I am sure we all know the importance of testing ads. Just as a reminder, you should not be running any ad groups with only one ad. Unless you are satisfied with an average-performing account, you should always test different selling points and messages. It is also recommended to have a routine for testing ads. Maybe once every two weeks or monthly. Ad testing is hugely dependent on budget. A big-budget means plenty of testing is available, as data comes at a much faster rate.
Common ways of Google ads testing
In this post, I will not be focusing on the standard ways of testing ads. Instead, I will delve deeper into more advanced techniques that many of you may not be aware of. But, let’s skim through the common methods quickly. What are the most common things being tested in ads?
The most popular way users can test ads is by testing the benefits vs. features. For example, you can have one ad talk about the product features and another talk about the benefits it will bring to the user.
Another way is to test prices vs. no prices. Which performs better? Price in your headline, so customers know what to expect? Or will it put them off from clicking the ad? Test, and you will find out.
The third way is to test customer reviews. Instead of writing a usual ad, quote your customer’s reviews. Customers like to find out what other customers’ experiences are like dealing with you. This may provide them with assurance. Fill up your headlines or your descriptions with the reviews of your most satisfied customers. No matter what you do, keep testing and you will find your golden nugget in no time.
If you are currently doing all of the above, well done. You are more knowledgeable than most of the marketers out there.
Now let’s get to the central part of this post. Here are three advanced ways of ad testing that can bring your ad optimization to the next level.
Advanced Google ads testing techniques
Remember that no matter what you test, always base it upon the same KPIs. Optimal KPIs to measure are clicks, conversions, conversion rate, or conversion value.
1. Ad Customizer vs. non-Ad Customizer ads
Test an ad that is using ad customizers vs. regular ads. Please read my blog post to learn about ad customizers in detail. Ad customizers dynamically swap out the ad so different users can see additional messages. Consider from the test results if either one is performing better than the other. If the difference is huge, let’s say that the ad customizer turns out to be bringing leads at a way lower cost than your text ad; you should double down on the ad customizer by testing it against another customizer.
This technique helps you understand whether customers respond better to ad customizers or regular ads.
2. Multi ad group testing
Most ad testing is only done at the ad level. In this case, we find which ads are performing better than the other within a single ad group. Multi ad group testing tests ad groups instead of individual ads. In this case, you will gain more insight into your business. Which services or products are working and which are not? Which segments of your site drove the most traffic? This testing method gives you great insight into your business and can be directly used to improve your business at the macro level—for example, website experience, product categories, offers, and more.
Make sure that the variables used across ad groups are constant or generally similar.
3. Change your offerings based on winning ad
This last technique is not necessary for testing. But let’s say you have a super ad that is just crushing every other ad on the KPIs. It is also directly telling you about what customers value most about doing business with you. Read the preceding line again, as most people miss this point. For example, if you are a car servicing company and you sell basic servicing packages, an ad may talk about changing the engine oil. And it may become your most profitable ad. This can probably tell you that the customer values engine oil change more than any other services inside the service package.
Understanding these insights of your consumers is valuable as now you can adjust and improve on your servicing package to more heavily emphasize the engine oil change segment.
These are three ideas you can implement into your ad testing today, and hopefully, you see many benefits with them.
Now I will list out a few precautions and advice when testing ads.
Overtesting is just as bad as under testing
Many people do not know this. Overtesting your ads is just as bad as undertesting them. If you are testing five different ad variations inside an ad group on a super low budget, it will take you months before finding any actionable data. In this case, keep to testing only two ads. If you have a big budget, increase your ad testing frequency as data is collected faster. The increased volume of your campaigns gives you the ability to out-test your market and come up with winning ads earlier.
Don’t forget to test RSA ads
Also, when you have an ad group with RSA and ETA in it, the RSA will usually get the bulk of the traffic. This makes testing ETA even harder. But remember that your RSA should be tested as well, but differently than your ETAs. Your job is to allow the machine learning to get enough impressions so that it can qualify the performance of the assets. For below-average assets, once you find them, replace them with a different messaging. The best way to test new concepts in RSA is to swap out below-average assets for the ones you want to test.
Your job as a PPCer is to stay on top of your RSAs performance (Note: you can only see RSA asset performance after a min of 5000 top of page impressions of the ad.) To remove the ones with average performance and replace them with new selling points.
Try radically different styles
When you are testing ads, try radically different styles. If you are just starting out, don’t only make minor changes to your ads. Change the theme or style. Test boldly. Come up with radical ideas for your ads so that you can separate your business from the crowd. Testing ads do not require a bigger budget or will it cost you more, so test widely from the start before you narrow it down.
The difference between average and the best advertisers is a methodology for testing. They never keep their PPC engines stale. Always be testing, making new changes. Find winners, keep them, and continue those campaigns for years. To sum up the three advanced techniques: 1) Test ad customizers vs. no ad customizers. 2) Test multiple ad groups instead of within a single ad group. 3) Use your top-performing ad to guide your business decisions.
Never discard a winning ad, no matter how long you run it. You may be bored of it, but your customers probably are not. Remember that we are advertising to a moving parade, not a standing crowd. Every minute, 250 babies are born. So there is always someone who has not seen your ad and could become your new customer.