5 Ideas for A/B Testing Your PPC Ad Text

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With the new algorithm changes from Google and Yahoo!, having a good quality score is an added challenge in the PPC world; and your ad text is a big part of having a great quality score. Here are five tips I have used personally that helped me gain control of my accounts through ad text testing.

1. Call to action: Speaking with Google and Yahoo! frequently, they suggest that when leading customers to a page where they need to fill out a form or download a whitepaper, tell the customers they also will do this in your ad text. For example, “Download our whitepaper on e-mail marketing today.” That way, users know what they’re getting into before they click. I think it’s a great idea if you’re working for conversions; if you’re just driving clicks, it may turn someone away. Use your “calls to action” wisely. This test seems to be working on some of my accounts. Nothing dramatic yet, though.

2. Keyword smothering: Yahoo! has been adamant about having your keywords smothered in your ad text title, short description, long description, and URL in order to get a great quality score. These guidelines make it harder to get creative and pull people in. I tested Yahoo!’s theory on keyword smothering. In one instance, I cleared stats for all three of my ad texts for one ad group. The first one had my keyword in every line of my text, including my URL. The second had just one instance of my keyword. Number three had the keyword in only the title and URL. The results? Strangely enough, the third ad text had a click-through rate (CTR) of 1.19%. The first ad text, with the keyword smothered, had a CTR of .93%. The second, with only one instance of my keyword, had a CTR of 0.55%. Since this seemed to prove Google and Yahoo! wrong for the time being, I will be testing this theory more in the future. But it’s something to try for yourself.

3. Dynamic ad text: Make sure you learn how to use dynamic ad text correctly before putting it into place or your ads could look strange to the user. If you have a lot of different types of keywords within one ad group, this is the best time to use dynamic ad text testing—although if you have many different keywords in one ad group, they should really be broken out into separate ad groups, but that’s another discussion. In four out of five cases in which I have tested dynamic ad text, it proved to work better than non-dynamic ad text—although I don’t usually use dynamic ad text in the descriptions, only in the title. I feel the user may catch on to our logic, and then be turned off.

4. Get creative: Take a look at your competitors’ ads. Are they just like yours? If you’re testing, you shouldn’t be afraid to get creative. You want to find the ad that works best, right? Use punctuation if you can, such as question marks or exclamation points. But most of all, get into your customers head and think of some words that might catch their attention. Marketing studies show that men tend to follow high-tech buzz words, while women are looking for deals.

5. Numbers: I’ve heard this has worked for some people but not others. Putting phone numbers in your ad text just might help your click-through rates. Some people may be looking online just to find a phone number. This might catch their attention and they may possibly click through. Or the number might just catch someone’s attention more than another ad does. You can also put in percentages or money values. I have an ad that consistently performs better and the text goes something like this: Over 40% of e-mails don’t reach the in-box. If something is on sale, put the sale price in the text. For example: Personalized Vases on Sale, $24.99. You get the point.

My point overall is that perhaps smothering your keywords in your ad text won’t always do the trick. In my experience, when I get creative is when I see the majority of my ads performing better.

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