The world of paid search optimization can seem very large sometimes. What helps me stay on top of the accounts I manage is breaking the work down into smaller pieces and remembering the basics.

test

not that kind of test

In a previous blog post, I wrote about Negative Keywords and the effect they can have on your paid search campaign. Now I think it’s time we turn our attention to something that might have an equally high impact on your CTRs: ad copy testing.

Copy That

Before testing your ad copy, you need to give yourself something to test. Take some time and review your website and construct at least 2 different ads per landing page.

These ads should have some kind of important difference between them. Try crafting different headlines or separate calls to action.

Make sure your account settings are set to rotate your ads evenly. The default setting is for Google to rotate your ads based on clicks, which can skew your data if you trying to do some testing. It’s almost always better to make decisions on ad copy using your own criteria, and not simply trust the computer to do it for you.

Once you have two different ads to test and your settings are on point, it’s time to let the campaign run and collect some data. The length of time needed to attain statistical significance with your results will vary depending on your budget.

If you are only getting a few clicks a day, it might take a while to accumulate enough data to make an informed decision on which ad is better. Rushing to judgment would only serve to waste the effort you put into writing your ads in the first place.

Evaluate and Act

Also remember that there is more than one key indicator to look at. CTR is a vital component to the success of an ad, but it doesn’t tell the full story.

Look at the conversion data associated with the ad. Which one is leading to the most sales? Try to see the whole picture.

info picOnce you have enough clear data to choose a winning ad, it’s time to cut your losses and pause the underperforming ad immediately. No sense in wasting any more money on it.

Once the ad is paused, you need to replace it with something new to test. Write a brand new ad that draws from the insights you gained with the first one. Begin the testing cycle all over again.

Doing this continually for all your ad groups is a great way to make sure your CTR continues to climb. A major strength of AdWords and paid search in general is the amount of data available to you. It’s time to start using it with your ad copy.

photo credit: timlewisnm via photopin cc
photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Rob Hughes
Rob Hughes is a Paid Search Analyst at Big Leap who enjoys the creative aspect of online paid advertising. In his free time, Rob is a 3x Intramural Champion, a 17x Intramural Loser, and an avid climber of local mountains.