Editor’s Note: The following is an objective review of Hero Pro’s new Ad Automator PPC automation tool. The author received no compensation for this review, and his opinions are his own.
A/B ad testing. We all do it (or at least should be doing it). If we’re being honest, we all struggle with the tedious nature of setting up, launching and analyzing ad tests, too. If only there was a way to automate the process!
Well, that’s exactly what the folks at Hanapin Marketing have done with a new tool. Hero Pro’s new Ad Automator tool is envisioned as a one-stop-shop where advertisers can set up new ad tests, launch and/or schedule those tests and then sit back and relax until the test is complete (tests end upon reaching a 95% confidence level of statistical significance). Almost sounds too good to be true.
I was given the opportunity to take Ad Automator for a spin and provide my honest feedback. So, without further ado…
By and large, Ad Automator delivers on its promise to simplify PPC ad testing.
- Set up was easy and FAST. Input AdWords login (I used an MCC login and was able to choose from all of my accounts). Choose an account. Create new experiment. Launch. Doesn’t get easier or faster than that!
- When creating an experiment, each step of the process is intuitive and clearly explained (though the gray-on-gray color options made it difficult to see text entry points at times).
- Control. You are given the choice to launch a test immediately or schedule it in the future. You can also export the ads to Excel and upload them yourself. If at any time you need to end the test, you can by pausing or deleting. In short, even though the test is on “auto-pilot” you aren’t locked out.
As previously mentioned, this is honest feedback. Ad Automator is great, but it isn’t perfect.
- Only 3 testing variables. You can only test click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate (CVR) or impressions until conversion (IUC). What about cost-per-acquisition (CPA) or AdWords revenue metrics?
- You can test text ads only. There is no support for image ads at this time (minor concern, but worth mentioning). Additionally, there is no support for Bing Ads.
- Tests are applied at the campaign level. This means that when you create an experiment, the new ads will be applied to ALL ad groups within that campaign. Ad Automator will force you to suspend your belief in keyword relevance factors – so test at your own risk.
- DKI is supported, but that isn’t really the solution here – ad group level testing is.
- While creating an experiment you are not shown the final ad unit until the end of the process. With a simple ad testing 2 headlines and 1 body copy set, this wasn’t much of an issue. However, when I tried to create a test with multiple headlines, body copy sections, etc. I lost track of what I was doing!
- I recommend you plan ahead and map out your experiment variables ahead of time to avoid confusion.
There are definitely some wants with Ad Automator, but then again, what PPC tool doesn’t have them? Overall Ad Automator has a lot going for it. With a few tweaks and feature additions it could rise to the top of many a “must-have PPC tools” list.
- Display an ad “constant” as something to test against during experiment set up. Without this users are forced to have AdWords on the web or AdWords Editor open and switch back and forth.
- As mentioned before, provide an ad preview of the test variations.
- Allow for ad-group-level testing.
- Expand testing variables to additional metrics like CPA, ROAS, etc.
Overall, I like Ad Automator. It is simple, efficient and more than capable of conducting pain-free ad testing. The fact that tests are conducted at the campaign level is a significant draw back. However, Ad Automator would be a huge help if you are doing any type of large scale/enterprise message testing or any testing that would affect a wide swatch of keywords. The PPC community has clamored for a quality ad testing tool for years. Is Ad Automator the definitive answer we’ve all been looking for? Maybe, but you should test and decide for yourself.