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.