A/B testing, you probably heard the phrase before. But, to a non-statistical mind, A/B testing for an AdWords campaign still represents a kind of a mystery.

For this reason, we have decided not to move any further with this subject without clearly defining this notion. Not to worry, we will not go all mathematical on you. The aim of this article is to introduce a young and veteran marketer to the science behind A/B testing using simple, familiar terminology. Why? Well, to ensure that by the end of this read you fully comprehend its importance and benefits.

At one point you maybe even thought if it makes sense to invest in SEO instead of AdWords, but that’s behind you! You are here, and you want to know about A/B testing your AdWords campaigh.

Defining A/B testing for an AdWords campaign

It represents a great way to determine which variations of your marketing message will yield the most fruitful results. In other words, during this process, you learn to which aspects of your marketing campaigns your customers react positively. And which need to be further tweaked in order to improve conversion rates, as well as boost sales and revenue.

While the results you receive upon conducting the test form a mathematical and statistical term, they are actually quite simple. But in order to see a clear message behind these numbers, you need to familiarize yourself with the core concepts.

AdWords Campaign? This is how it works

You might say the process resembles a scientific experiment – you take the test tube, add a few carefully selected ingredients and watch what happens. When there is no reaction, you either add a bit more or take something out and opt for a different element. Does this sound like something you did in your chemistry class?

Well, the process is similar when it comes to an AdWords campaign:
First, you define two groups: A, the control group, and B, the variation and move on to testing and measuring the goal you have set for the campaign, whether it is the number of sales, profit, CTR, etc. Out of the two, you go with the group that provided you with better results.

Invest time into strategic planning

Strategic planing for AdWords campaign

Depending on your business’ goals, resources and time, A/B testing can be more or less complex. Nevertheless, when a successful campaign increases the conversion rate by 10, 100, or even 500%, it becomes evident that investing money time and energy into an A/B testing definitely pays off.
Therefore, before you jump right into it not properly prepared, you are advised to follow expert advice and proven method that will enable you to conduct an A/B test the right way. Sam Cyrus, CEO at GWM SEO told us that the best way is to focus on the defined goal and organize all future steps around it.

With this in mind, the first step in the process implies defining the goal – do you want to make more sales? Generate more leads? Increase traffic to your website?

Next, you need to state the way in which you wish to measure results provided by the A/B test. Before taking any concrete action, set up your analytics with Google AdWords stats, Google Analytics, or any other similar reporting tool you might have at your disposal.

Define two clear variations

Then make sure you are clear about the part of the ad you want to test – is it the keywords you are targeting, the message you have crafted, negative words you have pre-defined, etc.

Now it is high time you defined the two variations you are going to observe. For instance, create two ads that target the same keyword but have different headlines – one that is more straightforward and the other maybe being slightly more ambiguous, but catchier, maybe even slightly comical.

After publishing the two ads, determine how long you want A/B testing in this AdWords campaign to last in order to have a date in mind when you are going to have definite results of the trial to take into account.
Though you have defined the goal in the first step, now is the time to decide on the exact number or amount you want to see as a result. Do you want your conversion rate to get 2% higher? Do you want 10 more visitors opening your website?

Pick the winner for your AdWords campaign

Once you arrive at the end of the test, you need to make a decision what action you want to take, and it all comes down to two options: will you continue running both ads for additional tests, or will you go with just one which proved to be more effective during the A/B test.

There are many actions that can improve your conversion numbers in an AdWords campaign. With the limited information that’s visible on the ad itself, every little detail comes through.

Even the difference between HTTP and HTTPS has an impact. Especially advanced users love to see an SSL certificate installed on the website. But every action has its own problems. After you install your SSL certificate, even if it is a free one, you need to monitor when it expires .

We will keep the details on some tactics of improving A/B testing in an AdWords campaign or that of a website for some other time.

Final words: additional tests for more optimal results

Due to the fact that there is a multitude of variables to be tested during an AdWords campaign – different call to actions, the length of an URL, the headline – changing just one can exponentially change the outcome of the campaign.

Upon finishing the first round of A/B testing, marketers go for additional fine-tuning in order to understand just how much other, seemingly less prominent aspects affect users’ decisions and actions. With that in mind, you might want to try adjusting your offer, punctuation, device targeting, landing page destination, or various Ad Group keywords.

And what about you – have you conducted A/B testing during one of your campaigns and which variables proved to have the most influence?

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