6 A/B Tests for PPC You Have to Try

Max Trotter

One of the most vital aspects of successful PPC management is to always be testing. If you’re not actively testing new things in the account, such as ad copy or demographic targeting, your account is stagnant, and you’re not improving as much as you could.

What is A/B Testing for PPC?

Before we get into different things to test, we should quickly define what A/B testing is in relation to PPC.

A/B testing is a method of testing that takes two variables and compares their performance. For example, if you were trying to decide between options for ad copy, an A/B test would allow you to compare the performance of two different ads in an ad group. You could then select the ad copy that generated more conversions.

Now that we know what A/B tests are, here are six A/B testing ideas for your PPC account.

1. Responsive Search Ads

The first A/B testing idea is using Responsive Search Ads. Responsive search ads are Google’s newest search ad format that allows you to add multiple headlines and descriptions to a single ad. Google then automatically tests different combinations of ad copy and slowly begins to favor the highest performing combinations. In addition to testing ad copy, testing responsive search ads is a great way to create and test more relevant ads in your account.

Screenshot of a fake responsive search ad preview in Google

2. Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Another ad feature to A/B test is dynamic keyword insertion. Dynamic keyword insertion is an ad feature that makes your headline match what the user is searching for.

For example, if you were a cake mix company using dynamic keyword insertion, someone could search “Chocolate Cake Mix” and your ad would appear saying “Chocolate Cake Mix,” while someone searching “Double Chocolate Cake Mix” would see an ad saying “Double Chocolate Cake Mix.”Google simply takes the search query that people are using and inserts it into your ad, making dynamic keyword insertion much more personal and unique in a way that standard test ads simply cannot.

3. Seasonal Ad Copy

One small way that you can get more personal with your ads is to create and test seasonal ad copy. Creating ads that are season-specific (such as fall back-to-school or winter holiday ads) gives them a little bit more personalization and relevance that generic ads simply do not have. For example, instead of this:

Screenshot of google results demonstrating a generic, non-seasonal fake ad for school supplies

Try something like this:

Screenshot of google results demonstrating a customized, seasonal fake ad for school supplies referencing the fallies

4. Ad Messaging (Pricing vs. Quality/Quantity)

In the vast majority of PPC ads, you’re going to have some sort of selling point for your product or service, whether it be price, quality, or some other value proposition. Another good A/B test for your ads is to test these different selling points to see which ones lead to the most conversions.

Say you’re running a school that offers nursing assistant certification in three months. You could test ad messaging that emphasizes how fast the course is, how cheap the course is, or the starting salary of the job you’d get upon certification. All three are great selling points, so it’s important to test and see which one resonates with consumers the most.

5. Landing Page

One of the easiest A/B tests you can perform is what landing page your ad links to. You want to link to the most relevant possible landing page to the keywords you’re bidding on, but if there’s more than one option, you should test them side-by-side to see which performs better.

Let’s say you’re an online retailer selling baking ingredients and tools. If you’re running an ad group for “Chocolate Cake Mix,” you should have it link to a page that sells the chocolate cake mix. But if there isn’t just a single page showing all chocolate cake mixes, it would be a good idea to test landing pages to find the highest converting landing page.

6. Time (Ad Scheduling)

This test requires running an experiment in Google Ads (read more about experiments here), but it is worth the effort. Creating an ad schedule is important because there are likely many points in a week where your ads are getting little to no conversions. In accounts where ROI is a key metric, these hours could make or break your success rate. By testing one campaign with an open schedule and one with a more refined schedule, you can accurately see how showing your ads at specific times affects performance.

The Wrap Up

There are many ways to test in a PPC account, including much more than the few examples I talked about here. Any of these tests can help you learn more about the account and its performance, but the main takeaway I want you to have is that it doesn’t matter what you test, just be testing something. Time spent not testing new things is time wasted. So get out there and write some new ads, try a new landing page, or try some new ad scheduling out. Happy testing!

Max Trotter

Max Trotter

PPC Specialist
PPC Specialist

Max is a PPC strategist that works with Portent's Small Business Solutions team. He carries certification in Google Adwords and HubSpot Inbound, and has experience planning, implementing, and managing social media accounts and email campaigns for small business clients.

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