the incorrect information, this will prevent this as testing will challenge you to produce the finest quality ads that you can produce at the time you write them.

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