It’s all about data these days. Marketers don’t want to make decisions unless they have evidence. That’s a good thing, of course, and fortunately there are many ways for marketers to gather and build on data and information so that they do not have to rely on their instincts alone. One of the most common methods, particularly in online settings, is A/B testing. In a world driven by the performance of a marketing strategy, it is now essential to base decisions on data for a marketing campaign to succeed effectively.
What is A/B Testing? And how to do it.
But what is A/B testing? Essentially it is the experiment where two or more different variants/options of an ad, web page or campaign element are shown to an audience at random and measure the difference in how they perform. By knowing which marketing assets perform best for the desired conversion goal will help you to make an informed decision based on data.
How to do A/B testing? Simply to run an A/B test you will need to create two (or more) different versions of the same ad/email/web page. This will then be shown to two randomly picked groups of around the same size. After a specific period of time, the performance of the different assets will be analysed and an accurate conclusion will be made. A/B testing lets you know what words, phrases, images, videos, testimonials, and other elements work best. Even the simplest changes can impact conversion rates. Essentially A/B testing helps marketers to observe the assets and hopefully prove their instincts and predictions right. Before they go ahead with the full marketing campaign, and are able to ensure that the budget is going in the most likely place to convert successfully.
A/B Tests for Google AdWords
Fortunately, Google AdWords has a built-in A/B testing feature so you don’t need to guess. There are two ways to do A/B testing. You can split-test two different ads or split-test several ads against one another and put in a different variable for each one. So basically, there are four things that you can test within an ad. There’s your title, or your headline, the first line, the second line, and the display URL. And Google will show you a preview of what this will look like, depending on where your ad is positioned. And in general the one thing that you don’t want to change when you’re doing A/B testing for two ad variations is the landing page.
When doing the first approach testing two different ads against each other one important thing to keep in mind is that when you’re first starting testing you want the ads to be very different for each other. When you create a new ad, by default Google will give you one of the ads that you’ve already created. So you want to change this as much as possible, do not make just some small changes in this situation and test it against one another because then it will take forever to figure out which ad is actually the better ad. So what you want to do is create a completely different headline, a completely different description line one, a completely different description line two, and a different display URL.
When doing the second approach of testing multiple ads against each other, making slight variations is what you want to do, until you have a different headline, first line, second line and display URL combination for all of your ads. Then when running these ads you will see the click-through rate and the cost-per-conversion and the average cost-per-click, of which elements of the ad are performing best, and you can incorporate those into the final ad.
That is all there is to doing A/B testing for ads within Google AdWords. As you can see, there are two very different approaches that you can take. You can test two very different ads against one another, or you can test several ads against one another, each one slightly different. Both approaches will allow you to make the best informed decision of what direction to take your ad.
Why should you do split tests?
You should always be testing something – accounts are dynamic and improving performance is essential; don’t fall into the trap of believing you have found the peak. As it is an ever changing method of marketing, with always the opportunity for improvement. All in all, split testing is a powerful tool that can unlock some really interesting and powerful data about your target audiences and within your accounts.
Hopefully you will have found some inspiration here, but do get in touch with us if you need ideas and help on how to improve performance within your account. We at Firefly are experts in all digital marketing areas, including Google Ads so call us today for a no obligation quote today!