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Eliminate Inaccuracies in Google Ads Testing and Tracking

Launching a successful Google AdWords campaign requires a lot of testing and tracking. Testing is very often overlooked and considered unnecessary, when in fact it’s what makes all the difference, and allows you to move forward and get results.

Many how-to guides and ebooks can give you guidance on how to create the best performing PPC campaigns, but remember that beyond general tips, no one can actually give you a magic formula for creating ads that work, every company and challenge is different. You have to test and track results to see the real performance of your PPC campaigns. While doing so, you need to know what to track, what your goals are, and how to identify and track the results, otherwise all this testing will lead you astray.

1. Use Significant Split Tests That Give Realistic Results

Let’s be honest, we all know you need to achieve statistical significance in order to make a decision, and it takes time to gather a significant amount of data  in order to make an informed decision. But, many times, we all rush into a split test without really identifying the goals and/or we’re eager to choose a winner without actually achieving statistical significance.

This extremely short and rushed testing will not only give inconclusive results, but may lead you down the wrong path and making a decision by choosing an ad as a “better performer”, that really isn’t.

Instead of questioning your decision or rushing to a decision, take the right steps and make an informed decision based on data that really matters. In order to make smart decisions, give each ad a fair amount of time to run and really  analyze your test so you can realistically evaluate which ad truly performs better.

2. Don’t Let Google Optimize Your Ads

If you are serious about testing on Google Ads, you should focus on beating your best performing ad’s CTR, conversion rate, and CPA/ROAS on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately, by default Google will display the ads with highest monitored CTR, but in order to achieve your goal and properly test all ads, you need to give them the same amount of exposure.

You can easily change Google’s default setting, and instead of allowing it to “Optimize”, you will change your campaign settings to “Rotate: show ads more evenly”. Simple as that.

3. Separate Display Network Traffic And Google Search Network Traffic

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to advertise on Google Search results as well as the Display Network. But, make sure you are doing these in in separate campaigns for each network, especially when performing tests. Mainly, because clicks from each network are treated as different traffic sources, and second, because people are in a different state of mind and different stage of the buying process depending on where they were (Search/Display) when they saw your ad and clicked on it.

If you group Search Network traffic and Display Network into one campaign and show them identical ads, you risk getting distorted data which will make it a harder to determine which ads are more profitable. Keep the networks separate in order to measure things accurately. Depending on your preference, Search/Display Network, choose the correct settings and only one network per campaign.

4. Are your clicks and conversions actually generating revenue?

Another thing to keep an eye on is tracking the revenue your conversions are generating. Nothing can be worse than generating a bunch of empty clicks that aren’t turning into customers, or would never lead to a conversion. Many times, you can get into a trap of focusing on generating as many clicks as possible or seeing a high CTR (Click-Through Rate), which, kudos to you, means your copy and creative is top notch. The thing to think about is, are you actually guiding people to a path of conversion or just clicks eating away at your budget.

Along with that, it might mean the advertising is doing a killer job, and we find this a lot where our CTRs are going up as a function of our ads are actually more compelling than the previous ones. But, if the site is not setup in an optimized way for conversion, you’re going to be bleeding money because people won’t convert. We find this a lot,

What you should be tracking is ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) OR CPA. Focusing on what those ad dollars are returning for you is ever more important than how many clicks you can generate. Thinking about the entire customer journey and funnel is just as important as the ads you’re running.

Making sure you’re targeting the right people with the right intent, who will actually convert into a purchase is really how you should be thinking about it. Once you do this, you’re definitely on the right track.

These important aspects of Google Ads testing can greatly help you eliminate inaccuracies and improve your PPC campaigns. Making sure you track all necessary parameters and make smart decisions when choosing your ads. Always remember that just because an ad performs better than the other in A/B testing in terms of CTR, it doesn’t mean it’s more profitable. Don’t skip testing to save time and don’t make assumptions, because they might lead to making crucial mistakes and eat away at your budget, without a return. On the other hand, really think through the customer journey and the overall funnel and how you can test, iterate and optimize in your campaigns to generate the most return possible.

3 Significant Changes to Dynamic Search Ads

If you are actively using Google AdWords, then you know that Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) are the easiest way to reach customers that precisely match your offer on Google. The best thing about DSA is that they use your website to help target your ads and fill in the keyword-based gaps in your campaigns. Even the best managed AdWords accounts that use many keywords can experience some setbacks without DSA, including missing out on relevant searches, experiencing delays in writing ads for new products, or being out of sync with what’s actually available on the destination website.

The benefits of using DSA are great. They help you save time and reach new markets faster and the ads are frequently and automatically updated as soon as you make changes to your webpages. They also show relevant results with dynamic headlines, giving you greater control over your campaign, and most importantly, helping you generate additional traffic and sales compared to what you get from keyword-targeted campaigns.

Now, Google is making an update to DSA by introducing three significant changes aimed at giving advertisers a better handle on the quality of the ad creativity and targeting. Let’s see what those changes actually are.  

Page Feed – More Control Over What You Advertise

Searchers are more likely to click on an ad and buy a product or service when it fits their needs or solves a problem. That is why having more control over what you advertise, and making sure your ads are very relevant to prospects is key.

In order to provide advertisers with an additional layer of control, Google introduced Page Feeds to DSA campaigns. That allows you to create a feed – a spreadsheet of the products or services you want to promote, and add it to a new or an existing dynamic search campaign. When you use a Page Feed to specify which URLs to use in your DSA, it helps Google determine when and to whom to show your ads, and where to direct people on your website.

Additionally, Google recommends adding custom labels to your selected URLs to categorize and organize the specific targets in groups. When you use labels such as “Special Promotion” or “Out of Stock” in your Page Feed, you can easily activate ads within that promotion at the same time, or pause them to stop unwanted paid traffic.

This is a very helpful feature that saves time and helps ecommerce advertisers save money by delivering only relevant content to their prospects.

Expanded Ads – Longer Descriptions for Deeper Messaging

Having more screen real-estate is always good when it comes to display advertising. You want your ads to be bigger and more noticeable, and also explain your offer better and in more detail. The transition to Extended Text Ads on Search and Display campaigns occurred in January, and these new, larger ads are about to make their way to DSA as well.

Longer headlines and descriptions allow advertisers to show more information about their business and their offering. The higher character count of the extended description field gives you additional space and lets you be more specific with the ad, while the other features remain dynamic. This enhancement is expected to roll out over this month (May 2017) and we are excited to welcome it.

Quality Enhancements – Be More Relevant

Ad relevancy and quality may begin with specifying which web pages and which products or services you want to promote, but it continues with having your ads show only when they are most relevant to the what the searchers are looking for.

Let’s say someone looks for a digital marketing agency in L.A. and instead of seeing the ad for Visible Factors, they are shown an ad about a digital marketing agency in Charlotte. Not very relevant, right? With the latest updates, Google is promising advertisers a quality enhancement focused on location-based targeting.  

Improved ad-targeting is very important and beneficial, especially for local businesses that want to reach a certain audience. When you know that your ad will be displayed to prospects which are in the vicinity of your business, you are willing to pay more, because you will get exposure and possibly more clicks and an increase in profit.

These three changes made to Dynamic Search Ads are allowing more control over your targeting and more specific descriptions of the products and services you are selling. This means your ads are about to have a higher conversion rate at lower CPA (Cost Per Action). 

So if you were hesitant about including DSA in your campaigns and weren’t sure if they’ll get you the wanted results, we hope these improvements change your mind and make you give DSA a chance. If you do, give us a call to help you set up your campaigns. We promise you’ll be in for an awesome and very fruitful ride.